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Wednesday 12 December 2018

Premier League talking points

Rafael Benitez has supporters in the north east and Merseyside
Rafael Benitez has supporters in the north east and Merseyside

The Premier League waves goodbye to September and says hello to October this weekend before the latest international break.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the talking points ahead of the latest round of fixtures.

REDS REUNION FOR BENITEZ

It will be a Rafael Benitez love-in at St James' Park when his current club Newcastle entertain one of his old ones Liverpool. The Spaniard is still fondly remembered at Anfield for Istanbul and all that, and Liverpool's current European struggles have only highlighted the excellent job he did in getting the club to two Champions League finals in three years. Yet victory for Newcastle will lift them above the Reds and further enhance Benitez's reputation in the north east.

KANE'S SEPTEMBER SCORING STREAK

All those stories about Harry Kane not scoring in August seem an awfully long time ago. In September, he has blossomed. In seven fixtures for club and country he has scored 11 goals and he has one final chance to round off the month on a high when Tottenham visit Huddersfield in the weekend's first game. Only the two Manchester clubs have conceded fewer goals than Huddersfield but David Wagner's team face their first Premier League heavyweight of the season and come up against one of the world's most in-form strikers.

FEARFUL EVERTON FACE STUBBORN BURNLEY

Words like "afraid" and "scared" were used by Ronald Koeman to describe his players' approach play after the Toffees were held by Apollon Limassol in the Europa League on Thursday. The Goodison Park faithful is beginning to doubt the Ronald Revolution they had anticipated this season and a resolute Burnley side may be the worst team to face right now. Having taken five points from away games at Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool, they have shown they are more than capable of frustrating teams and Sean Dyche will believe his well-drilled players can capitalise on the nerves Koeman's young team have exhibited lately.

ANOTHER SLICE OF UNWANTED HISTORY FOR PALACE?

Last weekend Crystal Palace set a new record for the longest ever goalless start to an English top-flight season as they failed to find the net for a sixth straight game. Seven days on and Roy Hodgson's side visit Manchester United bidding to avoid making it seven games, no points. Portsmouth were the only other club in the Premier League era to fail to pick up a point in that time-frame, and they finished bottom having done so in the 2009/10 season. The signs are not good for Hodgson's Eagles, who will be without last season's top scorer Christian Benteke for at least six weeks too.

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