So, many of us had the best summer of our lives, watching Gareth’s boys reach the semi-finals, which sounds daft for countries like Spain, France, Germany and Italy, but the beer was flowing, the chants were being sung and our Scottish friends were hiding.
Four weeks ago, our friends became enemies when it comes to football, as we readied ourselves for a new league campaign, full of highs and lows, flops and new heroes. And what a four weeks its been. Liverpool, Chelsea and Watford (yes Watford) sit top with four wins from four.
Liverpool are largely grinding out results, with moments of inspiration from the terrifying trio of magical Mane, fantastic Firmino and sensational Salah, like champions tend to do. Chelsea have a man from Belgium largely to thank, in Eden Hazard. And for Watford, they have been a joy to watch, Pereyra often being the catalyst in their play.
Below is a club by club early, quick analysis of every team, what they have impressed us with, along with where there is room for improvement.
1st – Liverpool
As stated above, they’ve done what they have needed to do to be top of the league. Four wins from four, albeit not convincing, have given them a great start to the campaign.
Whilst they haven’t been in full flow, they have still shown signs of to why so many are tipping them to beat last years winners Manchester City to the top of the league. 12 points, one goal conceded isn’t bad considering their best is still to come.
The only worry is their defence. Looks strong with Van Dijk, who joined from Saints in January, but if the Dutchman picks up any injuries or suspensions they are left with the self proclaimed best defender in the world, Dejan Lovren, and England youngster Joe Gomez at the back. Hardly the most trustworthy or experienced of duos.
2nd – Chelsea
Also with maximum points, Chelsea have made a quietly confident start to the campaign. Largely down to Belgian magician Eden Hazard, along with new acquisition Jorginho, the Blues have quickly put the odd second season of Conte’s tenure behind them.
Like Liverpool, hard fought wins over Arsenal, Bournemouth and Newcastle have helped Sarri’s players build belief. Not many people have praised Chelsea in the way they have deserved so far, which could be to their advantage, as there are still no expectations on the side who have made just as good a start as the team above them.
The only underlying issue at Chelsea is that there seems to always be potential for players and fans losing faith if there is any run of poor results or performances. If they stick together, then I don’t see why they can’t push for a challenge, at least.
Well, well, well. Where have Watford come from. Four wins from four, including coming from behind to beat Spurs at home, puts them level on points with Liverpool and Chelsea.
They deserve a lot of credit, many expected them to flop and be in trouble already, maybe even with a new manager, however Garcia’s men have shone throughout. Even their mascot has been in the headlines, with Palace manager Hodgson not being his biggest fan.
Not many negatives really, they have been superb. Too early to plan a title push?
4th – Manchester City
The reigning champions started well, but a brave Wolves demonstrated how you can get points off a team that often looked unbeatable last season, by ATTACKING them. In the following game against Newcastle they looked lacklustre and short of ideas.
Pep’s boys have time to find their feet again, and that’s exactly what they will do. Aguero has started electrifyingly, but the absence of De Bruyne was always going to be a massive loss for the side.
Sane is also a player who has seemed to have gone missing, starting none of the first four games, and not even being included in the matchday squad against Newcastle. Saying this he has managed to get in the Germany squad, which he failed to do when he was PFA Young Player of the Year, odd one.
5th – Spurs
Tottenham have started the season strongly, with three wins in four, including thrashing Manchester United at the theatre of dreams on a magical Monday night for Pochettino’s side.
Kane has scored in August for the first time in what seems forever, and their new chap, Lucas Moura (who they signed in January but never shone) looks a dazzling player. If they keep their players fit, and that’s a big IF, they can fight for the league again, and their fans hope they won’t bottle it again.
Two downsides so far. Losing to Watford is obviously one. The other is the question of when on earth is their new stadium going to be ready? The answer looks to be November, which is three months after it was due , madness.
6th – Bournemouth
Eddie Howe’s men started the season strongly, winning against Cardiff and impressively away to West Ham, and drawing against Everton in a four goal thriller including a red card a piece. Last weekend they travelled to Chelsea, with Hazard being the small difference between the sides.
Callum Wilson has been key, with three goals in four games, and some would say he has been unlucky to not get a call up to the England squad, when Arsenal bit striker Danny Welbeck did. Its been a strong start from the Cherries.
Keeping players injury free is often the main problem for Howe, with Wilson being unlucky with injury since Bournemouth won promotion. If he stays fit, there is no reason Bournemouth can’t push on from this fast start.
7th – Everton
After getting their man in Marco Silva, the Toffies remain unbeaten and have looked strong, especially in attack, with Walcott and new £50million signing Richarlison, looking especially clinical.
Many people question Richarlison, however he scored three in his first two games in Everton blue. However after a moment of madness against Bournemouth he is now suspended for three games after being shown a straight red card, which is a huge loss for Silva’s men.
A disappointing draw against Huddersfield at Goodison Park and conceding six in four games shows there is still plenty of room for improvement.
8th – Leicester City
Two narrow losses to Manchester United and Liverpool have been cancelled out by two impressive wins against new boys Wolves and away to Southampton. This has been a steady start for Puel’s men.
Despite Jamie Vardy being sent off against Wolves, new signing James Maddison has slotted in with ease, and has impressed with both the technical side of the game and also his fight and determination. Keeping hold of centre half Harry Maguire was key, especially if the stoppage time screamer he scored at St Mary’s to steal the three points has anything to go by. Well played Slab Head.
9th – Arsenal
The Gunners had a tough start to the season, welcoming the champions Manchester City to the Emirates, and then travelled to Chelsea, resulting in two losses from their first two outings. Things have brightened up, with Unai Emery’s men convincingly beating West Ham and scraping an away victory over newly promoted Cardiff.
Matteo Guendouzi has shone and is Arsenals main positive at the start of the season. He’s young, confident and fresh, just what the North London based club needed. The trio of Mhikitarian, Aubameyang and Lacazette are key if Emery’s side are to get top four, and have started showing signs of good chemistry and understanding.
Cech still plays, when many think Leno should be number one, especially after numerous footballing errors by the ex Chelsea number one. The same could be said for yellow card friendly Xhaka, with Torreira being tipped to replace the untrustworthy Switzerland international in midfield.
10th – Manchester United
What a soap opera. Things started well, opening game victory over Leicester, however things went downhill from there. Humiliating losses away to Brighton and then at home to Spurs made, mainly the media, question how long Jose has left.
However, he led the team out at Turf Moor, which United comfortably won, with much criticised striker Romelu Lukaku bagging a brace.
Without doubt improvements need to be made all over the pitch, with strikers needing to be more clinical and defenders needing to be more reliable, with Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelöf all being at fault for at least one goal each this season.
11th – Wolves
Wolves have looked strong, as predicted, and have even managed to be brave enough to attack City and get a big point off them. A result which Nuno Santo deserves a lot of praise for.
Players such as Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho and super sub Adomoa Troaore have shone, and have added that extra bit of flare to the midlands side.
Nuno Santo is clearly a big character, and I for one can’t wait for him to be on the side-lines with the likes of Klopp and Guardiola. Keep an eye on Wolves this season, exciting football will be played throughout.
12th – Southampton
The Saints have started steadily. An important away win against Palace may just be the catalyst for their season to get going.
Danny Ings is exactly the player Mark Hughes would have wanted over the summer. A trusted goalscorer who is hungry for games. Ings has been impressive since his move, scoring two but lifting the mood around the club, both with the players and the fans.
Home form must improve though, one draw and one loss continues the poor results from the last few seasons at home, a place they made a fortress in the 16/17 season.
13th – Fulham
Its good to have Fulham back in the top flight. Lovely club with a beauty of a stadium. They have been playing eye catching football so far too. Unfortunate to lose to Palace and Spurs, but impressively cut Burnley to pieces, scoring four in the process.
Mitrovic is a striker with Premier League experience, along with the dynamite of Schurrle and boy wonder Sessegnon they have a smart little team going forward.
The defence needs time to click as most are new signings, but time will heal that and Fulham should be safe if the early flashes have anything to go by.
14th – Brighton
A comfortable win against Manchester United at the Amex was far and beyond the highlight of Brighton’s opening four games. Two losses against Liverpool and Watford, as well as a late fight back against Fulham were largely underwhelming however.
Soon to be 35, Glenn Murray is still Brighton’s talisman, scoring three in four games and is a clear leader within Hughton’s side. New signings have yet to shine, and their defence seem to be weaker than last term, or as weak at defending set pieces so the seasiders need to sharpen up their defence if they are to stay in the top flight for another season.
15th – Crystal Palace
Hodgson’s Palace started brightly with an impressive away win at Craven Cottage, but then lost three back to back hence their position in the league table.
Zaha and young English fullback Wan Bissaka, before being sent off against Liverpool, have shone and along with Andros Townsend, they have a good chance of staying up. An exciting team to watch, and arguably the best home fans in the league, it’s a team you should enjoy watching this season, unless you’re a Brighton fan that is.
Christian Benteke needs to find the back of the net soon, with Palace fans repeatedly being let down by the Belgium front man, who has struggled ever since leaving Aston Villa for Liverpool, before his move to Selhurst Park happened.
16th – Cardiff
Cardiff, for many, were no hopers to stay up. After failing to score in their first three games, Neil Warnock’s men put up a fight in their fifth, only to lose at home to Arsenal. This shows they have some character and quality which may give them some fight in the top flight.
Warnock has been given another chance at the top level, and he will get the fight out of the team that would give them a chance at staying up, however many people wouldn’t have changed their mind after the first four matches, with very little Premier League quality in the side. Nonethless, the Welsh side will enjoy every single minute.
17th – Huddersfield
Like Cardiff, not many people had Huddersfield down to stay up, and from the opening four games, not many would have changed their minds.
From shipping nine goals in their opening two games, albeit against Chelsea and Manchester City, it’s shown why not many people have given them much hope. An impressive draw against an in-form Everton has given Wagner’s side the chance to push on after the international break, and Town’s fans will hope they can do just that.
18th – Newcastle United
What’s going on with the Toon? Three losses and a draw has put them in a struggling position from the off. Very little support from Mike Ashley has triggered more unrest from the Newcastle faithful towards the man in control of the purse strings.
If they aren’t careful Rafa will walk. Saying that, training ground bust ups between club captain Lasceilles and Benitez can’t have helped either, along with key player Jonjo Shelvey being injured. Newcastle could be quietly in trouble, unless they pull together sharpish.
19th – Burnley
Burnley have understandably and as predicted struggled to juggle both league and their short European journey. Drawing their opening game away to Southampton was a solid result, however they have suffered since, losing all three games.
Dyche needs to put Europa League disappointment behind his side, which I am sure will have happened already, and The Clarets will slowly accumulate the points they need to climb up the table. They have the firepower to do it, but Burnley have just had a false start.
20th – West Ham
The Hammers haven’t won a single game. It’s been shambolic at best. Pellingrini hasn’t managed to gel the players they have at all.
Many people expect West Ham to be fine, purely because of the players they have, however there are many egos in the side, it could be more of a struggle than people think. Arnoutivic is by far their best player, and if Wilshere can run things more than he has, and if a couple of other of their players perform and some would say work harder than they have done so far, West Ham would be safe.
The Premier League is never dull, is it? There’s a long way to go, with so many questions being asked; Is it Liverpool’s year? Will Jose be at United in May? Can West Ham turn it around? And finally, Can Watford do a Leicester?
Time will tell. Sit back and enjoy the ride.