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Anticipation for the World Cup in Qatar is beginning to build but on the domestic front there is uncertainty around the affect the six-week break will have on the English leagues. With this in mind, every Premier League point is vital in the run-up to the tournament.
Teams will want to take advantage of their squad’s fitness - and any positive momentum - before their star players head off to Qatar and the packed schedule of an international tournament.
With the break less than a month away, it's the perfect time to assess your team's form as Amazon Prime Video is bringing three nights of key Premier League fixtures on 18-20 October. Here are this week's features, and read on to discover our top 3 reasons to watch the live action on Matchday 12 of the Premier League.
This week's live Premier League matches on Amazon Prime
Tuesday 18 October
Brighton vs Nottingham Forest (7.30pm)
Crystal Palace vs Wolves (8.15pm)
Wednesday 19 October
Bournemouth vs Southampton (7.30pm)
Brentford vs Chelsea (7.30pm)
Liverpool vs West Ham United (7.30pm)
Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur (7.30pm)
Newcastle United vs Everton (8.15pm)
Thursday 20 October
Fulham vs Aston Villa (7.30pm)
Leicester City vs Leeds United (8.15pm)
1. The battle for the top four
The race for the title is starting to take shape, with Arsenal opening up a gap after Manchester City suffered their first defeat of the season at Liverpool. The two were due to face off in Matchday 12, but the rearrangement of the Gunners' Europa League tie with PSV Eindhoven (the original fixture was postponed due to a lack of police resources in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II's death) means that we are denied a top-of-the-table shoot-out - for now.
But behind the top two, the battle for the Champions League places remains as fascinating as ever, and two of the contenders for a top four spot meet at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
Manchester United have overcome their disastrous start to life under new boss Erik Ten Hag and will be keen to take points off Spurs in third. As their new signings start to settle in with big wins against Arsenal and Liverpool, the Red Devils will be confident in getting a result against another top four rival. Marcus Rashford has been a player reborn under Ten Hag and could be one to watch in this clash.
Tottenham, meanwhile, are starting to show real promise this season and looking more and more like an Antonio Conte side, adopting his 3-5-2 style of play to good effect. Iconic duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min are back to their best in the final third of the pitch, sharing goals and assists to help the team get points on the board. They will be a hard team for United to break down with their dynamic and aggressive formation.
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2. Foxes and Forest losing touch
At the other end of the table the relegation scrap is starting to take shape and even at this early stage of the season a gap is starting to open up between the teams at the bottom and those above the dreaded 18th place.
Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest and Leicester prop up the table with five points apiece, 2016 champions Leicester City holding what little advantage they have thanks to a better goal difference.
The Foxes' fairytale Premier League title, Champions League run and FA Cup win seem like a distant memory now and they are already in real danger this season of relegation to the Championship.
Despite an impressive win over Nottingham Forest in the East Midlands derby, there are serious question marks over their manager Brendan Rodgers' future at the club. Their one bright spot is that star man James Maddison is doing all in his power to get his side playing well again, and he'll need to be at his best to get anything from the visit of Leeds.
Newly promoted Forest, who have invested heavily in their squad to meet the demands of the top flight, managed an early win over West Ham but have added only two draws since. Despite their form, Forest’s owners have given manager Steve Cooper a new contract: can that show of faith inspire an upturn in form for their tricky trip to Brighton on Tuesday night?
3. Liverpool feel the pressure
It's not only battles with relegation that pile on the pressure. If you're used to winning trophies then a mid-table spot can be just as nerve-wracking for a successful manager.
Liverpool have set their own high standards in recent years, but so far this season are failing to live up to them. After losses to Manchester United and Arsenal as well as a few too many draws than they’d like, they are sitting mid-table rather than keeping pace with Manchester City and Arsenal.
But things are looking up for the Reds. After scoring seven in a Champions League rout at Rangers in midweek, they handed Manchester City their first defeat of the campaign, Mohamed Salah scoring his fourth in two games to claim the win. It's a short turnaround, but the visit to Anfield of the solid, if not spectacular, West Ham on Wednesday will establish whether Jurgen Klopp's team really are back to their best.
Chelsea were in a similar underwhemling situation as Liverpool but a run of five wins in the league and in Europe since Graham Potter replaced Thomas Tuchel as manager have lifted the Blues to fourth in the table. On Wednesday night they travel to mid-table Brentford for a London derby full of spirit which will give Potter's team a tough test.