Everything you need to know about this weekend's Premier League action, all in one place.
Jump to: Will Mesut Ozil get a game for Arsenal? | Was that the start of a recovery or a false dawn for Manchester United? | How will Southampton recover from 9-0 | Fantasy tips | Stats of the weekend | Who replaces Willy Boly? | Match to watch | Norwich need a lot of luck | VAR due for another failure? | Predictions
The weekend's big questions
Will Mesut Ozil get a league game for Arsenal?
Could we detect a little softening of Unai Emery's resolve when he said he would consider including Mesut Ozil in his squad for Arsenal's game against Wolves this weekend? There is a little more clamour for the German to be brought in from the cold after his terrific hour or so against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday. One of Arsenal's many problems has been an inability to pick holes in a defence, and for all his other flaws, Ozil reminded everyone at Anfield that he can still do that.
It would represent a climbdown from Emery, so he might view this as exposing a weakness, but given the way some of the Arsenal fan base seem to have lost patience with him after last weekend's draw with Crystal Palace, it might be worth a try.
Was that the start of a recovery or a false dawn for Manchester United?
On a human level, it was pleasant to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer smiling after Manchester United's win over Norwich last weekend, but the necessary caveats should not only be made clear, but shouted: this was a Norwich team ravaged by injuries, second-bottom of the league, who had lost three of their previous four and had only kept one clean sheet all season.
So will that 3-1 victory at Carrow Road turn out to be the start of something more tangible, a recovery of sorts for United, or simply a game that even they couldn't fail to win? The form of Marcus Rashford and return of Anthony Martial will help, but this is still a deeply flawed United team who could be exposed by a Bournemouth side who look in good touch.
How will Southampton recover from 9-0?
The basic facts are that Southampton lost a game last weekend, but the reality is that their 9-0 evisceration at the hands of Leicester City could have lasting damage on the rest of their season. There is a theory that relegation might be preferable to the water-treading that has been happening at St Mary's in recent years, but that still feels like an extreme point of view, and of course nobody there wants a demotion to the Championship on their conscience.
They could really have done without two trips to Manchester City after such a loss, but they emerged from the first, on Tuesday in the Carabao Cup, at least with a little dignity, if not a positive result. Ralph Hasenhuttl's primary job this week will have been to piece his squad's morale back together, and we'll see how well he's done that when they step out on Saturday.
Must-have player: Sergio Aguero, Tier 1 forward
Despite being benched the past two weeks, Aguero still has eight goals this season -- one fewer than league leader Jamie Vardy, and Aguero has played 325 fewer minutes than the Englishman. Add in a favourable matchup with reeling Southampton and Aguero is a must start.
Worth considering: Neal Maupay, Tier 2 forward
Maupay scored his fourth goal of the season last week, is tied for seventh in the league with 29 shots, and will be at home against Norwich City, who have the worst defensive record in the league in terms of xG (expected goals) conceded.
Avoid at all costs: Harry Kane, Tier 1 forward
Kane scored against Liverpool last week, but it was fluky -- aided by a deflection and subsequent ricochet off the woodwork -- and it came on his only shot of the game, the fifth time in 10 league games he's finished with just one shot.
Stats of the weekend
Information provided by ESPN Stats & Information
- Manchester United are seeking back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since defeating Crystal Palace and Southampton in February and March (streak of 19 PL matches). Their opponent this week, Bournemouth, will be a welcomed sight for United, the Red Devils boasting an 11-2-3 (W-L-D) record in the all-time series.
- Aston Villa host Liverpool this weekend looking to snap a long drought. The Villains have lost their last 12 matches against the Big 6 across all competitions and are winless in their last 18 against those foes. Villa's last win vs. a top-six side? April 2015 in the Premier League against Tottenham (1-0).
Man to watch
Whoever replaces Willy Boly for Wolves
There might be a few individual players more important to their teams than Willy Boly is to Wolves, but there won't be many. Boly had surgery this week on his fractured tibia, sustained before last weekend's game against Newcastle, and will be out for a few months, leaving Nuno Espirito Santo an interesting quandary at the back.
Last weekend at Newcastle he played Matt Doherty in his back three, an imperfect solution but one he apparently deemed preferable to choosing Jesus Vallejo, who has only started one league game this season, when Wolves conceded five against Chelsea. Ryan Bennett is another option, but he has been in and out of the team all season, and then there's Romain Saiss. Conor Coady is really the only certainty, and it will be fascinating to see who Nuno chooses to play either side of him.
The game you're not planning to watch -- but should
Crystal Palace vs. Leicester City
It's a little counterintuitive to think that third vs sixth should be an under-the-radar game, but it still feels odd that those two teams are Leicester and Crystal Palace. Both sides are unexpectedly flying in this season's still nascent Premier League season, albeit in different ways: Leicester are the attacking free-wheelers who scored nine last weekend at Southampton, Palace the steady-Eddies who are in the top six despite having a negative goal difference. The varied styles could make for a terrific game.
The team that needs a bit of luck
Not just a bit of luck: Norwich City could do with buckets of the stuff, such are the severity of their injury problems. They finished last weekend's game against Manchester United with three players limping around the pitch, who should really have been taken off but for the fact they had already made all three of their substitutions. Add those to the six first-teamers already out, which includes their two first-choice centre-backs, and in part explains their dreadful defensive record (19th out of 20). Getting through their trip to Brighton intact would mark success this weekend.
One thing that will definitely happen
We'll all be talking about VAR again
Unless there's been a sudden rethink over the last few days, following the leaguewide shambles of last weekend, then VAR will continue to be a complete mess and will continue to ruin Premier League games up and down the land. Before the bar was too high, then the bar was too low, and who knows where the bar even is now. In reality, they should throw the bar away, scrap VAR (except for maybe -- maybe -- offside) and write the whole thing off as a bad job. Unfortunately, they won't. VAR is here to stay, and at this stage it's only about damage-limitation: how little can it make a mess of things, rather than how much it can improve the game.
Bournemouth 2-2 Manchester United
Brighton 3-1 Norwich
Arsenal 1-0 Wolves
Aston Villa 2-4 Liverpool
Manchester City 4-0 Southampton
Sheffield United 1-0 Burnley
West Ham 2-2 Newcastle United
Watford 0-4 Chelsea
Crystal Palace 2-3 Leicester City
Everton 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur