The meeting between the current – and possibly future – managers of Manchester United is the top-flight highlight.

Pochettino-Solskjaer showdown takes centre stage

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  • 2019-01-11 22:10:54 11 months ago
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The Premier League returns this weekend following the FA Cup third round with plenty of talking points at both ends of the table.

Chief among them is the intriguing contest at Wembley on Sunday, where Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino takes on the club who reportedly want him as the permanent successor to Jose Mourinho.

An Old Trafford audition?

Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea – Carabao Cup – Semi Final – First Leg – Wembley Stadium
Mauricio Pochettino is reported to be at the top of Manchester United's wanted list (Nick Potts/PA)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made no secret about how much he wants the Manchester United job full time, but is up against the man widely tipped to be the Red Devils' first choice for the position long term.

Solskjaer has won his first five games as interim manager since Mourinho's sacking last month but the game against Tottenham represents by far the biggest test of the Norwegian's tenure so far.

A positive result for Pochettino will only fan the flames of those calling for him to be the man handed the reins in the summer – but what if Solskjaer wins the tactical battle?

Liverpool need to clip Seagulls wings and return to winning ways

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool remain four points clear at the Premier League summit but have lost their last two games.

Defeat to closest title rivals Manchester City was followed up with a much-changed side losing to Wolves in the third round of the FA Cup.

It may only be a small blip for the Reds but they will be keen to correct it with victory at Brighton on Saturday.

More Arn than good?

West Ham face a London derby against Arsenal at the London Stadium on Saturday as the future of one of their stars is once again up in the air.

Marko Arnautovic has been the go-to man for the Hammers in recent months but is seemingly angling for a move to the Chinese Super League in the January transfer window.

It remains to be seen if Manuel Pellegrini will keep faith in the Austria forward for the visit of the Gunners, with the reaction of the home fans likely to be hostile.

Can Bluebirds can fly high and leave Terriers in the doghouse?

Cardiff were one of the early relegation favourites but have won four of their last seven home games and picked up three points at Leicester last month.

They host bottom club Huddersfield this weekend looking to bounce back from heavy home losses to Manchester United and Tottenham, as well as an FA Cup exit at the hands of Gillingham.

Huddersfield have picked up just five points on the road and sit eight points adrift of safety, with David Wagner's men needing to turn the tide sooner rather than later.

Can Wolves hunt another top-six scalp and dent Manchester City's title defence?

Fulham v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Premier League – Craven Cottage
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo will be looking to blunt Manchester City's title ambitions on Monday. (Steven Paston/PA)

Wolves were promoted alongside Cardiff last season but have different ambitions.

They have already secured draws against Manchester City and Manchester United, won 3-1 at Tottenham and knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup last time out.

They host the champions at Molineux on Monday night and could prove to be another thorn in the side of Pep Guardiola's side, who will know the Liverpool result and what it means to their title ambitions.

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Pochettino-Solskjaer showdown takes centre stage

Ralph Hasenhuttl tells Southampton to focus only on themselves

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has warned his players to focus on their own job of getting out of the Premier League relegation zone rather than worry about the teams around them.

The Saints resume the fight for survival on Saturday with a trip to Leicester, who are managed by former boss Claude Puel.

With Fulham at fellow strugglers Burnley and 17th-placed Cardiff hosting bottom club Huddersfield, it represents an opportunity for Hasenhuttl's side to claw back some points.

The Austrian, though, wants everyone concentrating on the job in hand rather than working out who will be where come the full-time whistle.

"It is not about hoping something or wishing, it is about doing yourselves the job you have to do, that is the most important thing," Hasenhuttl said at a press conference.

"It is guaranteed there are clubs taking points (from each other) around us, so if we can overtake (them) on points, then it would be great for us.

"They are a strong team and a big challenge for us, but we are travelling there to get three points because we need to look to come out of this relegation zone therefore we have to get constantly some wins or draws.

"If it's a draw we take it, if it's a win it's better, for sure.

"We know about this tough challenge we are facing there. Leicester is a very good team with a lot of individual quality inside.

"Jamie Vardy and a few other players, if you give them space and time they can kill you and that's what we don't want."

Southampton face an FA Cup third-round replay after Derby fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 last weekend.

For the return to league action, Hasenhuttl is expected to rely on much of the team which secured a goalless draw at Chelsea on January 2.

"For us it's important to go with self confidence we just built up," he said.

"We know we can play away a tactical game like we did against Chelsea, but the transition to go forwards with more pace will be necessary against this team.

"We need to show ourselves and also our fans what we are able to do now."

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Howe determined Cherries will keep Callum Wilson

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe says he would not sell England striker Callum Wilson "at any price".

Cherries top scorer Wilson, who has hit nine Premier League goals this term, is reportedly a January transfer target for Chelsea, with rumours the Londoners are willing to pay a £50million fee.

The 26-year-old has re-established himself as an integral part of Howe's team since returning from a second serious knee injury in October 2017.

"I've been told about the speculation, it's not something I seek to read. It's a waste of time for me to do so," Howe said of Wilson at his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday's trip to Everton.

"It's business as normal – Callum has been bright and bubbly this week, so no problems there.

"In my opinion – and it's just my opinion – I wouldn't sell at any price.

"But I'm the manager of the team, trying to create the best team that I can.

"We desperately want to take the team forward and to do that I think we've got to keep our best players."

Former Coventry player Wilson was handed an England debut by Gareth Southgate in November, scoring in a 3-0 success against the United States at Wembley.

His remarkable rise to international football followed an injury nightmare which saw him rupture anterior cruciate ligaments in both knees, leading to two lengthy lay-offs.

He could miss this weekend's clash with the Toffees due to a hamstring problem having also sat out last Saturday's FA Cup loss to Brighton.

"He has unique attributes that really complement what we do here," added Howe.

"He's been a really good goalscorer for us this season, that's the hardest thing to do in the sport so we value him really highly."

Howe, meanwhile, refused to rule out strengthening his injury-hit squad further during the transfer window.

The Cherries last week splashed £19million to sign England striker Dominic Solanke from Liverpool, with right-back Nathaniel Clyne arriving on loan from Anfield on the same day.

Captain Simon Francis, right-back Adam Smith and England midfielder Lewis Cook are each sidelined for the foreseeable future due to knee issues, while new boy Solanke is currently unavailable for his debut because of a hamstring problem.

"I wouldn't rule anything in or out in this transfer window," said Howe on the subject of further deals.

"We've been forced to act this time due to injuries, so we'll wait and see what happens in the coming weeks."

Speaking about the arrivals of Clyne – who made his Bournemouth debut in the FA Cup – and Solanke, Howe added: "I was pleased to get our two deals over the line so quickly.

"We have some long-term injuries and they're both big losses, so to fill the positions is very important to us.

"Nathaniel has settled in well. He's trained very well and I was pleased with his performance last week.

"We haven't seen Dominic in training just yet."

In addition to a late fitness test for Wilson before the game at Goodison Park, Howe is also waiting on Ryan Fraser's hamstring issue, while Joshua King is a doubt because of illness.

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