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Premier League Talking Points


Claudio Ranieri's Leicester are in poor form

Claudio Ranieri's Leicester are in poor form

Claudio Ranieri's Leicester are in poor form

This weekend sees the first of three rounds of Premier League action that will take place over the course of 10 days.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the talking points around the fixtures occurring this Saturday and Sunday.


It would be fair to say that for Leicester this season is panning out differently to the last one, in which they memorably triumphed 3-1 at Manchester City en route to winning the Premier League title. On Saturday, when they host the same opponents, they will be looking for only their second victory in 10 league games and currently lie 16th in the table, only two points clear of the relegation zone. While their debut Champions League campaign has gone well overall, Wednesday's 5-0 thrashing for a much-changed Foxes side at Porto will have done little to help confidence. Claudio Ranieri's men face a club also looking to bounce back, Pep Guardiola's City having crashed to a 3-1 home loss to Chelsea in their last league outing and missing suspended trio Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi.


One place below Leicester in the table and a point worse off are West Ham, who are also having a season very much unlike the last. The 5-1 thumping they suffered when hosting Arsenal last weekend was just the latest indication of the struggle Slaven Bilic's side - seventh last season - have had to settle in their new home since switching from Upton Park to the London Stadium over the summer, and they are without a victory in five league matches. On Sunday they are away against Liverpool, opponents they beat three times in all competitions last term, but last weekend's 4-3 defeat at Bournemouth was only the second loss Jurgen Klopp's Reds have had this season.


The biggest match involving sides towards the bottom of the table comes on Saturday at the Liberty Stadium, where basement boys Swansea take on 18th-placed Sunderland. The Swans' last home game saw them secure a dramatic and much-needed first win under manager Bob Bradley as they saw off Crystal Palace 5-4 - a result they were brought crashing back down to earth from by a 5-0 hammering at Tottenham a week later. While the pressure appears to be mounting on the American already, it seems to be easing a little on Black Cats boss David Moyes, with the Wearsiders having won three of their last four fixtures.


After the thumping victory at West Ham and a 4-1 Champions League win at Basle on Tuesday, Arsenal return to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday to face Stoke. The Gunners have been impressing and there is a growing sense - amid the uncertainty over how much longer star men Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil might stay with them - that this could finally be the season they get their hands back on the Premier League trophy. Boss Arsene Wenger has had his troubles against Stoke in the past but has only ever seen his side's home meetings with the Potters end in victory, and he will be eager for more of the same to keep up the momentum.


Also keen to maintain their standards will be Antonio Conte's table-topping Chelsea, who are three points clear of second-placed Arsenal and in near-flawless form. They host Tony Pulis' West Brom on Sunday having won each of their previous eight league matches, conceding only two goals along the way. Albion, seventh and with three wins and a draw from their last four outings, are not to be underestimated, though - they have grabbed a point at Stamford Bridge in two of their last three visits.