Mikel Arteta already facing a battle to save his job at Arsenal
The new English Premier League season may only be a week old but Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta’s job is already coming under serious threat.
Arsenal suffered a shock 2-0 defeat to newly promoted Brentford in their Premier League opener last Friday, leaving and some sections of the club’s support already calling for the Spaniard to be sacked.
Having been appointed in December 2019, Arteta was able to achieve European qualification in his first season in charge by winning the FA Cup.
However, last season's eighth-placed finish meant that Arsenal would not be playing in European competition for the first time in 25 years.
Ahead of what could already be a crucial clash at home to Chelsea on Sunday, reports have emerged that the club’s hierarchy are running out of patience with Arteta, who was given an initial 18-month period of security in his role because of the situation he inherited and then owing to Covid disruptions.
However, that time has now passed, leaving the board reassessing the former Arsenal midfielder’s position at the helm.
Liverpool v Burnley
Liverpool will be aiming to build on last weekend’s convincing 3-0 victory away to promoted Norwich City, in which forwards Diogo Jota, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino all got on the scoresheet.
Ahead of hosting Burnley, manager Jürgen Klopp could be boosted by the return to fitness of Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcântara and Curtis Jones, while summer signing Ibrahima Konate may also be in line to make his debut.
Sean Dyche’s men will be aiming to bounce back from a disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to Brighton & Hove Albion, in which they threw away the lead, conceding twice in a matter of five second-half minutes.
Aston Villa v Newcastle United
Two teams aiming to make amends after opening-day defeats in order to kick-start their campaigns.
Villa were handed a surprise 3-2 defeat away to promoted Watford, in which they found themselves 3-0 down before staging a late fightback.
Newcastle, meanwhile, led West Ham 2-1 at the interval, before suffering a second-half collapse in which David Moyes’s men ran riot with three goals in a devastating 13-minute period to turn the match on its head.
Worryingly for Steve Bruce, Newcastle remain winless in their previous five visits to Villa Park.
Crystal Palace v Brentford
Having achieved one of the standout results of the opening weekend, Brentford will be aiming to build on that momentum at Selhurst Park.
Brentford manager Thomas Frank and his men will be in a buoyant mood ahead of travelling to South London, where they will be confident of taking advantage of a Palace side still in transition since the arrival of new manager Patrick Vieira.
The Frenchman was handed a baptism of fire in his first match as a Premier League manager, as the Eagles were comprehensively beaten 3-0 away to European champions Chelsea.
Leeds United v Everton
It proved an opening weekend of contrasting fortunes for Leeds and Everton ahead of the two teams meeting at Elland Road.
While new Toffees manager Rafael Benítez got off to the perfect start at the helm in a 3-1 win at home to Southampton, Leeds were thumped 5-1 away to Manchester United.
Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa has no fitness concerns ahead of the match, but Benítez will have to make do in the continued absence of Moise Kean (quarantine), James Rodríguez (Quarantine) and Cenk Tosun (patella rupture).
However, Everton can look back to recent history for added confidence, having remained unbeaten in their previous three trips to Yorkshire.
Manchester City v Norwich City
Favourites Manchester City will be out to get their title defence back on track after suffering an opening-day defeat away to Tottenham Hotspur.
Despite the inclusion of British record signing Jack Grealish among their ranks, Pep Guardiola’s men were sunk by a solitary Son Heung Min goal to give Tottenham —without City transfer target Harry Kane — a winning start to the season.
In what is a daunting start to the campaign for Norwich, they will be aiming to bounce back from a comprehensive 3-0 defeat by Liverpool.
Brighton & Hove Albion v Watford
Two teams aiming to build on perfect starts to the season meet on the South Coast.
Brighton came back from a goal down to leave Turf Moor with all three points, while promoted Watford found themselves 3-0 up at home to Villa before surviving a late fightback from the visitors.
Seagulls manager Graham Potter is facing no injury concerns ahead of the encounter, but Watford’s Xisco Muñoz may be without summer signing Juraj Kucka, with the midfielder suffering from a leg injury.
Southampton v Manchester United
Manchester United will be aiming to maintain their blistering start to the season when they head to the South Coast on Sunday.
Bruno Fernandes proved the star of the show with a magnificent hat-trick, with exciting youngster Mason Greenwood and Fred also on the scoresheet in the rout of Leeds.
Saints, meanwhile, will be aiming to bounce back from defeat to Everton, but manager Ralph Hasenhüttl would have taken pleasure out of seeing new signing Adam Armstrong score on his debut.
Worryingly for Southampton, recent history suggests a difficult outing with United unbeaten in their previous ten trips to St Mary’s.
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Tottenham Hotspur
Nuno Espirito Santo will be desperate to build on his perfect start to life as Tottenham in his first match against former employer Wolves.
Having ended his four-year reign at Molineux in May, the Portuguese manager travels back to the Black Country on the back of an impressive 1-0 victory over champions Man City, and all without talisman Harry Kane.
Having to deal with the ongoing saga surrounding the England captain’s possible departure throughout the summer, Espirito Santo would have been delighted by the reaction from his squad to secure all three points on the opening day.
Wolves, now led by Bruno Lage, will be hoping the spoil their former manager’s return as they aim to bounce back from a 1-0 defeat by Leicester City last time out.
Arsenal v Chelsea
Under-pressure manager Mikel Arteta arguably could not have asked for a much tougher encounter than against highly fancied Chelsea.
Fresh from suffering a shock 2-0 defeat by Brentford, Arteta now faces the prospect of an opposition that easily brushed aside Crystal Palace, and could also unleash ₤97.5 million signing Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgium striker has returned to Stamford Bridge, having enjoyed two successful seasons in Italy with Inter Milan, in which he not only netted 47 goals in 72 matches, but also helped guide his side to the league title, ending the nine-year dominance by Juventus.
Chelsea looked frightening in attack against Palace, but add Lukaku into that mix and it is a truly menacing prospect for and already shaky-looking Arsenal defence.
West Ham United v Leicester City
An exciting encounter in prospect at the London Stadium in which attacking intent should be on display in abundance.
West Ham served up a thrilling second-half display to score three times in 13 minutes to turn a 2-1 half-time deficit into a comfortable 4-2 success away at Newcastle.
Leicester, meanwhile, stayed true to their exciting counter-attacking strategy to come away with a 1-0 win at home to Wolves. Jamie Vardy, who netted 17 times last season, got off and running for the new season, as the 34-year-old struck the decisive blow with a superb finish.
If their first matches are anything to go by, then expect plenty of goalmouth action and goalscoring opportunities.