Are Arsenal title contenders?
It's been 18 years since Arsenal last won the Premier League and it's also been that length of time since they looked equipped to win it too but has Mikel Arteta finally found the right ingredients and balance for the Gunners to win their 14th title? Arsenal are in 1st place and have won 6 of their first seven games, they are the 3rd highest scorers with 17 goals and it has always been proven that if you are scoring plenty of goals you will pick up plenty of points. They have conceded seven goals, only three teams have shipped less, and they have created a 5 point gap to fourth place.
However Manchester City and Tottenham are only a point behind and whilst Tottenham have a history of falling out when it really matters Manchester City do not. But the big question mark over their season will be the clubs they have faced so far. Crystal Palace, Leicester Bournemouth, Fulham, Aston Villa and Brentford. One could say with confidence that these teams won't finish in the top 8 of the league this season and maybe just one will make it into the top half. In other words Arsenal have only been tested once by a top six side and that ended in a 3-1 defeat against Manchester United who themselves were suffering from some confidence issues under Erik ten Hag. You can of course only beat who is in front of you and in previous seasons Arsenal may have managed 8 points from the six teams mentioned above, instead they have got 18, and so found an extra 10 points. These points seem to point (pardon the pun) to the fact that Arsenal will be qualifying for next seasons Champions League. Actually winning the league does seem distant but you can't fault the fans for being hopeful and happy and taking one game at a time. After the international break the Gunners will be facing both Tottenham and Liverpool and that should be interesting, it's also interesting to point out that both of those are at home and their scheduled game against Manchester City has been postponed for now. Is it time to believe?… Arsenal can be currently backed at 11.00 to win the league.
Trouble at West Ham
What is going on at West Ham? Here is a club that seemed to have gone up a few levels and shed their usual liabilities in the last two years and let's not forget reached the Europa League semi-finals last season. But the start of this campaign has been poor and actually we can rewind to the back end of last season when that dip in form started. The Hammers have won just 9 points from their last 14 games with only two victories both coincidently occurring away from home. After seven games of the new season they are in 18th place with four points, and this feels like the same old West Ham. But how can it be? Not only were the club seemingly improving last season but they also brought in players such as Gianluca Scamacca and Lucas Paqueta both look like they are struggling in the Premier League. It is of course early days and in Paqueta's case he has only managed 3 league games, but impactful players need to make that impact. It hasn't helped that West Ham put out a promotional video when they signed Paqueta, there he was standing on the roof of the stadium, the hype seemed akin to a new Terminator film, so when nothing happens in almost a month it feels like a damp squib.
The bottom line is that the Hammers have got a good set of players who should be pushing for a top 8 place and overall they have been superb under Moyes but with the way football works even the Scotsman will be looking over his shoulder if nothing has improved in a months time.
On the subject of managers Brighton have a new one to replace Graham Potter, Roberto De Zerbi who is 43. De Zerbi has been out of work since the summer when he left Shakhtar Donetsk losing just 5 games in 30. But perhaps his real achievement so far was with Serie A club Sassuolo as the club finished in 8th place two times in a row and they only missed out on Europe on goal difference last season. His win rate at the club was 35% but that's still 4% more than what Potter achieved at Brighton. Could this be like for like for the Seagulls? Only time will tell.
Finally it was good to see Heung-Min Son get his first goals of the season for Tottenham. In fact he got goal 1, 2 and 3 as he came off the bench to score a brilliant 13 minute hat trick as his club crushed Leicester 6-2. Alongside Mohamed Salah, Son was the top goalscorer in the Premier League last season with 23 goals and that was the first time he had broken the 20 goal barrier in the league. There is no doubt that Son is a world class player but he needs to find that type of consistency again and again which could help push Tottenham to some silverware at last. As for top goalscorer again though, well he is already a staggering 8 goals behind Erling Haaland….
Premier League Top goalscorer: Erling Haaland 1.25, Harry Kane 9.00, Gabriel Jesus 15.00, Mohamed Salah 16.00, Heung-Min Son 26.00