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Five Premier League talking points ahead of the next set of matches

:Headline: Five Premier League talking points ahead of the next set of matches: ID:425103: from db_amp
Leaders Tottenham host Arsenal while Chelsea and Leeds meet in the league for the first time in 16 years.

The Premier League is bracing itself for the return of fans for the first time since March this weekend, with old rivalries also set to be renewed.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the key talking points ahead of this weekend’s top-flight action.

Return of fans

Fans will be welcomed back to the Premier League this weekend, although with new regulations in place (Adam Davy/PA)

West Ham will be the first club to host fans in a Premier League match since March for Saturday’s visit of Manchester United, although it will be a far cry from the usual packed stadiums. Only 2,000 fans will be allowed to attend with London currently in tier two and supporters will be asked to avoid excessive singing and shouting and will have to don face coverings at all times. Fans returned in other tiers of English football on Wednesday but it will be a welcome return for Premier League sides who have started the season behind closed doors.

Old rivalries renewed

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard and Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa could renew old rivalries when their sides meet on Saturday (Simon Cooper/PA)

Leeds and Chelsea are set to renew one of English football’s most bitter rivalries with hostilities between the two clubs and their fans stretching back over 50 years. It dates back to the 1960s when both clubs regularly challenged for major honours and culminated in a bad-tempered FA Cup final in 1970, and Saturday’s fixture will be their first in the league for 16 years. The evening game will also be watched by 2,000 fans at Stamford Bridge. Frank Lampard’s tenure at Chelsea adds further fuel to the fire after he was heavily critical of Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa during the ‘spygate’ saga two years ago while in charge of Derby.

The battle for north London

Arsenal will travel to Tottenham for the north London derby on Sunday (Julian Finney/NMC Pool/PA)

Arsenal have had their worst start to a league campaign since the 1981-82 season, losing half of their opening 10 fixtures, but form does not usually play a part during clashes with their local rivals Tottenham. Arsenal are 14th in the table and eight points behind leaders Spurs, with the sides set to meet in front of 2,000 fans at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday. The Gunners, for whom manager Mikel Arteta has found himself under increasing pressure, have only won one of their last five north London derbies, with Tottenham coming out victorious in their previous meeting on July 12.

Covid strikes the North East

Newcastle’s training ground has been closed and their upcoming game postponed after a Covid-19 outbreak at the club (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Newcastle have been waiting on the latest round of Covid tests after their Premier League trip to Aston Villa was postponed. This is first time in the top flight this season a fixture has been moved as a result of Covid-19. Players who were given personal training programmes during the first lockdown earlier in the year found themselves self-isolating again and working from home after their Darsley Park training ground was closed.

Points on offer ahead of festive period

Sheffield United will look to end their winless run against Leicester this weekend (Mike Egerton/PA)

Fulham moved clear of the relegation zone on Monday with a surprise 2-1 win at Leicester, but rival clubs will hope to pile the pressure back on the Cottagers who travel to Manchester City on Saturday. Sheffield United continue to search for their first win of the season and whilst three points at Leicester would not be enough to lift them off the bottom of the table, it would give them a much-needed boost. Second-bottom Burnley host Everton looking to bounce back from their 5-0 thrashing at the Etihad Stadium, while hoping Fulham endure a similar fate, and West Brom could move out of the bottom three with a win over a Crystal Palace side who have lost their last two matches.

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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester UnitedMan Utd18114334241037
2Manchester CityMan City17105229131635
3Leicester CityLeicester18112533211235
4Liverpool1897237211634
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs1896333171633
6Everton1710252821732
7Chelsea1885533211229
8Southampton188552621529
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham188552521429
10Arsenal198382319427
11Aston Villa1582529161326
12Leeds UnitedLeeds187293034-423
13Crystal Palace196582233-1123
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves196492129-822
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle185491830-1219
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton193882229-717
17Burnley17449922-1316
18Fulham172691425-1112
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom1825111441-2711
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd1912161032-225
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester UnitedMan Utd18114334241037
2Manchester CityMan City17105229131635
3Leicester CityLeicester18112533211235
4Liverpool1897237211634
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs1896333171633
6Everton1710252821732
7Chelsea1885533211229
8Southampton188552621529
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham188552521429
10Arsenal198382319427
11Aston Villa1582529161326
12Leeds UnitedLeeds187293034-423
13Crystal Palace196582233-1123
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves196492129-822
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle185491830-1219
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton193882229-717
17Burnley17449922-1316
18Fulham172691425-1112
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom1825111441-2711
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd1912161032-225
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