Former England manager Sam Allardyce has upped the ante ahead of Leeds United’s Saturday showdown with Premier League leaders Manchester City by claiming he is at least as good a manager as Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp. Known for his firefighting skills after saving a number of clubs from relegation, Allardyce has accepted the job of securing the Elland Road Stadium’s top flight status with the club hovering just one point from safety.
Leeds United have already changed managers twice, with Spaniard Javi Gracia following American Jesse Marsh in the exit door after failing to mastermind a revival. Allardyce has been thrown into the deep end as Manchester City, who lead the division by one point from Arsenal, with a game in hand, have won 13 consecutive matches at Etihad Stadium to move a step closer to their fifth EPL title in six seasons.
Their latest victory came on Wednesday when goals from Nathan Ake, Erling Braut Haaland and Phil Foden guided Guardiola’s trailblazers to a comfortable 3-0 subjugation of West Ham United. Haaland’s 35th goal of the Premier League season saw him overtake Andy Cole as the record net buster in a single top flight campaign. The Norwegian behemoth has now scored an astonishing 51 goals in all competitions, putting him in striking distance of the all time record held by Everton legend Dixie Dean who plundered 60 goals 93 years ago.
On Sunday, longtime leaders Arsenal must contend with a daunting trip to St James Park where Eddie Howe’s Magpies take no prisoners. The Gunners have suffered a familiar end of campaign meltdown, with Tuesday’s 3-1 victory over hapless Chelsea their first in five outings. Howe and his Emirates Stadium counterpart Mikel Arteta are both in the running for the EPL manager of the season gong following stellar work that has ensured Champions League qualification with games to spare.
Cameras are to be focused on Chelsea interim manager Frank Lampard when the six time champions travel to Bournemouth. Lampard has overseen an unwanted club record six successive losses in charge of the Stamford Bridge club casting serious doubts about his managerial nous. Elsewhere, Nottingham Forest host Southampton in a relegation six pointer, while second from bottom Everton travel to dangerous Brighton on Monday.
Bournemouth v Chelsea,
Manchester City v Leeds United,
Spurs v Crystal Palace,
Wolves v Aston Villa,
Liverpool v Brentford
Newcastle United v Arsenal,
West Ham United v Manchester United
Fulham v Leicester City,
Brighton v Everton,
Nottingham Forest v Southampton