Cristiano Ronaldo set to steal the show in Old Trafford return
The Premier League season has already produced some intriguing storylines thus far.
The title favourites are starting to find their groove, while a number of possible surprise packages have also started to emerge.
Now that the transfer window has closed, there are a few new Fantasy League assets to look out for. The most notable is the stunning return of Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United, with the Portuguese forward in line to make his first appearance for the club since 2009, when they host Newcastle United at Old Trafford tomorrow.
Other deadline day signings to look out for include, Maxwell Cornet, who should add some flair to Burnley’s flank, while the signing of prolific striker Odsonne Edouard from Celtic could prove shrewd business by previously goal-shy Crystal Palace.
Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur
After a difficult start away to Champions League winners Chelsea, Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira led the Eagles to a deserved 2-2 draw away to West Ham United, for their second point of the season.
Tottenham remain the only team with an unblemished record, winning all their games 1-0 and looking comfortable in the process.
Manager Nuno Espirito Santo has made them hard to beat and dangerous on the counter-attack. He was however been dealt a blow during the international break and the consequences of the fallout of Argentina’s postponed World Cup qualifying match against Brazil.
The club are expected to fine centre-half Cristian Romero and midfielder Giovani Lo Celso after the pair, who along with Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia, travelled to Brazil without permission, with all Premier League clubs agreeing not to release players for matches held in countries on the United Kingdom's Covid-19 red list.
Local health officials entered the pitch in Sao Paulo with the game in progress and accused the quartet of failing to follow Brazil's Covid protocols for entering the country. The match was subsequently abandoned after just seven minutes due to their presence. None of the four players will be available to feature this weekend.
Arsenal v Norwich City
The poor start continues for the Gunners, one of two teams in the league yet to score along with Wolves. It is certainly worrying times for under-pressure manager Mikel Arteta, who has reportedly been given an ultimatum by the Arsenal hierarchy.
Despite also enduring a difficult start, newly-promoted Norwich looked better in their 2-1 home loss to Leicester. Midfielder Billy Gilmour, on loan from Chelsea, could prove pivotal in this battle of struggling teams.
The home side will rightfully be expected to win against a team tipped to go right back down.
Brentford v Brighton & Hove Albion
Brentford have enjoyed an excellent start in their first top-flight season in 74 years. The surprise victory over the Gunners and draws away to Crystal Palace and Aston Villa have them sitting flush in mid-table.
Brighton look good themselves, despite continuing to struggle in front of goal. The defeat at home to Everton last time out epitomised such difficulty, creating fourteen shots with just three falling on target.
They will need to find their finishing touch in west London, as the promoted side will not concede too many chances.
Leicester City v Manchester City
Marc Albrighton stepped up with the pivotal goal to seal Leicester a 2-1 win away to Norwich City last time out to help them bounce back from a thumping defeat away to West Ham the previous week.
Foxes manager Brendan Rodgers will be expecting a tough test with the champions coming to town. His team must be switched on defensively if they are to gain anything from this encounter.
After their opening defeat to Spurs, Manchester City made light work of Norwich and Arsenal, smashing five past both without reply.
City have seemingly regained their rhythm with Pep Guardiola already finding a formula to incorporate new signing Jack Grealish without hindering the attack.
Manchester United v Newcastle United
The Red Devils bounced back well from the disappointing draw away to Southampton with a determined 1-0 win away to Wolves.
Cristiano Ronaldo is set to make a sensational return to Old Trafford on Saturday, and manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer must manage the game properly for that debut to enlighten supporters.
The Magpies have conceded the third-most goals so far (8) and remain one place above the relegation zone. Steve Bruce must get his defensive shape right or the hosts will have a field day in front of a lively home crowd.
Southampton v West Ham United
The Saints are slowly building upwards in a crucial season for manager Ralph Hasenhüttl. They earned a 2-2 draw away to Newcastle after holding Manchester United to a 1-1 draw at home six days prior.
The Hammers continue their positive momentum despite being held to a draw by visitors Crystal Palace. David Moyes’ side are playing effective football and have scored the joint-most goals (10) along with Man City so far.
Watford v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Watford are proving themselves to be one of the possible surprise packages so far this season.
New recruit Emmanuel Dennis. has scored two of their three goals so far, all of which came in their solitary win over Aston Villa. They will, however, need to bounce back after consecutive away defeats to Brighton and Spurs.
Wolves have yet to score this season, despite having the third-most shots (57) in the division. Manager Bruno Lage must enforce the clinical edge into his side, or they will massively struggle to compete.
Chelsea v Aston Villa
Chelsea showed why they are the closest challengers to Manchester City in their 1-1 draw at rivals Liverpool.
Despite going down to ten men, they created the best chances to win the game in the second half at Anfield. Manager Thomas Tüchel sacrificed attacker Kai Havertz for experienced defender Thiago Silva to shore things up, while also bringing on Mateo Kovacic for N’Golo Kante to adjust their method of possession.
Meanwhile, Villa have had a mixed start to life without star player Jack Grealish, and were most recently held to a 1-1 draw by Brentford at home. They will press when required and look to utilise forward talents such as Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins to hurt the Blues on the break.
Leeds United v Liverpool
Leeds have had mixed fortunes so far this season, losing to Manchester United and drawing to Everton and Burnley. They must improve defensively if they are to gain a first win of the campaign. Marcelo Bielsa may need to adjust if they want to build on last season’s mid-table finish.
Liverpool were held by 10-man Chelsea last time out, and manager Jurgen Klopp remains stubborn in his approach.
The Reds failed to capitalise on their chances, and they will be more clinical to take advantage of what has been a very open Leeds defence.
This has the makings of another epic encounter, with the sides serving up a seven-goal thriller at Anfield last season, in which Liverpool prevailed in a 4-3 win.
Everton v Burnley
Everton have done well to quickly adapt to a new system and coach in Rafa Benitez.
Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have linked up well, with each producing two goals and two assists apiece so far. The Toffees also look defensively sound, conceding just three goals.
Burnley are usually hard to beat, but teams have found them out early this term, with Brighton and Liverpool netting twice past Sean Dyche; s men. This is a must-win if they want to pull away from the relegation scrap.