Top five: Premier League fixtures in October

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There aren't a whole lot of Premier League fixtures in October because of the international break, which will see England fighting to secure their place at next summer's World Cup finals.

But there are still some eye-catching fixtures which could have a role to play in what happens at both the top and bottom ends of the Premier League table.

Here are the five unmissable Premier League fixers for October:

5 Oct - Sunderland v Manchester United

Sunderland may or may not have appointed a new manager by October 5, but all eyes will be on Premier League champions Manchester United, who haven't exactly got off to a flying start under David Moyes.

The Stadium of Light can be a difficult ground to travel to, as United know all too well, and the Black Cats will be determined to move off the foot of the table by securing three points against their illustrious opponents.

Another defeat for United could leave them close to the bottom three, while victory can lift them up to seventh in the table.

20 Oct - Aston Villa v Tottenham

One of the most intriguing fixtures after the international break sees Tottenham travel to Villa Park.

Villa have already beaten Arsenal and Manchester City this season, and will be confident of adding Tottenham to that list, even without the injured Christian Benteke.

Tottenham, though, know they can ill-afford to lose these matches if they are serious about winning the Premier League title.

21 Oct - Crystal Palace v Fulham

It's only October, but this fixture will have the feel of a relegation six-pointer.

Both teams will view the defeat as catastrophic - and it's quite possible that the losing manager will lose his job, particularly if it's Fulham's Martin Jol, who is coming under increasing pressure.

Fulham and Palace both have a job on their hands to avoid the drop this season, but three points at Selhurst Park would certainly be a good start.

27 Oct - Sunderland v Newcastle United

The Tyne-Wear derby is always an entertaining affair, and this one promises to be no different.

However, it might not be quite as entertaining as when the two rivals last met, back in April. Paolo Di Canio was the hero of the hour as he guided Sunderland to a 3-0 win over the Magpies at St James' Park.

The Italian has gone now, but the forthcoming Tyne-Wear derby promises to be just as feisty.

27 Oct - Chelsea v Man City

October saves its most eye-catching Premier League fixture to last, as Jose Mourinho's Chelsea host Manuel Pellegrini's Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.

These two clubs are among the favourites to win the 2013/14 Premier League title, and victory will provide a real shot in the arm for the winners.

Both clubs have stumbled in the opening weeks of the campaign, but by this point in the season they should be hitting top form.

On paper it promises to be a gripping encounter. Let's hope it lives up to the billing.

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