Premier League talking points

1 GUNNERS SHORT OF DEFENDERS

With the issues piling up in terms of Arsenal's defensive composition, it almost passed unnoticed that they managed a Premier League clean sheet against Huddersfield, a first since September.

However, they have pressing concerns at centre-back ahead of Sunday's game at Southampton with Rob Holding out after his cruciate injury. Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi are banned after picking up their fifth booking of the term.

Full-backs Stephan Lichtsteiner and Nacho Monreal could be drafted into a back three while captain Laurent Koscielny may return after seven months out.

2 TARKOWSKI BACK FOR BURNLEY

After two hernia operations in six months, the return of James Tarkowski to full fitness will be a great relief to manager Sean Dyche, who has witnessed Burnley suffer a poor start to the season.

Tarkowski's natural replacement, Ben Gibson, has also yet to make a league appearance due to a similar problem.

Tarkowski's third league goal of the season against Brighton was decisive but a clean sheet for a team who had conceded 32 times in 15 previous league matches will be a bigger boost.

3 WANTED: PROVEN GOALSCORER

It may be unfair to argue that converted right-back Callum Paterson should not be playing up front after his winner against the Saints, but imagine what Cardiff might be capable of with a proven goalscorer in their ranks.

Manager Neil Warnock travelled to France on a scouting trip earlier this month and Nantes striker Emiliano Sala is among those on his January wish list.

Despite Paterson's four league goals this term, Warnock knows Cardiff remain short of quality in the final third.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 11, 2018, with the headline 'Premier League talking points'. Print Edition | Subscribe