Premier League talking points with Manchester and north London derbies

Two big derby clashes in Manchester and north London headline this weekend’s Premier League action.

Manchester United take on Manchester City at Old Trafford and top-flight leaders Arsenal play at Tottenham, while two more games at the other end of the table could prove significant in the relegation battle.

Here we look at the main talking points.

United poised for City ambush

Manchester United could climb to within a point of second-placed City by extending their winning run under Erik ten Hag to nine games in all competitions on Saturday and Red Devils fans will be far more confident than they were heading into the previous encounter when they were thrashed 6-3 at the Etihad in October.

Pep Guardiola’s side have yet to fire on all cylinders since the World Cup break and Ten Hag will be keen to gauge his side’s progress against the reigning champions.

Spurs in Gunners’ sights

Arsenal are bidding to extend their five-point lead at the top of the table, while Tottenham can ill afford a sixth league defeat of the season in their pursuit of a top-four finish.

The Gunners, 3-1 winners in the reverse fixture in October, would move 14 points clear of their London rivals with victory on Sunday and the pressure is mounting on Tottenham boss Antonio Conte, who is hoping Richarlison, Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur can all return to action after injury.

Potter pressure reaching boiling point

Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat to Fulham on Thursday left them 10 points adrift of the top four in mid-table and was a fifth loss in seven league games under Graham Potter.

The former Brighton boss is under growing pressure to salvage the club’s season and keep his job and no less than a win on Sunday in another all-London affair will be demanded by nonplussed Blues fans.

Patrick Vieira’s Palace, thumped 4-0 at home by Tottenham in their last league match, are smelling blood.

Lampard feeling the heat

Frank Lampard is another Premier League manager who is fighting for his job.

Everton, third from bottom after seven defeats in their last nine league matches, take on bottom club Southampton, who have been buoyed by successive FA Cup and Carabao Cup wins over Palace and Manchester City.

Also on Saturday, second-bottom Wolves face David Moyes’ 17th-placed West Ham, who are winless in six league games. Both fixtures could prove pivotal in this season’s relegation battle.

Joelinton arrest miffs Magpies

Newcastle’s top-four challenge has been dealt an unwelcome distraction as boss Eddie Howe is undecided over whether to name Joelinton in his side for Sunday’s home game against Fulham after the Brazilian was charged with drink-driving in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The Magpies sit third in the table, above Manchester United on goal difference, while Fulham, one of the surprise packages this season under Marco Silva following promotion, could leapfrog Tottenham into fifth place with a fifth straight league win.