Manchester United are in disarray and Jose Mourinho must carry the can. He looks fed up with the job and this is the one he craved most. The fans would accept losing matches if United played with panache and style but the football is turgid and the fans will soon turn against the boss. The home game against Tottenham now has a must not lose feel and a defeat would leave Mourinho on the edge.
Tottenham are one of six teams who have won their opening two matches in the Premier League. They have not made any significant signings and the move to the newly built stadium has been delayed. Playing at Wembley takes away home advantage but the nature of away fixtures has not changed. Tottenham could give Mourinho a massive headache by winning at Old Trafford on Monday night.
It’s not easy to retain the Premier League title and it’s not happened since 2009 when Manchester United were champions of England for the third year in succession. Their neighbours City have made an excellent start to their defence and look in good shape to emulate the record breaking achievements of last season. Kevin de Bruyne was hardly missed as City demolished Huddersfield 6-1 at home.
If City have a strong Spanish influence Wolves have recruited key personnel from Portugal. They have financial backing of wealthy Chinese owners which has allowed the Portuguese manager to recruit players from the country of his birth. Wolves have strong links with the agent Jorge Mendes who has the contacts to identify promising players from Portugal who should be suited to the Premier League but avoiding defeat against City at home looks beyond them.
Jurgen Klopp spent the most money over the summer of Premier League managers and Liverpool now have a squad capable of challenging for major honours. They have never won the Premier League and going that step further to overhaul Manchester City may be beyond them this season. Liverpool have scored six goals without conceding in their first two league matches.
It is difficult to work out the value of the form of Brighton’s home win against Manchester United. They had a plan and stuck to it but United were abysmal and didn’t take much beating. Brighton scrap at home and its results at the Amex that will determine if they maintain top flight status. The Seagulls are not as effective on the road and the budget plan probably assumes no points from the Anfield match.
Watford have lurked in the lower reaches of the Premier League for the last three seasons and only Stoke and West Ham conceded more goals last season. They look vulnerable this time without some major signings but a win against Crystal Palace at home would make it three wins in three matches. The fixture list has been kind and a solid midfield could see the Hornets avoid the drop again.
Crystal Palace felt aggrieved that the penalty Liverpool won against them at home was unfair but they were still second best to the potential champions. Football is a team sport but Palace are hugely dependent on Wilfried Zaha and they struggle to win without him. He has rejected a new contract but is still at the club and can help Palace win at Watford who lack quality.
Newcastle and Chelsea have wealthy owners but the Londoners are in a different league. Mike Ashley holds the purse strings at Newcastle but seems more interested in growing his retail business than investing in the club. Roman Abramovich has spent a large fortune on Chelsea and seems to have billions while Ashley has millions to spend on football. The wealth gap can see Chelsea beat Newcastle on the road.
The new Chelsea manager is known for playing attacking football and the way his teams operate will suit Eden Hazard who had a great World Cup. The style of play will please Abramovich but if Chelsea are not winning the manager walks. Rafa Benitez could go first if he loses patience with Ashley’s reluctance to provide transfer funds for the players Newcastle require to stay in the division. Losing to Chelsea at home will not help.