Arsenal are back on top of the Premier League with ambitions to stay there as they host Wolves this weekend while champions Manchester City play faltering Tottenham.
Newcastle take on Manchester United in a clash of two teams with high ambitions of their own while Chelsea face Brighton, still searching for consistency.
Arsenal’s last-gasp 1-0 win at Brentford last week, which took them back to the top of table, was their fifth Premier League victory by a single goal this season.
The Gunners lack the fluidity they showed in the 2022⁄23 campaign and attacking numbers are down but former Manchester United defender Gary Neville believes they are now better equipped to win the league.
“Perfect, pretty football is unlikely to win the league unless it’s combined with a doggedness and resilience,” he said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Arsenal are better this year in these areas and the football will come in due course.”
But former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, a Sky Sports pundit alongside Neville, believes Mikel Arteta’s team need to win games more convincingly.
“If Arsenal continue how they are, if this is the Arsenal we’re going to see this season, I don’t think they can win the league,” he told Sky.
He added: “So many games are going to the wire and sometimes that can go against you…. Those games that finish 1-0 can easily go 1-0 the other way.”
Arsenal smashed Lens 6-0 in the Champions League in midweek in a reminder of what can happen when everything clicks.
Elsewhere, early pacesetters Tottenham desperately need to arrest their slide after three straight defeats but champions Manchester City are their next port of call.
Ange Postecoglou’s team, unbeaten in their first 10 games, have developed the costly habit of letting leads slip – losing to Chelsea, Wolves and Aston Villa despite scoring first each time.
Postecoglou is grappling with a lengthy list of absentees and suffered another blow with the loss of midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur, expected to be out until February after suffering a serious ankle injury against Villa.
City last week showed a chink in their armour, failing to win at home in any competition for the first time this year when they were held 1-1 by Liverpool.
But Erling Haaland notched his 50th Premier League goal in just his 48th game at the Etihad – obliterating Andy Cole’s record – and this week became the quickest player to 40 Champions League goals with his strike against RB Leipzig.
City will be confident normal order can be resumed at home.
Leverkusen vs. Dortmund: Bayern hunters battle in Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen welcome Borussia Dortmund on Sunday with the hosts sitting clear atop the Bundesliga table, having dropped just two of a possible 36 points to start the season.
Although only two points ahead of a Harry Kane-powered Bayern Munich, Leverkusen are already a whopping ten points in front of Dortmund, with only 12 matches played.
While many have credited manager Xabi Alonso for giving Leverkusen’s long-suffering fans hope of adding to a sparse trophy cabinet, a shrewd summer recruitment drive has also set them up for success.