MX23RW : Sunday, May 19 13:11:50| >> :600:11997760:11997760:

5 talking points ahead of this weekend's Premier League fixtures

5 talking points ahead of this weekend's Premier League fixtures
© Reuters
Liverpool are six points clear of the chasing pack.

Liverpool have a six-point lead at the top as the Premier League season moves into its second half this weekend.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some talking points ahead of the latest round of fixtures.

What has gone wrong at Manchester City?

Pep Guardiola has experienced a sudden dip in fortunes
Pep Guardiola has experienced a sudden dip in fortunes (Martin Rickett/PA)

Just a few weeks ago, City were looking formidable in their title defence but now they find themselves third, seven points behind Liverpool, after a sudden slump. Pep Guardiola's men have lost three of their last four games – one more defeat than in the entirety of last season. Midfielder Fernandinho was sorely missed in this week's back-to-back losses to Crystal Palace and Leicester, and there will be concern he is again a doubt for Sunday's trip to Southampton. City's defence has also lost some of its shape, with no clean sheets in their last six games. With a crunch clash against Liverpool coming up next Thursday, City cannot afford to drop any more points this weekend.

Can Liverpool handle the pressure?

Liverpool are now setting the pace
Liverpool are now setting the pace (Peter Byrne/PA)

Jurgen Klopp's side have acquitted themselves superbly so far, reaching the halfway stage unbeaten and with a healthy cushion at the top. They have conceded just seven times and shown a previously unseen ability to win without playing at their best. But perceptions of them have suddenly changed. No longer are they seen as a side clinging onto the coat-tails of City, they have been installed as outright favourites for the first time. As Guardiola has pointed out, that brings a different pressure. Add to that the lack of a league title since 1990, and the season from here on becomes as much a test of nerve as ability. The visit of Arsenal on Saturday presents them with a stern examination of their credentials.

Are Spurs the real deal?

Spurs have hit form
Spurs have hit form (Adam Davy/PA)

City's slip has also allowed Tottenham to climb the table and, at present, they are Liverpool's closest challengers. They are brimming with confidence after five successive wins and goals have started to come in waves, with a 6-2 victory at Everton followed by a 5-0 thrashing of Bournemouth. Unlike Liverpool, they do not have the pressure of leading to bother them, or the concerns of City. They will look to maintain their momentum as Wolves visit Wembley for what could be a compelling game.

Can Claude Puel keep it going?

Puel fought back from the brink to mastermind two stunning wins
Puel fought back from the brink to mastermind two stunning wins (Nigel French/PA)

The Leicester manager was reported to be on the brink of getting the sack just a week ago when it was claimed he had lost the dressing room. If that was the case, it seems to have quickly changed after successive wins over Chelsea and Manchester City. That has dramatically changed the feeling in the Foxes camp. A home clash against Cardiff, while presenting a different type of challenge, would seem to offer the opportunity for momentum to be maintained.

Bottom two crunch clash

Huddersfield have lost six in a row
Huddersfield have lost six in a row (Dave Thompson/PA)

Bottom side Huddersfield travel to 19th-placed Fulham for a game neither side can really afford to lose. Huddersfield have lost their last six games and are five points off safety. A lack of ruthlessness in front of goal is costing the Terriers. Fulham's leaky defence has been their biggest weakness this season. There have been signs Claudio Ranieri has tightened up the rearguard in the last two games but the Cottagers are also without a win in six and in need of a lift.

Share this article now:
Paul Pogba reacts while in action for Manchester United on September 22, 2018
Read Next:
PL Team of the Week - Pogba, Hazard, Kane
>

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
/esi/758/0/index.html - esi:0:site:0:-p-: {0}: - :T758:-: {0}: < ! - - T  758 {0} - - >  : 
Scottish Premiership
La Liga
Serie A
Primeira Liga
Turkish Super Lig
Belgian Pro League Playoffs
Greek Superleague Relegation Playoffs
Norwegian Eliteserien
Swedish Allsvenskan
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Welsh Premier League Playoffs
Segunda Division
2.Bundesliga
Eredivisie Promotion Playoffs
Major League Soccer
Liga MX Playoffs
Brasileiro
Uruguayan Primera Division
A-League Finals
Chinese Super League
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38322495237298
2Liverpool38307189226797
3Chelsea38219863392472
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs382321367392871
5Arsenal382171073512270
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd381991065541166
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38169134746157
8Everton38159145446854
9Leicester CityLeicester38157165148352
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham38157165255-352
11Watford38148165259-750
12Crystal Palace38147175153-249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174248-645
14Bournemouth38136195670-1445
15Burnley38117204568-2340
16Southampton38912174565-2039
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3899203560-2536
RCardiff CityCardiff38104243469-3534
RFulham3875263481-4726
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3837282276-5416

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account