Premier League talking points as Everton look to regain top spot

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has plenty to think about after a mixed start to the season
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has plenty to think about after a mixed start to the season - (Copyright PA Wire)
11:43am, Fri 02 Oct 2020
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Everton have the chance to return to the top of the Premier League if they can maintain their 100 per cent start to the season at home to Brighton this weekend.

Elsewhere, newly-promoted Leeds’ tough start to life in the top flight continues as, three weeks after going to champions Liverpool, they host Manchester City.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the talking points ahead of this weekend’s matches.

Time for Chelsea to start delivering?

Chelsea’s Timo Werner scored his first goal for his new club in midweek - (Copyright PA Wire)

Will the real Chelsea finally stand up? With more than £220million spent on players in the summer there is bound to be a natural settling-in period but Frank Lampard’s side have flattered to deceive so far. Their season-opening win over Brighton was far from convincing, with their 90th-minute 3-3 draw against West Brom only slightly less so having been 3-0 down to the newly-promoted side in 27 minutes. Timo Werner’s first goal (in the midweek Carabao Cup defeat to Tottenham) since his £45m move will have been a weight off his shoulders, while new goalkeeper Edouard Mendy’s debut in that game is likely to lead to him taking his place in their Premier League team for the foreseeable future, meaning Lampard now has all the players he wanted at his disposal.

Toffees starting from a position of strength

Manager Carlo Ancelotti is changing the mentality at Goodison Park - (Copyright PA Wire)

Things could not be going better at Goodison Park and expectations are soaring sky-high thanks to the astute management of Carlo Ancelotti, the quality of James Rodriguez and the goalscoring form of Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Which means they are strong favourites to dispatch Brighton, who have just lost back-to-back matches to Manchester United. However, that is a position the Toffees have not necessarily been comfortable with in the past but Ancelotti is helping change that attitude. Victory would make it seven successive wins and the club’s best start to a season since 1894-95, when they won their first eight matches – and still only finished runners-up at the end of the campaign.

Guardiola meets his mentor

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa has inspired many coaches with Pep Guardiola one of his most ardent followers - (Copyright PA Wire)

It is not quite master meets apprentice but Pep Guardiola coming up against his mentor Marcelo Bielsa is something of a novelty. The Manchester City boss is widely regarded as the greatest coach of his generation but he himself has been a disciple of Bielsa since 2006, when he flew to Argentina in the latter stages of his playing career to discuss a move into coaching. When the pair have gone head to head as managers in the past the encounters were heavily weighted in favour of Guardiola, as boss at Barcelona, and not Bielsa, at Almeria and Athletic Bilbao. The gap, however, may be slightly closer now, and although Leeds still have some way to go to reach the standards City have achieved they will take encouragement from Leicester’s 5-2 victory at the Etihad Stadium last weekend.

Past and present meet at Old Trafford

Manchester United past versus present meet at Old Trafford - (Copyright PA Archive)

Having just gained some momentum with three successive victories (two in the Carabao Cup) one of the last things Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have wanted was to face his predecessor Jose Mourinho, the great spoiler, at Old Trafford. Mourinho has a habit of throwing a spanner in the works and with Tottenham in better form the challenge of recording their first home league victory – having already been beaten by Crystal Palace – remains considerable. While United are still optimistically pursuing an unlikely deal for Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, Solskjaer has a decision to make in central defence. Eric Bailly looked assured in the midweek Carabao Cup win over Brighton and has been present for their only two clean sheets so far this season and might prove to be the best partner for Harry Maguire.

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