The 2022/23 Premier League campaign resumes after the international break and there is plenty of action to be excited about again.
Manchester City are the only team with a 100 per cent record going into matchweek five, followed by Tottenham, Liverpool, West Ham and Arsenal with 10 points. At the other end of the table, newcomers Luton Town and Burnley are yet to get off the mark.
With the Premier League set to recommence at the weekend, here are ten things to look forward to in matchweek 5.
#Can Man City maintain their lead at the top?
Manchester City find themselves at the top of the Premier League after matchweek four, with two points separating them from second-placed Tottenham.
Pep Guardiola’s side have started the new campaign like champions, winning their opening four fixtures and are once again setting the pace at the top. They made a statement by beating Fulham 5-1 at home before the international break, with Erling Haaland smashing a fine hat-trick.
Despite losing Kevin de Bruyne—one of their most important players—to a serious hamstring injury until the turn of the New Year—City have been alright and will be in a cheerful mood when travelling to the London Stadium to face unbeaten West Ham.
#West Ham’s test of character against Man City
Few, if any, will have predicted West Ham’s great start to the season after selling Declan Rice to Arsenal and watching them fail to make a summer signing until a day before the new season kicked off, but 10 points from 12 available—including big wins over Chelsea and Brighton—have the Hammers faithful believing once again.
David Moyes and Co. will now be preparing for the biggest test of the season thus far when they entertain champions Man City at the London Stadium on Saturday. It should be difficult for West Ham to get a result against City, but given the start they have enjoyed, they will perhaps feel the time is right to face the defending champions at home.
#Can Thomas Frank pile pressure on Eddie Howe?
Brentford have started the season slowly, picking up six points from their opening four games, although they are among the six teams in the division to stay unbeaten.
Thomas Frank’s men were minutes away from tasting their first defeat of the season against Bournemouth, only for Bryan Mbeumo to rescue a point with a stoppage-time equaliser at home before the break. They resume their Premier League duties on Saturday with a trip to Newcastle United, who have struggled for results.
After smashing Aston Villa 5-1 at home in the opening weekend, Newcastle lost three successive matches before the international break. Eddie Howe finds himself in a spot of bother, with questions now being asked of the English tactician for the first time in his job in Tyneside.
So, it is perhaps the best time for Frank and Brentford to face the Magpies at St James’ Park and pile more misery on Howe.
#Will Chelsea change tune at last?
Chelsea have spent £975m on players since Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital took over from Roman Abramovich 18 months ago. In August, they signed Moises Caicedo from Brighton in a deal worth a British record £115m, breaking the £105m record they had set in January when they signed Enzo Fernandez from Benfica.
Caicedo had something of a nightmare debut from the bench against West Ham, giving away a penalty that sealed the deal for David Moyes’ side, and followed it up with a poor performance in Chelsea’s shock 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest before the international break.
Despite spending lavishly and breaking transfer records, it is now two wins from 18 games in all competitions for Chelsea, and there may well be a touch of trepidation about their visit to the Vitality Stadium to face Bournemouth, who have had two weeks to overcome the disappointment of dropping points in stoppage time away at Brentford.
#Will Rasmus Hojlund start against Brighton?
It took a few weeks for Rasmus Hojlund to get fit and make his debut for Manchester United, and even though Erik ten Hag’s men lost 3-1 to Arsenal before the international break, the young striker came off the bench and impressed.
Hojlund teamed up with Denmark and came off the bench twice in their Euro 2024 qualifying wins over San Marino and Finland, thus, gaining some much-needed match sharpness ahead of a long, gruelling campaign. Man United know they are not buying the finished article in Hojlund and he certainly needs time to develop, but with Ten Hag’s side having struggled for goals and form, fans would love to see the big Dane lead the attack against an impressive Brighton side
But will Ten Hag hand Hojlund his full debut at the weekend?
#Everton yet to click as a unit but still dangerous
Everton have endured a difficult start to the season, having taken just one point from their opening four games. As a result, it leaves the Merseysiders in the relegation zone – having only narrowly survived in the past two campaigns.
Yet, Sean Dyche has been encouraged by what he’s seen from his side so far bar the 4-0 thumping at the hands of Aston Villa. While it is not the best time to face Arsenal who beat Man United 3-1 at home just before the break, Dyche will look to take encouragement from his first game in charge of the club earlier in February when he stunned Mikel Arteta’s side 1-0 at Goodison Park.
Everton are yet to click as a unit but they have enough weapons to hurt Arsenal at home like last season.
#Can Liverpool solve their defensive woes?
In Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez—Liverpool have no problems scoring goals but it is at the back that they are facing issues.
The decision to not invest in a centre-back could blow up in the Reds’ face that has already seen Ibrahima Konate pick up an injury and Virgil van Dijk hit with a two-match suspension. This leaves Jurgen Klopp with just two fit senior centre-back options Joel Matip and Joe Gomez available for the weekend’s game.
Liverpool play a struggling Wolves side at Molineux and it will be a good chance to solve their problems at the back.
#Can Aston Villa bounce back?
Aston Villa have endured a mixed start to the new season, winning two and losing two of their four games. They were second-best in every department against Liverpool at Anfield in the last game, thus, losing 3-0 in the process.
Unai Emery has problems to solve at the back, which has looked shaky and uninspiring without the presence of Tyrone Mings. Diego Carlos was forced off with an injury against Liverpool, while summer signing Pau Torres looked all over the place.
On Saturday, Villa face a Crystal Palace side that clinched a 3-2 win over Wolves at home. Yet, certainly, Villa playing at home will be favourites to take all three points. But will they bounce back?
#Can Sheffield United stifle Tottenham?
The Ange Postecoglou era at Tottenham is in full flow. They are absolutely flying at the moment, having tasted victory in each of their last three games with wins over Man United, Bournemouth and Burnley in that order.
Spurs kick off their return from internationals with a home clash against newly-promoted Sheffield United, whose fortunes are at the opposite end of the spectrum, as Paul Heckingbottom’s side are yet to record their first league win of the season. And facing an in-form Spurs side will be some task for the Blades.
Heckingbottom, nonetheless, has players that can trouble Spurs and exploit their defensive frailties on the counter attack. How he sets his Sheffield United team up to stop Postecoglou’s side from playing their attacking brand of football will be intriguing to watch.
#Can Burnley break their duck?
Recognised as one of the Premier League’s finest defenders, Vincent Kompany enjoyed unrivalled success in his debut season at Turf Moor, leading Burnley to the Championship title with 101 points. However, it hasn’t been a great return to the Premier League for Kompany and Burnley.
Indeed, it is only three games into the new season but the Clarets are already bottom of the Premier League table and the problems are piling up for Kompany. After losing to Man City and Aston Villa, they were taken apart 5-2 by Spurs before the international break.
Next up is a trip to Nottingham Forest, who created headlines last time out by stunning Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge. While playing a confident Forest side in front of a noisy City Ground will be no mean feat, Kompany’s Burnley will sense this as a great opportunity to get their season up and running.
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