Ahead of the third round of matches in the 2022/23 Premier League season, we analyze five talking points on this weekend's action.
City on a mission
Premier League defending champions Manchester City are out to establish their dominance by separating themselves from the rest of the pack. The Citizens have taken two wins from their first two games, scoring six goals without conceding in 180 minutes.
City next visit St. James' Park for a tricky test with Newcastle Utd, before back-to-back home games versus Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest. Erling Haaland will be striving to get back on the scoresheet after a relatively quiet cameo against Bournemouth. The Norwegian striker certainly doesn't lack the confidence as we saw with his two goals on debut at West Ham on the opening weekend.
Man City and Newcastle are the only PL clubs yet to concede a goal in the current campaign. Pep Guardiola’s men are one of just two teams with maximum points, together with the Spaniard's countryman and protégée Mikel Arteta whose Arsenal side have also taken two wins on the trot – contrary to the Gunners' disastrous start to the 2021/22 season.
Gunners going from strength to strength
As mentioned, Arsenal are the only other team with a 100% record this PL season. This time last year many thought Arteta was approaching the end of his spell in charge but the skipper-turned-coach has done excellently to swing his fortunes in his favour and now he seems firmly in control of the situation in North London.
Arteta's army appear to be jelling with distinction and the signing of Gabriel Jesus is already proving to be a shrewd piece of business. Arsenal travel to Bournemouth this weekend before they take on another newly-promoted team in Fulham, thereafter the Gunners tackle Aston Villa to close out August.
Top 4 free-for-all
Arsenal aren't the only ones looking to make a statement of intent this season. Following an explosive London derby at Stamford Bridge last weekend, Chelsea and Tottenham are each seeking to get back to winning ways as they next encounter Leeds Utd and Wolves, respectively.
Chelsea and Spurs have 4 points apiece and both Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte are aiming for their teams to string together some positive results during a semi-congested period leading up to the first international break next month. Conte and Tuchel are banned from the touchline in their next match after both managers were on the receiving end of a red card last weekend.
Wolves won at Spurs in three of the last four seasons but Bruno Lage's side have just one win in their last eight away from home, dating back to February. Meanwhile, Chelsea should be weary of Leeds forward Rodrigo who is currently top of the scoring charts with three PL goals. Since securing promotion in 2020, Leeds have failed to beat Chelsea in four attempts and they last got the better of the Blues back in December 2002 – prior to the start of the Roman Abramovich era.
Early surprise package
Brentford are showing no early signs of second-season syndrome and they currently sit in 3rd place, level with the likes of Tottenham and Chelsea on 4 points. The Bees took 16 points from their final 8 games last term and have seemingly carried that form into the new season. Thomas Frank's team completed an opening-day comeback to share the points at Leicester City before they demolished Man United last time out.
Losing out on the influential Christian Eriksen in the summer was seen as a hammer blow to Brentford but the West London club have moved on and aren't looking back. Ivan Toney has been directly involved in three goals so far and Brentford's next five fixtures all come against teams who finished outside the top 10 of the Premier League last season. First up is a trip to Fulham on Saturday.
Manchester: a city of two halves
While their city rivals are steady at the summit, Man United sit at the foot of the table following defeats at the hands of Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion. All but three clubs have collected points from their opening two matches this term while Everton, West Ham and Man Utd occupy the bottom three places and each are yet to earn their first points of the season.
Following a tough start to life under Erik ten Hag it doesn’t get any easier for United, who next welcome north-west rivals Liverpool to Old Trafford on Monday night. Victory over Jürgen Klopp’s cavalry is far-fetched but should they be able to pull it off the Red Devils would leapfrog Liverpool who had to settle for draws in their first two fixtures with Fulham and Crystal Palace.
This is Liverpool's worst start to a season under Klopp and the club's worst since 2012/13 when the Reds mustered 2 points from their opening five games under Brendan Rodgers. United have beaten Liverpool just once in their last 12 league meetings, losing five and drawing six of those.
Also in search of their first points this term, Everton host Nottingham Forest meanwhile West Ham entertain Brighton.