Premier League: five things to expect from the weekend

After what seemed to be an extremely long 10 days, the last international break of the year is now behind us, so what can we expect when the Premier League returns this weekend?

Here’s five things to look forward to…

1) Fireworks on Merseyside

The Merseyside derby needs little introduction as it is, even more so considering that both clubs arrive into tomorrow’s clash at Goodison Park in scintillating form.

Liverpool are only two points behind leaders Arsenal and will bank on Luis Suarez to extend their impressive record in this fixture – the Reds have lost only one of the last 13 Premier League derbies – as the Uruguayan returns to what is a happy ground for him.

Meanwhile Roberto Martinez has quashed doubts over his ability to mould a side easy on the eye and capable of keeping things tight at the back, with Everton having not conceded a goal in almost six hours of football.

The last 42 instalments of this fixture have seen 20 red cards, so expect a feisty atmosphere.

2) Moyes must keep United going

It’s only November, but Manchester United have already experienced a season worth of different emotions.

Having started in thrilling fashion by beating Swansea 4-1, United then tumbled to eight and were deemed a club in crisis, but a hard-fought win against Arsenal has put them back into the fold.

United haven’t played particularly well and Michal Carrick’s injury is a major blow for David Moyes ahead of three consecutive away games in a week, while a trip to Cardiff is nobody’s idea of an easy fixture.

And yet, United look to have found some solidity and should they make it four wins out in the last four on Sunday, they’d be well and truly back.

3) Can the Saints keep marching in?

Those who put a fiver on Arsenal vs Southampton to be a top of the table clash at this stage of the season are probably enjoying a very expensive holiday right now, as Mauricio Pochettino’s side have exceeded even the wildest expectations so far.

Arsenal’s defeat at Old Trafford will not have derailed their campaign, but the Gunners will have to work hard if they’re to break the Premier League’s meanest defence down.

The Saints have conceded less than a goal every two games and have the potentials to hurt Arsenal on the break and make tomorrow’s fixture a fascinating one. Were the Saints to lose, they’d remain the undisputed surprise package of the season, but should they win, expect many on the South Coast to start dreaming a little bit more.

4) Now or never for Palace

Having spent the first 11 games of the season trying to rack up as many negative records as possible, Crystal Palace’s trip to Hull has already taken the semblance of a last chance saloon.

Manager-less and yet to score a single point away from home this season, Palace are already six points adrift of safety and don’t look capable of bridging that gap anytime soon.

Palace’s form becomes even more damning when compared to that of fellow newly-promoted Hull, who are one of only five teams to remain unbeaten at home and are comfortably sitting mid-table.

5) Unexpected mid-table clash

Manchester City and Tottenham arrive into Sunday’s game at the Etihad in unfamiliar surroundings, with the former eight and seemingly incapable of defending properly and the latter eight and struggling to score goals.

Spurs’ solidity at the back – six goals conceded in 11 games – has been seriously undermined by their systematic failure to convert the amount of chances they create and, having embarked in a spending spree in the summer, AVB still seems to be trying to figure out his best XI.

City, meanwhile, float between being a ruthless goals-scoring machine to a stuttering, disjointed unit, particularly away from home.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men are unstoppable when they click together but the question is: will they click long enough to win the title?

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