LONDON: Premier League leaders Manchester City travel to Chelsea on Sunday with Erling Haaland in ominous form as Arsenal and Tottenham seek to recover from their first defeats of the season.

Early-season results boosted hopes of a genuine title race but City were the only team in the top five to win last weekend.

At the other end of the table, the bottom four sides are in danger of being cut adrift even before the season is a third of the way through.

Here are three talking points ahead of the action in the English top flight.

 

Manchester City recently had an uncharacteristic mini-wobble but they have responded in emphatic style, hitting 17 goals in five games in all competitions.

Pep Guardiola’s champions are back on top of the Premier League, taking advantage of slip-ups from Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool.

Erling Haaland, who scored 52 goals for City last season, is in red-hot form, with 15 in the current campaign so far.

City travel to Chelsea on Sunday not knowing exactly what to expect from Mauricio Pochettino’s inconsistent team, who beat nine-man Tottenham 4-1 on Monday.

But the treble winners will be full of confidence, having won their past six matches against the Stamford Bridge side in all competitions without conceding a single goal.

 

Manchester United got out of jail last week when Bruno Fernandes struck a last-gasp winner to earn a 1-0 victory at Fulham and ease the pressure on manager Erik ten Hag.

But the Dutchman is once again in the spotlight after United went down 4-3 in a chaotic Champions League match in Copenhagen on Wednesday.

The club have lost nine of their opening 17 matches in a season in all competitions for the first time since 1973/74, a campaign in which they were relegated.

United would normally be expected to sweep aside Luton, Saturday’s opponents at Old Trafford, but they have scored just 12 goals in 11 Premier League matches so far and their injury-ravaged defense looks shaky.

Ten Hag, however, is convinced his team’s luck will change.

“This squad is resilient,” he said after the defeat in Denmark. “The whole season, so many decisions are against us, so many setbacks for injuries.

“Every time there is a spirit, there is a fight and we will keep going because I am sure and I said to the lads it will turn — on one moment in the season it will turn in our favor.”

 

The bottom four teams in the Premier League each have just a single win and a paltry combined total of 20 points from 11 rounds of games.

Newly promoted Luton, Burnley and Sheffield United are all struggling along with Bournemouth — there is already a five-point gap between 17th-placed Luton and Everton, one place above them.

Despite those poor results, not a single Premier League manager has been sacked so far — there were a record 14 managerial changes last season.

Burnley boss Vincent Kompany urged his team not to lose confidence after they became the first side in English top-flight history to lose each of their first six home games to begin a season.

“We have to put everything into context and not let ourselves get knocked down by something which is supposed to be one of the hardest achievements to do, which is to establish yourself in this league,” he said.

Kompany’s men have a daunting trip to face Arsenal this weekend, with the Gunners smarting from their 1-0 defeat at Newcastle.

 

Fixtures

Saturday (1500 GMT unless stated)

Wolves vs. Tottenham (1230), Arsenal vs. Burnley, Crystal Palace vs. Everton, Manchester United vs. Luton, Bournemouth vs. Newcastle (1730)

Sunday (1400 GMT unless stated)

Aston Villa vs. Fulham, Brighton vs. Sheffield United, Liverpool vs. Brentford, West Ham vs. Nottingham Forest, Chelsea vs. Manchester City (1630)

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