This weekend throws up a host of fascinating clashes that will provide plenty of answers whilst inevitably leaving us with yet more intriguing questions.

If Everton are genuine Champion’s League contenders this term they must be clinical at home to Southampton. A rousing performance is not enough – three points against a side who look to be relegation battlers is a must.

Liverpool are showing signs of gelling together Brendan Rodger’s possession-based philosophy but with key injuries a tricky trip to Norwich is possibly the last thing they need especially as the mocking amongst us will term it a relegation six-pointer.

Manchester City meanwhile head to Craven Cottage with a defence uncharacteristically in disarray to face a Fulham team who are devastating thus far at home. Their two previous fixtures have produced an aggregate of 8-0.

If these games are hard to call then the ones highlighted below are virtually impossible. An all-London affair between an indomitable Chelsea and a Wenger XI back to its stylish, passing best, a Midlands grudge-fest, and a fixture in Man United v Spurs that nearly always provides controversy, usually at Tottenham’s expense.

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Whatever happens this weekend you can be sure it’s in the key head-to-heads that each fixture will be heavily influenced, possibly even decided. The Cutter picks out three that water the mouth.

Lukas Podolski v John Terry (Arsenal v Chelsea)

The Chelsea captain is expected to play due to him having the right to appeal his four match ban for racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

In Podolski though the Barking boy faces an opponent he typically hates – a mobile forward with intelligent movement who will drag Terry into uncomfortable areas.

If this wasn’t test enough the German international will do so in front of an Arsenal side that has rediscovered its style and mojo, possessing a fluctuating midfield that is more than capable of exploiting the spaces.

Though principally employed in a holding role it is Abou Diaby who presents the greatest danger to Chelsea due to the lateness of his driving runs and expect to see at least one opportunity fall to the gangly Frenchman as Terry flounders out wide grappling a smirking Podolski.

Michael Carrick v Sandro (Manchester United v Tottenham)

There was a pivotal moment towards the end of Spurs recent victory at Reading where the fans sang their endorsement of AVB’s methods. It will be fascinating to see whether the Porguguese mini-Mourinho will set his team up in similarly adventurous fashion here. For their sake let’s hope so because, as always, attack is the best strategy at Old Trafford. Sit deep and they will engulf you with wave after wave of sweeping intent.

When the Cutter spoke to Phil Jones this week he told us United were looking strong at home and whilst this may be true their midfield remains a weak link in their armoury. Aging legs has resulted in a noticeable lack of forward foraging and the reliance on simple balls and should Sandro venture forward onto Carrick the midfield battle – and the game – can be won for the Londoners.

Ciaran Clark v Romelu Lukaku (Aston Villa v West Brom)

Barring their recent thumping at Craven Cottage the Baggies are looking the real deal under Steve Clarke whilst which Villa side will turn up is anyone’s guess.

The Villa Park faithful recognise that it will take time for new gaffer Paul Lambert to impose his ideals onto an inexperienced side full of fresh faces but unfortunately such is football no leeway will be given here for a Midlands battle royale.

As if often the case for derbies fortune will favour the more disciplined of the sides but assuming all 22 remain on the field throughout it is this clash that stands out. Clark is a youngster who regularly impresses for his assuredness and decision making and he will need to optimise both of those traits against the Belgian teenager who is full of confidence with a point to prove.

The powerful Chelsea loanee will seek to bully the Villa backline in the absence of Richard Dunne. Clark cannot let him.