What have we learnt from the Premier League’s opening month?

2 min read

With four games now done and dusted in the top-flight and an international break approaching this weekend, Rezzil looks at some of the learnings taken from the opening four gameweeks in the Premier League. 

Who has looked sharp so far? 

The obvious answer here is of course Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola’s side winning all four of their opening matches. City sit in a familiar position at the top of the pile heading into the international break but despite their lofty stance it doesn’t seem like they have even gotten out of second gear just yet. 

Three of their four wins have come against Burnley, Fulham and Sheffield United – all teams which you would expect them to make light work of – though they were not at the races at Bramall Lane and could have easily dropped points if it hadn’t been for a late Rodri winner. Their other win was an impressive one against Eddie Howe’s solid Newcastle outfit but again, that game only ended 1-0 and they could – and should – have scored more but for some wasteful play in the final third. 

Unsurprisingly, City already look the team to beat for top spot but that is hardly earth-shattering news. It is who their main competition comes from that provides the biggest talking point and the early signs suggest that as well as last season’s title-rivals Arsenal (three wins, one draw so far), Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham could be right up there should their extremely early-season form continue. 

While it is very early days, Spurs have looked like a team transformed under Big Ange’s guidance and have begun the campaign very brightly indeed, with three victories accompanying one draw in their first four outings for this new-look and Harry Kane-less side. The signing of James Maddison from Leicester was always predicted to be a success but the Englishman has hit the ground running in north London, scoring twice and laying off two assists. 

Maddison is linking up well with Son Heung-min, who looks back to his best following a poor campaign by his own standards last time out. The South Korean notched a hat-trick in Spurs’ 5-2 win over Burnley at the weekend and will be flying with confidence heading into the club’s clash with Sheffield United on September 16. While the Carabao Cup exit to Fulham was disappointing, it does give Tottenham the chance to fully concentrate their efforts on the Premier League and cementing a spot back in the top-four. Who knows, might they even mount a serious challenge for the title? Time will tell, but the early signs are certainly positive. 

West Ham look to have put last season’s dismal league campaign behind them and currently sit pretty in fourth spot after four games. David Moyes lost star midfielder Declan Rice to Arsenal but looks to have replaced him well with some shrewd business in the transfer window. 

James Ward-Prowse looks an early contender for signing of the season – the former Southampton man has three assists and a goal to his name so far and has massively enhanced the Hammers’ creativity going forward. Alongside his well-known attributes from set-pieces, the 28-year-old looks set to play a huge part in the east Londoners’ surge for a place in the top-six this season. 

Improvement needed…

Things just go from bad to worse for Everton. After fighting – and narrowly avoiding – relegation for the last two seasons, the Toffees appear to be in another sticky situation this time out. Sean Dyche’s side have managed just a point from a potential 12 on offer in their opening fixtures and look blunt going forward and frail at the back – not a great recipe for success. With just two goals scored and eight conceded, the Blues need a huge uplift in performance after the break if they are to avoid another hugely unwanted relegation scrap. Next up? Arsenal, not ideal. 

After storming to the Championship title last term, there was plenty of hype around Burnley under the stewardship of Vincent Kompany, and while only three games have been played out (they have played one less than most due to Luton’s stadium situation), the Clarets have failed to win any of them. It must be said, those matches have been against City, Aston Villa and Tottenham – games that will not necessarily determine the success of Burnley’s season, but the manner in which they have fallen to those defeats has been mildly alarming. 

If you play attack-minded, free-flowing football then the susceptibility for conceding goals is always going to be high, and Kompany’s Burnley do just that. As a result, the Lancashire club have shipped 11 goals in three games against three of the division’s best attacking forces. It is far too soon to jump the gun and say that Burley are in massive danger, but a deviation in approach should perhaps be explored by Kompany in certain fixtures should the game be playing out in a certain way in front of him, and defensively they definitely need to become more solid. 

Burnley’s upcoming run of games could prove to be pivotal to their season, with Nottingham Forest, Brentford, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace all featuring in their next six outings. Pick up a few wins, and the landscape suddenly looks a lot different. Lose them, however, and they will soon find themselves with a huge amount of work on their hands.  

Standout stars 

18-year-old Evan Ferguson stole the show in Brighton’s impressive 3-1 win over Newcastle on Saturday, netting his first professional hat-trick as the Seagulls laid down a marker on a direct rival for European football. 

The Republic of Ireland international is second only to Erling Haaland in the Premier League top-scorer chart after four games and looks as though he could become Brighton’s first choice front man, with rumours of interest from City and other huge hitters already circling. A long way to go, of course, but one of our bargain picks for this season’s FPL is already proving worthy of his selection. 

No Toney, no problem when you’ve got Bryan Mbeumo at your disposal. Like Ferguson, the Brentford striker has four goals in his opening four games and is carrying the baton flawlessly while Ivan Toney serves his suspension. The Cameroon international has helped Brentford to an unbeaten start this season, scoring in all but one of the Bees’ opening games, where they have drawn three and won once. 

As a result, the west London club sit eighth in the table and just four points off the top-four; if they can start to turn those draws into victories, another successful campaign could be in the offing for Thomas Frank’s progressive side. At £6.8m, Mbeumo’s stock has unsurprisingly risen on FPL since the opening day, but he still represents some decent value if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option to partner Haaland with up top.  

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