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Five talking points ahead of this weekend's Premier League action

:Headline: Five talking points ahead of this weekend's Premier League action:
The Premier League resumes this weekend.
Sports Mole

The Premier League returns this weekend after the international break.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some talking points ahead of the games.

Tough return for leaders

Kelechi Iheanacho is in fine form ahead of Saturday's clash with former club Manchester City (Lindsey Parnaby/PA)

Manchester City's quadruple quest resumes with a difficult trip to third-placed Leicester. City only need only 14 points to wrap up their third title in four years under Pep Guardiola but, such is their schedule, defeat could mean it not being mathematically finalised until mid-May. That would probably not be ideal as they look to focus on other competitions, notably the Champions League. They face a Foxes side chasing a double over City after a stunning 5-2 win at the Etihad Stadium in September. Former City striker Kelechi Iheanacho is in fine form after scoring seven in his last four games. It will be interesting to see if City's record goalscorer Sergio Aguero features following the announcement he is to leave the club.

Must win for Liverpool at the Emirates

Liverpool's performances in 2021 have been poor (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

While recent history suggests champions Liverpool would always have found it tough to defend their title, few expected their form to nosedive in 2021 the way it has. Their hopes of retaining the Premier League crown have not only been shattered since the turn of the year but, having slipped to seventh, they are now in serious danger of missing out on the top four altogether. They have little room for error and dropping more points at Arsenal on Saturday would further damage their chances and probably leaving their hopes of a credible season hinging on their upcoming Champions League tie against Real Madrid.

West Brom hovering over the trap door

Sam Allardyce's West Brom are in a perilous position (Carl Recine/PA)

Sheffield United have seemed resigned to relegation for some time and West Brom also now appear to be approaching the point of no return. Manager Sam Allardyce has not given up hope yet but, having been openly discussing what might happen in the event of the Baggies going down, he recognises there is no escaping the seriousness of the club's situation. Albion are 10 points adrift of safety and, with a tough trip to in-form Chelsea coming up, the trap door is looming.

Newcastle feeling the heat

These are worrying times for Newcastle and Steve Bruce (Adam Davy/PA)

Newcastle are on the right side of the safety line at present but, after their dismal loss to Brighton last time out, plenty of their fans are fearing the worst. They still have a two-point advantage and a game in hand over Fulham but, with a trip to Craven Cottage on a potentially nerve-shredding final day to come, they and under-fire manager Steve Bruce are anxiously looking over their shoulders. A visit from a Tottenham side still hoping to qualify for the Champions League this weekend is hardly ideal in the circumstances.

Grealish poised to return for Villa

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish could be back in action (Andrew Couldridge/PA)

One positive Newcastle can cling to this weekend, however, is that Aston Villa talisman Jack Grealish is set to return to action as his side host Fulham. The influential Grealish has been out since February with a shin problem and Villa have won only one of six games without him. That has damaged their hopes of finishing in a European position but his recovery could give them a lift.

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1Manchester CityMan City32235467234474
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd31189461342763
3Leicester CityLeicester31175955371856
4West Ham UnitedWest Ham31167851391255
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs311471052351749
10Leeds UnitedLeeds31143144949045
11Aston Villa301351243331044
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves31108133141-1038
13Crystal Palace31108133352-1938
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton30711123338-532
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3188153251-1932
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom3159172859-3124
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd3142251755-3814
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6Lincoln CityLincoln381891157421563
7Charlton AthleticCharlton391711115751662
8Ipswich TownIpswich39179134138360
9Oxford UnitedOxford Utd401781559481159
11Doncaster RoversDoncaster38176155552357
12Accrington StanleyAccrington39169145257-557
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19Northampton TownNorthampton411010213458-2440
20AFC Wimbledon39912184162-2139
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22Bristol Rovers41108234064-2438
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