Arsenal target Man City scalp as Man Utd seek spark
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Arsenal target Man City scalp as Man Utd seek spark

Mikel Arteta is aiming to beat Pep Guardiola in the Premier League for the first time as Arsenal manager
Mikel Arteta is aiming to beat Pep Guardiola in the Premier League for the first time as Arsenal manager

LONDON - Arsenal could leapfrog Manchester City in an early season showdown for the Premier League title on Sunday as crisis-hit Manchester United seek some respite at home to Brentford.

Tottenham have the chance to go top when they travel to Luton on Saturday thanks to a controversial win over Liverpool last weekend.

The Reds are looking to channel their fury at being wronged by a VAR error at Spurs to bounce back at Brighton.

AFP Sport picks out three talking points ahead of the action in the English top flight.

Arteta sweats on Saka fitness as City loom

Arsenal's dreams of a first Premier League title since 2004 were shattered by City's strong finish to last season.

That included two victories for Pep Guardiola's men over the Gunners and Mikel Arteta's record against his former mentor does not read well.

Arteta has lost all seven league games against Guardiola during his time in charge at the Emirates, with the aggregate score reading a painful 19-3.

Arsenal smashed their transfer record to beat City to the signing of Declan Rice with the aim of wrestling the title away from Manchester.

And City gave the contenders to their crown a huge boost when the champions suffered a shock 2-1 defeat by Wolves last weekend.

But the Gunners could be without the talismanic talent of Bukayo Saka for Sunday's clash.

The England winger, who has started 87 consecutive league games, limped out of the midweek Champions League defeat by Lens.

City are also without one of their key men as Rodri completes a three-game ban for his red card against Nottingham Forest last month.

Man Utd at low ebb

United were supposed to be in the middle of a run of winnable fixtures that would get their season back on track.

Instead, they find themselves battling to avoid a third straight defeat when Brentford visit Old Trafford on Saturday after painful home losses to Crystal Palace and Galatasaray.

Erik ten Hag's men are already seven points off the top four after losing four of their opening seven games of a Premier League season for the first time.

Brentford have only beaten United once since 1938 but that came last season, when Thomas Frank's men won 4-0 at their London ground.

Ten Hag did not expect an easy ride after an encouraging first campaign at the helm but the problems are piling up.

An injury-ravaged defence and error-prone goalkeeper Andre Onana continue to leak goals, while Marcus Rashford looks a shadow of the player who scored 30 goals last season.

United desperately need a win to settle their restive fans and avoid their season spinning out of control.

Brighton face fuming Liverpool

Liverpool travel to England's south coast full of righteous anger after falling victim to an embarrassing VAR blunder last weekend.

Jurgen Klopp's men were wrongly denied an opening goal at Tottenham and went on to lose the match 2-1 -- their first defeat of the season.

The German manager wants a replay of that match but accepts that he is unlikely to get his wish.

More likely is that he will try to channel a sense of injustice as he targets a sixth win in eight Premier League games.

It is tricky to judge which Brighton team will turn up.

The Seagulls beat Newcastle, Manchester United and Bournemouth by a combined score of 9-3 but have now failed to win in three games in all competitions, including a chastening 6-1 defeat at Aston Villa last week.

Manager Roberto De Zerbi admits he is playing a "different sport" this season as he grapples with a crowded fixture list and growing injury concerns in the club's debut European campaign.

The Italian hopes last week's pummelling will be a one-off after an impressive start to the season.

"I don't speak about the result, but the attitude and the passion we will show from now until the end of the season will be completely different," he said.

"The defeat against Villa was important, it could be a crucial day for us."


Saturday (1400 GMT unless stated)

Luton v Tottenham (1130), Burnley v Chelsea, Everton v Bournemouth, Fulham v Sheffield United, Manchester United v Brentford, Crystal Palace v Nottingham Forest (1630)

Sunday (1300 unless stated)

Brighton v Liverpool, West Ham v Newcastle, Wolves v Aston Villa, Arsenal v Manchester City (1530)

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