The new Premier League may only be one week in, but with champions Chelsea away to Manchester City on Sunday, there is already talk of the title..
That might seem ridiculous so early in the season but after the events of the opening weekend, City could go five points clear of Chelsea if it can win at the Etihad.
“It will be a big game very early in the season and I’m sure it will matter,” City captain Vincent Kompany said after his side’s impressive 3-0 win at West Brom on Monday night.
“We are not looking at the points so much but we want to beat them. We will not go there thinking about the title but it will matter.”
Having lost the title to Chelsea last season, the mood in the City camp seems buoyant, boosted by some good signings, a new contract for manager Manuel Pellegrini and good performances from key players in the win at West Brom.
David Silva and Yaya Toure, in particular, were on top form and Pellegrini believes everything is in place for City to bounce back again this season.
“Our team must be very focused and play game by game,” he said.
“I always say the Premier League is very close — it is important you start winning at the beginning of the season. We want to demonstrate we are the team we wanted to be last season. I think you will see the Yaya Toure of previous seasons and David Silva was unbelievable in the first half against West Brom,” Pellegrini said.
Big-money signing Raheem Sterling is also itching to get at Chelsea, which drew 2-2 at home with Swansea on day one and will be without goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who is suspended after his sending-off.
“I’ve done all right against them in the past and results-wise, I think it’s been pretty even overall so far in the matches I’ve played in,” Sterling said.
“But I’m hoping this one will go our way and it’s vital that it does. We’re on our own ground and with it being our first home game of the season, we want to get off on the right foot.”
Chelsea will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing opener and a growing row over the demotion of team doctor Eva Carneiro.
Carneiro is not expected to be on the bench after manager Jose Mourinho was angry at her for treating Eden Hazard in injury time, leaving the team down to nine men.
Manchester United and Liverpool, meanwhile, will be looking to maintain their winning starts.
United travels to Aston Villa tonight while Liverpool is at home to newly promoted Bournemouth.
One of United’s new signings, Bastian Schweinsteiger, could start away to Villa having tested out a niggling calf injury in the second half of the opening-weekend win over Tottenham.
“Now I feel much better and also the game was very important to play 30 minutes,” the German midfielder said.
“The training sessions are very important for me, too. I’m getting better and I hope I will be 100-percent fit in the next week.”
Two other teams that won last weekend, West Ham and Leicester, meet at Upton Park, while Crystal Palace, the other team on three points, hosts an Arsenal side smarting from its loss at home to West Ham.
New boys Watford will be looking for their first points against West Brom while Norwich, also beaten in their opener, are away to Sunderland. Swansea play Newcastle and Tottenham meet Stoke in the weekend’s other match.