Premier League: This week’s 10 talking points

In a blink of an eye, week two of the Premier League is upon us and – after a thrilling start to the new campaign – there is plenty to look forward to this weekend.

Challengers Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham are all looking to maintain strong starts to their respective title bids, while Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will be hoping for a far less nervy outing than his side’s 4-3 win over Leicester.

Meanwhile, after having both Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas sent off in a 3-2 loss to Burnley, defending champions Chelsea must bounce back, with Liverpool another side looking for a positive result after conceding a late equaliser in a 3-3 draw with Watford.

In their first season back in the top flight since 1972, Huddersfield sent their fans to dreamland by beating Crystal Palace 3-0, but there was no such joy for their fellow new boys as both Newcastle and Brighton were beaten last week.

Here, FOX Sports Asia previews the key talking points from the upcoming Premier League action.

Will Jose’ juggernaut continue to gather pace?

Jose Mourinho usually wins trophies in his second season at the helm and his sophomore year at Old Trafford began with an emphatic 4-0 triumph over West Ham.

Following impressive displays by Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba, plenty was made about the size and power of the present United side and how they could bully opponents into submission.

In Leroy Fer, Federico Fernandez and Alfie Mawson, Swansea do have a nice handful of physically-imposing specimens, although the Hammers having two centre-backs taller than 1.9m (Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna) sure did not make much of a difference.

Cherries ripe for the picking?

They bravely survived relegation in their first year in the top flight, before achieving a remarkable 9th-place finish last season.

But, this term, Bournemouth will really need to show they belong in the Premier League.

Opposition sides are no longer unfamiliar, nor will they underestimate, the Cherries, and Eddie Howe will really need to show why he is regarded as one of England’s brightest managerial talents.

It may still be early days in the season but a second consecutive loss this week to Watford and doubts could begin to creep in the players’ minds, which could just be the first slippery step towards a relegation dogfight.

Barry a perfect fit for Baggies

Arguably the most underrated player in English football over the past decade, Gareth Barry joined his fourth Premier League club earlier this week when he completed his switch from Everton to West Brom and could make his debut against Burnley on Saturday.

For someone who has made a career out of keeping things simple, the 36-year-old seems like the sort who is happy that he does not frequently feature in the headlines.

Make no mistake though – the fact that he will almost certainly beat Ryan Giggs’ all-time record of 632 Premier League appearances is testament to his longevity and quality.

A hardworking, no-nonsense anchorman joining Tony Pulis’ West Brom? Sounds like a match made in heaven already.

First proper look at new boys Brighton

It was impossible to tell from last week’s 2-0 defeat to City – a side they were expected to lose to – whether Brighton are a chance to stay up this season.

They did look impressively well-organised by Chris Hughton and were not lacking in endeavour, but those admirable qualities are not always enough to stave off relegation.

Leicester are, by no means, pushovers but they will pose a far less daunting proposition and, perhaps, this will allow the Seagulls to produce a more accurate account of what is to be expected from them this season.

Time for Liverpool to begin life after Coutinho

There is no denying how important it is for a side like Liverpool, who are looking to return to their glory days, to make a statement and not just roll over when a bigger club covet one of their stars.

But, when the saga becomes protracted, there is also little point in keeping a player who clearly does not want to be around anymore.

The immediate gains are obvious but usually short-term, while the detriment it can cause in the long run, especially in terms of team morale, could be far more harmful.

All kinds of obscene figures have been thrown about yet, regardless of whatever bid Barcelona come back with for Philippe Coutinho, it will be a fee that does not come around too often – one which could also be used to bring in three to four quality reinforcements.

Perhaps it is time for Klopp to prepare for life without the Brazil international, and his cause against Crystal Palace could be helped by the return to fitness of the oft-injured but undeniably-talented Daniel Sturridge.

Can Bilic’s boys do the Hammering this week?

West Ham suffered the worst possible start to the season after being handed a 4-0 defeat, but they are a team harbouring European ambitions for legitimate reasons.

By bringing in Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez, Hammers manager Slaven Bilic can lay claim to having done some excellent business over the summer.

In particular, an attack boasting Hernandez, Arnautovic and Andre Ayew, with Manuel Lanzini and Andy Carroll to return, has the potential to cause problems for many a Premier League defence.

Let alone a Southampton backline missing Virgil van Dijk, their defensive rock of the past two years. 

Arsenal gunning for three in a row

Despite it being a nerve-wrecking 90 minutes, the Gunners were nonetheless able to see off a stubborn Leicester outfit.

Coupled with an impressive Community Shield win over Chelsea, Arsenal now have a chance to start a campaign with three consecutive victories since the 2004/05 season.

Alexis Sanchez will miss out once again but Alexandre Lacazette has made an immediate impact since joining from Lyon, adding a different dimension to Arsene Wenger’s attack.

A combined effort of 12 goals in six pre-season games and five in two to start the term – Jack Butland and his Stoke defenders could be in for a long afternoon on Sunday.

Terriers party facing Toon party poopers

A first-ever home Premier League game and coming off the back of a 3-0 triumph over Palace, the John Smith’s Stadium is set to be the venue for a big Huddersfield party this weekend.

The Terriers exceeded expectations with their convincing opening-day triumph and will now be looking to replicate the recent examples of Swansea, West Ham and Crystal Palace, who all comfortably achieved mid-table finishes in their first seasons after going up.

Newcastle may also be recently back amongst the big boys but, the club’s rich history and demanding fanbase, mean they do not enjoy the tempered expectations usually had of a newly-promoted side.

Rafa Benitez will be under no illusions as to how much pressure is on him to deliver the goods.

A repeat of last term’s 3-1 win at Huddersfield would be a good place to begin.

If you’re only watching one match this weekend…

You would not usually need to add more spice for a Tottenham-Chelsea clash at Wembley on a Sunday afternoon to be the tastiest affair of the round. But…

… it is a London derby.

… both teams are the current Premier League champions and runners-up yet still have had had question marks raised over the strength and depth of their squads for this season.

… Chelsea are desperate for a response after a shock loss to Burnley but will be without Cahill and Fabregas

… Harry Kane v David Luiz, Toby Alderweireld v Alvaro Morata, Dele Alli v N’Golo Kante, Kyle Walker-Peters v Pedro – the list just goes on. 

City facing Everton hoodoo once more

One are the richest kids on the block, who have topped the class twice in the past seven years.

The other were the ace pupils a long time ago, now hoping their consistent, hard work will soon take them back to the summit.

On paper, recent matches between City and Everton would seem like a foregone conclusion.

Instead, it reads a win and two draws in the Toffees’ favour, the most recent of which being January’s 4-0 rollicking at Goodison Park, which was a huge blow to City’s challenge at the time.

Revenge is one of the themes of Monday evening but, more importantly, Pep Guardiola will also be determined to address his side’s poor form against their Merseyside opponents.

Of course, there is also the small matter of Wayne Rooney, former captain and talisman of City’s bitter rivals, who would love nothing more than to continue the bright start to his second spell at Everton with another goal.

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