Premier League: Who’s making a mark?

Premier League: Who’s making a mark?

It may be early doors, but fans across the country have made up their minds about certain players and which teams will fare well this year.  Just weeks into the season, it’s abundantly clear which sides are shining and which players are faltering in the first fixtures.

Check out who we think is setting the league alight and who isn’t cutting the mustard.

Which sides are standing out?

Manchester United

United along with their rivals Manchester City, have set the early pace in the race for the Premier League crown, with ten points from their opening four games. So, it seems there is plenty of optimism lurking around Old Trafford.

Romelu Lukaku has already proved he’s worth every penny of his £90 million price tag, hitting the ground running with four goals in as many appearances. He’s now the bookmakers’ favourite for this season’s golden boot accolade.

New signing Nemanja Matic looks like the missing piece  for United, who’s league campaign was lacklustre last season, despite winning two trophies.

Odds to win Premier League: 11/4 (SkyBet)

Huddersfield Town

What a start it’s been for Huddersfield Town in their first ever spell in the Premier League!

The Terriers suffered their first defeat away at West Ham on Monday night, but managed to keep the game at 0-0 until The Hammers found their scoring legs after 72 minutes.

Huddersfield fans couldn’t have predicted only dropping five points in their opening four games. They’ve picked up a valuable seven points after wins against relegation candidates Crystal Palace and Newcastle, as well as drawing at home to Southampton.

If they show that type of resilience it should be a season of safety for the Yorkshire side

Odds to be relegated: 6/4 (Betway)

Manchester City

It looks like this season could still be rosier for City boss Pep Guardiola, despite a 5-0 obliteration against Liverpool in their last game.

After drawing at home to Everton in their second game, the Citizens looked a threat going forward, and with a number of players still bedding into their new surroundings, you’d expect City to get better as the season progresses.

Manchester City arguably have the strongest squad in the Premier League and look comfortable in their 3-5-2 formation, which proved successful at home last Saturday.

Odds to win Premier League: 11/10 (SkyBet)

Which sides are standing out for the wrong reasons?

Arsenal

For a side of Arsenal’s quality, it’s been an unsatisfactory start for Arsene Wenger’s men.

An opening day victory over Leicester City has been overshadowed by unimpressive defeats –  1-0 against Stoke City, and a gutless 4-0 loss at Anfield the following week.

They may have kept hold of Alexis Sanchez, but he’s still likely to leave the club for free when his contract ends next summer, possibly along with Mesut Ozil. England international Oxlade-Chamberlain left the club on deadline day as he joined Liverpool for £40 million.

Arsenal bounced back with an impressive 3-0 victory against Bournemouth in their last game, but they need to play better when they’re away from the Emirates.

Odds to finish in the top four: 2/1 (BetVictor)

Crystal Palace

It’s been a dreadful start to Crystal Palace’s season, result in the sacking of manager Frank de Boer.

It began with a convincing home defeat to Premier League newcomers Huddersfield but was followed up with losses against Liverpool, Swansea City and Burnley.

The new boss clearly had a vision of his men playing attractive football, but after refusing to revert to what Palace know best, the Dutchman only lasted 77 days in the job. He leaves with two unwanted records for the shortest managerial reign in the Premier League, as well as the worst points record.

Odds to be relegated: 11/8 (BetVictor)

Bournemouth

Despite finishing 9th in the league last season, there was a real feeling that Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side has overachieved.

They could be victims of their own success, which could put their manager in trouble if results keep going the same way as they have been so far, this season.

They currently sit second bottom, only scoring a single goal in their opening four games and bagging no points in the process.

Their next league match is against fellow relegation candidates Brighton on Friday evening. A home win will be expected by fans of The Cherries. They’ll be looking for new signing Jermaine Defoe to spearhead them to victory but the former Tottenham man has yet to register a goal this campaign.

Odds to be relegated: 7/4 (bet365)

Which players have stood out?

Nemanja Matic

Arguably the transfer of the window, Manchester United’s signing of former Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic has left United and Chelsea fans alike scratching their heads.

He was a prime figure in Chelsea’s two title wins in the last three seasons, and so far in this new campaign, he looks key for the Red Devils.

The Serbian has bolstered this United team and his experience will certainly play a crucial part in this young and talented side.

Odds to be PFA Player of the Year: 18/1 (SkyBet)

Alvaro Morata

After his penalty miss in the Community Shield, it looked like early life at Chelsea would be tough for the club’s record signing Alvaro Morata, but how wrong his critics were.

The Spaniard has been instrumental in Chelsea’s resurgence after their opening day defeat to Burnley, registering three goals and two assists in his opening four fixtures. Will he be the Bookies favourite for top scorer this season?

Chelsea fans may have been worried about rumours of Diego Costa finally leaving the club, but with Morata, they may have found the ideal replacement.

Odds to be top scorer: 8/1 (bet365)

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Last season was mixed to say the least, for Armenian international Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Firstly, he didn’t get a regular run in the Manchester United side until November of last season after an almost two-month exile, but ended the season with a goal in United’s Europa League final triumph over Ajax.

This season, Mkhitaryan’s contribution is proving invaluable with five assists to his name in the first four league matches of the season.

His manager wants more from him against the big clubs and this early form would suggest that Mkhitaryan’s luck is turning.

Odds to be PFA Player of the Year: 16/1 (SkyBet)

Additional stand out players

Other notable names for top performers include Liverpool wingers Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mané, and Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne.

Former Chelsea winger Salah is showing Premier League fans that they were quick to write him off during his time at Stamford Bridge, with two goals and an assist in his first few league games.

Sadio Mané has perhaps tarnished his great start to the season after his highly debated red card against Manchester City last Saturday. However, so far he’s scored three goals in as many games and has shown a lot of promise in becoming Liverpool’s main talisman this season.

City have arguably the best player in the Premier League in Kevin De Bruyne. Gary Neville this week compared his passing to that of David Beckham. With 30 assists in 68 appearances in the Premier League, there’s no wonder how that comparison was made.

So far this season, he has been influential in City’s unbeaten start, getting accustomed to his deeper role with ease.

Which players have failed to reach expectations?

Mesut Ozil

Only four games into the season and the same questions are being asked about Arsenal Playmaker Mesut Ozil’s influence on the Gunners.

A player with undoubted talent but even his biggest fans must be questioning his commitment to the club after a lacklustre start to the new campaign.

Yet to sign a new contract, the German international took a swipe at his critics during the international break, referred to by TV pundit Ian Wright, as “laughable”.

He’s been missing in the early stages of the season, but bounced back with a classy performance against Bournemouth. However, it’s against the bigger teams where Ozil’s performances must improve if he’s to prove his real talent.

Odds to be PFA Player of the Year: 33/1 (BetVictor)

Jonjo Shelvey

After playing a pivotal role in Newcastle’s promotion campaign last season and starting the new season as captain against Tottenham, things looked bright for a supposedly matured Jonjo Shelvey.

Half way into The Toon Army’s opener against Spurs, their captain for the day got sent off for a ridiculous stamp on Dele Alli, effectively costing his side the game.

In Newcastle’s last match against Swansea he was an unused substitute after sitting out a three-match ban, and will now have a lot to do to win back the trust of his manager and teammates.

Odds to be PFA Player of the Year: 250/1 (SkyBet)

Marko Arnautovic

The only word to describe the start for West Ham’s club record signing is disastrous.

On his debut, away to Manchester United, he provided very little threat and his delivery from set-pieces was disappointing, to say the least.

The following week away at Southampton, the Austrian international was sent off just 30 minutes into the game for a stupid elbow of Jack Stephens, certainly infuriating his boss and fans alike.

Odds to be PFA Player of the Year: 150/1 (SkyBet)

Underwhelming players

Some others who have underperformed this season include Arsenal duo Granit Xhaka and Nacho Monreal.

In Arsenal’s only win of the season against Leicester, both these players were weak defensively and if it wasn’t for their attacking players, The Gunners could have been on the end of a hammering at home.

In the two games that followed, there was no sign of improvement from the Swiss and Spanish internationals.

In their last match against Bournemouth, both players put in disciplined performances, but in the same vein as Mesut Ozil, need to put in bigger performances in the matches against the sides around them.

 

The Premier League returns this weekend, with some enthralling games to look forward to including the Super Sunday fixtures, Chelsea Vs Arsenal in the early kick off, and Wayne Rooney’s return to Old Trafford. With so many games this weekend, punters across the country will have plenty of options for free bets.

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