Eight rounds of matches of the 2019/20 Premier League season have been completed heading into this international break.
Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the winners and losers of the campaign so far.
After finishing as runners-up behind Manchester City in May despite losing just one league game all season, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds are yet to drop a point this term and currently sit eight points clear at the top. While they have taken their run of top-flight wins, stretching back to March, to 17 games, their cause has been boosted by second-placed City suffering shock losses to Norwich and Wolves. There remains, of course, plenty of football to get through yet as Liverpool look to finally get their hands on the Premier League trophy, but they could hardly have wished for a better start to their title bid.
There was disappointment for Rodgers on Saturday as his return to his old club Liverpool saw his Leicester side beaten 2-1, but overall it has been a very positive opening to 2019-20 for the Northern Irishman and his team. Rodgers oversaw an eye-catching revival in the Foxes’ form last season following his appointment as their boss in February, and – after a summer in which they lost the services of Harry Maguire with the England defender’s move to Manchester United – the impressive work has continued. Ninth at the end of last term, Leicester have been spoken about as possible top-six finishers this time around and presently lie fourth with 14 points.
Having spent time on loan at Bristol City, Swansea and Aston Villa over the past three seasons, Abraham has been handed a chance to shine for Chelsea in 2019-20 and has certainly made a mark so far. The 22-year-old forward leads the Premier League scoring charts, alongside City’s Sergio Aguero, after netting eight goals and his form has been rewarded with a recall to the senior England squad, which he was last a part of in 2017. Abraham and fellow Chelsea academy graduates Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori – also called up by Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate – have all been key men for Frank Lampard’s fifth-placed Blues, who were unable to sign players over the summer due to a transfer embargo.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
There was a pretty stark contrast last season between Manchester United’s results when Solskjaer was caretaker manager – 10 wins in 13 league games – and after his appointment as permanent boss in March – two in eight – and the struggle has continued this term. Things began well with a 4-0 thrashing of Chelsea, but there has been only one further league victory since and three defeats. United, on nine points, have made their worst start to a league campaign in 30 years and with his side 12th in the table following Sunday’s 1-0 loss at Newcastle, just two points above the relegation zone, the pressure on the Norwegian looks to be mounting.
Everton boss Silva is another manager under considerable scrutiny after his side’s losing streak in the league extended to a fourth match with Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Burnley – the Toffees’ worst run in the division since 2014-15. Rather than looking like contenders for a place in the top six, the club are now in 18th spot and boos could be heard from the visiting fans at Turf Moor at the weekend as Silva walked off after the final whistle.
The first managerial change in the league since the start of the season happened at Watford, who sacked Javi Gracia in September after losing three and drawing the other one of their opening four matches and brought back old boss Quique Sanchez Flores. A subsequent 2-2 draw with Arsenal was followed by a humiliating 8-0 reverse at Manchester City and a 2-0 defeat at Wolves, before Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Sheffield United. Bottom of the table, four points adrift of safety, the Hornets are hoping Sanchez Flores can add to the commendable work he did in his first stint charge in 2015-16, when they finished 13th.
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