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Saturday 25 January 2020

Premier League talking points ahead of the second round of action

Tottenham are playing home games at Wembley this season
Tottenham are playing home games at Wembley this season

The new Premier League season continues with the second round of fixtures this weekend.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some talking points.


The national stadium stages its first Premier League match as Tottenham host Chelsea at their temporary home. The venue failed to inspire Spurs when they played games there during last season's Champions League and many wonder whether it may work against them this term, as they await completion of their new stadium. Spurs remain one of the best sides in the country and they started the campaign confidently enough last weekend, but the one-off nature of opponents' visits to Wembley - still a relatively rare experience - could negate any sense of 'home' advantage.


Chelsea may well be grateful for a little extra motivation from the Wembley factor after the dismal start to their title defence last weekend. The Blues had two men sent off in a humbling 3-2 defeat at Burnley. That has brought some off-field problems into even sharper focus, most notably the club's continuing row with striker Diego Costa and manager Antonio Conte's frustrations, and it seems all is not well at the club. Spurs, the side that pushed them closest last season, will provide a stern test of their mettle.


The first Monday night fixture of the season is an exciting prospect as two of the summer's most talked-about clubs clash at the Etihad Stadium. Much is expected of Manchester City and Everton with both clubs having invested heavily - the former in a concerted effort to reclaim the title and the latter to push for a top-four spot. It will be the new-look City side's first home run-out while Everton could hand a debut to record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson.


Southampton's wantaway defender Virgil van Dijk did not appear in their Premier League opener against Swansea last weekend, officially due to a virus, as speculation over his future continued to build. This week has seen the club reiterate their stance that the £60million-rated player, who has been training alone, is not for sale while the virus has apparently cleared up. Manager Mauricio Pellegrino, however, still does not intend to pick him, perhaps fearing it could unsettle the team. Nevertheless, the affair has been a distraction for Saints and one the Hammers will look to exploit. Slaven Bilic's side should certainly have a point to make after being thrashed by Manchester United in their first game.


Huddersfield and Newcastle both celebrated promotion to the top flight last season but, just a week into the new campaign, the mood at the two clubs is already markedly different as they prepare to meet at the John Smith's Stadium. The Terriers, made favourites to finish bottom by many pundits pre-season, continue to ride that promotion feelgood factor after opening their campaign with a stunning 3-0 win at Crystal Palace. By contrast, a familiar air of negativity appears to have fallen over Newcastle with rumours manager Rafael Benitez is frustrated by a lack of signings. To compound this, the Magpies were beaten 2-0 with 10 men by Tottenham last weekend.

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