1) This is Podolski's moment
Arsenal fans love to sing about how they won the league at Old Trafford in 2002 and, although the prospect of giving the returning Robin van Persie a guard of honour must be sickening to some, at least Manchester United will not become the first team to win a trophy at the Emirates. Perhaps it will work in Arsenal's favour that a potentially bleary-eyed United wrapped up their 20th title on Monday night. A small blessing, though, and the sight of Van Persie will infuriate the home fans, who saw another star player leave last summer. Yet the problem was not only that Arsenal lost Van Persie but also that Arsène Wenger did not adequately replace him. Olivier Giroud is not a flop. Let's not go that far. But Arsenal still downsized. Giroud will be suspended against United, though, which means that there could be a place for another of Wenger's summer signings, Lukas Podolski, who has hardly been a roaring success, although he has not been helped by a niggling ankle injury which could require surgery. He has been out of the picture in recent weeks but this is a big chance for him to make everyone forget about Van Persie and prove that he deserves the central role he craves. Jacob Steinberg
2) Is it time for Ben Arfa?
Newcastle's struggles this season can partly be attributed to Hatem Ben Arfa's injury problems. Without the Frenchman, they have lacked a spark and often resorted to falling back on a long-ball style which is unlikely to endear Alan Pardew to Newcastle's supporters for too long. Ben Arfa is a player who can conjure something out of nothing, such as his outlandish solo goals against Blackburn and Bolton last season, but Newcastle have been unable to rely on that ingenuity this year. After recovering from his hamstring injury, Ben Arfa has made three appearances off the bench, but with Newcastle in need of points to secure their Premier League status, the visit of a Liverpool side that will be missing Luis Suárez could be the perfect time to unleash the winger. JS
3) Tottenham beware
Roberto Martínez could not have sounded more pleased with Wigan's performances in their past two matches, against Manchester City and West Ham. Just to be clear, they lost both, scoring in neither, and in recent weeks it has been possible to detect a certain arrogance about Wigan which seems to be hurting their chances of survival. They can be a great side to watch but sometimes there is a sense that they are too pleased about their own brilliance to actually capitalise on it, which was the case when their sterile dominance over 10-man QPR meant they drew a game that they should have won. So now they find themselves being written off. Again. And that's exactly what they want us to do. Logically a Tottenham side revitalised by Gareth Bale should have no problems at the DW Stadium and yet, in a strange way, because they're a strange team, no one would be surprised by a Wigan win. JS
4) West Brom's slide
Many folks foresaw Steve Clarke struggling in his debut campaign as a No1 manager but the only bother that West Bromwich Albion have been in all season came via that slapstick Peter Odemwingie skit. Still, the early-season challenge for Europe has long since faded and the task now is to ensure a top-half finish – anything else would be a disappointment given their start to the season. Southampton, however, are well equipped to leapfrog them during the run-in and fulfil Nicola Cortese's ambition of not merely avoiding relegation but doing so in style. Finishing in the top 10 may just convince Roy Hodgson to give Rickie Lambert and Jack Cork (as well Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne and Luke Shaw) a chance and remind Didier Deschamps that Morgan Schneiderlin is French and fantastic. Paul Doyle
5) QPR's impending implosion
Queens Park Rangers' season has been a case study in self-destruction. From misguided recruitment to limp performances and barmy red cards, own-goals and goofs, they've seldom been anything other than laughable. The owners have been made to look like fools but naive ambition is a forgivable enough offence. Perhaps more so than excessive caution. Reading are guilty not of investing badly but of underinvesting. They did not jeopardise their financial future, which is obviously good, but nor did they give themselves realistic prospects of surviving, which is bad, especially as they made the same mistake when getting relegated five years ago. The upshot of all this failure is that both sides are going down, meaning Sunday's match between the pair is about little more than salvaging pride, of which Reading's players have shown more this season. PD
6) Swansea's Davies stealing the show
Swansea lifted their first major trophy this season and played their distinctive eye-catching style, yet their achievements remain understated. The absence of Michu from the PFA Player of the Year top six was surprising but Ben Davies would be entitled to feel even more hard done-by to be overlooked for the Young Player of the Year. He had almost zero senior experience when he was thrown into the first team to replace the injured Neil Taylor three games into this season but quickly gave the impression that he had been there for years. His composure and tidy dynamism make him perfectly suited to Swansea and, indeed, to Wales, for whom he now has senior caps. At Stamford Bridge this weekend he will come up against Eden Hazard, who was nominated for the senior and young player of the year gongs – the Belgian is brilliant but he has not been as consistently impressive as Davies this season: and the last time they met Hazard got so frustrated he wound up booting a ballboy. PD
7) A preference for defeat?
Apart perhaps from flying badgers and philanthropic bankers, few things seem as unnatural as fans hoping their own team lose. Yet this weekend some supporters will find themselves feeling perverse. Oh yes. A minority of Arsenal fans, for instance, may hope that Robin van Persie fires Manchester United to victory at the Emirates to ram home to the Arsenal hierarchy the need for a change of policy; similarly, many Stoke fans must hope that Norwich win at the Britannia this weekend to hasten Tony Pulis towards the exit. Other fans will believe that Pulis has earned the right to show that he has learned from this season's mistakes and will evolve for next term, but others are convinced that such a change from Pulis goes beyond unnatural to totally impossible. PD
8) Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit
With second place all but guaranteed after the most feeble title defence since the director Andrew Dominik insisted naming his movie The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford wasn't a plot spoiler, it will be interesting to see how Roberto Mancini's petulance manifests itself when his side entertain West Ham. During last weekend's reverse at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur, the City manager sent Joleon Lescott on to play as a makeshift centre-forward for the closing minutes, stopping short of forcing the centre-half to carry a placard bearing the message: "Hey Sheikh Mansour, look what the gaffer's reduced to", presumably in an attempt to draw attention to the paucity of decent options available on his bench. Underneath that trademark blue and white scarf there is clearly a resolutely brass neck. Standing in the adjacent technical area to Mancini on Saturday lunchtime will be none other than Mr Sam Allardyce, another manager with previous in the field of dropping sledgehammer subtle hints to his employers through the medium of naming (or, more pertinently, not naming) replacements. With both sides having little to play for, the battle to see who can make the most sarcastic substitutions could be the most fiercely fought of the match. Barry Glendenning
9) Wilson or Di Canio?
In this week's Football Weekly … Extra, pyramid-inverting award-winning Blizzard editor Jonathan Wilson observed that Sunderland's next three matches are against Aston Villa, Stoke and Southampton and that a point from each match would do all four teams quite nicely, thank you very much. In what can only be described as an innocence-busting endorsement for skulduggery of the most snakebelly-low cunning, Wilson went on to suggest that if he were manager of his hometown club, he'd suggest to suits from Villa, Stoke and Southampton that a spot of mutual back-scratching might be in order to keep everyone concerned in the Premier League and send some other shower of underachieving mugs down to the Championship. Thankfully, for the sake of the few shreds of the Premier League's integrity that remain intact, Sunderland are not managed by Wilson, but by Paolo Di Canio, who is an Italian. BG
10) There really isn't much to look forward to about Everton v Fulham
Go on, guess who got last pick when it came to looking forward to something in this round of Premier League fixtures? BG