Premier League talking points: Haaland v Salah, Son on fire, Everton rage

We pick out the big issues ahead of this weekend's English top-flight fixtures

Mohamed Salah has scored 10 Premier League goals for Liverpool this season. AFP
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Haaland v Salah: Who will win battle of hotshots?

All eyes on the Etihad Stadium on Saturday as the weekend schedule kicks off with a clash between the division's top two teams and its top two strikers.

Manchester City lead Liverpool by a single point with the reigning champions hoping to end a bizarre stat of having never beaten the Merseysiders in consecutive games since 1937.

Leading the charge to end that 86-year hoodoo will be Erling Haaland, the striker who broke the 50-goal barrier in all competitions last season and currently leads the Premier League scoring charts as he looks to retain his Golden Boot award.

The Norwegian – hailed as the “best striker in the world” by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp last season – has 13 goals in 12 games so far and will be looking to add to that as City look to maintain their incredible record of winning their past 23 home games.

Second behind Haaland in the scoring charts is Mohamed Salah with the Egyptian on 10 goals, having scored twice against Brentford before the international break.

Bees manager Thomas Frank said afterwards: “He must be one of the top offensive players in the world. Not top 10, but top three.”

Will Son lift stumbling Spurs?

An intriguing match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday sees fifth-placed Spurs take on Aston Villa, who are sixth.

The North London club enjoyed a flying start to the season that saw them go 10 games unbeaten and Ange Postecolglou become the first coach to win the Premier League Manager of the Month three times in a row.

But defeats against Chelsea and Wolves – coupled with suspensions and injuries to key players – sent Spurs stumbling into the international break.

Key to them getting back on track will be captain and forward Son Heung-min.

The South Korean already has eight goals to his name – leaving him behind only Haaland and Salah in the scoring charts – and also chipped in with three for his country over two World Cup qualifiers during the break.

And Son is in no doubt who to thank for his current form. “It's amazing,” he said about Postecolglou on the Men in Blazers podcast. “I'm 31 years old, I learnt many things before and I felt as a human that I had enough but then since he arrived I feel like 'wow! I'm still a child'.

“The way he speaks, I feel like my heart is bouncing. I just want to go out and play for him and play for the club. It feels like he's just part of my family.”

Are Chelsea set for another goals rush?

There should be a very good chance of goals when Newcastle United entertain Chelsea on Tyneside on Saturday.

Only Manchester City (32) and Aston Villa (29) have scored more than the Magpies this season with Callum Wilson and Alexander Isak having contributed 13 of those.

But while Isak is expected to have recovered from a groin problem to take on the Blues, Wilson is almost certain to be missing – along with around 12 of his teammates due to injury, suspension and, in the case of on-loan Lewis Hall, being unable to play against his parent club.

This will surely give hope to a Chelsea side that has banged in four goals in each of their last two games, against Spurs and Manchester City.

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Can Everton channel rage into beating Manchester United?

Expect a venomous atmosphere at Goodison Park on Sunday when Everton play their first match since being docked 10 points for breaking Premier League financial rules.

Huge protests are being planned and fans' group 'The 1878' have raised more than £40,000 for new banners which will be displayed in the stands and cards that supporters will hold up during the game against Manchester United.

Evertonians plan to fight for, and with, our club. Protests will continue until a proportionate sanction is agreed upon,” the group said in a statement.

The hope will be that the players can channel all that anger from the stands into beating United for what would only be the second time in nine games between the two clubs.

Everton went into the international break in decent form having beaten Crystal Palace and taken 10 points out of a possible 15 to drag themselves clear of the relegation zone.

While the deduction leaves them level on four points with bottom club Burnley, their recent performances – and the fact rivals at the foot of the table are struggling badly to pick up wins – suggests they are capable of rising up the table again.

When will Burnley end losing streak?

Vincent Kompany's Burnley are finding out the hard way that the gap between Premier League and Championship is a mighty one to bridge.

The Clarets lifted the second-tier title in some style last season, breaking the 100-point barrier after securing promotion with seven games still to play.

But we are 12 games into the new campaign and Burnley have already lost 10, including six at home and their last six on the spin going into Saturday's game against West Ham United at Turf Moor.

The fact that Everton have now joined them at the bottom of the table is of little comfort or concern to Kompany, who insists: “It’s not been even one second on my mind. It’s the way I am as a person, I tend not to pay attention to anything I can’t control and it’s not something I can control.

“Quite frankly, in terms of results, we are not in any position to look at anyone else but ourselves. The focus is there and to continue our good performances.”

Updated: November 24, 2023, 2:55 AM