Weekend wanderings: Tottenham host Newcastle United at home whilst Manchester City take on Arsenal and Championship leaders Leeds and Norwich go head to head

After a week of shocks, whether you are looking at the FA Cup or the midweek league results, it’s time for clubs to make up on lost ground. This weekend there are yet more fixtures for us to get our teeth into as teams try to grab more valuable points.

Alasdair Hooper highlights the fixtures you should be keeping an eye on this weekend.

1) Will Newcastle’s long wait for a record signing make a difference?

Year after year it seemed Michael Owen was destined to remain Newcastle’s record signing with Mike Ashley in charge. The club paid Real Madrid £16m in 2005 for the England striker but this January window they have paid £20m for Paraguay midfielder Miguel Almiron from Atlanta United.

Despite Danny Mills not knowing who he is, the 24-year-old has been a breakout star in the MLS scoring 13 goals this season as Atlanta won the cup.

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He has featured in the MLS team of the year for the last two years and has 13 caps for his country, but now attention turns to helping out on Tyneside.

The first task that await Newcastle and their new signing is taking on Tottenham who managed a last gasp victory in the league after being dumped out of two cup competitions.

With just the league and the Champions League to focus on you wonder what mentality Spurs will be in after this week as they host the Magpies at Wembley.

2) Can Manchester City bounce back from another shock defeat?

Speaking of Newcastle, they sprung one of the surprises of the week – other than what Bournemouth did to Chelsea – by beating Manchester City.

That result could have been worse had Liverpool beaten Leicester but the gap between Pep Guardiola’s team and Jurgen Klopp’s is now five points.

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This Sunday, City take on Arsenal in a top six clash that always gets people interested.

However, for those thinking Arsenal might be able to do something this month marks four years since the club last beat a top six rival away.

They also have more defensive woes with the likes of Laurent Koscielny, Sokratis and Hector Bellerin all out injured. That said, stranger things have happened, and Arsenal also have a new signing in Denis Suarez to show off.

3) Who will come out in the battle of the top two?

This Saturday the top two teams in the Championship go head to head with plenty of clubs lurking behind them waiting for one to slip up.

Leeds and Norwich have continuously impressed over the season and it is sure to be a great showcase for the division.

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Marcelo Bielsa has made the surprising move of naming his starting XI two days before the game – to add even more spice to the fixture.

Many expect these two sides to stay in the automatic promotion spots by the end of the season but in a league like the Championship even the tiniest slip-up could be punished.

4) Can Real Madrid close in on top spot against this season’s surprise package?

For much of the season Real Madrid found themselves on the outside looking in regarding the top four as the likes of Alaves spent much of the campaign ahead of the mighty Los Blancos.

Of course things have improved lately at Real under manager Santiago Solari as they now lie third while Alaves are fifth – still mightily impressive considering their status.

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This weekend the two go head to head at the Bernabeu with Alaves losing their last two games on the spin.

Real Madrid by contrast, probably have too much and have won their last three, but they remain an unpredictable entity as they try to chase down Barcelona and Atletico Madrid ahead of them.

5) Can Eusebio Di Francesco provide the perfect response to a humiliating cup exit?

Things aren’t rosy at Roma right now after the club were dumped out of the Italian Cup on Wednesday in a 7-1 defeat to Fiorentina.

Eusebio Di Francesco is starting to feel the heat regarding his job security with the club sitting fifth after a difficult season following the sale of a lot of their key players in the summer.

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This weekend the club host AC Milan who sit a place above them and just a point above in the final Champions League place.

With a week where the team has had to have heightened security at their training ground following that cup exit, a win against a rival could have a big impact on their chances for getting back into Serie A’s top four.

A defeat and things will continue to look difficult for Roma’s manager.

You can follow Alasdair on Twitter @adjhooper1992

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