Arsenal have a golden chance to stretch their lead at the top of the Premier League this weekend with Manchester City distracted by the FA Cup as the scramble to avoid the drop intensifies.

Tottenham will leapfrog third-placed Manchester United if they beat struggling Southampton while Newcastle can strengthen their push for a Champions League place by seeing off Nottingham Forest.

At the other end of the table, just five points separate 12th-placed Crystal Palace from basement club Southampton.

AFP Sport looks at some of the key talking points ahead of the weekend’s action in the English top flight.

Arsenal eye clear blue water

A month ago Manchester City beat Arsenal 3-1 to go top of the Premier League table as Mikel Arteta’s men wobbled.

Now the Gunners can pull eight points clear of the defending champions if they beat Palace at the Emirates on Sunday.

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