In this week’s edition of the Friday 5iver, Desh looks at Akexander Isak’s chances of starting for Newcastle, Trossard’s electric form, the Saints vs Spurs and more!
With the international break looming, the final round of league action for March is upon us. Brentford and Brighton continued their hunt for a European spot with important midweek victories (and clean sheets) against Southampton and Crystal Palace respectively.
Indeed, since the turn of the year, only Arsenal (26) and Manchester City (24) have found the back of the net more often than Brighton (20) have. With the Citizens’ clash against West Ham postponed, Arsenal have a chance to extend their gap at the top of the table to 8 points.
Arteta’s side crashed out of the Europa League last night, suffice to say, their stronghold on the Premier League trophy just got tighter! Nottingham host Newcastle in the opening fixture of the weekend. Eddie Howe’s men picked up just their second league win of the year, last time out.
Steve Cooper’s side have churned out some impressive results and haven’t seen a home league loss since October 2022. Chelsea put their domestic struggles aside as they secured their spot in the quarter finals of the Uefa Champions League. The Blues now look to build on their home form and face a test in the face of Sean Dyche’s Everton outfit.
The Merseyside club picked up a vital win last time out, taking them out of the relegation zone. Despite this, they still remain 3 points away from the foot of the table…
Isak to shoulder Magpies goal-scoring duties
Alexander Isak could take care of business in the short term for Eddie Howe. The Magpies are four points off fourth placed Tottenham and do have 2 games in hand over Spurs, meaning their Champions League ambitions are well and truly alive. The Swede has returned 4 goals from just 9 topflight appearances this season. Across his previous 3 league outings, he has delivered a goal from his 7 shots so keep an eye out for him.
National duty awaits Ivan Toney
With 20 (G16 A4) goal involvements in just 24 topflight appearances, Ivan Toney has hardly put a foot wrong all season long. That output in the business end of the pitch has seen the marksman return to the England setup, with Gareth Southgate requesting his services ahead of their upcoming Euro qualifiers. Prior to reporting for international duty, Toney has an appointment with a Leicester outfit that has lost their previous 4 league outings, bringing their grand total to 16 topflight defeats.
Neves and co fighting to avoid the axe
Ruben Neves could secure the 3 points when Wolves host Leeds this weekend. The midfielder has netted 5 topflight goals this season, with 4 of those coming in front of the Molineux Ultras. The Lopetegui regime has been faltering of late, with the club winning just one of their previous 5 league outings (D1 L3). Despite this, I back them to put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone this weekend.
Forster set for Saints return as Spurs have four men injured
After a positive run in the league, Southampton succumbed to Brentford during the week and return to the bottom spot. Despite that being their 17th league loss from 27 topflight fixtures, there have been glimpses that the Saints will remain in the English topflight next season. Their opponents this weekend is Tottenham Hotspur and I think a former Gunner will fire in a goal or two! Theo Walcott has registered 10 (G6 A4) goal involvements across 18 topflight North London Derby’s so be sure to look out for him.
High-flying Trossard keeps shining
Lendro Trossard has been having a season to remember. The former Seagulls midfielder netted 7 times and bagged 2 assists for the Seagulls, which was enough for Arsenal to swoop in the January transfer window. His effortless transition into the London fold is clear to see. Trossard made Premier League history in his previous topflight fixture as he recorded 3 assists in the first half of an away league match – the first player to do so in the English first division.