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Five questions to be considered before this weekend's Premier League action

Roy Keane-less Villa, Liverpool’s poor form and Robin van Persie are just a few of the things to be considered this weekend.

Can man United make it two wins in a row?
Can man United make it two wins in a row?
Image: EMPICS Sport

Will Louis van Gaal drop Robin van Persie?

Van Persie has really struggled this season and continues to do so. He has looked a yard off the pace in every game he’s played so far and has netted just three times in those 11 games. It’s difficult to tell whether the Dutchman is disinterested or simply tired. After all he did have a gruelling World Cup campaign with The Netherlands.

Either way it might be a good idea for van Gaal to leave him out of the team this week and give youngster James Wilson some game time. Such a move would give Wilson the opportunity to prove the potential that he looks to have and would also give van Persie a much needed break before the intense Christmas period of games.

Another option for van Gaal would be to push Wayne Rooney further forward into a striker’s role but he seems adverse to doing so, preferring to deploy his captain in a deeper role where he has more influence on the game as a whole.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester City v Manchester United - Etihad Stadium Robin van Persie hasn't been in his usual scintillating form this season. Source: EMPICS Sport

How will Aston Villa fare post-Roy Keane?

Aston Villa are without a win in eight matches and now face a two week period that sees them take on four fellow strugglers, starting with Burnley tomorrow afternoon.

With the pressure well and truly on Paul Lambert the departure of Roy Keane as his assistant may prove beneficial in some way in that it deflects attention from his team ahead of tomorrow’s match.

Any movement at all from Keane sparks a media frenzy and his latest move has been no different. If Keane was causing tension within the camp as reports suggest then we may see some sort of resurgence from Villa, starting with a win at Turf Moor tomorrow.

Britain Soccer Premier League Keane's departure came as a shock. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Can Leicester score a goal?

It’s now five games without a goal for Nigel Pearson’s side and you have to back to 21 September for the last time they picked up three Premier League points, that being the dramatic 5-3 win over Manchester United.

The Foxes are really struggling and only sit two points above the bottom of the table — that position occupied by QPR, Leicester’s opponents at Loftus Road tomorrow.

The goals of Leandro Ulloa, which were in abundance at the start of the season, have dried up and the Argentinian has now gone seven Premier League games without a goal. A loss tomorrow and Leicester will slip to the bottom of the pack before a run of three games that include Liverpool and Manchester City.

If their form doesn’t pick up Nigel Pearson’s side could see themselves bottom of the league on Christmas Day, and well know what happens to that team…

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Leicester City v Sunderland - King Power Stadium Leicester can't buy a goal at the moment. Source: Nigel French

Can Liverpool stop the rot?

After four losses in a row Brendan Rodgers’ side managed a draw away to Ludogorets on Wednesday night but plenty of questions still remain. Their last Premier League win came over five weeks ago and they now reside just four points above the relegation zone.

Tomorrow is a case of 11th versus 12th as Stoke City are welcomed to Anfield. Mark Hughes’ side have had an up-and-down campaign so far, losing out to Burnley last week but comfortably beating Spurs the game before that.

There are a lot of players that need to prove a point for Liverpool and tomorrow has to be that day if they’re going to start climbing back up the table towards European places. It will be interesting as well to see Brendan Rodgers’ team selection after recent calls to leave Steven Gerrard out of the starting eleven as he looks to be somewhat off the pace.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Crystal Palace v Liverpool - Selhurst Park Liverpool need to pick themselves up after last week's defeat to Palace. Source: Stephen Pond

Can City overtake Southampton and keep pace with Chelsea?

Surely Southampton can’t maintain the pace that they’ve set so far for much longer? Ronald Koeman’s side have been superb so far this season and deservedly sit in third place, two points ahead of Manchester City.

On Sunday The Saints welcome Manuel Pellegrini’s side to St Mary’s where a win would put them five points ahead of the champions.

It’s difficult to see it happening however. City have looked sluggish in a number of games so far, none more so than last weekend when they just scraped by Swansea. The win against Bayern Munich during the week will have given them momentum however, as well as the fact that they have Sergio Aguero.

After his immensely impressive hat-trick against the Germans the Argentinian forward looks to be in scintillating form and will be hoping to add to his current tally of 12 Premier League goals on Sunday.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Group E - Manchester City v Bayern Munich Can anyone stop Sergio Aguero? Source: Tim Goode

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