Premier League talking points: High-flying West Ham look to halt Man City charge
The Premier League is back in full swing this weekend after the international break.
Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the key talking points heading into the forthcoming round of games.
Leaders City head to in-form Hammers
Manchester City have made a strong start to their title defence, taking a maximum 12 points from their opening four fixtures.
The treble-winners, and Erling Haaland, delivered their most potent display so far last time out with a 5-1 thrashing of Fulham which featured a hat-trick from the Norway star.
Next to try to thwart City, whose boss Pep Guardiola has returned to work after a back operation, are West Ham – and they may well fancy their chances.
David Moyes’ men welcome the champions to London Stadium on Saturday having won each of their last three games, to sit fourth in the fledgling table.
Spurs and Reds also on a roll
West Ham are among four teams with 10 points – also on that total, and three-match winning runs, are Tottenham and Liverpool.
Spurs will look to continue their impressive post-Harry Kane form under new boss Ange Postecoglou, the league’s manager of the month, when they host Sheffield United, shortly after Jurgen Klopp’s Reds play at Wolves in the early Saturday kick-off.
The other side with 10 points are 2022-23 runners-up Arsenal, visitors on Sunday to struggling Everton, who on Friday announced an agreement had been reached for the club to be taken over by American investment firm 777 Partners.
United in need of a boost
Manchester United have had a troubled start to their campaign, losing to both Tottenham and Arsenal in their first four outings.
The international break has then seen Antony given a leave of absence in order to address allegations made against him of violence towards women, while fellow forward Jadon Sancho is training away from the first-team squad due to a “discipline issue”.
The Red Devils will be eager for the positivity of a win on Saturday. But that will be no small task at home to Brighton, who are on nine points and have won each of the last three league meetings between the clubs.
Chelsea and Newcastle misfiring
Two further teams for whom a victory this weekend would certainly be welcome are Chelsea and Newcastle.
The Blues’ expensively-assembled squad has made an underwhelming start to life under Mauricio Pochettino and slumped to a 1-0 home loss to Nottingham Forest in their last game.
Newcastle, after securing Champions League football last season and opening this one with a 5-1 hammering of Aston Villa, have suffered three defeats on the bounce.
Eddie Howe’s side host Brentford in Saturday’s late game before Chelsea go to Bournemouth on Sunday.
Hatters look to hit back
Luton have found the Premier League fairly unforgiving, losing each of their first three games.
That left pundit Garth Crooks saying he could “see them down by Christmas” – and with boss Rob Edwards branding that remark “disrespectful”, the Hatters might be even more fired up when they take their search for a first point to Fulham on Saturday.
The other two sides that came up, Burnley and Sheffield United, also opened with three losses, with the latter’s 2-2 draw with Everton last time out the only point gained by one of them so far. The Clarets will attempt to get off the mark on Monday night at Forest.
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