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Is it Everton's time to end derby run and other Premier League talking points

Arsene Wenger will look to get one over on Louis van Gaal, while Chelsea need to turn their season around and Man City are without a couple of big names.

Everton and Ireland midfielder with Liverpool's Alberto Moreno.
Everton and Ireland midfielder with Liverpool's Alberto Moreno.
Image: EMPICS Sport

1. City should have depth to cope without duo

AFTER WATCHING HIS team clinch a first Champions League win of the season thanks to a Sergio Aguero penalty in injury-time, Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini will be aiming to get back on track in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

Tottenham’s youthful team put four past them at White Hart Lane as City suffered a second consecutive league defeat last weekend. Wilfried Bony, Kelechi Iheanacho and Eliaquim Mangala are all back in contention. More significant, however, is the news that they will be without captain Vincent Kompany and influential midfielder Yaya Toure.

Steve McClaren’s Newcastle have been pretty awful this season, but the Magpies were vastly-improved in the 2-2 draw with Chelsea last time out and the physicality of striker Aleksandar Mitrovic could cause some problems to the City backline.

2. Chelsea need to fix defensive issues

Chelsea continue to stutter their way through what has so far been an abysmal season and the latest setback saw Jose Mourinho endure an unpleasant return to Porto in midweek.

Languishing eight points off the top in 14th position, the champions host a Southampton team who have strung together back-to-back victories since going down 3-2 to Manchester United.

The Blues are leaking goals at the back but Mourinho refused to reveal whether he will restore exiled captain John Terry to the starting line-up at Stamford Bridge. Fellow Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, meanwhile, looks a shadow of the player who earned himself a reputation as one of the best in the league.

3. Black Cats still in search of that evasive first win

We’re seven matches into the new campaign and Sunderland, rooted to the bottom of the table, remain one of two Premier League clubs without a victory. North-east rivals Newcastle are the other.

After doing a u-turn to sign a one-year deal at the end of last season, you have to wonder how much longer Dick Advocaat will persist with the club despite his recent insistence that he is going nowhere.

Reports emerging on Friday night suggested his days could be numbered.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester United v Sunderland - Old Trafford Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

In stark contrast, West Ham are enjoying life under Slaven Bilic and sit in third place thanks largely to their perfect away record.  The Hammers have already won at the Emirates, the Etihad and Anfield this season and you wouldn’t bet against them doing the same at the Stadium of Light.

4. Merseyside derby kicks off bumper day of sport

Without a Merseyside derby win in the last ten attempts, Everton fans may feel Sunday’s meeting could be their best chance in sometime.

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Goodison Park hosts the 225th meeting of Liverpool’s big two and, despite the fact that just a single point separates them in the table, the Reds are currently under significantly more pressure than their neighbours.

Sure, they claimed a 3-2 win over Aston Villa last weekend but many supporters remain unconvinced that Brendan Rodgers is the right man to take the club forward after recent disjointed performances. The 1-1 draw with Sion on Thursday didn’t do anything to ease those fears.

From an Irish perspective, there’s a concern about the fitness of Toffees full-back Seamus Coleman, with Roberto Martinez planning to give him until the last minute to prove his fitness.

5. Gunners looks to close gap on United

Arsene Wenger and Louis van Gaal have a very different week in the run-up to the biggest game of the weekend.

The Arsenal boss has spent the past few days bickering with the media after his decision to rest Petr Cech and play David Ospina in Tuesday’s clash with Olympiakos resulted in a second Champions League defeat on the trot.

Opposite number Van Gaal, on the other hand, watched his team grind out three points against Wolfsburg at Old Trafford. United are sitting pretty at the top of the table but the Gunners could draw level with them by securing a favourable result at the Emirates.

Wenger had been tracking Anthony Martial before his big money move from Monaco to Manchester United and claimed he saw him more as a winger than a centre forward.

The Frenchman will get the chance to see his compatriot up close as the talented teenager looks to add to his four goals.

Originally published Friday at 20.59

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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