The Premier League is back after the international break and there are plenty of intriguing games to savor.
The biggest talking points are Arsenal again burdened with injury problems, Liverpool’s new signings not gelling and Newcastle and Everton under-performing.
Arsenal suffered three more injuries during the international break and now have nine first-team players out. The Gunners host Hull City who have started confidently.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger now has missing Mesut Ozil and Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky may all be out.
Injuries have not helped but Alan Pardew’s Newcastle have are inconsistent this season, leading to fans mounting a campaign for his sacking as they languish in 18th place despite spending heavily in the summer raising expectations of a fabulous season.
Newcastle host Leicester City and a defeat could see Pardew’s exit.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has the trickiest away fixture, traveling to champions Manchester City.
Although Spurs have done well in their last two matches – a draw at north London rivals Arsenal and a win over in-form Southampton – Pochettino’s squad is anxious to prevent a repeat of last season’s results against City who thrashed them 5-1 at White Hart Lane and 6-0 at the Etihad. Sergio Aguero has plundered six goals so far and wants more against the Londoners.
Chelsea unexpectedly lost 1-0 at Crystal Palace near the end of last season which began a poor run of results that thwarted their title challenge.
The Blues hope not for a repeat this time and with newcomers Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa giving them such a wonderful unbeaten start, the likelihood is that Jose Mourinho will leave south London with a smile this time.
Everton came close to a top four finish last season under Roberto Martinez, but have struggled so far despite the acquisition of $40 million striker Romelu Lukaku who is not in the same form.
Everton need to beat Aston Villa at home to revive hopes of a Champions League finish.
Merseyside fans are not as bubbly because, like Everton, Liverpool are not reproducing the same form.
Brendan Rodgers’s side are looking far from the contenders they were and although losing Luis Suarez was always going to be tough, the new signings are disappointing.
Liverpool were unconvincing in beating West Brom and the Reds go to QPR who have been lamentable so far, reflected by their place at the bottom of the table.
Rodgers needs to get the best out of Mario Balotelli quickly otherwise hopes of another title challenge are doomed. Raheem Sterling was brave enough to say he is tired. Burn out of the teenager should be a fear and Rodgers needs to be mindful of that.
Manchester United have finally got it right and climbed into fourth place.
Louis van Gaal hopes the international break will not spoil their momentum for the journey to West Brom on Monday.