After an excruciating two-week wait, Premier League football will be back this weekend. Liverpool, Chelsea and Watford have all won their four matches so far this season and will be hoping to continue that rich vein of form. Here are five things to look out for.
One eye on Europe
While crucial points are up for grabs in the Premier League, the very top teams will also have one eye on their first European fixtures of the season. The Champions League and Europa League resume next week. Tottenham will travel to Italy to face Inter Milan on Tuesday, after taking on Liverpool over the weekend. The Reds will themselves welcome a European giant in PSG, on Tuesday as well.
Manchester City will host Olympique Lyon on Wednesday, while Manchester United will play Young Boys in Switzerland. Arsenal and Chelsea will play Vorskla and PAOK respectively in the Europa League on Thursday.
Liverpool seek Wembley redemption
Jürgen Klopp has overseen Liverpool’s best start to a Premier League campaign in years. After a summer of what appear to be astute investments in the transfer market, the 100% start has increased belief at Anfield that this could indeed be the season the Reds finally clinch the elusive Premier League title.
With reigning champions City already two points behind them, they could cement their early claim further with a win over a strong but inconsistent Tottenham side at Wembley. To do this will also be to redress last season’s chastening 4-1 defeat in the same fixture.
Chelsea to maintain perfect start
Maurizio Sarri will be looking to continue his flawless start as Chelsea manager when his Blues side host Cardiff City this weekend. Wins over Huddersfield Town, Arsenal, Newcastle United and Bournemouth have left them behind Liverpool in the standings on slight goal difference alone.
Cardiff have struggled to get going following their promotion, with two losses and two draws so far. A fifth consecutive win for Chelsea appears very likely.
Watford to lay down serious marker?
After Watford beat Tottenham 2-1 prior to the international break, their fans wryly started to compare their situation with that of Leicester City when they famously won the Premier League in 2015/16. Leicester’s win-draw-loss record for the previous campaign was mirrored by the Hornets last season.
While it is ridiculously early to even consider Watford as contenders for a top six place – let alone for the title – they have a very unique opportunity to lay down a serious marker this weekend. They have a home fixture against a wobbling Man United side who have already lost two of their four games. A win for Javi Gracia’s men would not only keep them at the top, it would be a proper statement of intent.
Tricky waters for Emery
The English top flight is famous for its consistent ability to throw surprises in any match. It is often said that on their day, any team can beat any other in the Premier League. Unai Emery has already lost two matches since he took over as Arsenal manager in the summer, but defeat to Man City and Chelsea can hardly be classified as surprising.
The Spaniard and his Arsenal team do face a potential banana skin fixture when they play Newcastle at St. James Park this weekend. The Gunners away form was a real cause for concern last season. They only won three of their 19 games on the road, with six defeats including one against Newcastle. If Emery is not careful, he could be about to experience his first giant-killing in England.