Premier League talking points

1. LOSS OF STONES COULD BE A MAJOR BLOW FOR MAN CITY

With only seven goals conceded in 12 games, Manchester City's defensive solidity has been almost as impressive as their attack. The loss of influential centre-back John Stones, who faces up to six weeks out after succumbing to a hamstring injury during City's 2-0 win at Leicester, therefore leaves manager Pep Guardiola with an unwanted headache.

Captain Vincent Kompany made some rash decisions on his comeback and remains a high injury risk, while neither Nicolas Otamendi nor Eliaquim Mangala possess Stones' composure. City will also miss Stones's ability to carry the ball out from the back.


2. MANCHESTER DERBY MAY COME DOWN TO MIDFIELD FACE-OFF

Paul Pogba's performance in Manchester United's 4-1 defeat over Newcastle reminded the Old Trafford fans what they had been missing during his two-month layoff, his skill crucial to the equaliser and his timing vital to finish United's third.

If there is to be a title race in Manchester then Pogba is surely United's answer to City's Kevin de Bruyne; when the two teams finally meet on Dec 10.

The buildup will inevitably focus on the managers' rivalry, but it is via one of these two exceptional midfield talents that a potentially defining derby is most likely to be won.


3. STAR POWER RESTORES ARSENAL'S SPARKLE

When Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette start for Arsenal, good things happen for Arsene Wenger's team.

In all three of the matches when Arsenal's attacking stars have been in the line-up, the Gunners have ended victorious. Saturday's 2-0 success against north London rivals Tottenham was the latest example.

Ozil and Lacazette each laid on an assist, with Sanchez getting on the scoresheet after Shkodran Mustafi's opener. Tottenham's poor performance made them easy pickings for the fired-up Gunners, who are now just one point behind their neighbours.


4. KLOPP FEELING THE BENEFIT OF SALAH'S EVOLUTION

Jurgen Klopp offered a simple explanation for Mohamed Salah's transformation from the player who toiled at Chelsea into the Premier League's leading goalscorer with Liverpool.

"Physicality," said the Liverpool manager, who believes that Liverpool bought the finished article from Roma this summer.

"He was a kid when he went to Chelsea and in that time they were really successful. It was quite difficult to come through. A little bit less muscle, a little bit less physical, and you will fly through the Premier League. He's a man now. "

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2017, with the headline 'Premier League talking points'. Print Edition | Subscribe