The talking points ahead of the Premier League’s first full round of games
Manchester pair seek to start with a win after sitting out the first weekend.
Four clubs make their return to Premier League action as the second weekend of the season gets under way.
Here, the PA news agency looks at five of the main talking points.
Can Manchester United start with a bang?
Just 34 days after their season ended with a Europa League semi-final loss to Sevilla, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men start the 2020-21 campaign to a background of discontent. Donny van de Beek looks a fine acquisition but remains United’s only summer signing, with fan frustration growing ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Crystal Palace. Victory at Old Trafford would be a welcome boost for a club that has also had to deal with the off-field issues involving Harry Maguire and Mason Greenwood. Roy Hodgson’s men are sure to prove a threat, having started the season with a victory against Southampton and won at Old Trafford last season.
Can Manchester City start as they mean to go on?
Like United, Pep Guardiola’s men also got an extra week’s rest after their European exertions. The wounds of Manchester City’s shock Champions League quarter-final exit to Lyon remain raw, so too the way Liverpool romped to the title last term. Ferran Torres and Nathan Ake have arrived to bolster their star-studded squad ahead of a new season that begins away to Wolves on Monday evening. Guardiola has had to deal with off-field issues of his own, including Phil Foden’s Iceland indiscretion, and will be wary of the threat posed by Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.
Can Chelsea give Liverpool the Blues?
Stamford Bridge plays host to the biggest match of the season to date as Chelsea host reigning Premier League champions Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s men began their title defence with a 4-3 victory against promoted Leeds and look set to be buoyed by the arrival of Thiago Alcantara before kick-off – even if the Bayern Munich midfielder fails to be registered in time to feature. Chelsea have welcomed a host of new faces this summer and Sunday offers Frank Lampard’s side the chance to lay down a marker against last season’s runaway champions.
Will Leeds win their first Premier League match since 2004?
There was much excitement heading into the new season about Marcelo Bielsa’s Championship winners and they did not disappoint at Anfield, where they pegged back Liverpool three times before falling to an agonising loss. Leeds will take a lot of heart from that performance against the champions and have a great-looking opportunity to win their first Premier League match since April 10, 2004 when Fulham visit an empty Elland Road on Saturday afternoon. Scott Parker’s men also came up last season and endured a chastening start to life back in the big time, with Arsenal running out 3-0 victors at Craven Cottage.
Can Tottenham deal with the unrelenting schedule?
Having lost to Everton and then edged past Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the Europa League second qualifying round on Thursday, Jose Mourinho’s men are now preparing for a trip to Southampton on Sunday knowing that a remorseless fixture list is building up. Spurs head to Leyton Orient in the Carabao Cup third round on Tuesday and on to Macedonia to take on Shkendija on Thursday, before hosting Newcastle in the league that Sunday. It is little wonder Eric Dier said this week that the schedule “isn’t showing any care for players’ physical welfare” – one that gives Mourinho a heck of a headache.