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Can Manchester United win at home? 8 things to look out for in the Premier League this weekend

Marcus Rashford
(Image credit: PA)

1. Manchester United face Arsenal and seek first Old Trafford win

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer registered one of the most impressive wins of his Manchester United (opens in new tab) tenure in midweek, as his side vanquished RB Leipzig (opens in new tab) 5-0 at Old Trafford. That win gives United six points from six in their Champions League 'group of death', and they now need to carry their European form into domestic competition.

United are yet to win at home in the Premier League this term. Meetings with Crystal Palace (opens in new tab) and Tottenham (opens in new tab) ended in 3-1 and 6-1 defeats respectively, before Chelsea (opens in new tab) ground out a 0-0 draw in M16 last time out. United have now gone five league games without a win at Old Trafford, their longest such run since 1990.

Arsenal (opens in new tab) will be looking to bounce back from their 1-0 loss to Leicester (opens in new tab) last weekend. Both they and United have struggled for creativity at times in the Premier League this term, mustering only 15 non-penalty goals between them in 11 matches. Defeat here would leave either team in the bottom half.

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2. Jurgen Klopp faces defensive headache

When it rains it pours. Liverpool (opens in new tab) had barely come to terms with the news that Virgil van Dijk is set to miss the rest of the season with injury when Fabinho joined the Dutchman and Joel Matip on the treatment table. That leaves Jurgen Klopp short of centre-backs ahead of his team's tussle with West Ham (opens in new tab) on Saturday.

Fabinho might be a midfielder by trade, but he's barely put a foot wrong when asked to fill in further back. Tuesday's Champions League win against Midtjylland ended with Joe Gomez and Rhys Williams in the heart of the backline, and Klopp may be forced to persevere with that duo against Michail Antonio and co.

Klopp also namechecked Nat Phillips and Billy Koumetio as youngsters who are capable of deputising, but the situation is hardly ideal. West Ham have troubled Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City (opens in new tab) already this season and will be quietly confident of doing similar at Anfield given their hosts' vulnerabilities.

Jurgen Klopp

(Image credit: PA)

3. Manchester City must start winning soon

Manchester City have played a game fewer than most of their Premier League rivals; adding three more points to their tally would see them rise from 13th to sixth. Even so, Pep Guardiola will be concerned that his team have failed to win three of their first five games this term.

Liverpool racked up 98 and 99 points in the last two seasons. The early signs this campaign suggest such an extraordinarily high tally will not be necessary to win the title, but City cannot afford to fall too far behind the Reds. They have already dropped points to Leicester, Leeds (opens in new tab) and West Ham, and a repeat against Sheffield United (opens in new tab) would leave City in a concerning position ahead of games against Liverpool and Tottenham later in November.

There has been much talk of City's defensive struggles, but their attack has been relatively feeble thus far. According to Understat (opens in new tab), Guardiola's side are averaging 1.45 xG per game - only the ninth-best record in the division. That has to improve if City are to recapture the championship crown.

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4. Can Chelsea maintain their new-found solidity?

Wednesday's 4-0 victory over Krasnodar made it three clean sheets on the bounce for Chelsea. Frank Lampard used a 4-2-3-1 formation in midweek but could revert to a three-man backline to better cope with Burnley (opens in new tab)'s strike duo of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes.

Chelsea were solid in last Sunday's scoreless stalemate with Manchester United, but Lampard will be keen to strike a better balance this weekend. The Blues lost much of their attacking edge at Old Trafford, and while that was an acceptable strategy in that particular fixture, more craft and guile will be required at Turf Moor.

Burnley were unfortunate to lose to Tottenham in their last encounter, and a repeat of that performance would give Chelsea plenty to think about on Saturday. 

Thiago Silva

(Image credit: PA)

5. Leicester bring their contain-and-counter approach to Leeds

Brendan Rodgers was once the Premier League's most fundamental tactician, insisting his Swansea side dominate possession at all costs. He's evolved as a coach since then, and his Leicester team have enjoyed great success with a contain-and-counter approach at times this term.

It was that sort of reactive, controlled display that yielded victory at the Emirates last time out. Leicester kept things tight at the back and then pushed on in the second half, much as they did in the 5-2 thrashing of Manchester City in September.

Keeping Leeds quiet won't be easy. Marcelo Bielsa's men were magnificent in their 3-0 win at Aston Villa (opens in new tab), and Patrick Bamford is at the top of his game. Yet Wolves (opens in new tab) ground out a win at Elland Road a fortnight ago and Leicester will be eyeing a similar outcome on Monday night.

6. Fulham vs West Brom: the earliest ever relegation six-pointer?

This was always likely to be a tough season for Fulham (opens in new tab) and West Brom (opens in new tab), and the early weeks have borne that out. Neither team has recorded a victory yet, but that could change when they go head-to-head on Monday.

West Brom have had the better start, drawing three of their six matches. They have been more competitive and looked harder to beat than Fulham, who probably have more individual quality in their ranks. A front three of Ruben Loftus Cheek, Ademola Lookman and Alexander Mitrovic looks good on paper, but they only occasionally troubled Crystal Palace last weekend.

It's far too early to dismiss any team's chances of survival, but the loser at Craven Cottage will be in a worrying position after seven games.


(Image credit: PA)

7. Wilfried Zaha on course for best ever goal tally

Wilfried Zaha's performances in 2012/13 convinced Alex Ferguson to sign him for Manchester United. One of his standout displays that term came at Molineux, where the winger scored two brilliant goals to give Dougie Freedman's side victory.

For all Zaha's talent, he's never scored more than 10 league goals in a season. His highest tally to date came in 2018/19 when he squeezed into double figures, but he's already notched five this term and is well on course to set a new personal best.

Zaha has started the season extremely well, relishing his new role as one of two strikers in a 4-4-2 formation. Palace's trip to Wolves is unlikely to yield too many goals, but Zaha's form suggests he's among the most likely scorers.

8. Harry Kane and Son Heung-min out to continue Tottenham telepathy

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were at it again in Tottenham's victory over Burnley, the former assisting the latter for the seventh time this season. Only Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba have linked up for more goals in Premier League history than the Spurs duo, who have now set one another up 29 times.

Brighton (opens in new tab) are the next side in Kane and Son's sights, and they could be joined in the starting XI by Gareth Bale for the first time in the Premier League. Jose Mourinho has played down Tottenham's title chances, but it's not beyond the realms of possibility that Kane and Son could fire his team into contention.

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Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).