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KEY CLASHES 5 Premier League talking points ahead of the weekend’s action

Can Tottenham get the better of Manchester City before Liverpool host Leicester on Sunday?

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Chelsea manager Frank Lampard (right) and Newcastle boss manager Steve Bruce are set for an early start at St James’ Park (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard (right) and Newcastle boss manager Steve Bruce are set for an early start at St James’ Park (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard (right) and Newcastle boss manager Steve Bruce are set for an early start at St James’ Park (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The Premier League returns this weekend following the international break with the battle heating up at both ends of the table.

Chelsea will be out to make the most of the Saturday’s early kick-off at Newcastle, before Tottenham look to move top of the table when they host Manchester City.

Sunday will see bottom club Sheffield United out to kickstart their campaign against West Ham, with defending champions Liverpool later welcoming Leicester, and former Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, to Anfield.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the key talking points ahead of the next round of fixtures.

Lampard frank about early kick-off Blues

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has been left less than impressed by having to head up to Newcastle for Saturday’s 12.30pm kick-off. A number of the Blues squad only reported back from international duty on Thursday afternoon, while preparations have also been complicated by a wait for the results of some Covid-19 tests after players landed back in the UK. “When you look at the scheduling, for me it is just a common sense factor,” Lampard said. Three points at St James’ Park to send them top, if only for a few hours, might just help smooth things over.

A special Spurs year for Mourinho

Jose Mourinho marks a year since his appointment at Tottenham with the visit of a Manchester City side out to re-establish themselves in the pecking order, manager Pep Guardiola having agreed a new contract extension. If Harry Kane and Son Heung-min have their shooting boots on again, the Special One could once more be left looking down on the best of the rest come full-time with Spurs back on top.

Ole in need of some home comforts

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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still looking for the winning formula at home in the Premier League (Alex Livesey/PA)

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still looking for the winning formula at home in the Premier League (Alex Livesey/PA)

PA

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still looking for the winning formula at home in the Premier League (Alex Livesey/PA)

It will have been a long couple of weeks for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as he contemplated just how to keep Manchester United moving forward and finally get their Premier League campaign up and running at Old Trafford. The Red Devils will be hoping to get ‘fifth time lucky’ when they tackle winless West Brom on Saturday night. Anything other than three points, though, and the Norwegian will again be left facing tough questions over his own future.

Blunt Blades need to get razor-sharp fast

Sheffield United were thrashed 4-1 at Chelsea before the international break and sit rock bottom having mustered just a point from their opening eight matches. In stark contrast to the previous impressive campaign, Chris Wilder’s side now look set to be facing battle for survival. Wilder feels the next 10 games – which include tackling the likes of West Brom, Brighton, Burnley, Crystal Palace and Newcastle – will decide their season as the Blades chase a quick upturn in fortunes starting at home against West Ham on Sunday.

Can Rodgers outfox the Reds on Anfield return?

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Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers takes his in-form Leicester side to Anfield on Sunday night (Peter Byrne/PA)

Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers takes his in-form Leicester side to Anfield on Sunday night (Peter Byrne/PA)

PA

Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers takes his in-form Leicester side to Anfield on Sunday night (Peter Byrne/PA)

Leicester went into the break top of the table, with reigning champions Liverpool just a point behind. By the time the two clubs face off at Anfield on Sunday evening, both could be playing catch-up on their rivals. Reds boss Jurgen Klopp was left counting the cost of international duty after defender Joe Gomez needed knee surgery following an injury suffered during England training, while forward Mohamed Salah returned a positive Covid-19 test in Egypt. Add the return to Anfield of former manager Brendan Rodgers, with the in-form Foxes chasing a seventh straight win, and everything looks set for a super Sunday showdown.

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