1) The grey clouds are clearing for Arsenal

Arsenal have won just two of their past eight matches but they will arrive for this one in upbeat form. Not only will the sight of Hull City remind them that they will soon contest an FA Cup final and perhaps end their epic trophy-drought, but Everton's surprising defeat to Crystal Palace has given Arsenal a boost in the chase for the final Champions League spot meaning that, like last season and contrary to the stereotype, Arsenal could take advantage of another team's bottling. Hull, meanwhile, still need a victory to confirm their Premier League survival and Steve Bruce will likely give Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic the chance to shoot past Wojciech Szczesny – none of that trio are likely to feature in the final so all talk of a dress rehearsal for Wembley is to be treated with the contempt that all cliches deserve, at the end of the day.

• Wenger: Özil can be Player of the Year next season
• Szczesny's dream may spell agony for friend Fabianski
• Huddlestone: It would be nice if Arsenal won nothing again

2) Has Mourinho grown weary of his own hypocrisy?

José Mourinho dodged another press conference this week, adding fuel to suspicions that he is storing up all his bon mots for some masterful machiavellian outburst just before the do-or-die clash with Liverpool. Or maybe he's just grown weary of his own cant. What is for sure is that the best way for Mourinho to put pressure on Liverpool this weekend is by getting his team to beat Sunderland to regain top spot the day before Brendan Rodgers' side play Norwich. With a Champions League semi-final to follow later in the week, Chelsea are unlikely to deploy Eden Hazard even if he is fit but Mourinho has to make sure that, unlike at Aston Villa and Crystal Palace recently, his team are still prepared to focus and fight enough to secure the three points. Gus Poyet, meanwhile, has to coax another performance from his side like the one they produced at Manchester City. That seems improbable.

• Poyet: we are playing for ourselves not Liverpool
• Inter confirm interest in Torres and Dzeko

3) Pulis at Palace is the great entertainer

Crystal Palace go to Upton Park on Saturday three points above West Ham United, which is a pretty amazing turn-up. Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis are often depicted as two managers from the same sack but the latter is deservedly the more acclaimed at the moment. It is not simply because expectations at Palace were lower – the Selhurst Park din-makers would never boo their team off after a victory – it is also because Pulis's side really are more entertaining to watch than West Ham. Even though they have scored fewer goals this season – a paltry 27 in 34 games – Palace have attacked with a flair often missing from West Ham. Yannick Bolasie, Jason Puncheon and even Cameron Jerome and Marouane Chamakh have made thrilling contributions that prove Pulis has done more than just make Palace solid and hard to break down. Another eye-catching win here would surely deepen the discontent at West Ham.

• Pulis took Palace role after long talk with Sir Alex
• Tomkins trial delayed after police lose CCTV footage

4) Is Lambert victim or cause of Villa's ugly mess?

Aston Villa are the lowest-placed club yet to change their manager this season and the owner, Randy Lerner, claimed this week that he had no plans to jettison Paul Lambert any time soon. That was a rare show of support for a manager who goes into this weekend's game against Southampton on the back of four straight defeats, the loss of his best player, Christian Benteke, to injury and new sidekicks following the suspension of his seemingly estranged former allies, Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa. Lambert will hope that his new broom helps clears what seems an ugly mess, otherwise the supporters calling for him to be swept away too will continue believing that he is part of the problem.

• Lambert lieutenants suspended to clear 'poisonous atmosphere'
• Lambert stands firm as takeover rumours mount
• Shaw staying put at Southampton says manager Pochettino
• Big interview: Calum Chambers

5) Was Tan right all along?

Victory at Southampton last week spawned an unfashionable thought: what if Vincent Tan was right? What if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer really is the man to lead Cardiff to Premier League safety? Suddenly it looks possible: Cardiff are three points behind Norwich, who face a hellish run-in while the Welsh side's next three games are against Stoke, Sunderland and a bunch of crash test dummies in Newcastle jerseys. That's a pretty accessible-looking escape route. What's more, some of Solskjaer's January signings are starting to look shrewd. Wilfried Zaha has thrived in his new role just behind the striker, Cala defended stoutly and scored the shock winning goal at St Mary's last week and, most of all, Mats Moller Daehli has in recent weeks displayed the nimble ingenuity that has led many Norwegians to hail him as the most exciting prospect ever to emerge from their country, including Espen Baardsen. Mark Hughes is in for a tough assignment on his return to Wales.

• Premier League to look into Cardiff's team-leak claim
• Ireland signs three-year contract extension at Stoke

6) Will Sturridge injury benefit Suárez?

Win at Carrow Road and it will be mission accomplished for Liverpool: they will have secured qualification for the Champions League, which is the assignment Brendan Rodgers was given at the start of the campaign. But surely they will not settle for that now: this has become the best chance they have had to win the title for 24 years and, given how strong the competition will be next year and the extra demands that European competition will bring, it could be the best one they have for the next 24.

If they fear blowing it, they have channelled that fear superbly so far. Yet each week brings not just a sterner test of their steel but also of their squad: Jordan Henderson will miss the trip to Norwich (and the following two matches with suspension) and Daniel Sturridge looks unlikely to be risked. Joe Allen could do a decent impersonation of Henderson but it will be interesting to see how Rodgers replaces Sturridge.

Will the manager just slot someone else in up front or will he alter his formation, abandoning the diamond that has served him so well in the past couple of months and shifting Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling alongside Luis Suárez in a 4-3-3? Whatever Rodgers decides, it could be that Sturridge's absence is not so ruinous. It gives the England forward time to recover fully for the Chelsea match and it will also afford him a chance to refocus.

Sturridge has excelled this season but in recent weeks has been out of form, lapsing back into the wonky decision-making ways that made him so frustrating at Chelsea. Even Suárez has appeared exasperated by him at times. Then again, Suárez has looked exasperated by lots of people in recent weeks, possibly because he is frustrated with himself: for his performances have also dropped below the stellar standards he has set and he even looked tired as well as irritable against Manchester City last Sunday.

A slight change to the team around him and the sight of a Norwich jersey may just reinvigorate Suárez, who seems to take particular pleasure in tormenting the Canaries. Failure to extend their winning run to 11 matches would not be fatal to Liverpool's title challenge but it would complicate their task – they will probably go for a win against Chelsea no matter what happens, but it would suit them better if José Mourinho did not come to Anfield knowing that a 0-0 would suffice.

• Rodgers warns Liverpool to learn from Manchester City dip
• James Dutton: Can Liverpool cope without Henderson?
• Anfield redevelopment moves a step closer

7) Moyes should give Rooney the rest of the season off

This season David Moyes has heard more grim stats than a slob surrounded by weighing scales and he returns to Goodison Park hoping to avoid becoming the Manchester United manager responsible for allowing Everton to record their first league double over United in 44 years. Of course, Moyes can take hope from one of the few positive stats to United's season – they have the best away record in the league. Apparently he is also taking hope from the fact that Wayne Rooney resumed training on Thursday for the first time since his damning appearance against Bayern Munich.

That is ominous. Moyes's era at United risks being defined by his curious indulgence of Rooney, which seems motivated not so much by a conviction that Rooney represents the best possible future of the club but rather by an eagerness to disprove the suggestions made before the new manager's arrival that he would not be able to get along with the biggest-name players, especially one with whom the Scot had unhappy history. If it seemed misguided to award Rooney a new five-year contract earlier in the season, it looked utterly ludicrous to play him against Bayern Munich when he was palpably unfit. If Moyes insists that Rooney really is the way forward, it may not be a bad idea to give the player the rest of the season off to nurse his foot before heading to the World Cup. That would give Juan Mata, Shinji Kagawa and Adnan Januzaj the chance to prove that United are not as dependent on Rooney as the manager seems to want to believe.

• Rooney to return from injury against Everton
• Manchester United fine Cleverley, Welbeck and Young
• Everton extend Howard's contract by two years
• Martínez refuses to concede fourth spot to Arsenal


8) Is Pellegrini's position under threat?

Poor Manuel Pellegrini. In the space of a few days he has gone from fighting for the title to fighting to convince some fans that he deserves to keep his job. Questions are being asked about the Chilean after the way Manchester City's title challenge seems to have unravelled. City have suffered from recurring problems all season: defensive blunders and intermittent losses of concentration and, with the exception of the splendid Fernandinho, none of the club's expensive summer signings have been surefire successes. But it is also true that the flair that Pellegrini has introduced would probably have offset some of those failings if Sergio Agüero had not been injured for so long and if, just as the Argentinian finally returned to action, Yaya Touré and David Silva had not been struck down. Are those excuses credible enough for Pellegrini to be given another season to fine-tune his team? A strong finish to the campaign may help settle the debate in his favour. Another display like the one against Sunderland, especially against the almost equally hapless West Bromwich Albion, would do further damage to the manager's standing.

• Pellegrini says City can still win Premier League
• Manchester City are world's highest paid sports team
• Anelka's move to Atlético Mineiro off

9) Can Rodallega make up for Holtby's absence?

When Hugo Rodallega almost broke down in tears at being hauled off in the 59th minute of February's home defeat to Sheffield United in the FA Cup, it was impossible to imagine that he would re-emerge as the solution to Fulham's striking problems. Unsurprisingly, René Meulensteen and then Felix Magath exhausted every other option before turning in desperation back to the Colombian, who had not scored a Premier League goals in well over a year. And then, very surprisingly, Rodallega spearheaded Fulham's late charge towards survival, scoring the winning goals in the victories against Aston Villa and Norwich. Doing the same again on Saturday would be his most impressive feat yet, as Tottenham Hotspur are a better side than Villa or Norwich and Lewis Holtby cannot play against his parent club. The on-loan German has been Fulham's most creative player during their recent revival and they will miss him badly. Time for another unexpected hero to step to the fore.

• Duff to seek move abroad in bid to escape 'rat race'
• Bale's Real Madrid winner bittersweet for Sherwood's Spurs

10) Will Rémy or Bony halt the slides?

Swansea started the season as Britain's model club but they're finishing it in the sort of state with which Newcastle are more usually associated. Garry Monk, who has yet to win an away match in his short managerial career, takes his team into this game on the back of reports of an almighty training ground donnybrook in which several senior players engaged in fisticuffs and, although Monk says those reports were exaggerated, you can be sure that team morale took another kick in the swingers. The mood is, of course, similarly gloomy at Newcastle, who have ambled to eight defeats in their past 11 matches, promoting calls for Alan Pardew and/or Mike Ashley and/or the entire senior squad to be run out of the Toon. Swansea are only three points above the relegation zone but Pardew needs a win just as badly. His cause could be boosted by the return of Loïc Rémy. With Wilfried Bony in line to start for Swansea, the outcome of this match may be determined by which of these two potent strikers gets the best service.

• Swansea City confirm training-ground clashes
• Pardew's fight for Newcastle future helped by Rémy return
• Louise Taylor: Pardew playing dangerous blame game

• This story was updated on 19 April to reflect the fact that Fulham's defeat to Sheffield United was in the FA Cup, not the Capital One Cup