5 talking points in the Premier League this weekend

The Manchester and Merseyside derbies will hog the spotlight on Sunday but there are plenty of other sub-plots to this weekend’s Premier League action.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at five other talking points.

Domestic blitz

Tottenham made serene progress in the Champions League – taking four points from Real Madrid to top Group H – but to the detriment of their Premier League campaign. Having put Europe to one side until February Spurs need to set about trying to claw back some of the 18 points they trail leaders Manchester City by. A home meeting with Stoke should provide the perfect opportunity to get back on track domestically – but previous home draws against Burnley, Swansea and West Brom suggest it might not be that simple.

Hart break?

Joe Hart is seemingly still England’s first-choice goalkeeper, but should he be axed by David Moyes for West Ham’s home meeting with Chelsea his World Cup ambitions may be in tatters. The 30-year-old has been unconvincing since joining the Hammers and Spanish keeper Adrian impressed while deputising for Hart against his parent club Manchester City. Hart is already under pressure from Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland with the Three Lions and if he cannot hold down a place for his club then his spot in the national squad could even be in jeopardy.

Early risers?

With Manchester’s top two not in action until Sunday’s derby, Chelsea have the chance to exert some light pressure on the pace-setters. The champions currently reside in third, three points behind United and 11 adrift of City, and head to London rivals West Ham for the lunchtime kick-off. With the Hammers still finding their feet under new boss Moyes, Antonio Conte will fancy his chances of nicking three points from the London Stadium. Eden Hazard’s electrifying form should be too much for a creaking West Ham defence despite their encouraging display against City last weekend.

Swan tester

Swansea have scored eight goals this season. Which is the same amount as Gabriel Jesus has hit for Manchester City. Meanwhile West Brom have found the net 12 times, level with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah. So a feast of goals is not expected when the sides meet at the Liberty Stadium. Alan Pardew is looking for his first win as Baggies boss and if he gets his way the pressure on opposite number Paul Clement will be cranked up amid talk of dressing-room disharmony among the struggling Swans.

Roy’s revolution

Roy Hodgson’s revival continues at pace and Crystal Palace are now within touching distance of climbing out of the bottom three, which if they manage before Christmas should be some achievement given their record-breaking poor start to the season. Next up for ex-England boss Hodgson is a first competitive meeting with a potential Three Lions manager of the future in Eddie Howe, whose Bournemouth side are by no means clear of trouble themselves. A home win for the Eagles and they will be just two points behind their visitors.

Source: PA

Published at Fri, 08 Dec 2017 16:24:05 +0000