We’ve played four Premier League matches so far, which may not sound like that many, but it means we’re more than 10 per cent through the season already.
With domestic football taking its first enforced break for the international window, now seems like a good enough time as any to rate how each team has done in the embryonic stages of the season so far.
Note – We have only considered teams’ performances and results solely from this season’s opening four Premier League rounds.
Arsenal – 4/10
It’s been a mixed start to life under new boss Unai Emery with two losses against top six rivals, followed by two wins against relegation candidates, all while playing in a way which gives their fans heart palpitations. The Gunners are still clearly adapting to Emery’s new style of play and should get better, but so far it’s been anything but champagne football.
Bournemouth – 8/10
Two wins and a draw from their opening four games, with only an away loss against resurgent Chelsea represents a brilliant start for Eddie Howe’s men. The Cherries now don’t face a ‘Big Six’ team until November, could an early charge for Europe be on the cards?
Brighton and Hove Albion – 6/10
Brighton beat Manchester United in a match that will live long in the memories of those who saw it, but that remains their only win of the season so far. In mitigating circumstances though, both of their losses came against Watford and Liverpool – teams who are currently first and third in the table. Four points probably would have been their target so in that sense (so far) job done.
Burnley – 3/10
Burnley’s overachievement last season has hampered their results so far. Sean Dyche’s men have clearly been unable to mix the demands of Thursday nights in Europe and Sundays in the Premier League and have suffered for it. The Clarets are now out of Europe and with no wins from matches against Southampton, Watford, Fulham and Man United to show for it.
Cardiff City – 5/10
Two points from four matches isn’t a bad a return for the Bluebirds. Of more concern is those points came against Huddersfield and Newcastle, both of whom were reduced to 10 men and are likely to be in the bottom-half. These are the matches Cardiff should have targeted three points from if they want to give themselves a real chance at survival.
Chelsea – 9/10
New manager Maurizio Sarri has made a mockery of predictions that the Blues would toil after the club’s disjointed pre-season. They haven’t been at their absolute best and have had a relatively kind schedule to start to the season, but Chelsea can only beat the teams put in front of them and they’ve done just that to sit second in the table.
Crystal Palace – 5/10
An inconsistent start for the Eagles. They had an impressive start with a win over Fulham, fought well in the Liverpool loss, but were caught out by Watford and without Wilfried Zaha were poor against Southampton. Upcoming matches against Huddersfield, Newcastle, Bournemouth and Wolves will give us a much better idea of how Palace are shaping up.
Everton – 7/10
Everton have hardly roared out of the blocks with three draws from their first four games, but on two of those occasions they have been reduced to 10 men and held on. More importantly for the Toffees is that they are still unbeaten as Marco Silva moulds his new-look side.
Fulham – 7/10
After a summer spending spree, Fulham were always going to have some teething issues to start the season, and now the Cottagers have now picked up four points from their last two games. All in all, it’s been a solid return to life in the Premier League as boss Slavisa Jokanovic integrates plenty of new faces into his team.
Huddersfield Town – 5/10
A nightmare draw saw them face Chelsea and Manchester City to open the season, both matches which David Wagner all but wrote off (and lost by a combined score of 9-1). Since then they’ve got going with hard-fought draws against Cardiff and Everton to belatedly get themselves on the board. Already though, goal difference could be a concern.
Leicester City – 7/10
Claude Puel needed a good start to ease the pressure growing on him and he’s got it. The Foxes got the job done against Wolves and Southampton, and they probably deserved more from their losses against Liverpool and Manchester United.
Liverpool – 10/10
They haven’t been at their absolute best except in beating a disjointed West Ham on the opening day, but the best teams find a way to grind out wins. Of particular note has been their defence – so often their Achilles heal last season, the Reds have only conceded one goal so far (and even that was a goalkeeping howler).
Manchester City – 7/10
Unbeaten with three wins and eleven goals from four matches, and sitting in fourth place would be a success for most teams in the Premier League. But success for City is relative, and Pep Guardiola’s charges haven’t been at their imperious best without Kevin De Bruyne.
Manchester United – 5/10
Unconvincing against Leicester, awful against Brighton and Tottenham, did enough against Burnley. Jose Mourinho has been hogging the headlines as the Red Devils appeared to be o the verge of imploding. Or were they? Despite all the off-field distractions United are in the top half with six points, however you just can’t shake off the urge another calamity is just around the corner.
Newcastle United – 6/10
Rooted in the relegation places with their only point coming against a limited Cardiff side doesn’t look good – and to be fair it isn’t a great place to be, even this early in the season – but Rafa Benitez can rightly point to mitigating factors. The Toon have faced three of last season’s top six so far already but have only lost each match 2-1. The points aren’t there yet, but there are enough positive signs to be optimistic if you’re a Newcastle fan.
Southampton – 6/10
Four points is a solid enough return for Mark Hughes’ men who are hoping to put a horror 12 months or so behind them. They have been far from convincing so far but it’s baby steps on the south coast as the Saints try to discover their confidence.
Tottenham Hotspur – 8/10
Traditionally slow starters, Spurs flew out of the blocks and looked to have laid down a marker when they went to Old Trafford and won 3-0. Then they visited Watford. Still if you’d offered fans nine points at this stage of the season on August 9, they’d probably have taken it.
Watford – 10/10
Arguably the stand out team of the Premier League so far. Many (including this author) tipped the Hornets for relegation but they’ve come firing out the blocks to sit third. They were handed a kind(ish) draw against Brighton, Burnley and Crystal Palace, but the win against Tottenham made the rest of the league sit up and take notice.
West Ham United – 1/10
There’s no point sugar coating it for the Hammers, after spending £100m in the summer they have been awful so far. They showed glimpses against Arsenal but still lost 3-1 and an opening day loss at Anfield can be forgiven, even if the 4-0 scoreline was sobering. However, home losses to both Bournemouth and promoted Wolves when they knew what was on the line makes for grim reading for Manuel Pellegrini.
Wolverhampton Wanderers – 9/10
It’s been a great return to the Premier League for Wolves. Nuno Espiritio Santo’s men fought back well against Everton to salvage a point, they were unlucky against Leicester, striking the woodwork on several occasions, and then struck late to beat West Ham. But the headline result was undoubtedly taking a point off Man City. For a team with multiple new faces, most making their first Premier League splash, it’s been a great start for the promoted side.