We’re two weeks into the season, the games have begun, and we’re off and running. The season has not truly taken shape, and players are still working their ways into new systems. Teams are hoping to keep good starts going or dispel bad early demons.
[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]
With all that in mind, here are the top storylines headed into this weekend’s slate of Premier League matches.
Can Manchester United bounce back against tough opponent?
Manchester United vs. Tottenham — 3:00 p.m. ET Monday on NBCSN [ STREAM ]
Manchester United showed signs of turmoil in preseason, and that has manifest itself in full force to start Premier League play. The Red Devils fell shockingly to Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend, and it has cast a massive storm cloud above manager Jose Mourinho, whose methods have been questioned openly on all fronts. Many of the preseason flaws are proving to be true hindrances to how the team plays.
Now, they host Tottenham at Old Trafford, a much stiffer test. Manchester United could be in dire straits just three matches into the season should they fail to secure a result against one of the best drilled teams in the English top flight.
Arsenal has failed to secure a point in its first two matches under Unai Emery, albeit against two of the top teams in the league. Given the difficult start to the season with opening fixtures against Manchester City and Chelsea, the alarm bells have yet to wail at the Emirates. Now, Emery’s schedule excuse runs out as Arsenal hosts West Ham, and the blame could shift should the Gunners not pull out a positive result.
The Gunners have shown moments of growth, yet still have nothing to hang their hats on. Can Emery prove his way is working now that they face a lesser opponent?
West Ham is in a similar position with no points yet this season, demolished by Liverpool and wasting a lead against Bournemouth. Who will rise above the goose egg, and who will remain stuck at the bottom?
There are six teams remaining with a perfect record through two matches, four of them considered title contenders. Manchester City and Liverpool have both proven to be juggernauts; Mohamed Salah already has a goal and two assists this season, and Liverpool has yet to concede a goal – the only Premier League team left in such a state. Chelsea has come out swinging under new manager Maurizio Sarri, while Tottenham has shown moments of weakness but still remains as dangerous as ever.
Still, teams like Watford and Bournemouth are hoping to begin on a high note. The Cherries host Everton in a match of teams already with 10 points gained between them. The Hornets, meanwhile, welcome Crystal Palace hoping to continue to defy odds after seeing Watford picked by many to battle the drop. Another three points could give Watford some serious room for error later in the season, which has often proven invaluable in the dog days of the campaign.