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Wednesday 13 December 2017

5 Premier League talking points this weekend

Manuel Pellegrini's Manchester City side were a disappointment in their 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid on Wednesday
Manuel Pellegrini's Manchester City side were a disappointment in their 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid on Wednesday

Surprise package Leicester may have wrapped up the Premier League crown with two matches to spare but there is still plenty to play for.

Here, Press Association Sport's Simon Peach picks out five of the biggest talking points ahead of another hectic weekend in the English top-flight.


A historic first-ever appearance in the Champions League semi-finals for Manchester City was a damp squib. A hard-fought goalless draw at the Etihad Stadium was followed by a meek display in Real Madrid's backyard, where City were fortunate to escape with a 1-0 loss. All eyes now are on the final two matches of Manuel Pellegrini's reign before Pep Guardiola makes his eagerly-anticipated move from Bayern Munich. The Spaniard is undoubtedly one of the best in the game but could arrive at a club competing in the Champions League's ugly sister, the Europa League. Manchester United and West Ham are four and five points off respectively with a game in hand on fourth-placed City, who host third-placed Arsenal on Sunday.


Eden Hazard wonderfully helped Chelsea peg back rivals Tottenham to a 2-2 draw on Monday, resulting in wild scenes across Leicestershire as the club celebrated one of the most remarkable sporting achievements in history. A battle against relegation looked more likely than Premier League glory before the season got under way, so Claudio Ranieri's men have deservedly enjoyed the celebrations following their 5000-1 success. Leicester captain Wes Morgan will lift the trophy at the end of Saturday's clash with Everton at the King Power Stadium, where onlookers will be wondering whether the week's excitement has impacted the energy now synonymous with the club.


Spurs' emotions could not contrast more sharply with Leicester's following Monday's tempestuous encounter at Stamford Bridge, which featured reckless challenges and cards aplenty. Both clubs have been charged with failing to control their players and Mousa Dembele has been banned for six matches for violent conduct after clawing his fingers down Diego Costa's cheek. The Belgian joins Dele Alli on the sidelines having also recently received a retrospective ban for violent conduct, making life tougher against Mauricio Pochettino's former club Southampton. Ronald Koeman's men are eyeing European qualification and would love to rub salt into the wounds of those in north London.


Alex Neil's men sit 19th in the standings, two points shy of safety as the season edges close to completion. Odds of 1-7 on Norwich to be relegated underlines what a tough ask usurping Sunderland and Newcastle will be, with Saturday's early clash with Champions League-chasing Manchester United crucial to their faint survival hopes. The Canaries have lost three matches in a row without mustering a single goal and desperately need to avert their slide against Louis van Gaal's men.


Four managers, three wins and two chief executives was how one banner concisely summed up an atrocious season for the midlands club. An embarrassing season could well plummet to a new low on Saturday as Rafael Benitez's Newcastle arrive looking to condemn relegated Villa to a 12th successive league defeat. Watford's comeback last weekend meant Villa had lost a club record-equalling 11 games in a row. If they lose again to the Magpies, the current Villa crop will be out on their own.

Press Association

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