Saturday , September 18 2021

5 talking points before the weekend in the Premier League



The new Premier League season continues with Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United among clubs looking to build on strong starts.

Here the PA looks at the key talking points as the action begins.

A renewed attack on Arsenal?

Arsenal's Czad Kolasinac (left) and Mesut Ozil, who could return to action after a knife attack, forced them to miss the Premier League weekend
Arsenal left and Mesut Ozil, who could return to action after trying to punch cars, forced them to miss the opening weekend of the Premier League (Nigel French / PA)

Arsenal's first home game of the season could see them assisted by fresh faces and the return of acquaintances. Artillery chief Unai Emery has confirmed that Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac are both ready to get back into action after trying to break into cars in London, meaning they missed the first weekend due to security concerns. Emery's offensive options are further enhanced by summer signings Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli, and he can also unleash Brazilian center back David Luis for the first time since acquiring him from Chelsea. Having beaten Newcastle in an uncharacteristically strong opening display, Burnley's fifth-ranked finalist at home last season is home to the game with confidence, beating the Clarets 3-1 in both league games last season.

Lampard fountains of wealth

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard during his 4-0 defeat to Manchester United
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard during his 4-0 defeat to Manchester United (Martin Rickett / PA)

Frank Lampard endured less than a perfect start to his first season as Chelsea boss. His team suffered a huge 4-0 defeat by Manchester United in their opening game, followed by the final loss of the Super Cup by a penalty shootout against Liverpool. This time Chelsea face Brendan Rodgers' Leicester, and Lampard hopes his team will produce a result that will silence critics and cancel out a hat trick. Forced to turn to college graduates for a transfer ban, Lampard could again include 20-year-old midfielder Mason Mount until he hopes 21-year-old Tammy Abraham is out of action after his final penalty shootout in the Super Cup. The attacker has since received racist abuse through social media.

Business as usual for Manchester City?

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero scores alongside West Ham United's Lukasz Fabianski
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero scores alongside West Ham's Lucas Fabiansky (Adam Davy / PA)

Manchester City looked as dominant as ever when battling West Ham in a 5-0 win at London Stadium. Rahim Sterling's hat trick, Gabriel Jesus' 25th-minute shot and Sergio Aguero's penalty left the Hammers completely out of contention. This weekend, however, provides more competition as Pep Guardiola's side take on Mauricio Pochetino's Tottenham at Etihad Stadium. After missing key goalie Aguero and renowned Bernardo Silva from the start of the XI last weekend, it will be appropriate to see if they are recovered as City moves up in their attempt to win a third consecutive title.

Manchester United cautious of wolves

Manchester United failed to beat Wolves in three tries last season
Manchester United failed to beat Wolves in three tries last season (Nick Potts / PA)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United stepped into the season opener by putting four goals past Chelsea, who failed to respond. Their journey to Molineux to face the Wolves could be a tougher test, as United failed to do better than Nuno Espirito Santo's previous term. Able to shake up several countries from their highest flight last season, the Wolves have proven it unwise to underestimate their lineup. While Solskjaer hopes to maintain his momentum, Wolves will look to collect three points after drawing his opening game with Leicester and is unlikely to fold as easily as Chelsea did.

Champion Home Lawn Heroes

Sheffield United scored a point in their 2019-20 Premier League season opener thanks to fan favorite Billy Sharp
Sheffield United earned a point in their 2019-20 Premier League season opener thanks to fan favorite Billy Sharp (Mark Curton / PA)

All three promoted countries will play this term for the first time in the home audience. The opening weekend gave mixed fortunes for its debutants, with only Sheffield United turning up with a point drawn against Bournemouth. Fans will now see their teams present for a home tournament for the first time since their successful Championship campaigns, a factor the trio surely hopes will help them secure their first Premier League victory after promotion. Norwich Newcastle and Sheffield United hosts Crystal Palace, while Aston Villa playoff winners face Eddie Howne's Bournemouth.


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