After a dramatic international break, we take a look at some of the talking points ahead of the return of the Premier League this weekend.
1. Can Anthony Martial Re-Ignite His Manchester United Career?
It looked like Martial was set to leave Old Trafford in the summer after falling out favour with manager José Mourinho and failing to make the French squad that would go on to win the 2018 World Cup. However, with the exception of Brazillian midfielder Fred, Mourinho failed to acquire his summer transfer targets and Martial remained in Manchester.
United have had a poor start to the season, and manager José Mourinho may feel that a change of personnel is needed. After the 3-2 loss away at Brighton, a formation change to a back three against Tottenham backfired and they were beaten 0-3 at Old Trafford. A brace from Lukaku against Burnley meant Mourinho’s men earned all three points in their last game before the international break.
Lukaku is almost a guaranteed starter under Mourinho, but the poor form of Alexis Sánchez, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata, combined with Marcus Rashford’s suspension means that the 22-year old could get the chance to start against high-flying Watford.
2. Will Burnley Rediscover Last Season’s Form?
Burnley had an excellent season under Sean Dyche last year. Their 7th place finish secured Europa League qualification, however, due to their commitments in Europe, their lack of depth has been exposed. The Clarets have already played ten games this season, and have only picked up one point in the league on the Premier League’s opening weekend, drawing 0-0 with Southampton.
Dyche’s side were knocked out of Europe by Greek outfit Olympiakos after being defeated 4-2 on aggregate. However, this means that Burnley can concentrate on their league campaign and attempt to replicate last season’s excellent form, especially at home.
3. Can West Ham Pick Up Their First Points Of The Season?
After making some promising signings in the summer, many expected West Ham to get off to a good start in the league this year. The Hammers made nine signings in total: Felipe Anderson, Issa Diop, Ryan Fredricks, Fanián Balbuena, Lukasz Fabianski, Carlós Sanchez, Lucas Pérez, Jack Wilshere and Andiry Yarmolenko.
Many West Ham fans believed they now had the quality players to go with their new state of the art stadium, however, four defeats on the bounce has left the East London team bottom of the league. Can West Ham take points from the undefeated Everton at Goodison Park and will former Premier League winning manager Manuel Pellegrini be given time to turn things around?
4. Will Salah Or Kane Shine Brightest At Wembley?
Last season’s two top scorers will clash when Liverpool play Tottenham in Saturday’s early kick-off. Arguably, neither forward has hit top form yet this season. Both Liverpool and Tottenham are in good form with Spurs making their best start to the season since 2009/10 and Klopp’s side sitting top of the league with a 100% record from their first four games.
It will also be interesting to see whether new £39 million Liverpool signing Fabinho makes his first competitive start for the Reds. Manager Jürgen Klopp is unlikely to want to change a winning team, and tough competition from Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Naby Keïta means the midfielder may have to wait for his first Premier League start.
5. Can Liverpool, Chelsea Or Watford Maintain Their 100% Record?
All three sides have been excellent this season, and have found a way to win games when they haven’t been playing well. Liverpool won 1-2 away at Leicester in a game that they probably would have drawn or lost last season, and Chelsea look like dark horses for the title under new boss Maurizio Sarri.
Watford have been the standout story of this season’s Premier League. Manager Javi Gracia was deservedly named Premier League manager of the month for August, and stressed that there is more to come from his side,
“Everybody is happy because to get four wins in a row is not easy and we are enjoying it, the players, the supporters. It’s a big moment for us. Knowing it’s only the beginning.”
The Hornets will face a tough test against Manchester United on Saturday at 5:30.