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The biggest talking points ahead of this weekend's Premier League action

Friday 10th February 2017
The last few weeks of the Premier League have been a testament to its brilliance: entertaining and unpredictable. No one would have foreseen Liverpool's dramatic decline, Hull's revitalised form and Swansea's re-birth. Once again, this weekend's action has the ability to surprise and add twists to a season already populated with myriad controversies and moments of genius.

Ahead of this weekend's football, here are four talking points.

Tigers to bite Arsenal?

Arsene Wenger has been the recipient of heavy criticism, whilst Hull boss Marco Silva has received high praise - the last few weeks have been utterly polar for both.

A dismal display against Watford resulted in an embarrassing 2-1 defeat at home, with Wenger's men being emphatically swept away by a formidable Chelsea team a few days later. These results have sparked gregarious discussion: Wenger's time is up and Arsenal are too soft being the notions that constantly crop up. In the weekend's lunchtime kick-off, Arsenal has a chance to answer the critics and see off a resurgent Hull team. Lose, or even fail to win, and the hounds will come running and barking.

It won't be light work, however. Silva has, much to the merriment of fans, proved the majority of ignorant pundits wrong - he was judged without his team even kicking a ball. Yet, instead of appearing to be a manager who, as pundits assumed, would make his team play attractive but ultimately futile football, he has set his team up in an organised and resilient manner.

A sense of solidarity prevails at the club and it's clear they won't go down without a fight.

Will Hull continue their impressive form, or will Arsenal bounce back from the ferocious criticism aimed their way?

Liverpool lull to continue?

In an utterly baffling month, Liverpool dropped from title contenders to a team who look likely to miss out on a Champions League spot. Jurgen Klopp has been stumped; teams appear to be wising up to his attacking formula and a lack of confidence is worn on the expression and body language of Liverpool players.

A 1-1 draw against Chelsea seemed to have arrested the slump, but they suffered a 2-0 loss against Hull last weekend.

Now, they face the second best team in the league. Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs are daunting opposition and will be heading to Anfield looking for a win. Klopp's Reds will have an enormously tough task on their hands if they are to stop their spiralling form.

Relegation Rivals

Leicester City, the current Champions, find themselves in a relegation battle, remarkably. They sit just one point ahead of the relegation zone and are on equal points with Swansea.
This will, perhaps, be the most intriguing match of the weekend. The outcome has the possibility to define the rest of these respective teams' seasons. If Swansea win, Paul Clement's men will move further up the table and drag themselves further away from the drop - likewise for Leicester.

Yet, if either side lose, the resulting deflation and dispirited reactions could sink them. Claudio Ranieri could be the first manager to lead his team to a title and oversee a relegation in consecutive seasons.

This a crunch relegation match.

Burnley to wound Conte?

Burnley's impressive season has been built on an enviable home record - it's the third best in the league. Sean Dyche has learnt from his mistakes and looks like he will lead Burnley to a second season in the Premier League.

It's a bizarre statement, but Burnley pose more of a threat to Chelsea than Arsenal did last weekend. We could quite easily see Chelsea slip up at Turf Moor; not that it would derail their title bid, however.
Michael Jones

Football & political writer with a predictable love of everything retro. English Literature undergraduate at the University of Exeter, looking to pursue a career in sports journalism. For a collection of my work, visit. http://mikejonesmedia.wordpress.com

Follow me on twitter: @jonesmichael_97

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