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Will Chelsea change tune at last?

The last time Luton visited Stamford Bridge for a league fixture, George HW Bush was US president, Bryan Adams was in the middle of his monster 16-week stay at the top of the charts with (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, and Liverpool had just broken the British transfer record by paying £2.9m for Derby’s Dean Saunders. The record has gone up a touch since August 1991 but again the Hatters visit west London in the wake of a new spending benchmark being set, and the player in question could well be in line for a first start for his new club. Chelsea’s £115m Moisés Caicedo had something of a nightmare debut from the bench against West Ham last weekend, giving away the penalty that clinched things for the Hammers, but Mauricio Pochettino indicated on Thursday he is ready to start. Despite decent performances against Liverpool and West Ham, it is now one win from 16 games in all competitions for Chelsea, and there may well be a touch of trepidation about the visit of Rob Edwards’ in-your-face Luton side, who have had two weeks to stew on their opening-day defeat to Brighton. John Ashdown


Early signs of midfield hope for Spurs

There would be little more Spursy than Tottenham beating Manchester United only to lose to Bournemouth, theirs a flakiness decades in the making that Ange Postecoglou is the latest manager to try and correct. So far, he’s making a decent fist of it, Spurs conceding twice in nine minutes at Brentford then equalising shortly afterwards, prior to dominating United having spent half-hour being dominated themselves. Just as questions about their defence remain, it is still unclear who will score their goals, but Postecoglou does, at least, appear to have found a midfield. Pape Sarr is an enterprising presence with the energy to cover the full length of the pitch; James Maddison is already established as the team’s creative fulcrum; and Yves Bissouma is back to being the ball-carrying star he was at Brighton. It may be that, over the course of the season, issues at back and front cause problems but in the meantime, Spurs’ central trio – for Rodrigo Bentancur will soon be fit – should see off most opponents, Bournemouth included. Daniel Harris

Ange Postecoglou meets Spurs legend Ossie Ardiles
Ange Postecoglou meets Spurs legend Ossie Ardiles during training on Thursday. Photograph: Alex Morton/Tottenham Hotspur FC/Shutterstock


Another option to liven Arsenal up

Arsenal have been in little danger during consecutive wins over Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace but, at the same time, they have flickered rather than shone. Are they close to the level Mikel Arteta wants to see? “No, because you have to put the ball in the net more often, especially with the dominance we’re having in games,” he said following what ended up being a 10-man rearguard action at Selhurst Park. Someone who can help with that has returned to fitness just in time for Fulham’s visit. Gabriel Jesus trained on Thursday and could make an appearance off the bench; even if the Brazilian is not especially prolific he transforms Arsenal’s attacking play and could have an especially useful role in freeing up space for Kai Havertz, who has made a quiet start. How Fulham would love more striking options after the departure of Aleksandar Mitrovic; they have been linked with Atalanta’s Duvan Zapata but will have to make do at the Emirates. Nick Ames


Bees’ threats go deeper than Toney

Ivan Toney’s absence was expected to cause Brentford problems, and with good reason: he has been their leading scorer in each of the three seasons since they plucked him from Peterborough. But just as it was possible to foresee an issue, it was possible to assume that it would in some way be resolved, because that is was Brentford do – and so far, they have. Rather than throw money at the situation, they have found what Arsène Wenger liked to call “an internal solution”, promoting Yoane Wissa – who has scored in both their games so far – to play outside or alongside Bryan Mbeumo, who has bagged their three other goals . But difficult though it is to face two strikers in form, whether as a partnership or as part of a front three, in order to stop Brentford, Palace must also to pay serious attention to Rico Henry, whose driving, powerful runs from left-back mean he’s fast developing into their most potent creative weapon. DH

Brentford pair Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa celebrate their victory at Fulham.
Brentford pair Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa celebrate their victory at Fulham. Photograph: Paul Dennis/TGS Photo/Shutterstock


Potential overdue Everton switches

Sean Dyche is resistant to change. The Everton manager admitted he “could have taken the whole team off” at half-time of their abysmal 4-0 defeat at Aston Villa on Sunday but ultimately settled for only one, the already booked Idrissa Gana Gueye. His blind faith in Michael Keane is another example of Dyche favouring continuity for continuity’s sake. The central defender endured a calamitous afternoon at Villa Park and, while he was not alone in that regard, the error-strewn display will no doubt have left Jarrad Branthwaite questioning when his opportunity will come. Branthwaite enjoyed a fine breakthrough season at PSV Eindhoven last year, attracting widespread interest as a result. The 21-year-old did miss part of a pre-season with a minor injury – though not as much as the luckless Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who was deemed fit enough to start at Villa – but the time for fresh blood is long overdue at Goodison Park and Branthwaite should be convinced about his future. Andy Hunter

Everton’s Ashley Young at Aston Villa
Ashley Young leads Michael Keane as they thank Everton’s fans after the miserable 4-0 thrashing at Aston Villa. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Action Images/Reuters


Early selection tests for Ten Hag

With three major targets secured early, it looked like Manchester United were finally embracing competence; ha! For in a turn of events which reminds us to check what happens on the pitch before deciding who has “had a good summer” or “won the transfer window”, it transpires that Mason Mount is injured and Rasmus Højlund remains unavailable, meaning United still lack a workable midfield and reliable striker. They may buy again in the next fortnight, but in the meantime, Erik ten Hag must pick either Scott McTominay – from whose style he has consciously moved away but who provides much-needed athleticism – or Christian Eriksen – whose quality on the ball helps but whose physical prowess does little to deter opponents keen on rampaging through the heart of his team. On top of which, Ten Hag must also decide whether to restore Marcus Rashford to the left wing and hand Jadon Sancho yet another chance, this time at centre-forward, but whichever XI he selects, Forest will sniff an opportunity. DH


Another chance for Brighton to shine?

So you’re telling us Brighton aren’t having an influence on English football? Pep Guardiola spent Manchester City’s opening matches employing tactics rather like Roberto De Zerbi’s wait-steal-surge counter-press. Chelsea, featuring a squadron of former Albion backroom staff, fought a transfer tussle over Moisés Caicedo with Liverpool. The rest of the Premier League’s purported elite covet the likes of Evan Ferguson and Kaoru Mitoma, and wonder who the Brighton scouts might unearth next. The latest suggestions are summer arrivals Bart Verbruggen, Igor Julio, Mahmoud Dahoud and João Pedro, the latter pair featuring in the two opening 4-1 wins that put their new club top of the embryonic table. The arrivals will be given time to adapt to De Zerbi’s expectations. João Pedro slotted home a penalty in the opening win over Luton, but was benched at Wolves. “I would like him to improve his mentality,” explained De Zerbi. “When he loses the ball, he has to work harder.” John Brewin

João Pedro in action for Brighton after coming on in the second half against Wolves.
João Pedro in action for Brighton after coming on in the second half against Wolves. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images/Reuters


How Burnley respond to early break

If there was some consternation at Burnley over the postponement of last weekend’s trip to Luton, due to upgrading Kenilworth Road to Premier League standards for media and broadcasting, then the enforced two-week break between matches at least arrived at an opportune moment for a squad undergoing its own rebuilding work. Aaron Ramsey became Burnley’s 13th summer signing on Tuesday, and second incoming of the day after defender Hannes Delcroix, when completing his £12m move from Aston Villa. The attacking midfielder faces an immediate reunion on Sunday with his boyhood club, who ignited their own campaign with the 4-0 drubbing of Everton, but is playing catch-up to new recruits who have had more time to work with Vincent Kompany. Burnley’s summer reshuffle told in periods of their opening-night defeat by Manchester City but there was enough to suggest the style that swept to the Championship title last season has survived wholesale changes. An accomplished Villa team will present another stern test. AH


Blades tackle Guardiola-less City

It says something about the tumultuous few months at Bramall Lane that only six of the XI who started against Manchester City in their FA Cup semi-final at Wembley in April will be available for the Blades on Sunday thanks to injuries and sales. That shortage left them woefully exposed against Crystal Palace on the opening day but there were green shoots of recovery at Nottingham Forest last weekend, when Gustavo Hamer and Vinícius Souza made their first starts after expensive moves, and Cameron Archer could be signed in time to add further firepower. Not that it is likely to make much of a difference against City. They too have lost their key player from that semi – Riyad Mahrez, who scored a hat-trick in the utterly one-sided 3-0 win – but are rather better placed to cope. The one wildcard is the absence of Pep Guardiola after back surgery, with Juanma Lillo taking charge of the side in his stead. JA


Klopp’s sharpening rivalry with Howe

Eddie Howe claims he and his team “are in a good place” but whether Newcastle can register a first Premier League win against Liverpool since December 2015, when Steve McClaren occupied Howe’s current office, remains to be seen. Newcastle pipped Jürgen Klopp’s side to fourth place last spring and the German will undoubtedly be keen to exert a measure of revenge against a manager with whom his deepening rivalry has acquired a distinctly sharp edge. If Liverpool fans are still coming to terms with Jordan Henderson’s departure for Saudi Arabia, their Newcastle counterparts will doubtless miss booing the one-time Sunderland midfielder’s every touch. Klopp can only hope his new-look engine room proves sufficiently robust to prevent those home supporters cheering their new hero, Italy midfielder Sandro Tonali, to the rafters. LT

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