The 2023-24 Premier League season is well underway and we are already getting a sense of how sides are going to fare this campaign. Manchester City, unsurprisingly, look like the team to beat. They’ve won all four of their games as they seek a record-breaking fourth-straight title success, while Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United have also enjoyed unbeaten starts to the season.
At the other end of the table, newcomers Burnley and Luton Town have struggled and are yet to pick up a point thus far. Everton have toyed with relegation for the last couple of years, and it looks set to be another long season for the Toffees as they lost their opening three games without scoring a goal for the first time in their 145-year history before picking up a point in a 2-2 draw with fellow strugglers Sheffield United.
Chelsea, Newcastle United and Manchester United have had slow starts to the season despite being considered top four contenders in the build-up to the new campaign. Brighton, Crystal Palace, Brentford, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa make up the top 10 behind Man City, Spurs, Liverpool, West Ham and Arsenal, respectively.
Now we have summed up the standings prior to the international break, let’s take a look at some of the best games from the first four matchdays of the season.
Newcastle 5-1 Aston Villa
We were treated to an absolute thriller in the opening Saturday Night Football fixture of the season, as Newcastle thrashed Aston Villa 5-1 at St. James’ Park. Sandro Tonali opened his account just six minutes into the game, but Villa’s record signing levelled the scores just five minutes later.
It wasn’t long before Eddie Howe’s men were back in front, with Alexander Isak restoring their lead in the 16th minute and that’s how the scores remained until half-time. The Swedish striker notched again to give the Magpies a two-goal advantage before Callum Wilson and Harvey Barnes scored to round off a miserable night for Unai Emery and Villa.
West Ham 3-1 Chelsea
The standout game on matchday two of the new season was arguably West Ham’s 3-1 win over Chelsea at the London Stadium. The Blues made a promising start under Mauricio Pochettino with a 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge and were expected to come away from east London with the three points.
That didn’t pan out, however. Nayef Aguerd towered above the Blues’ defence to head home James Ward-Prowse’s corner in the seventh minute, but Carney Chukwuemeka got Chelsea back on level terms before Enzo Fernandes missed a penalty before half-time. That swung momentum back in the Hammers’ favour and Michail Antonio scored to put West Ham 2-1 in front.
With Aguerd shown a red card, those who had backed in the Hammers in the football odds might have started to panic about a potential Chelsea equaliser. But there was no need, as Lucas Paqueta converted from the spot late to seal a memorable 3-1 win.
Manchester United 3-2 Nottingham Forest
Man United have had a turbulent start to the season, failing to even look convincing in their two victories to date. The home win over Nottingham Forest is evidence of that, as the midlands side stormed into a 2-0 lead after just four minutes.
Taiwo Awoniyi opened the scoring and Willy Boly added the second in the nightmare start at Old Trafford. Christian Eriksen cut the deficit to one with a goal in the 17th minute, and Casemiro and Bruno Fernandez completed the comeback in the second half.
Arsenal 3-1 Manchester United
Man City and Tottenham both thrashed Fulham and Burnley, with 5-1 and 5-2 wins, respectively. However, the tie of the fourth round of fixtures had to be Arsenal vs Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium.
It was a nervy opening 20 minutes in North London, but Marcus Rashford sparked the game into life when the Red Devils hit Arsenal on the counter. Their lead lasted just 60 seconds though, as Martin Odegaard levelled.
The flame seemed to burn out again somewhat until Alejandro Garnacho appeared to give the visitors the lead with just two minutes to spare — only for the goal to be ruled out by VAR. That was the kick in the backside Arsenal needed, and Declan Rice (90+6) and Gabriel Jesus (90+11) both scored in a dramatic ending.