Sunday 4 December 2016

Premier League talking points

Published 22/09/2016 | 16:01

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is under pressure at Stoke with his side bottom of the Premier League
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is under pressure at Stoke with his side bottom of the Premier League

The Premier League season may still be young but it has already thrown up many questions for football fans to debate.

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Here, Press Association Sport looks at five points of interest ahead of this weekend's fixtures.

WILL A MANAGER BE GETTING THE SACK?

Speculation surrounding the future of Stoke manager Mark Hughes intensified following Wednesday's EFL Cup home defeat to Hull, making it four straight losses in all competitions. A negative result for bottom club Stoke against West Brom on Saturday could see Hughes in a perilous position before next week's difficult trip to Old Trafford. David Moyes is also under scrutiny for his first league win as Sunderland boss when they take on Crystal Palace on Saturday. West Ham's Slaven Bilic is feeling the heat following an unconvincing start and his side face Southampton on Sunday.

CAN SPURS REALLY COPE WITHOUT HARRY KANE?

Vincent Janssen is set to be the main man to replace Harry Kane at Tottenham after the England striker damaged ankle ligaments in the match against Sunderland last week. Janssen, a summer signing from Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, has only started once in the Premier League and has failed to score in any of his five Premier League outings. However, he was on the scoresheet against Gillingham in the 5-0 EFL Cup win on Wednesday and that could be the confidence-booster that the Holland international needs to kick-start his Spurs career. Tottenham play at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

ARE LIVERPOOL GENUINE TITLE CONTENDERS?

Last Friday's victory over Chelsea has had everyone wondering whether the Reds can actually mount a serious challenge for the Premier League title this season. With Adam Lallana relishing a deeper central midfield role alongside captain Jordan Henderson and new signing Georginio Wijnaldum, Jurgen Klopp's men are showing that they can compete with the top teams on a regular basis. Their only downfall is that they continue to leak goals and there are still question marks over who is their first-choice keeper following Loris Karius' return from injury. Liverpool host Hull on Saturday.

CAN MANCHESTER UNITED BOUNCE BACK FROM SUCCESSIVE PREMIER LEAGUE DEFEATS?

Jose Mourinho had a torrid time last week when Manchester United were condemned to three straight defeats in all competitions, including losing his first Premier League head-to-head clash with Pep Guardiola in the Manchester derby. But his side overcame a potential banana skin in Northampton on Wednesday with a 3-1 win in the EFL Cup which will give them confidence ahead of Saturday's match at home to reigning champions Leicester, where a win will get their season back on track.

WILL EVERTON MAINTAIN THEIR IMPRESSIVE START TO THE SEASON?

Life under new boss Ronald Koeman has produced Everton's best start to a league campaign since 1978 and it could get even better in the this weekend's round of fixtures. They travel to Bournemouth on Saturday sitting in second position after gaining 13 points from their first five games, winning the last four. If they secure victory at the Vitality Stadium and Manchester City lose at Swansea then the Toffees will be top of the pile.

Press Association

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