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04/11/2013 05:11 GMT | Updated 04/11/2013 05:14 GMT

Lee Cattermole, Jonny Evans, Chelsea's Defence And More: 5 Premier League Talking Points

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NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02: Yoan Gouffran of Newcastle United celebrates scoring their first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Chelsea at St James' Park on November 2, 2013 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Arsenal are five points clear at the Premier League summit for the first time since February 2008. That, Arsène Wenger will remember, did not end well.

The following week they were tonked 4-0 at Manchester United - coincidentally, their opponents this Sunday - and in this open of title races it is likely there will be more twists and turns on Saturday and Sunday.

But here are five talking points from the recent round of fixtures...

VIDIĆ AND EVANS UNITED'S BEST PARTNERSHIP

How ironic it was Nemanja Vidić, the steel to Jonny Evans' silk, whose uncharacteristically serene distribution led to Manchester United's opener at Fulham on Saturday. Evans, a better footballer than he is a defender, is Vidić's most suitable partner after Rio Ferdinand's dismal start to the campaign, and impressed in the champions' best performance since August. United were less secure in the Ulsterman's absence for the second-half, which highlighted his emergence as a pivotal player in David Moyes' squad.

jonny evans

Evans' back stiffened at Fulham

SPURS LACK FOCAL POINT

Tottenham missed out on moving up to second by drawing at Goodison Park, which isn't unusual for the Premier League's annual bottlers. What is unusual is how unappealing their football has become this season.

Apart from Hull, they are the only team in the top half of the table not to have registered double-figures in goals. Three of Roberto Soldado's League strikes have come from the penalty spot and the Spaniard is blunted by a distant forward three behind him. Christian Eriksen and Lewis Holtby are not out-and-out No.10s and André Villas-Boas might regret not acquiring a proven player to offset Gareth Bale's departure.

roberto soldado

Soldado is short of support up front at Tottenham

CHELSEA NEED A DEFENDER MORE THAN A STRIKER IN JANUARY

Despite Fernando Torres' umpteenth comeback against Manchester City eight days ago, Chelsea still seem to be linked with more strikers than defenders. Like Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City, José Mourinho failed to address a suspect defence in the transfer window and the manner in which Yoan Gouffran's goal was conceded again highlighted the need for defensive reinforcements.

SUNDERLAND SHOULD BIN CATTERMOLE

Plenty will have recoiled at spurious reports of Lee Cattermole's role in Sunderland's revival post-Paolo di Canio. One of the few things Di Canio got right was overlooking a player who was sent off for a sixth time with the Black Cats on Saturday, and if Gustavo Poyet perseveres with him Sunderland will be a Championship club next season.

lee cattermole

Cattermole received a sixth red card in his four years with Sunderland

PALACE RESIGNED TO RELEGATION

Keith Millen admitted what everyone outside of Crystal Palace already knew last week regarding the club's managerial vacancy: "It is right that I don't put myself forward."

Millen has managed Palace for two defeats and it is nearly two weeks since Ian Holloway w̶a̶s̶ ̶s̶a̶c̶k̶e̶d̶ left his contract by mutual consent. Chairman Steve Parish is waving the white flag already.