The international break is well underway and most of the Premier League’s top clubs have stars missing in action. It can be a nuisance for many of England’s biggest managers as they have to wave goodbye to their players and pray for their safe return. Whether it’s Klopp trying to protect Daniel Sturridge or Wenger with Walcott, the international break isn’t the best time of the year for clubs.
However, the two week break does give some of the other Premier League teams the perfect opportunity to work together with their manager and put right some wrongs displayed at the start of the season. The 2016-17 Premier League campaign is now seven weeks in, with all teams facing some tough opponents but Manchester City have made the best start. Under new manager Pep Guardiola, City have recorded 6 wins, including one in the Manchester derby and only dropped points against Tottenham in a 2-0 loss. They’ve looked pretty impressive but apart from the victory against United, they’ve not recorded any points against another side from last season’s top six.
Tottenham and Arsenal have also made bright starts in the league but their performances have yet to be inspiring. The Gunners’ 3-0 victory against Chelsea was a real treat though but there’s still plenty of work to be done. Liverpool, despite a disappointing 2-0 defeat against Burnley, have been sublime so far this season, defeating Arsenal, Chelsea and Leicester City and drawing against Tottenham as they cruised through a very tough start to the season. Manchester United and Chelsea sit in sixth and seventh place respectively and although they’ve shown a few glimpses of potential, both Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho would’ve liked to have seen better results from their sides.
But which team has the advantage following the return from international break?
The Premier League games restart on 15th October and the weekend promises some tasty fixtures. Chelsea welcome the reigning champions to Stamford Bridge whilst Manchester City have a tough fixture against Everton at the Etihad. Liverpool and Manchester United battle it out in one of the most hotly anticipated fixtures of the season on Monday evening too. Arsenal and Tottenham will be hoping to take advantage of the other side’s tough fixtures when they face Swansea and West Brom and could bridge the gap with Manchester City at the top of the table.
The two London rivals will then be expected to get maximum points the following weekend too as Arsenal face Middlesborough and Tottenham travel to Bournemouth to meet Eddie Howe’s side. Manchester United have another tough fixture, as they have to travel to Stamford Bridge the week after facing Liverpool and Mourinho’s side could lose some ground against their rivals after the break as a result.
Liverpool host West Bromwich Albion and if they can overcome Mourinho and his star-studded side in their first game after the break, they could have a huge advantage against the other top sides. Klopp’s men will have faced four teams out of last season’s top six, as well as an away victory against Chelsea. So far, Liverpool have recorded 10 points against their rivals and a win against Manchester United would make that 13, with three of those games being on the road.
Tottenham then host the Premier League champions in the final weekend fixture of the month, whilst Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal all have away matches to contend with. Manchester United will be hoping for some respite when they host Burnley at Old Trafford but it’ll be the crunch clashes against Chelsea and Liverpool which could determine how their momentum builds following the break.
All-in-all, the next three weeks promise to bring plenty of entertainment between the top sides but it’s Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham who could benefit the most. If Klopp’s side can get seven points from their next three fixtures, it’ll be a hugely impressive start to the season, with the Reds recording 23 points in their first ten games. The two London sides don’t have any hugely dangerous fixtures in line but need to try and make the most of their slightly easier run and if they do, it could be one of those two teams leading the table after ten games.
Manchester United have got the toughest fixtures out of all the top sides and after recording some disappointing results against Manchester City, Stoke and Watford, they will need to produce some impressive displays to get themselves on board for a title challenge.