Will Spurs halt their Wembley woes? Will Rafa Benitez kick-start Newcastle’s season? We take a look at this weekend’s Premier League questions.
The second weekend of Premier League fixtures may not have reproduced the unprecedented flurry of goals of the first, but there’s plenty of time to make up for that this weekend, starting with Manchester City’s trip to Bournemouth in the early kick-off, live on Sky Sports Premier League.
On Sunday there’s a Nissan Super Sunday double in the form of West Brom v Stoke City and Liverpool v Arsenal, while Chelsea host Everton and Burnley make the trip south to Wembley to take on Tottenham.
Ahead of the action, we consider the questions for each Premier League game this weekend…
Will Pep Guardiola’s men get back on track at Bournemouth? (Bournemouth v Manchester City – Premier League Live, Saturday, 11.30am, Sky Sports Premier League HD)
Given their huge amount of transfer business this summer, City’s meeting with Everton was always likely to prove a challenge as the season reached its second week.
City have had a comfortable start – if not unspectacular – though they are unbeaten in the Premier League since April 5 and should enjoy the trip to the south coast to face the Cherries, who themselves are without a win in three.
In 10 all-time meetings between the two sides, Bournemouth are yet to triumph.
Swansea to recover survival form? (Crystal Palace v Swansea City – Saturday, 3pm)
Paul Clement will want to expel last week’s heavy loss to Manchester United from the minds of his players as they travel to south London on Saturday.
As the Swans battled to Premier League survival at the tail end of last season, they won four and drew one of their final five games. They drew their opener with Southampton on the opening day but a Henrikh Mkhitaryan-inspired 10-minute spell put paid to that run last weekend.
Though goals have not yet reared their heads in a league game for the Swans, they did put four past MK Dons in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday evening with Tammy Abraham scoring a confidence-boosting first for the club.
Three of the best for David Wagner’s men? (Huddersfield v Southampton – Saturday, 3pm)
Kicking off their first season back in the top-flight for 45 years with two wins; it couldn’t have gone much better for Huddersfield Town.
If that wasn’t enough, they are also yet to concede and currently sit second in the table. It’s unlikely the Terriers will find themselves there come May 13, but if they continue in their current rich vein of form, they could be in line for a comfortable finish.
Terriers’ fans will be urging Aaron Mooy to continue the inspired form that has seen the Australian midfielder score one and play a key role in two more of his team’s four Premier League goals, against a Southampton side who put three past West Ham last time out.
Will Benitez kick-start Toon season? (Newcastle United v West Ham – Saturday, 3pm)
He’s made no effort to conceal his frustration at the club’s lack of transfer activity, but Rafa Benitez refuted claims that his Newcastle side are displaying the early symptoms of relegation candidates this week.
Newcastle’s return to the Premier League has, thus far, been lacklustre; the Magpies are yet to score and a Dwight Gayle hot streak is yet to resurface, with the frontman being replaced seven minutes after the break against Huddersfield at the weekend. Fresh competition has been brought in in the shape of £5m Joselu from Stoke City and, with a number of useful contributions, the Spaniard looks a bright addition.
A raucous St James’ Park crowd should go some way to lifting Newcastle from their sluggish start.
Will Watford’s signings deliver again? (Watford v Brighton & Hove Albion – Saturday, 3pm)
Perhaps Tuesday’s Carabao Cup exit was premature, but Marco Silva will be grateful of the increased time he has to focus on the Hornets’ league campaign.
Though £18m signing Andre Gray was guilty of missing a sitter at Bournemouth, he atoned for his error as he assisted Brazilian new-boy Richarlison who tapped the opener from six yards; Will Hughes has showed signs of the brilliance that persuaded Watford to pay £8m for him.
Silva is one of the brightest managerial prospects in the division; it’s been a baptism of fire for the Seagulls in the Premier League and Silva’s squad is beginning to click.
Will Manchester United dismantle another opponent? (Manchester United v Leicester City – Saturday, 5.30pm)
Romelu Lukaku has carried his golden goalscoring form into the season, United have two 4-0 wins on the spin and now Jose Mourinho wants to see how his team will react from losing positions. It has been the dream start and there is an air around Old Trafford that this season is the one where the United of old finally returns.
And so far, there’s been no reason to suggest anything less is possible. In a four-minute spell at Swansea last weekend, United scored three and looked deadly.
It’s their best goalscoring start to the season since the 1907/08 season; tougher opponents may not be on the end of such harsh results, but as a squad, United appear settled.
Rooney to continue fine start? Chelsea v Everton – Sunday, 1.30pm
Given Wayne Rooney’s resurgence following his fairy-tale return to Everton and joining the 200 Premier League goals ‘club’ against Manchester City, his international retirement was unexpected – to say the least.
There’s no better way for Rooney to reinforce his commitment to his boyhood club; with international duty no longer a distraction, his immediate focus will be on Sunday’s visit to the champions.
It’s fair to say his goalscoring record had lacked the punch of previous seasons as he moved away from the frontline into a deeper midfield role, but at Goodison Park the Evertonian looks refreshed and will be keen to grab goal number 201.
Will West Brom continue their record start to the season? (West Bromwich Albion vs Stoke City – Nissan Super Sunday, 12.30pm, Sky Sports Premier League HD)
It’s not just Manchester United matching age-old records at the start of this season – West Brom’s successive 1-0 victories against Bournemouth and Burnley marked their best start to a top-flight campaign since 1978/79.
The Baggies don’t often find themselves at the summit of the table, but Tony Pulis has seemingly worked his magic over the summer and his side can only be confident as they take on Stoke.
And with the experience of Gareth Barry holding their shape together, the side meet a Stoke side with just two wins away from home in 2017.
Will Arsenal bounce back from Stoke defeat? (Liverpool v Arsenal – Nissan Super Sunday, 3.30pm, Sky Sports Premier League HD)
After their dramatic opening day 4-3 win over Leicester, Arsenal were brought back down to earth with a bump last weekend with an all-too familiar display, and defeat, at Stoke.
Arsene Wenger stated various reasons for the defeat afterwards, and he was probably right in complaining that Alexandre Lacazette was not offside when his second-half goal was chalked off. The Gunners need to be better against Liverpool and it will be difficult against a team they lost to twice last season.
However, Jurgen Klopp’s men made it difficult for themselves at the weekend, labouring to their 1-0 win over Crystal Palace and may still have their line-up disturbed by Barcelona’s ongoing interest in Philippe Coutinho.
One man hoping to aid their cause will be Olivier Giroud, who still needs just one goal to become just the 19th player for the north Londoners to reach his century.
Will Spurs halt their Wembley woes? (Tottenham v Burnley – Sunday, 4.30pm)
Marcos Alonso’s brace ensured Tottenham’s Wembley misery continued on Super Sunday, leaving the club on just two wins at the national stadium since it was reopened in 2007.
It’s an unwanted record at a stadium the north Londoners will call their home for the entirety of the 2017/18 season, especially when White Hart Lane witnessed a grand total of zero league defeats in its final year. Part of the issue is the cup final atmosphere every other week.
Burnley, though, edged Chelsea out on the opening day and with striker Sam Vokes finally catching the goalscoring bug, the Spurs squad will have to keep their wits about them to avoid prolonging their poor run of results at Wembley.