Sunday 25 August 2019

Premier League talking points

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Manchester City didn't have things their own way before winning at Huddersfield
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Manchester City didn't have things their own way before winning at Huddersfield

With the weekend's action barely digested, the Premier League launches straight into a bumper midweek programme which sees all 20 top-flight clubs in action on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Here, Press Association Sport assesses what the latest fixtures have in store.

Tough at the top

The top two both found themselves pushed all the way by some of the division's lesser lights over the weekend, with all-conquering Manchester City leaving it late to edge Huddersfield and Manchester United squeaking past Brighton. Have opposing sides started to get wise to their tricks or does the fact that both clubs banked three points on an off day spell bad news for the chasing pack? The answer could become clearer after City host Southampton and United visit Watford.

Sluggish Spurs seek inspiration

Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham came into the season with plaudits and praise pouring in from all quarters. Riding the wave of Harry Kane's goals and Christian Eriksen's creativity, there was confident talk of a title challenge and familiar whispers of a shift in north London's power dynamic. Arsenal dented that ambition with a 2-0 win earlier this month and Saturday's home draw against managerless West Brom saw them slip out of the top four. Kane has called the next three games 'must-win'. He is not wrong.

Roy of the risers?

Crystal Palace remain stuck on the Premier League basement but there have been signs of life since Roy Hodgson's arrival and the return to fitness of first-choice striker Christian Benteke is essential. Despite the praise lavished on Brighton by Jose Mourinho at the weekend, a trip to to the Amex will be circled in Hodgson's diary as a potential win. Manage that and, if results fall into line elsewhere, the Eagles could be off bottom spot by Tuesdsay night.

Crisis clubs come face to face

With Sunderland finally taking their torments to the Championship, it has fallen to fans of Everton and West Ham to share the load of blown expectations. Now they go head-to-head in a derby of deflated Davids. In the blue corner is David Unsworth, whose presence as caretaker has only served to deepen Everton's strife. In the claret-and-blue corner is David Moyes, who already looks to be walking a tightrope of emotions just two games into what could be his last chance. Defeat for either would be a genuine body blow heading into December.

More Salah days for Liverpool

Liverpool clearly had enough faith in Mohamed Salah to justify a club record fee in the summer, but he has outstripped even the loftiest hopes in his early days at Anfield. Ten goals in 13 appearances makes him the Premier League's top-scorer and a Stoke defence which has conceded at a rate of two goals per game this term are next up. With first-choice Potters keeper Jack Butland still out, the Egyptian will fancy his chances of topping up his tally at the bet365 Stadium.

PA Media

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