The Premier League returns to action this weekend after games were postponed last week following the Queen’s death.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the talking points.
Remembering the Queen
With last weekend’s games called off as a mark of respect, the Premier League returns to action for the first time since the Queen died and there are plenty of tributes planned ahead of and during the seven matches that are being played. Three games have been called off due to policing issues surrounding the funeral on Monday. Those that do go ahead will all observe a minute’s silence before kick-off, followed immediately by the national anthem. Then, on 70 minutes at each game, there will be a minute’s applause to commemorate the Queen’s 70 years on the throne. Her image will also be shown on big screens throughout and clubs have their own plans as well, such as laying wreaths.
Friday night lights
There are two games on Friday night and both have implications at the bottom end of the table. Steven Gerrard alleviated some of the pressure on him as Aston Villa impressively drew with Manchester City a fortnight ago, but he will be expecting his side to follow that up with victory against Southampton at Villa Park. Across the midlands in Nottingham, Forest have endured a tough return to the big time and are hoping their three-game losing streak will end against Fulham, who are faring much better on their return to the top flight. Forest boss Steve Cooper, who has been linked with the Brighton job, admitted that it is an “unknown” when his side takes to the field – he has made a number of new signings and needs them to gel quickly.
Brendan on the brink?
Consecutive fifth-placed finishes and FA Cup glory will seem a long time ago for Leicester, who have endured a torrid start to the campaign. A frustrating summer, which saw the Foxes lose key men and replace them with just one outfield player, has carried over into the start of the season and five successive losses leaves them bottom of the table, with Brendan Rodgers coming under pressure for the first time in his reign. The fixtures have not been kind as they have already played Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United and another tough test awaits as they visit unbeaten Tottenham. Rodgers says he has the backing of the board, but with an international break looming, the Northern Irishman would not want to suffer another heavy defeat.
Gunners looking for a response
Arsenal’s brilliant start to the season, where they won their opening five games, was brought to a halt with a sobering defeat at Manchester United last time out. They get the chance to bounce back in a London derby against Brentford on Sunday lunchtime and do so with favourable conditions as their Europa League game with PSV on Thursday night was postponed due to policing issues following the Queen’s death, meaning they will come into the match without fatigue. The Gunners memorably lost the opening game of last season at the Bees, who will have Ivan Toney hoping to celebrate his England call-up with more goals.
Who can stop Haaland?
Erling Haaland has made fools of anyone who dared question whether he would need time to settle into the Premier League, with a stunning start to the season. The Norway striker has bagged 10 goals in his six games and will be looking to add to that tally against Wolves on Saturday. Only Bournemouth have failed to stop Haaland scoring in the league this season, so Wolves will have their work cut out. Although Bruno Lage’s men have conceded fewer goals than any other side in the league so far – four – their mettle will be severely tested by this City side, who have already bagged 20.