What Liverpool, Man City, Manchester United and the big six must fix after stuttering start

Manchester City

At their best, City are simply irresistible going forward with the brilliance of Kevin De Bruyne and the potency of Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling usually more than enough to blow away all but the very best. 

However, defensive frailty has been a theme for much of Pep Guardiola’s reign to date despite heavy investment in reinforcements and those problems persist despite the £40million summer addition of Nathan Ake to the mix. A

ymeric Laporte was missing for a shock 5-2 home defeat by Leicester, which featured a Jamie Vardy hat-trick, but was in the side as they failed to hold on to a 1-0 advantage at promoted Leeds.

Chelsea

Tipped by many to make significant strides under Frank Lampard after a post-embargo summer spending spree which saw Timo Werner, Thiago Silva, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell and Hakim Ziyech arrive at Stamford Bridge at great expense, Chelsea have blown hot and cold, often inside the same 90 minutes. 

At 36, the vastly experienced Silva enjoyed something of a baptism of fire in English football, making his league debut in 3-3 draw at West Brom in which his side trailed 3-0 at the break, although he was not in the squad on Saturday as the Blues squandered 2-0 and 3-2 leads at home to Southampton. 

It is also significant that goalkeepers Kepa Arrizabalaga – who had an afternoon to forget against the Saints – Willy Caballero and Edouard Mendy have all had a taste of the action.

Arsenal

The Gunners remain a work in progress under Mikel Arteta, who is just 10 months into his reign. 

Going forward, they remain a real threat with Eddie Nketiah complementing the firepower of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. 

However, a defence in which the talented but error-prone David Luiz is a central figure continues to be a source of concern and the recruitment of Thomas Partey, a defensive midfielder whose physical presence and energy may prove as important as his ability to pick a pass, will provide an added layer of security.

Tottenham

During his time at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho built teams which were ruthlessly efficient, scoring enough goals to win comfortably without over-exerting themselves and keeping clean sheets into the bargain. Mourinho’s Tottenham are in many senses the antithesis of that. 

In Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, they boast two of the Premier League’s most potent frontmen, and the addition of the returning Gareth Bale will further boost the firepower at the manager’s disposal. 

However, they have conceded in each of their nine games to date this season and at times have demonstrated a costly inability to kill off games, Newcastle snatching an undeserved draw in north London with a late penalty and West Ham fighting back to claim a point on Sunday despite trailing 3-0 after just 16 minutes.

Manchester United

It is not so very log ago that David De Gea was widely regarded as one of, if not the, best goalkeepers in the world and his subsequent difficulties have exposed the inadequacies of the men immediately ahead of him. 

Coupled with £80million central defender Harry Maguire’s recent poor run of form – the England international turned in a much-improved display at Newcastle on Saturday evening – and the alarming fashion in which United capitulated in the wake of Anthony Martial’s dismissal in the 6-1 rout by Tottenham at Old Trafford, the foundations have been less than firm. 

The class of Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford will atone for some of those deficiencies, but that is not a blueprint for lasting success.

PA

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