As we near the end of September, questions are being asked of some clubs and managers and answers will be expected this weekend. With some of the big teams underperforming there are chances for smaller clubs to make some progress and a bottom of the table clash.
The first match of the weekend sees newly-promoted Sheffield United take on an unbeaten Liverpool side. Both finished runner-up in their leagues last season but Liverpool clearly has designs on the title this season and won’t be too worried by the likes of Sheffield.
Despite being level with Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham on the table, the Blades have kept their games close. Having only scored seven goals so far, with five coming from open play, and conceding six. They have shown themselves to be strong on the counter-attack but that will be quite a challenge against the heavy press of the Reds.
Chelsea has had troubles in almost all of their matches so far this season and find themselves sitting in 11th. The Blues have conceded the third most goals so far (behind only Watford and Norwich) while scoring 12. Having lost two of their last three games at home Frank Lampard will be eager to see things improve against a Brighton side who haven’t won in the league since matchday 1 against Watford.
It’s still early but Tammy Abraham is showing signs of brilliance with seven goals in six appearances and is likely to be a major threat the Seagulls will try to prepare for. With Chelsea coming off a 7-1 thrashing of Grimsby in the Carabao Cup compared to Brighton’s 1-3 loss to Aston Villa the blues should be comfortable picking up three points.
Tottenham is looking wobbly and will be grateful to be playing at home again after losing on penalties to League Two’s Colchester. Manager Mauricio Pochettino has spoken of the unrest among the squad and they will need to sort themselves out before they drop more points. Going from the Champions League final to falling 10 points behind and yet to win away from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has raised eyebrows from fans and questions about Pochettino’s position.
Southampton has had variable form with a 2-1-3 record so far with wins coming against Brighton and Sheffield. The Saints won’t be without hope of getting something from their last game of the month though as Tottenham continue to waver. Another loss for the Spurs could be on the cards if they can’t find some form and Southampton would welcome the points.
The highlight of the round could very well be the closer Arsenal with visiting Old Trafford. The Gunners are on a three-game winning streak while United are coming off a loss to West Ham and a struggle to beat League One side Rochdale on penalties in the Carabao Cup.
Neither side has had a strong defence with Arsenal keeping one clean sheet and Man United with two. United will need to be prepared with Arsenal’s Aubameyang sitting in fourth on the top-scorer list with six goals while their own top-scorer Marcus Rashford has only three.
The Red Devils are still not at their best, despite opening with 4-0 over Chelsea they have eight points and criticism is mounting for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Both teams see players return from injury, most notably Paul Pogba for United.
The remaining fixtures include Aston Villa hosting Burnley, Bournemouth hosting West Ham and Crystal Palace hoping to restrain Teemu Pukki when they take on Norwich.
Elsewhere Wolves take on Watford in a bottom of the table clash, Everton plays host to the dangerous Man City and Leicester host Newcastle.