Man Utd, Chelsea seek reset after early Premier League struggles
Manchester United and Chelsea are under pressure to get back on track as the Premier League returns from an international break, while Manchester City aim to maintain their perfect start to the season.
Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal are also in impressive form with 10 points from a possible 12 — each with the chance to climb to the top of the table if champions City stumble against in-form West Ham at the London Stadium.
AFP Sport looks at three talking points ahead of this weekend’s action:
Brighton to deepen Man Utd crisis?
Defeats to Tottenham and Arsenal have already left Manchester United six points off the top of the table, dampening hopes of a first Premier League title challenge since 2013.
Brighton won at Old Trafford for the first time in their history last season but it would not be a shock should the Seagulls emerge victorious again.
United struggled in home victories over Wolves and Nottingham Forest last month and face a step up in class against Roberto De Zerbi’s men.
Brighton have shrugged off the sale of some of their prized assets to win three of their first four games and have scored more Premier League goals than any other club.
Erik ten Hag will be hoping new signings Sofyan Amrabat and Rasmus Hojlund can give United a much-needed lift.
Hojlund impressed as a substitute on his debut at Arsenal before the international break, while Amrabat is yet to feature after signing on loan from Fiorentina on deadline day.
Money can’t buy Chelsea goals
Despite leading the Premier League again when it came to money spent in the transfer window, Chelsea have won just one of Mauricio Pochettino’s first four league games in charge.
The Blues have splashed out more than £1 billion ($1.25 billion) on new players in three windows under the ownership of a consortium fronted by Todd Boehly.
Yet they still suffered from a familiar lack of cutting edge in their 1-0 defeat at home to Forest two weeks ago.
Chastened by their worst Premier League season for decades in 2022/23, Chelsea insist they are playing the long game, with huge fees bet on promising youngsters becoming stars of the future.
But failure to beat a Bournemouth side yet to taste victory in the league under Andoni Iraola on Sunday will have alarm bells ringing at Stamford Bridge.
Newcastle suffer slow start
Newcastle will return to the Champions League for the first time in 20 years next week, but after a rapid rise fuelled by Saudi cash, the Magpies are suffering something of a reality check.
Eddie Howe’s men have lost three of their opening four games, seriously undermining any title aspirations.
Howe can point to a tough run of fixtures as mitigation for the slow start.
But after consecutive defeats to City, Liverpool and Brighton, he needs a return to winning ways against Brentford this weekend to restore a sense of calm before jetting off to face AC Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday.