As the Premier League prepares to shut up shop for yet another international break, now is usually the time where the table begins to take shape for what it will look like for the rest of the season.
The ‘start of the season’ is now over and when we return to action we will be approaching a period where sacking usually happen, teams have games every couple of days over Christmas and desperate managers plead with their chief executives for money to spend in the January transfer market.
With that in mind, few would have predicted the table looking like this after eight rounds of games, so we have graded every club’s starts to the new season – and it’s not easy reading for some.
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ARSENAL (11th – Played 8, Won 4, Lost 4)
“Hey Siri, define ‘inconsistent’…” Much has been made about how Mikel Arteta’s start has been far worse than his predecessor Unai Emery’s but Gooners are far more content under the rookie manager’s leadership than they were under his compatriot. The positives have been balanced with negatives and every step forward has been countered with a step back – the last three results, losing to Leicester then beating Manchester United then losing to Aston Villa (badly) is a testament to that.
ASTON VILLA (6th – Played 7, Won 5, Lost 2)
They survived a return to the Championship a few months ago by a one in 9,000 glitch in the goalline technology system and now they’re the best team to watch in the league, led by the best player to watch in the league. Jack Grealish, fresh from signing a new deal amid Manchester United interest, is one of three standout players so far and has gelled deliciously with new signings Ross Barkley and Ollie Watkins. The decimations of Liverpool and Arsenal will be remembered for a long time and should they win their game in hand they will be top of the league. Only two teams have scored more and no team has conceded fewer this season.
BRIGHTON (16th – Played 8, Won 1, Lost 4, Drawn 3)
Brighton has played well this season and have been an improvement on the year before, but the results aren’t matching. Graham Potter will be hoping it’s only a matter of time before they do but this is not where they’d want to be after eight games and panic will be starting to set in if there are not more points on the board by December. They are lacking a central striker with off-field issues with Neil Maupay causing tension within the squad, although that has now been resolved.
BURNLEY (19th – Played 7, Drawn 2, Lost 5)
Burnley are one of just three teams yet to record a victory so far and this might be the season that years of working on a budget and relying on Sean Dyche to coach the side to safety comes crashing down. Five defeats and two draws is a huge worry and the lack of goals…