MUTED-MOMENTUM: WINNERS AND LOSERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL BREAK
After a couple of weeks of international fixtures and Nations League action, this weekend we turn our attention back to the Premier League.
With this being the first international break of the season, it can affect a team's momentum and potentially help those who were struggling.
The break can be taken as an opportunity to regroup and sort out issues different sides have had in the first few weeks of the season.
There have already been some clear winners and losers so far this year, but it will be interesting to see how the break could change this.
Firstly, let's have look at the sides that it could benefit:
With 3 teams (Fulham, Sheffield United and Burnley) yet to pick up a single point this season, the international games may have come at exactly the right time.
Newly promoted Fulham have looked very poor defensively, conceding the joint 2nd most amount of goals this season alongside both Liverpool and Manchester United.
However, Scott Parker has now added to the squad, strengthening at the back with the additions of Joachim Andersen and Tosin Adarabioyo, and the signing of attacking midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
With some valuable training time, they will be hoping for a successful outing away at one of the other struggling sides already mentioned.
This team being Sheffield United.
After an amazing season last year, surprising everyone, The Blades have had a rough start this time around.
Having only managed to score once so far this season, Chris Wilder will be hoping record signing Rhian Brewster will be able to hit the ground running and bolster their attacking options.
It could be a season where they really struggle and it is looking likely that they will be in the relegation battle for the remainder of it.
Burnley have also surprisingly had a bad start to the year, losing to Leicester City, Southampton and Newcastle United respectively.
Despite a solid 10th place finish last season with a total of 15 wins and multiple clean sheets, they have looked rather poor all-round so far.
Sean Dyche will be hoping to see a change this weekend in what could be a real chance for points away at West Bromwich Albion.
Another side that were desperate for a break from league football were Manchester United.
Currently sitting 16th in the league, it has been an awful start for the Red Devils.
Losing their opening game to Crystal Palace was not an ideal start, this was followed by a close 3-2 victory over Brighton in which they were very lucky to take all 3 points.
Their worst result of the season however came right before the break.
A frankly embarrassing 6-1 defeat at the hands of Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur side really left a lot of question marks surrounding the team.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s position as manager is definitely under scrutiny and there is a lot of uncertainty around the club.
They will be hoping for a positive result and performance this weekend away at Newcastle.
Following this match, they then have a very tough run of fixtures.
Facing both Chelsea and Arsenal in the Premier League, and Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig in the Champions League all in the space of just over two weeks.
Chelsea are another team that could be considered as potentially thankful for the international break, however, in a different way from the others spoken about so far.
With Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic both coming back to full fitness, Chelsea for the first time in a long while look to have all their attacking options available to them.
On top of this many of their players had successful times whilst playing for their countries.
This includes England duo Mason Mount and Reece James who both impressed and the German pair of Kai Havertz and Timo Werner.
Both Havertz and Werner picked up goals and assists and Frank Lampard will be hoping they will be able to replicate this coming into their game today in which they play host to Southampton.
Having looked at the sides that could be benefited from the break, it is important to cover the sides that it came at the wrong time for.
The obvious examples are Everton and Aston Villa.
The sides have both made flawless starts to their Premier League campaigns and could not be happier with how they have performed, but the question remains could the break disrupt their momentum?
Together the sides have managed a total of 23 goals in just seven games.
Of course, seven of these came in Villa’s emphatic 7-2 thrashing of reigning champions Liverpool.
An incredible performance and simply shocking result showed Villa’s intentions for this year.
Picking up nine points from a possible nine they have already got exactly 25% of the number of points that they claimed in the entirety of last season.
Villa face off against Leicester City this weekend in what could be a fascinating fixture.
Another match with the possibility to be extremely exciting will be the Merseyside derby.
Everton have never been in such a good position when compared to Liverpool and this will be a real opportunity to claim a historic victory.
The last time they managed to defeat Liverpool was all the way back in 2010 on October 17th in a 2-0 win at Goodison Park.
This will mean that the game will mark exactly 10 years since they got that victory.
Carlo Ancelotti will be hoping his side haven’t lost their impressive run of form due to the international break and will be able to inflict further damage into a Liverpool side that has shown some weaknesses.
West Ham can also be considered a side that will have been disappointed with the timing of the break.
Despite losing their opening two games to Newcastle and Arsenal, David Moyes’ team have dramatically turned it around.
Rather unexpectedly, West Ham were able to breeze past Wolverhampton Wanderers with an amazing 4-0 victory.
This wasn’t where the surprises ended though, as in the following fixture they claimed a very impressive 3-0 win away to Leicester.
This weekend West Ham will be involved in their first London Derby of the season as they take on Tottenham on Sunday.
Overall, we could have another fantastic weekend of football ahead of us, with some intriguing games coming up.
Hopefully, we continue to see loads of thrilling action with goals galore and tightly contested matches.