Big Sam returns and Blades seek Brighton boost – 5 Premier League talking points

PA Sport Staff
·4-min read

The Premier League’s crowded schedule continues following a full midweek round with eight fixtures across Saturday and Sunday, followed by two more on Monday.

Little respite is offered as many sides are back in action just a few days after their weekday exertions.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the key talking points ahead of the upcoming action.

Clubs still split on subs

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been keen for the introduction of five substitutes (Phil Noble/PA)

The Premier League this week opted to maintain its position on substitutes after clubs were asked to voice their stance on increasing the number permitted from three to five. Burnley, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Leicester, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield United, West Ham and Wolves are understood to be among those who opposed the change, meaning a majority of 14 clubs required to pass the motion was not met. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp have long been two of the most vocal advocates of allowing five substitutes, citing the league’s packed timetable and pointing to the stance of both the EFL and the European leagues, many of whom have adopted the change.

Arsenal sinking under Arteta?

Arsenal manager Mikel Artetaier League – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is under the spotlight (Glyn Kirk/PA)

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta remains under pressure as the Gunners experience their worst start to a Premier League season for 39 years. In 15th position having enjoyed just one victory from their past nine league games, the club find themselves in a far worse predicament then when Unai Emery was dismissed a year ago and Arteta was appointed to replace him. Saturday’s visit to Merseyside to take on Everton is a fixture that holds extra significance for the Spaniard, as he spent six years of his playing career with the Toffees, but now needs to claim three points from them if he is to reverse his dwindling fortunes.

Wilder remains in the wilderness

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder is still waiting for his first win of the campaign (Nick Potts/PA)

Sheffield United hit an unwelcome milestone on Thursday evening when their 3-2 loss to Manchester United made the start of their current Premier League campaign the worst suffered by any club since its inception. Chris Wilder’s Blades are yet to record a single victory and have collected just one point from 13 fixtures and, after Thursday’s loss, they have just two days to regroup before facing Brighton at the Amex Stadium on Sunday. However, Wilder was heartened by his squad’s performance against Manchester United and with Graham Potter’s 16th-placed side appearing a slightly easier assignment than recent games, the dire situation at Bramall Lane could be about to ease.

Big Sam back in the big time

Newly appointed West Brom manager Sam Allardyce
Newly-appointed West Brom manager Sam Allardyce is looking to guide the Baggies away from danger (Adam Fradgley/AMA)

Sam Allardyce returned to football management on Wednesday when he was appointed head coach of struggling West Brom. Second-bottom with just seven points so far, the Baggies dismissed Slaven Bilic earlier the same day in a bid to reverse their fortunes and remain in the top flight. Allardyce, who has never suffered relegation from the Premier League as a manager, leads his new squad for the first time on Sunday when West Brom face Dean Smith’s 11th-placed Aston Villa at the Hawthorns.

Spurs bid to see off the Foxes

Tottenham’s Harry Kane
Tottenham’s Harry Kane has been in fine form against Leicester (Adam Davy/NMC Pool)

Second-placed Tottenham and Leicester in fourth will both be looking to get their respective title challenges back on track following midweek setbacks when they face each other on Sunday. Spurs’ 11-match unbeaten run came to an end on Wednesday when they suffered a last-gasp defeat at Liverpool. Jose Mourinho’s men will hope to benefit from Harry Kane’s remarkable record against Leicester, with the England captain having scored 14 goals in 10 Premier League appearances against the Foxes. Brendan Rogers’ side were also stung by a Merseyside team on Wednesday night when losing 2-0 to Everton, and will be hoping to bounce back this weekend.