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October Preview

Updated: Oct 2, 2020

Prior to kick-off of all 28 Premier League matches thus far we have seen players, officials, and staff taking a knee in ongoing support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Moreover, all PL players have the message of 'No Room For Racism' printed on their matchday jerseys. Both gestures are most likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Were it not for Mo Salah’s hat-trick which saved Jürgen Klopp’s blushes, Leeds United may well have deprived Liverpool of three precious points on the opening day at Anfield.

The appearance of Leeds-born James Milner in the 7-goal thriller meant that – at the time of the match – the 34-year-old Liverpool midfielder had been involved in all of Leeds’ previous 31 PL fixtures, more than sixteen years apart.

A week later the Reds overcame Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, courtesy of a Sadio Mané brace.

Man City kicked off their season against Wolves and emerged 3-1 winners at Molineux Stadium to record just their second victory in five league meetings with Nuno Santo’s orange army.

Gameweek 2 saw 44 goals scored – the most in a PL gameweek since the start of the 1995/96 season.

Liverpool retained momentum for their home fixture versus Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal. The Gunners took the lead against the run of play but the defending champions struck back immediately, and went on to claim all three points with an emphatic 3-1 win.

Everton, Leicester City and Liverpool have set the pace as the early front-runners, all achieving maximum points from their opening three outings.

1. Leicester PTS 9, GF 12, GA 4

2. Liverpool PTS 9, GF 9, GA 4 3. Everton PTS 9, GF 8, GA 3

Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Leicester marksman Jamie Vardy sit atop of the goalscoring charts, both netting five times so far. 4/5 of Vardy’s goals have come from the penalty spot, whereas DCL scored a hat-trick vs West Brom to boost the Toffees to a resounding 5-2 win.

For his efforts, Calvert-Lewin receives his first England senior call-up, aged 23.

Heung-Min Son closely trails the duo, as the South Korean remarkably bagged four goals in Spurs' 5-2 win away at St Mary's Stadium.

Despite coming up short against the champions, Leeds Utd have undoubtedly been the biggest surprise package in the opening rounds. Marcelo Bielsa's charges certainly mean business, scoring eight goals in their opening three fixtures back in England's elite – only Leicester and Liverpool have scored more.

The Whites could be eager to kick on in search of continental football for the first time since 2002.

West Brom are winless heading into gameweek 4 while Burnley, Fulham and Sheffield Utd have yet to earn their first points. Fulham have conceded 11 goals so far; no team has let in more.

Sheffield Utd have had a rusty start to their season, underlined by a suspension and several injuries. After a better-than-expected campaign last time around, the Blades will be anxious to not succumb to second-season syndrome.

It does not get any easier for Chris Wilder's side as they have fixtures versus Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City all on the horizon.

In October there are yet more head-turning encounters to look forward to.

On Saturday 3 Oct, Leeds and Man City contest a PL fixture for the first time since March 2004, when Leeds emerged 2-1 winners at Elland Road. Since the turn of century, this is just the fourth season in which Leeds and City are both in the English top-flight.

On Sunday, Man Utd and Spurs lock horns and José Mourinho will be ultra determined to claim a positive result at Old Trafford, having won zero of two league fixtures versus his former employers.

Liverpool face a trip to the West Midlands to meet Aston Villa, who are the only team yet to concede a goal this season.

Another international break follows shortly thereafter, featuring some appetising clashes. Some notable friendlies include Portugal vs Spain, and England vs Wales (both 7 Oct), before the UEFA Nations League resumes. Sunday 11 October sees England meet Belgium at Wembley, meanwhile World Cup champions France go to battle with reigning European champions Portugal.

On 14 Oct, Roberto Mancini's Italy host the Netherlands under newly-appointed head coach Frank de Boer.

2018 WC finalists Croatia and France go head-to-head once again – their last two exchanges have presented identical outcomes with Les Bleus winning 4-2 on both occasions.

We return back to the Prem on 17 October, as Goodison Park hosts the first Merseyside Derby of the season. Elsewhere, Arteta's Arsenal travel to Pep Guardiola's Man City in the latest installment of 'mentor vs protégé'.

Later on in the month, a delicate fixture at Old Trafford sees Man Utd entertain Chelsea.

Almost upon us are the commencements of UEFA's premier club competitions; the Champions League and Europa League both begin during the week starting 19 Oct.

Teams are in for thick and fast schedules, with six matchdays in the space of eight weeks.

UCL holders Bayern Munich have been grouped alongside Atletico Madrid, RB Salzburg and Lokomotiv Moscow in Group A.

Group H is the 20/21 group of death, consisting of last season's runners-up Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester Utd, RB Leipzig and Istanbul Basaksehir.

In Group G we have been graced with a clash of the titans. The pairing of Juventus and Barcelona means that we are in for a treat as the two greatest players of our generation potentially go head-to-head. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have won 11 Ballon d'Or between them and this is set to be their first on-field reunion since CR7 left Real Madrid in 2018.

All but two of 35 previous meetings between the pair have been at club level, of which Messi (and Barça) has won 15, lost 9, and drawn 9 to Ronaldo's Man Utd/Real Madrid; they have also twice met head-to-head on the international stage, with both Argentina and Portugal winning once apiece.

With both icons approaching the closing chapters of their pro careers, this may well be the last time they share a pitch before retirement.

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