Premier League preview

Sunday's first Manchester derby of the season takes centre stage this weekend as the neighbours continue to tussle for the top spot.

Last Updated: 08/12/12 at 14:51

Manchester derby: The top two battle it out at the Etihad Stadium

Manchester derby: The top two battle it out at the Etihad Stadium

All eyes on Manchester derby; Arsenal keen to end slump

Sunday's first Manchester derby of the season takes centre stage in the Premier League this weekend as the neighbours continue to tussle for the top spot.

In the other televised clash of the weekend later on Sunday, Liverpool travel to West Ham with the chance of leapfrogging the Londoners in the standings.

Chelsea are still seeking a first league win under new manager Rafael Benitez as they visit Sunderland and Arsenal are looking to correct their recent slump, while at the other end of the table, rock-bottom QPR will continue their hunt to turn things around under Harry Redknapp against Wigan.

Derby

All eyes will be on Manchester for Sunday's derby in front of the Sky cameras as defending champions Manchester City look to topple neighbours Manchester United from the top spot, with Roberto Mancini's men currently three points behind. The fierce rivals both suffered European defeats in midweek, which left City bottom of Group D, while United had already qualified as winners of Group H.

West Ham's visit of Liverpool is the other game on the Super Sunday bill, with both sides entering the Upton Park clash on the back of wins and the Merseysiders in with a chance of climbing above their hosts if they can secure three points in East London.

Elsewhere on Sunday, in-form Tottenham travel to Everton on the back of three successive wins which have lifted them into fourth place, while the Toffees have drawn their last three on the bounce and will hope to rediscover winning ways in front of a home crowd at Goodison Park.

Arsenal's disheartening slump, which has seen them slide into mid-table, continued in Europe in midweek as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Olympiakos and the Gunners will be desperate to find some form when they host West Brom, whose surprise storm up the table has been shackled by back-to-back defeats.

Benitez enjoyed his first win as Chelsea manager in midweek but it couldn't prevent the holders from crashing out of the Champions League. The Blues will look to put that disappointment behind them when they visit a Sunderland side who are just a point clear of the relegation zone after a run of poor results.

Rock-bottom QPR are yet to win under new boss Redknapp and will hope to rectify that when they make the trip to Wigan, with the Hoops seven points adrift of safety but keen to take advantage of a wounded Latics side hurting from two successive defeats.

Surprise

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Swansea sprung a surprise at Arsenal last weekend when they snatched a late win and will be seeking their third success in a row when they play host to Norwich, who stretched their unbeaten streak to eight league games after beating beleaguered Sunderland last time out.

Promoted Southampton and Reading meet in what could be considered a pre-Christmas six-pointer in the battle against relegation, with both sides languishing in the drop zone and the Royals stinging from three defeats on the spin.

In the weekend's final encounter, in-form Stoke will hope to continue their ascent of the standings as they travel to Aston Villa on the back of four wins from their last five games.

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S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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