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Preview: Three derbies, two debuts as Premier League gets back into action

North-London derby kicks off the weekend.

London, UK | Xinhua | Three derbies and two debuts mark the return of Premier League action in England this weekend following the international break.

League leaders Arsenal get things underway when they take on North-London rivals Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium in what promises to be a fascinating and important game.

Arsenal are one point clear of Spurs and Manchester City, and it will be interesting to see how their free-flowing attack deals with Antonio Conte’s disciplined side, who has also shown they have the ability to cause them problems on the break.

Thomas Partey and Oleksandr Zinchenko are both doubts for Arsenal ahead of the match, while Spurs are waiting to see if Hugo Lloris will be able to play in goal after a thigh strain.

The second derby is on Sunday and sees Manchester City at home to Manchester United in a match that will go a long way towards measuring United’s recovery after a poor start to the season.

Erling Haaland is looking for his third consecutive hat-trick in front of the fans in the Etihad Stadium and the prolific Norwegian, who has 14 goals in 10 games this season, will be a huge threat to a United central defense of Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane. Harry Maguire misses out for United after picking up a slight muscle injury while on England duty.

Graham Potter makes his Premier League debut as Chelsea coach with a short trip across South London to play Crystal Palace.

Potter has had time to work with his squad following their draw against RB Salzburg in the Champions League and is expected to play a back-five with Reece James and Ben Chilwell as wing-backs and Marc Cucarella, who was with him at Brighton, on the left side of three central defenders.

Roberto de Zerbi replaced Potter at Brighton and although De Zerbi has the rare luxury of joining a club that sits fourth in the table, he has a tough debut away to Liverpool at Anfield.

Liverpool have had a less than stellar start to the campaign but have won their last three home games in all competitions and could have Ibrahima Konate in contention after injury.

Elsewhere a win for Bournemouth at home to Brentford would strengthen Gary O’Neil’s case to be the permanent replacement for Scott Parker, while Fulham face Newcastle United.

Fulham will be without influential midfielder Joao Palhinha through suspension against a rival that is struggling to turn performances into wins without the injured attacking duo of Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin.

Southampton striker Che Adams needs to end a run of five games without a goal when his side faces Everton. Everton have only scored five goals this season but may feel optimistic against a Saints defense that has conceded 11 times so far.

Don’t expect many goals when West Ham play Wolverhampton, given that both sides have only managed to hit the target three times each this season. Wolves have only conceded seven, with three of those against Manchester City, and might be optimistic of getting something from their visit to the London Stadium.

Leeds United against Aston Villa on Sunday could prove to be a feisty affair with a total of 23 yellow and one red card shown in their last four Premier League meetings and we can also expect fireworks in the last match of the round on Monday night.

That sees the return of the East Midlands derby with bottom of the table Leicester City at home to Nottingham Forrest. Leicester have just one point from seven games, while Forrest are just one place above them after a run of four consecutive defeats.

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