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A surprising top of the table clash and debuts galore: 9 things to look out for in the Premier League this weekend

Thiago Alcantara, Liverpool Premier League
(Image credit: PA)

Dazzling debuts

The deals keep coming in as the transfer deadline approaches, and Fantasy Premier League managers will have to be on their toes to predict which debutants might make an instant impression in the Premier League this weekend.

Left-back Sergio Reguilon could feature for Spurs against Newcastle on Sunday, but Gareth Bale will have to wait to make his second debut for the club as he recovers from a knee injury.

Wolves splashed the cash on £28m man Nelson Semedo from Barcelona, who could start against West Ham, while Diogo Jota is in line to feature for Liverpool after leaving Molineux this week.

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Chelsea finally have a new goalkeeper, and Edouard Mendy shouldn’t need long to usurp struggling Kepa Arrizabalaga as the Blues’ No.1.

Elsewhere, Leicester winger Cengiz Under, Aston Villa forward Bertrand Traore and West Brom defender Branislav Ivanovic are among others who could win their debuts after completing recent moves.

High-flying Havertz

Kai Havertz

(Image credit: PA)

Will we see Chelsea at their swashbuckling best this weekend? 

The Blues’ dazzling transfer business has made them one of the most intriguing sides to follow so far, but an opening day win over Brighton was followed by a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool last time out.

The new boys are beginning to settle and, judging by Wednesday’s Carabao Cup thumping of Barnsley, none more so than Kai Havertz. 

The German wonderkid scored a hat-trick in a 6-0 smashing of the Championship side to get off the mark in English football.

And with Ben Chilwell coming off the bench to provide an assist and Thiago Silva also making his debut, the pieces appear to be coming together for Frank Lampard ahead of their home clash with West Brom on Saturday.

United need a response

A home defeat to Crystal Palace wasn’t the way Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would’ve hoped to start the new season, and he’ll need to put things right quickly with a trip to Brighton on Saturday.

That will be easier said than done, as the Seagulls have won three games over the last week, two in the Carabao Cup and one in the Premier League, scoring nine goals and conceding none.

But United could do with a confidence-boosting performance; their next five league fixtures after their trip to the south coast are Tottenham (H), Newcastle (A), Chelsea (H), Arsenal (H) and Everton (A). Gulp.

An unlikely top-of-the-table clash

James Rodriguez

(Image credit: PA)

Come on, be honest: how many of you predicted that Palace and Everton would both be on six points after two rounds?

The league table always looks a bit, well, weird at this stage of the season.

Nevertheless, this clash at Selhurst Park between two of five sides to have won their opening couple of matches should be a good watch.

The Toffees have looked impressive so far, with marquee signing James Rodriguez settling in nicely, while Palace’s superb win at Old Trafford last weekend saw them rack up back-to-back victories at the start of a Premier League season for the first time ever.


Marcelo Bielsa’s maiden Premier League season is already more than living up to the billing.

After a 4-3 defeat to Liverpool and a 4-3 win over Fulham, we can comfortably predict that there will be goals when Leeds travel across Yorkshire to Sheffield United on Sunday.

It doesn’t really matter who they’re playing, Bielsa's boys will always be worth a watch this season.

Will Dele Alli play?

Dele Alli

(Image credit: PA)

The Tottenham midfielder’s name has featured regularly in the gossip columns recently. 

Jose Mourinho’s decision to leave Alli out of two consecutive matchday squads resulted in talk of a potential move to PSG – but now the boss has opened the door to a reintegration.

When asked earlier this week if the 24-year-old would still be at Spurs at the end of the window, Mourinho told Sky Sports: "I believe [he will]. I can even say that I'm convinced that he will be."

The intriguing question now is if Alli will start against Newcastle on Sunday. 

And should he get the nod, what kind of performance we will see from a player who has been criticised by his own manager for being too inconsistent?

An early test for Pep

City’s early-season fixture list is littered with banana skins. They managed to win their opener away to Wolves, but now face a home test against in-form Leicester before a trip to Leeds and the visit of Arsenal.

The Foxes began their league campaign with wins over West Brom and Burnley, before suffering a Carabao Cup exit to the Gunners in midweek.

They’ll no doubt be eyeing an upset here to maintain their strong start, but recent history doesn’t bode well for Brendan Rodgers’ men: they’ve won just one of their last seven league meetings with the Citizens.

Can Fulham get off the board?

Scott Parker

(Image credit: PA)

Fulham have had a difficult start to life back in the Premier League. A 3-0 home defeat to Arsenal on the opening day was followed by a 4-3 reverse at fellow newly-promoted side Leeds last time out.

Scott Parker needs to find a way to stop shipping goals and start getting results. It’s by no means an emergency yet – the Cottagers are one of seven sides yet to register a point.

But they face Aston Villa at home next, and taking points from winnable games at Craven Cottage will be crucial their hopes of staying up.  

Another Thiago pass-terclass?  

To say Thiago Alcantara made an impression off the bench against Chelsea on his Liverpool debut would be something of an understatement.

Coming on for the second half, the Spaniard completed 75 passes, more than any Blues player and the most of anyone in just 45 minutes since Opta started collecting data in 2003.

He also conceded a penalty and had Alisson to thank for saving Jorginho’s effort, but the playmaker's first Premier League start could come against Arsenal on Monday night and is highly anticipated by excited Reds fans.

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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.