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State Of Play in Premier League after November International Break

Top flight football returns this weekend following the conclusion of the November international break.

Anticipation and excitement is building ahead of the return of Premier League football this weekend after the final international break of 2023 concluded earlier this week. With no international football until March 2024, there are a plethora of games to come over the next few weeks and months where the fates of all the 20 teams will be made clearer by the match.

At least one player was called up to play for their international team over the last fortnight, with players from a number of clubs being called up to the England squad by Gareth Southgate. Now, the focus of every player, coach and fan will turn back to domestic football and each club will look to enhance their prospects of achieving their respective targets for the 2023/24 season.

Intense battles are taking place up and down the Premier League table, with multiple clubs involved in the fight for the title, European qualification or avoid relegation down to the Championship.

Starting with the race for the title, there are as many as five clubs involved – Manchester City sits at the summit with 28 points, with the rest of the top four occupied by Liverpool (27 points, +17 GD), Arsenal (27 points, +16 GD) and Tottenham Hotspur (26 points).

Unai Emery’s Aston Villa are fifth and just 3 points adrift of the top, but despite this, their battle may be for Europa League or UEFA Champions League football instead as their Premier League campaign progresses.

Several other clubs that will likely target European football this term include 6th place Manchester United, 7th place Newcastle United, 8th place Brighton and 9th place West Ham.

West Ham balances UEFA Europa League football with the Premier League and other domestic competitions. David Moyes’ Hammers are still in touch with the European spots with just a 3 point gap separating them and seventh place, which would see them qualify for the UEFA Europa Conference League should they finish there.

Chelsea may be 10th with 16 points as it stands, but a run of good form from Mauricio Pochettino’s side would see them move to the forefront in the battle for Europe.

Now we move down the table to those looking to avoid a bottom three finish and relegation to the Championship. Two of the three newly promoted sides occupy a spot in the relegation zone at the time of writing – Vincent Kompany’s Burnley sit bottom of the pile with 4 points in 12 matches after only recording one win so far.

Sheffield United are the other side in the drop zone after promotion last term, with the Blades 18th with 5 points. Everton are the other occupants of the relegation zone after they received their recent ten point deduction, so the Toffees are now 19th on goal difference.

Those clubs are in immediate danger of the drop, but a plethora of other clubs are currently anxiously looking over their shoulder.

Luton Town are currently the only newly promoted side not in the bottom three, with Rob Edwards’ Hatters sitting in 17th with just a solitary point separating themselves and the drop.

Andoni Iraola’s AFC Bournemouth are the other team that is sat perilously above the relegation zone. The Cherries have accumulated 9 points from their opening 12 matches, which leaves them just 4 points above that dreaded dotted line.

There are some clubs further above the bottom three that are still looking to pull themselves away from danger. Fulham, who lost 3 – 1 against Villa in their final game before the November international break, have got 12 points, 1 for every match they have played. The current gap is relatively comfortable at 7 points, but with how fast things can change in the Premier League, they will still be looking over their shoulder.

Nottingham Forest are only a point and a place above the Cottagers, and they are also at risk of dropping down the table in the coming weeks and months. Fulham and Forest, in particular, are on a tightrope – results in the next few games could see them climb up the table and away from the danger zone, or they could fall further down the standings should results not go their way.

Crystal Palace, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Brentford are currently comfortable in mid-table, and they will all have their sights on potentially rising into the top half if they put a run of form together.

There are 10 games taking place over the weekend and on Monday, and they are as follows:

–         Saturday 25th November: Manchester City v Liverpool (Etihad Stadium, 12:30 Kick-Off)

–         Saturday 25th November: Burnley v West Ham United (Turf Moor, 15:00 Kick-Off)

–         Saturday 25th November: Luton Town v Crystal Palace (Kenilworth Road, 15:00 Kick-Off)

–         Saturday 25th November: Newcastle United v Chelsea (St. James’ Park, 15:00 Kick-Off)

–         Saturday 25th November: Nottingham Forest v Brighton & Hove Albion (City Ground, 15:00 Kick-Off)

–         Saturday 25th November: Sheffield United v AFC Bournemouth (Bramall Lane, 15:00 Kick-Off)

–         Saturday 25th November: Brentford v Arsenal (Gtech Community Stadium, 17:30 Kick-Off)

–         Sunday 26th November: Spurs v Aston Villa (Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, 14:00 Kick-Off)

–         Sunday 26th November: Everton v Manchester United (Goodison Park, 16:30 Kick-Off)

–         Monday 27th November: Fulham v Wolverhampton Wanderers (Craven Cottage, 20:00 Kick-Off)

The results from this weekend’s fixtures will start to give an indication as to what direction each club is going in this term, as well as making it clearer what their ultimate fates will be come the end of the 2023/24 Premier League season.

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