Weekend Wanderings: Tottenham face Manchester United, Nathan Jones takes charge at Stoke

The January blues may be upon us but for most people they have football to turn to for a pick me up.

There are, however, some clubs in desperate need of an urgent boost with some key games lined up this weekend.

Alasdair Hooper looks at some of the big fixtures you should keep your eye on…

1) Will West Ham go toe to toe with Arsenal as players want away?

Saturday’s first Premier League game of the day is a match-up between West Ham and Arsenal that would get most fans excited anyway.

However, on the West Ham side of things questions are being asked after striker Marko Arnautovic’s brother went on the radio to claim the Austrian wanted out.

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Arnautovic’s brother Danijel, who is also his agent, told talkSPORT that the Hammers forward wanted the club to accept a £35m bid from a Chinese club.

West Ham then put out a statement saying their player was not for sale so naturally, you have to ask, what frame of mind will the player be in and how will it affect the team?

With their December form tailing off West Ham have a difficult task in holding off Arsenal but the Gunners have player upheaval of their own as Aaron Ramsey’s move to Juventus seems to edge ever closer.

But when it comes to the events at the London Stadium, football will have to do the talking.

2) How will Stoke cope post-Rowett?

Gary Rowett’s decision to jump ship at Derby and join newly-relegated Stoke City appears to have backfired as he was sacked as Potters boss earlier this week.

Stoke, who were heavily favoured for promotion, sit in 14th in the Championship and there are big question marks over their playing squad.

However, now with the arrival of Nathan Jones as manager from Luton, it could be time for the club to turn a corner.

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This Saturday they have to put everything behind them as they head to Brentford, who lie four places below them.

That game represents a big opportunity for Stoke to get three points and – as they currently sit eight points behind sixth place – they might just reignite their season.

3) Will West Brom close in on the automatic promotion places?

As crazy as the Championship has been this season a top six is starting to emerge in terms of points.

Two of those top six go head to head on Saturday with West Brom taking on second-placed Norwich, whose recent form has dipped somewhat.

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Daniel Farke’s side have one league win in the last five while Darren Moore’s Baggies try to shake off a defeat last time out.

But there’s no question these are two of the best teams in the division and a win for West Brom would see them level on points with Norwich.

4) Will Tottenham get the job done with all eyes on their manager?

This Sunday, Manchester United travel down to London to face Tottenham and a big top-six clash.

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But you get the impression that despite the match-up all eyes will be on the dugouts, with Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino hotly tipped by some to be the next manager at United.

Whether the Argentine wants that role or not the narrative appears to be already set in that this will be yet another audition for Pochettino.

For Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, currently in the United hotseat, he can sink into the background somewhat but the players will need to let their football do the talking.

5) Will Arsenal keep up their title challenge in a difficult match-up with Chelsea?

Arsenal Women got back on track last week with a 4-2 win over West Ham but this Sunday they face a stern test in their title credentials.

They host Emma Hayes’ Chelsea who, after a slow start, are flying results-wise with five straight wins.

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What’s more the last time Joe Montemurro’s side faced a title challenger in Manchester City it ended in defeat.

With Arsenal currently two points ahead of City and five points ahead of Chelsea this match good be a golden opportunity to build some breathing space.

But a win for Chelsea will only make this WSL title race even more interesting.

Follow Alasdair on Twitter at @adjhooper1992

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