Man United’s acid test, the London derby, and more – Premier League Matchday 5 Preview

After an exciting round of European fixtures, we return to Premier League action later on Friday evening with Leeds United travelling to Newcastle United.

Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton are all on the same points at the top of the Premier League, followed by Manchester City, Brighton and Tottenham Hotspur, who are all on nine points after four games.

Newly promoted Norwich City are yet to break their duck while Newcastle United, Burnley and Leeds remain winless. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the 5 things to look forward to in Matchday 5:

5 things to look forward to on Premier League Matchday 5

Manchester United’s response after their Champions League shock against Young Boys

Manchester United backed their manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to the hilt this summer, signing Raphael Varane, Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Tom Heaton. With such a strong squad filled with some exceptional young talents and serial winners, Solskjaer must win something this season to end the Reds’ mini trophy drought.

But the pressure on the Norwegian tactician increased on Tuesday following the embarrassing 2-1 defeat to Young Boys in the opening group stage game of the Champions League. Manchester United have no time to feel sorry about the loss in Switzerland with a trip to West Ham on Sunday beckons.

Solskjaer would want a telling response from his boys against the Hammers, who have started the new season impressively with eight points from four games.

The Hammers picked up a historic win in the Europa League, and will head into the clash with a spring in their steps. This will be a real acid test for Manchester United.

Opportunity for Liverpool to keep rolling

Liverpool have made a strong start in the Premier League, and will be high on confidence following their pulsating 3-2 comeback victory over AC Milan at Anfield in the opening group stage game of the Champions League.

On Saturday, the Reds host Crystal Palace, who will head to Anfield in a buoyant mood following their 3-0 success over Tottenham Hotspur last weekend.

Last season, Liverpool, for several factors, struggled to breach defences and score goals fluidly. But that wasn’t the case against Crystal Palace as Jürgen Klopp’s side netted 9 goals across two fixtures—a 7-0 victory at Selhurst Park in December 2020 and a 2-0 victory at Anfield on the final day of the season.

Thus, Saturday’s fixture gives Liverpool another chance to flex their muscles and continue their recent domination over Crystal Palace.

Brighton’s potential rise to the top six

Brighton have been the surprise package of the season so far. The Seagulls, who narrowly beat the drop last season, are currently sixth in the Premier League table and are level on points with Manchester City and Spurs.

Graham Potter’s side have the opportunity to consolidate their position in the top six this weekend when they host Leicester City at the Amex Stadium.

While these are early days in the season, Brighton have shown enough promise to suggest they will be in and around the big boys rather than fighting against relegation this time around.

Newcastle United and Leeds United’s chance for revival

Leeds United were impressive last season on their return to the English top-flight, securing a ninth-placed finish. Newcastle United, on the other hand, were poor during the first phase of last season but picked up enough momentum in 2021 to finish 13th.

Both Newcastle and Leeds are winless thus far and have had poor starts to the 2021/22 campaign. They face each other at St James Park on Friday evening, so one of these sides can kick-start their campaign with a win and push upwards on the table.

It could be a game of contrasting styles as Newcastle might play on the break while Leeds could be the more proactive of the two teams.

Can Tottenham Hotspur stop Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku?

Tottenham’s 100% start to the season came to a surprise end last weekend following a 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace. On closer look, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men were poor going forward and lacked the zip in their passing.

Chelsea, on the other hand, despite not being at their sublime best, swept away Aston Villa 3-0 at Stamford Bridge thanks to ruthlessness in front of goal. And they edged past Zenit 1-0 in the opening group stage game of the Champions League on Tuesday. One common factor—Romelu Lukaku.

Lukaku, one of Europe’s most feared strikers, is enjoying life in west London following his return to the club. With four goals in as many games across all competitions, he is justifying his billing.

With the big Belgian in the form of his life, it remains to be seen how the Tottenham defenders neutralise him in front of their home support on Sunday.

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