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Premier League talking points: Norwich City on the brink while Liverpool chase record

Premier League talking points: Norwich on the brink while Liverpool chase record
© Reuters
The Canaries need to win against West Ham to have any chance of staying up.

The relegation battle in the Premier League takes centre stage this weekend, where the picture can become much clearer come Sunday night.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the talking points surrounding the action scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

Drop zone duels

Norwich manager Daniel Farke
Daniel Farke could see his side relegated (Andy Rain/NMC Pool/PA)

Norwich host West Ham on Saturday lunchtime where defeat will confirm relegation for Daniel Farke's side. The Canaries are 10 points adrift of safety with four games remaining. West Ham are in a stronger position but are far from safe themselves and David Moyes' outfit will be looking for three points to give their own survival battle a major boost. The Hammers currently sit just three points clear of the drop zone. Elsewhere, Aston Villa go in search of a first win in 11 against Crystal Palace, Bournemouth host Champions League-chasing Leicester and Watford meet Newcastle, fresh off their heavy defeat at Manchester City.

Record-breaking Reds?

Liverpool during their 3-1 defeat of Brighton
Liverpool still have their sights on a record points haul (Catherine Ivill/NMC Pool)

Liverpool took a step closer in their bid to break the record for most points in a Premier League season with the midweek win at Brighton, but they must keep it up to overhaul Manchester City's total of 100 in the 2017-18 season. They will be without influential captain Jordan Henderson, who was ruled out for the remainder of the campaign by a knee injury. Jurgen Klopp's side currently sit on 92 points with four games to go, including tricky clashes at Arsenal and at home to Chelsea.

The Champions League chase

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard is eyeing Champions League football (Peter Cziborra/NMC Pool)

The battle for Champions League places is very much alive with just two points separating Chelsea in third and Manchester United in fifth, with Leicester sandwiched between the pair. United have won four and drawn the other of their five games since the return and have a favourable run-in, although they do end the season with what could prove to be a pivotal clash at Leicester.  Chelsea still have to go to Liverpool but have also been in impressive form since the restart with the defeat at West Ham their only blip.

The VAR divide

Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes scores a penalty against Aston Villa after a VAR check
Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes scores the penalty that should not have been awarded (Oli Scarff/NMC Pool)

The Video Assistant Referee system is again likely to be subject to intense scrutiny over the weekend after a succession of contentious decisions on Thursday night. Penalties awarded to Manchester United during their 3-0 victory over Aston Villa and to Southampton as they drew 1-1 with Everton were wrongly awarded. Meanwhile, Tottenham's penalty shouts were dismissed after Harry Kane was pushed by Bournemouth's Joshua King during a 0-0 draw. The Premier League has since conceded that each of the decisions was incorrect. The use of VAR has long been a divisive topic and criticism will gather more pace if there are more issues this weekend.

North London clubs clash

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho's side have been inconsistent (Richard Heathcote/NMC Pool)

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium hosts this season's second north London derby of the season, with both sides chasing European football. If Jose Mourinho's side are to achieve that then victory will be crucial as their indifferent form since returning has seen them win just two of their five games, while Mikel Arteta's Arsenal side have won three of their last four, drawing the other, to sit one place above Spurs in eighth.

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Manchester United pair Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes celebrate scoring against Aston Villa on July 9, 2020
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rhs 2.0
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CLiverpool38323385335299
2Manchester CityMan City382639102356781
3Manchester UnitedMan Utd381812866363066
4Chelsea382061269541566
5Leicester CityLeicester381881267412662
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs3816111161471459
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves381514951401159
8Arsenal381414105648856
9Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd381412123939054
10Burnley38159144350-754
11Southampton38157165160-952
12Everton381310154456-1249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381111163858-2044
14Crystal Palace381110173150-1943
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914153954-1541
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham38109194962-1339
17Aston Villa3898214167-2635
RBournemouth3897224065-2534
RWatford38810203664-2834
RNorwich CityNorwich3856272675-4921

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