Carvalhal and Wagner Meet With Premier League Future on the Line Once Again: Premier League; The Weekend That Will Be Image via the Examiner UK

Carvalhal and Wagner Meet With Premier League Future on the Line Once Again: Premier League; The Weekend That Will Be

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The last time Carlos Carvalhal and David Wagner came face-to-face in the managerial dugout: Football League Championship Playoff Semi-final second leg, May 2017. Huddersfield travelled to Hillsborough, following a goalless draw in the first leg at home to Sheffield Wednesday, fell behind to Steven Fletcher’s header, roared back through an own goal, and eventually triumphed on penalties, on their way to promotion to the Premier League.

And both sides meet again this weekend, with top flight football the end game, although the circumstances are a little different. It’s not about getting to the top flight, more like staying in the top flight; Huddersfield are in 15th place, on 30 points, three ahead of the drop zone, their fairy-tale years might just extend. Swansea, meanwhile, seemed dead and buried at the end of December, Paul Clement was dismissed with the club languishing at the foot of the table, Leon Britton had a little stint as player-manager, then Carvalhal came in, having resigned from his position at Sheffield Wednesday. Since then, things have gone north for the South Welsh side, only two league defeats since the Portuguese came in, and they’re currently two places above Huddersfield, although separated only by goal difference.

Both sides are currently above water, but nowhere near safe, especially in such a tight league table. A win here is a shoot up for one side, as much as a defeat means a drop down for the other. The upside for both sides is that unlike last season, both might well survive. The flipside, though, means, unlike last season as well, both might well go down.

Elsewhere:

  • The question: will Petr Cech ever get that 200th clean sheet? The Czech goalie has been on 199 since 2017, and ever since has failed to have any other shut out. With Watford coming to an uncertain Emirates crowd, where the atmosphere hasn’t been the most joyous of late, this might not be the weekend for that clean sheet. More importantly for Arsenal, a win is paramount to halt their awful league form. They did manage a win at the San Siro in midweek, though, the more important- if not most important- target in their season now.
  • It’s destination Old Trafford at lunchtime on Saturday, as Manchester United play host to Liverpool in a Red derby of second against third. The focus is not unlikely to be on Jose Mourinho and whether he would set up his side to be cautious, and with United above their rivals ahead of the game, it might well be the case.
  • It’s another six-pointer this weekend, as 17th-placed Southampton travel to 16th-placed Newcastle. Southampton have cause for optimism in the fact that they haven’t lost in six games, but only one of those games have they won. Newcastle, meanwhile, lost at Liverpool last weekend, a game they would view as a bye, a definite free hit. Being on home soil demands a result, but home soil hasn’t been their best place to play this term.

Fixtures

Huddersfield v Swansea

Manchester United v Liverpool

Stoke v Manchester City

West Brom v Leicester

Arsenal v Watford

Everton v Brighton

West Ham v Burnley

Bournemouth v Tottenham

Chelsea v Crystal Palace

Newcastle v Southampton

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