22 September 2023

North London derby the headline act this weekend – Premier League talking points

22 September 2023

Following a host of midweek European action, the Premier League takes centre stage this weekend.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the key talking points heading into the forthcoming round of fixtures.

North London derby tops bill

Arsenal and Tottenham will lock horns at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday in the pick of this weekend’s matches.

The Gunners host their north London rivals following an impressive 4-0 home victory against PSV Eindhoven on their return to the Champions League, and are boosted by the news that captain Martin Odegaard has committed to the club for another five years.

For Spurs, they will be looking to continue their post-Harry Kane bounce under new boss Ange Postecoglou. The Australian’s side extended their Premier League winning streak to four matches last weekend following two stoppage-time goals in a 2-1 comeback win over Sheffield United.

There is little to separate the arch enemies ahead of Sunday’s blood-and-thunder clash with both clubs on 13 points. Expect a frenetic Emirates atmosphere in what should be a pulsating clash.

Manchester United bidding to reverse slump

Erik ten Hag’s United are in crisis mode following three straights defeats, but they will hope a trip to Burnley will provide them with the opportunity to stop their alarming slide.

Successive 3-1 defeats against Arsenal and Brighton have left United 13th in the table, already nine points behind leaders Manchester City, and a midweek Champions League loss at Bayern Munich will have done little to improve the Old Trafford gloom.

On their return to the top flight, Vincent Kompany’s Burnley have already suffered heavy home defeats to Manchester City, Aston Villa and Spurs, but they finally got off the mark with a 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest.

And with United in turmoil, and the Burnley supporters likely to create a hostile welcome under the Turf Moor lights, Saturday night’s match could prove a banana skin for Ten Hag’s stuttering side.

Will City retain 100 per cent record?

Over on the other side of Manchester, there are no such concerns for Pep Guardiola’s high-flying side despite injuries mounting up. City, who have been slow-starters in recent seasons, have won five from five and will be looking to retain their unblemished record when they host Forest at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Indeed, they could become the second team – after Chelsea in 2005/06 – to start their Premier League defence with six straight wins.

Forest have started the campaign in positive fashion with a respectable seven points so far. But Steve Cooper’s men will upset the form book if they manage to take anything away from the Etihad.

Everton looking for first win

The Toffees have endured a miserable start to the season. Following four defeats and one draw, Everton head to Brentford off the back of their joint-worst start to a campaign since 1994.

In years gone by, Everton will have been expected to swat away the Bees, but Thomas Frank’s side – who have tasted defeat just once this season – will start as favourites to heap more misery on Sean Dyche’s men.

The Toffees, who have failed to score in four of their five matches so far, are winless in their last four away games against Brentford and recent history is against Dyche, too. The former Burnley boss has not won a Premier League match in August or September for four years.

Can Luton get off the mark?

Only newly-promoted Luton have fared worse than Everton so far, but boss Rob Edwards may hope his troops can finally get off ‘nul points’ when they entertain fellow strugglers Wolves.

The Hatters fell to their fourth straight defeat against Fulham last weekend and are the only side in the top division without a point. They could become only the sixth team in Premier League history to start a season with five consecutive losses.

However, Wolves head to Kenilworth Road with only thee points from a possible 15, and have won just four of their last 29 Premier League matches.

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