The unbearable international break is over, with the Premier League making a very welcome return over the next three days.
Liverpool’s 2-1 win at Swansea City already feels like a lifetime ago, with England once again proving to the world how average they are in the fortnight since.
In the last round of Premier League fixtures, there was also a huge statement of intent by Tottenham, who dispatched of title favourites Man City.
Former Liverpool man Joe Allen snatched a 1-1 draw for Stoke City at Man United, Arsenal nicked a controversial late win at Burnley and champions Leicester City could only draw 0-0 at home to Southampton.
Sunderland remain rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table, after a 1-1 draw with West Brom, while West Ham join the Black Cats and Stoke in the bottom-three, having been held at home by Middlesbrough.
Liverpool face an enormous game at Anfield on Monday evening, with Man United coming to town looking to end the Reds’ run of five straight wins, in all competitions.
It is the undisputed standout match of the weekend, but there are nine other games to look forward to, starting with an intriguing clash on Saturday lunchtime.
Tough To Call At Stamford Bridge
Both Chelsea and Leicester have made unconvincing starts to the season, with the duo currently lying in seventh and 12th place, respectively.
The reigning champions have been found out a little, which was to be expected, while Antonio Conte’s Blues side fluked a few early wins and have looked average throughout.
Anything could happen when the two teams meet in west London on Saturday, and their unpredictability could make for an interesting game.
A defeat for either would put further doubts over their 2016/17 credentials, and in Chelsea‘s case, they cannot afford to starting losing more ground on their rivals at the top.
Leicester will not be in the title race this season, but they should still have ambitions of finishing in the European places.
A draw or a win for them at Stamford Bridge would steady the ship, having leaked eight goals in their last two away league games, at Liverpool and United.
Response Of Champions By Man City?
Not many saw City’s 2-0 defeat at Spurs coming, even if they were playing a top side and missing the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Nolito.
This is the first time that Pep Guardiola has felt any kind of pressure since moving to England, after such a superb start to the campaign.
Everton visit the Etihad on Saturday afternoon, and having failed to pick up a win in their last three games, they are also under scrutiny.
City should have too much for the visitors, but there have been signs that Ronald Koeman’s side are made of sterner stuff this season.
Guardiola’s men can be exposed defensively, and with Romelu Lukaku back on top of his game, Everton should cause the hosts plenty of problems.
In years gone by, the Merseysiders would have stood no chance in a game of this ilk, but if they play with belief, they may take points off City and enhance Liverpool’s title chances in the process.
Arsenal Look To Continue Formidable Run
Arsenal are doing what they do almost every year – lose their opening game and then go on a scorching run on form.
The Gunners’ 4-3 defeat to Liverpool feels like a long time ago now, and they sit third in the table, following their late win at Burnley on October 2.
Standing in their way this weekend are a struggling Swansea side, with former USA manager Bob Bradley taking charge of the Swans for the first time.
Arsenal are as good as any of the top clubs when it comes to beating the lesser teams, and it is hard not to see them winning again on Saturday.
They are playing with great fluency and confidence, and look more solid defensively, so anything other than three points would be a big shock.
Swansea fans will just hope Bradley can make an instant impression, as can sometimes be the case with a new manager.
Unnoticed Spurs Aim To Triumph Again
Until Spurs dismantled City, they had gone quietly and efficiently about their business. They have now picked up 17 points from a possible 21, though, and look a complete side from back to front.
With so many column inches filled with talk of Liverpool, City, United and Arsenal battling for the title, Mauricio Pochettino’s side have just kept winning matches.
The north Londoners are a completely different proposition to the soft touch they used to be, and there is no reason why they can’t win the league this season.
Saturday’s trip to West Brom is another test of their ability, with Tony Pulis sides never enjoyable to come up against.
The Baggies are ninth currently, almost without realising it, but Spurs should still have enough quality to edge matters at the Hawthorns.
Another three points would really make people sit up and take notice.
Crucial Clash At The Bottom
It may look a fairly unappealing match on paper, but Stoke’s showdown with Sunderland at the Britannia Stadium could be full of drama.
Both sides find themselves in the relegation zone after woeful starts, and Mark Hughes and David Moyes are battling to save their jobs.
The Potters’ aforementioned Allen-inspired draw at Old Trafford should have given them confidence, and they should see this as a must-win game.
They have plenty of individual quality in their ranks – Bojan, Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri – but they must start finding some team cohesion.
Sunderland have looked the worst side in the division in the opening two months of the season, and if you take Jermain Defoe out of the equation, you just cannot see where the goals will come from.
Another defeat for the Black Cats will really make things look bleak.
Fixtures & UK TV Info
Chelsea vs. Leicester – Stamford Bridge, Saturday 12:30pm, Sky Sports 1
Arsenal vs. Swansea – Emirates Stadium, Saturday 3pm
Bournemouth vs. Hull – Dean Court, Saturday 3pm
Man City vs. Everton – Etihad Stadium, Saturday 3pm
Stoke vs. Sunderland – Britannia Stadium, Saturday 3pm
West Brom vs. Tottenham – The Hawthorns, Saturday 3pm
Crystal Palace vs. West Ham – Selhurst Park, Saturday 5:30pm, BT Sport 1
Middlesbrough vs. Watford – Riverside Stadium, Sunday 1:30pm, Sky Sports 1
Southampton vs. Burnley – St Mary’s Stadium, Sunday 4pm, Sky Sports 1
Liverpool vs. Man United – Anfield, Monday 8pm, Sky Sports 1