4 – Sergio Aguero has scored in all four of his Champions League away appearances so far this season for Manchester City – Dwight Yorke is the only other player to do this for an English side in the competition (for Man Utd in 1998/99). Trip.
Riyad Mahrez is on the bench for Leicester City as the Foxes look to keep up their decent record against league leaders Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).
Which new attacking player will have the most immediate impact? Manchester City vs. Newcastle United — 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC [ STREAM ]
Olivier Giroud could start if Alvaro Morata is still sidelined. Alexis Sanchez has yet to hit the back of the net for Manchester United. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan headline the Arsenal attack as the Gunners host Everton. The Toffees still need Cenk Tosun to get off the mark.
Which attacker will have the biggest impact this weekend? With Morata likely to return, Giroud will most certainly have to wait for his first chance at Chelsea, but that could come quickly if Morata continues to fire blanks, with just one goal since December 3rd. Sanchez was stifled by Tottenham as Manchester United fell 2-0 last time out. Arsenal seems to have the best chance, with Aubameyang likely to be thrust into action soon as the Gunners have few options up front. As they host Everton at the Emirates, the Gabonese international could be at the forefront of the headlines in London as they take on a defense without a clean sheet since Boxing Day.
Who will take charge of second place? Liverpool vs. Tottenham — 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]
A Manchester United loss last time out means the top four race is even more wide open than before. The Red Devils have just a three-point lead in second place, and Liverpool, Chelsea, and Tottenham are all within three or five points. Two of those teams meet in a critical matchup as the Reds host Spurs at Anfield.
With Liverpool three points behind Manchester United and Spurs five back, either team could potentially take control of third position with a win and some help. The Reds were incredibly quiet on Deadline Day, and now the leaky Liverpool defense will have to contend with Alexis Sanchez for a third time this season. The past two times Sanchez met the Reds while with Arsenal, a total of 10 goals were scored between the two matches (a 4-0 Liverpool win and a 3-3 draw that saw Sanchez score a goal).
Can Virgil Van Dijk lock down Harry Kane in a battle of Premier League stars? All eyes will be on that matchup as these two teams battle it out for top four supremacy.
Can Swansea continue surge against tumultuous Leicester? Leicester City vs. Swansea City — 10:00 a.m. ET Saturday on NBC Sports Gold [ STREAM ]
Swansea City has kicked down the door to safety with a pair of impressive wins against Liverpool and Arsenal to help them lift off the bottom of the table. They visit King Power Stadium on Saturday to take on a Leicester City side in serious turmoil. After the club once again refused to sell Riyad Mahrez to Manchester City, the star winger has reportedly refused to show up for training, and his status for this weekend – and beyond – could be in serious jeopardy.
The Foxes saw their three-match unbeaten run snapped last time out against Everton, could they be in for more disappointment at home with Mahrez on the outside looking in? With a win and the right results, Swansea could not only lift themselves out of the relegation zone, but they could leap as high as 14th if things go right. What a result that could be for new manager Carlos Carvahal.
Will Manchester City put its depth problems in the rear view mirror? Burnley vs. Manchester City — 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]
The Premier League runaways dominated West Brom last time out, but breaking down Burnley at Turf Moor is a whole other task. With Manchester City unable to secure a deal for Mahrez at the deadline, they are left with Bernardo Silva to step into the injured Leroy Sane’s role. The Portuguese winger has seen his role diminish with Sane’s explosion and his own struggles, with just one goal and no assists in his last six appearances. However, with Sane out for six weeks at minimum, Bernardo Silva will combine with David Silva and Raheem Sterling to fill Sane’s shoes.
Burnley’s inability to score of late will leave them serious underdogs in this matchup, but should they knick a score, the stout Clarets defense could take center stage. Burnley has not conceded more than one goal in any game since they last faced Manchester City just about a month ago in a 4-1 FA Cup loss. Will the Citizens punish Burnley again?
He’s fortunate it’s not worse, as Cardiff’s Joe Bennett made sliding contact with Sane’s leg as the German wizard made a near field-length dribble.
Pep Guardiola was raging after the injury, as an obscured referee needed the linesman to advise a straight red card. Instead, a yellow came.
That’s hardly any comfort as Guardiola says Sane will be out for a minimum of “two to three weeks,” a time span which includes league matches against West Brom, Burnley, and Leicester City before a Feb. 13 UEFA Champions League first leg against Basel. It also puts Sane’s status for the League Cup Final on Feb. 25 in question.
“They [officials] have to protect the players,” Guardiola said. “Not my players. All players. They [refs] are there to protect the players. When there is fault, there is fault, and when it is dangerous, it is dangerous. I don’t understand the goal [Bernardo] that we didn’t get, but that is okay. We can accept that. But they have to protect the players. They have to do their job.”
All clubs face horror tackles, but teams have been explicitly physical against the difficult-to-slow City set-up. It’s difficult to fault Guardiola for his criticism, and ex-Aston Villa and Middlesbrough defender Bennett should see retroactive disciplinary action for his foul.