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Premier League preview: What will and won't happen this weekend

Arsenal vs Tottenham (Saturday, 3pm)

The big talking point: It's the north London derby, so the usual slanging match. Arsenal appear in decline, Tottenham's resurgence looks semi-permanent, and so here come the usual platitudes - form counts for nothing, derbies are the great leveller, and so on. We're going to need a montage...

What will happen: Tottenham will welcome back a quartet of injured players. Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, Dele Alli and Harry Kane sat out at least part of the international break, but all four trained on Thursday and will be available here. 

What won't happen: However, Pochettino will be without Toby Alderweireld (out until after Christmas, as per Thursday's press conference) and - still - Victor Wanyama. Expect Davinson Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen to start as part of a back four, with Eric Dier shifting into midfield to partner (most likely) Mousa Dembele. 

Bournemouth vs Huddersfield (Saturday, 3pm)

The big talking point: Bournemouth's resurgence. Given the doom prophecies which followed their slow start to the season, Eddie Howe's team have responded very well - they've won three of their last five in all competitions, including two away wins on the bounce (Stoke and Newcastle).

What will happen: Unfortunately, the players missing will be as relevant as the ones on the pitch. At a current count, Benik Afobe, Josh King and Junior Stanislas will all be out for Bournemouth, while the suspended Christopher Schindler will join Philip Billing in the stands for Huddersfield. Aaron Mooy only arrived back from Australia's World Cup play-off against Honduras on Thursday, so is also unlikely to start.

What won't happen: Goals, probably. Huddersfield haven't scored away since putting three past Crystal Palace on the opening day of the season, and Bournemouth themselves have only managed more than one goal in a Premier League home game once.  

Burnley vs Swansea (Saturday, 3pm)

The big talking point: That, for now at least, Sean Dyche is still Burnley's manager. Everton seem to be making approaches all over the continent at the moment, but are yet to knock on the window at Turf Moor.

What will happen: Home win. Swansea are really, really not in a good place. Booed off at half- and full-time against Brighton before the international break, Paul Clement's dead-behind-the-eyes side head north - where they will surely find little joy in facing a Burnley team who haven't lost a Premier League game to anyone other than Manchester City since August. 

What won't happen: There will be no Chris Wood, who will presumably by fighting off some pretty heavy jet-lag by Saturday 3pm (Wood flew back from Peru on Thursday, so will likely not be considered for starting selection).

Crystal Palace vs Everton (Saturday, 3pm)

The big talking point: Everton's search for a new manager. Marco Silva has said no, Thomas Tuchel and Diego Simeone were always very low-percentage options, and even Sam Allardyce has got bored. Where next? 

What will happen: Another chance for "Unsie". The win over Watford owed much to the visitors' implosion, but Everton will take any momentum going at the moment. Tactically Unsworth hasn't been a success, but he has brought some life to this team - so expect him to keep faith with the youngsters who have provided that pulse (Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Beni Baningime, Jonjoe Kenny and Ademola Lookman).

What won't happen: There should be long odds on Ashley Williams starting this game: dropped for Watford's visit after an error-strewn run of games, the clock might be ticking on his top-flight career. Ruben Loftus-Cheek seems unlikely to feature, either, after he failed to train on Thursday following the back spasm which led to his subsitution against Brazil. 

Leicester vs Manchester City (Saturday, 3pm)

The big talking point: Claude Puel's effect isn't emphatic enough yet to make bold conclusions, so it's Manchester City's mini-forward crisis: Sergio Aguero was taken unwell during the international break, fainting in the dressing room during the defeat to Nigeria, and Gabriel Jesus was roughed up a little by the England defence on Tuesday night. Both are expected to be available, but perhaps not at 100%.

What will happen: Actually, Leicester could be stubborn. It's reflexive to assume that Man City will just steamroll another opponent, but if Puel is anything as a manager he's one capable of laying roadblocks. He'll be happy to cede possession to Guardiola's team, theoretically has the man power to resist the visitors' attacking flourishes, and obviously has the counter-attacking pace to pose of a threat of his own. Theoretically

What won't happen: In all likelihood, any of the above. The key to Man City's immediate future will be what happens after their first defeat. Pyschologically it shouldn't be a problem, but once a template exists for beating them - in whatever circumstances that loss occurs - expect every manager to focus in on whatever weakness has been exposed. So far, so good – nobody has any answers – but this is a tougher game than it looks.

Liverpool vs Southampton (Saturday, 3pm)

The big talking point: Sadio Mane's hamstring: tweaked on international duty and threatening to keep him out of another Premier League game. 

What will happen: Southampton will enjoy playing away from home. It's Anfield and Liverpool are strong, but Mauricio Pellegrino's team (who will welcome back Mario Lemina) are not really built to live up to attacking expectations at St Mary's. Here, with the emphasis on their opponents, they'll be far more comfortable. They're not a bad team (they went through the whole of October unbeaten with two draws and one win, before losing to Burnley two weeks ago), but they're far better without the ball than they are with it. 

What won't happen: Liverpool won't run through Southampton. The visitors' attacking patterns are too laboured for them to be considered a counter-attacking threat, but they'll be more than content to sit behind the ball here. Pellegrino is assumed to be failing on the south coast, but that's not really true: only six teams in the game are giving up fewer shots per game than his side are at the moment, and they've also conceded fewer goals than Arsenal and Liverpool. The Spaniard was hired off the back of what he achieved at Alaves which was - rememeber - an over-performance built on good defending. 

West Brom vs Chelsea (Saturday, 3pm)

The big talking point: Tony Pulis's future. Games against West Brom are usually a graveyard for Chelsea managers, but it's the home coach who should be worried this time - Pulis hasn't won a game of any sort since beating Accrington in late August. 

What will happen: David Luiz's exile will continue. Once Antonio Conte has made up his mind about a player, he generally sticks to his guns. He also prefers to keep a settled team together, so expect Andreas Christensen to retain his place at the base of Chelsea's three-man defence after a goal-geeting display against the Republic of Ireland in midweek.

What won't happen: Pulis only knows one way and, in spite of being under pressure he'll stick to it here. There'll be no deference to the home fans' desire to see ambitious football, and so he'd better hope that a defence - which will still be without Craig Dawson - holds a visiting side who looked awfully dangerous against Manchester United. 

Manchester United vs Newcastle (Saturday, 5.30pm)

The big talking point: Jose Mourinho's future. PSG are interested, are they? Quickly, give him a new contract and another £200m to spend!

What will happen: We're not sure it will happen, but it would certainly be nice to see something more from Henrikh Mkhitaryan. In the Armenian's defence, his manager's tactics have hardly created the conditions for him to reproduce his Dortmund best, but of all the big names to have arrived in England over recent seasons, he's been the most disappointing of them all.

What won't happen: It won't be a discussion point here, given that they're expected to lose, but Newcastle's standards have slipped in recent weeks. They're organised, yes, and certainly doing better than they were expected to, but Rafa Benitez has only won once since September 24 - and it's not as if they're losing to more talented sides: Burnley, Bournemouth and Brighton have all taken three points from them in recent weeks. Suddenly, all the concerns voiced over the summer are becoming relevant again...

Watford vs West Ham (Sunday, 4pm)

The big talking point: It's David Moyes's first game. Break out the champagne, unfurl the banners... here comes the scintillating football.

What will happen: None of the above. Moyes's initial focus will be on making this side much harder to beat, so expect these first few weeks to look very blunt - although Watford have entered a mini-slump, now having lost three in a row, so there are worse places than Vicarage Road for Moyes to start. 

What won't happen: The problem is, though, that Moyes - as well as perhaps being a busted flush himself - has inherited a poorly constructed squad. His defence is paceless, the defensive half of his midfield didn't receive the attention it needed over the summer, and one can only imagine what he'll make of Marko Arnautovic. He'll enjoy managing Andy Carroll and probably get some mileage from Javier Hernandez - a self-motivated player and a super professional - but, Manuel Lanzini aside, there's little for him to be enthused about. West Ham need more discipline, certainly, but they also need the transfer market to open again.

Brighton vs Stoke (Monday, 8pm)

The big talking point: Brighton's form: they've only lost twice in the league since the end of August (to Arsenal and, more disappointingly, to Bournemouth) and have won two of their last four. Technically they're limited, but this is an extremely well-coached side who are performing right at capacity.



What will happen: It's a Monday Night Football game, live on Sky Sports, so the world will get a chance to see just how good some of Hughton's players are. Pascal Gross is mainly known for his fantasy football productivity, but he's excellent - his delivery in particular - and there are a host of others; Lewis Dunk, Shane Duffy and goalkeeper Mat Ryan, who have exceeded expectations. 

What won't happen: However, Brighton's success has depended on rigidity rather than fluency, so anyone expecting a spectacle is going to be left disappointed. Stoke have actually scored in all but one of their away games this season (vs Everton on the opening day), but they remain a very middling side in every sense. The win over Watford was fortuitous, the draw against Leicester could have been much worse, but neither really disguised that this season is likely to become increasingly difficult. They can't rely on Peter Crouch bailing them out all campaign. 

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