Is there anything more earth-shattering than watching Manchester United concede six and Liverpool concede seven in the most exciting Premier League weekend in living memory, only to remember we have to wait another two weeks for the next decent kick-about?
International football may never hold up a candle to the domestic edition for many people, and the gap between the two games has never felt wider.
Drunk on goals, shocks and shellackings, the break in play couldn’t have come at a worse time. That is, unless you’re a Man Utd or Liverpool supporter. Perhaps a couple of weeks to forget the harrowing drama of Sunday evening will do you the world of good.
There are 18 other teams in this division, though, each with their own mini-narratives and hopes and dreams for the coming season. So, what can we take from the first four weeks of Premier League action, and what positives and negatives can supporters clutch at one month into the campaign?
90min takes a look at each Premier League side’s start to the 2020/21 season. Buckle up, everyone.
League Position: 4th
Positives: Sitting in fourth place after four games. Gunnersaurus fights off extinction thanks to fellow mascot Mesut Ozil, and a legal Partey is going down at the Emirates. Positivity central.
Negatives: 3-1 loss to Liverpool was a weak showing. Lacking the ruthlessness to kill off games earlier.
Best Game So Far: Fulham 0-3 Arsenal
Overall Start: 8/10 – The time for top four is now, Gooners.
League Position: 2nd
Positives: Who saw this coming? Great summer business. Nine points from nine. Goals galore. Ollie Watkins the Liverpool destroyer. Dean Smith smiling. Enjoy it, Villans.
Negatives: Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley feels like a tabloid front page, naughty scandal waiting to happen.
Best Game So Far: No contest. Aston Villa 7 (SEVEN) – 2 Liverpool
Overall Start: 10/10 – “Whatever you’ve done until now, keep doing it.”
League Position: 15th
Positives: Played Man Utd and Chelsea off the park for long periods of their games.
Negatives: Switched off a couple of times immediately after scoring. Conceded 10 goals already.
Best Game So Far: Newcastle 0-3 Brighton
Overall Start: 5/10 – Promising signs, but results need to start coming.
League Position: 18th
Positives: Sean Dyche knows how to get a team out of a relegation battle.
Negatives: In a relegation battle. Terrible transfer window, severe lack of bodies and a drained manager.
Best Game So Far: Not a dig – Burnley 0-1 Southampton
Overall Start: 2/10 – The end could be nigh for the Clarets.
League Position: 7th
Positives: Lots of new faces, talent and firepower just needing a bit of time to gel and get on the same page. Kepa Arrizabalaga is a distant nightmare.
Negatives: Is the right man in charge to mould them? Leaky defensive issues have resurfaced, and Frank Lampard is clearly unsure of his best XI. A lot to ponder.
Best Game So Far: Chelsea 4-0 Crystal Palace.
Overall Start: 6/10 – Lampard needs to solve this impossible conundrum with a plethora of attacking jewels. No pressure, Frank.
League Position: 12th
Positives: Roy Hodgson doing Roy Hodgson things. Organised, dangerous on the counter-attack. Efficient.
Negatives: Lack a serious Plan B if opponents snuff out the threat of Wilfried Zaha. Can get stale.
Best Game So Far: Manchester United 1-3 Crystal Palace
Overall Start: 6/10 – About par.
League Position: 1st
Positives: Wow. Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the new Gary Lineker and James Rodriguez is the greatest playmaker in football history.
Negatives: Defence – specifically, Jordan Pickford. Tried to replace him with the Swedish Jordan Pickford, AKA Robin Olsen. Good at World Cups, horrible for his club.
Best Game So Far: Everton 5-2 West Brom
Overall Start: 9/10 – Fix that defence and I smell a top-four challenge.
League Position: 20th
Positives: We kind of expected this to happen…Is that a positive? Signed a couple of defenders who can’t be worse than their current options.
Negatives: Four games, no points and three goals scored. Can’t attack, can’t defend. Yikes.
Best Game So Far: Sorry – Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 Fulham
Overall Start: 1/10 – Start of a long, long season. Not getting any better.
League Position: 8th
Positives: Breath of fresh air to the Premier League. Dynamic, fearless and brilliant. Went toe-to-toe with former and current champions and didn’t bat an eyelid. Good transfer business, too.
Negatives: High energy, pressing game and commitment to attack has left some inevitable gaps at the back. Defence needs to tighten up a touch.
Best Game So Far: Leeds United 1-1 Man City
Overall Start: 8/10 – Tricky fixtures but come out the other side in the top half. Back them to end up there, too.
League Position: 3rd
Positives: Started the season as top-four contenders. Great transfer window and Jamie Vardy is on fire.
Negatives: Susceptibility to a shock loss has crept in again with West Ham hammering. Consistency needed.
Best Game So Far: Man City 2-5 Leicester
Overall Start: 8/10 – West Ham collapse has taken the shine off a great start. Bouncebackability needed.
League Position: 5th
Positives: Refreshed the midfield in the transfer market with Thiago Alcantara. Looked back to their imperious best, before…
Negatives: Conceding seven (SEVEN) to Villa. Seven goals. A freak result, but the collapse and lack of effort towards the end should concern Jurgen Klopp.
Best Game So Far: Arsenal 1-3 Liverpool
Overall Start: 6/10 – Post-break reaction is key to Reds’ title defence.
League Position: 14th
Positives: Addressed defensive issues with signings of Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias.
Negatives: Still can’t defend, shipping a shedload of goals. No fit striker and their Twitter account was temporarily suspended. A bad month.
Best Game So Far: Wolves 1-3 Man City
Overall Start: 4/10 – Nowhere near the levels needed to win a league or Champions League. Gotta get that eye of the tiger back.
League Position: 16th
Positives: Jeez, let’s have a think. You know what, come back to me on this one, yeah?
Negatives: Harry Maguire is fouling his own players to let the other team score, and he’s the captain. Defensive shambles, no identity, horrific failings in the transfer market. Hurtling from one disaster to another. Oh yeah, and they lost 6 (SIX) -1 to ex-coach Jose Mourinho and Spurs. Embarrassing.
Best Game So Far: Brighton 2-3 Man Utd
Overall Start: 2/10 – Time is running out for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his nostalgia experiment.
League Position: 9th
Positives: Allan Saint-Maximin is possibly the most exciting, talented (albeit unpredictable) winger in the league. Good business in the transfer window, too. Gaps plugged.
Negatives: Painfully abject in attack and bereft of creative input across the pitch (except ASM). Can’t do it on his own.
Best Game So Far: West Ham 0-2 Newcastle
Overall Start: 6/10 – Not thrilling, but certainly effective.
League Position: 19th
Positives: Signed Rhian Brewster to improve their luck in front of goal. Still got quality in the middle of the pitch in Sander Berge.
Negatives: Innovative style possibly been found out by opponents, and poor end of season form has continued into the new campaign. Second season syndrome kicking in?
Best Game So Far: Slim pickings again – Arsenal 2-1 Sheffield United
Overall Start: 1/10 – Need to pick up points – fast.
League Position: 11th
Positives: Danny Ings is back among the goals once again, and the arrival of Theo Walcott will give everyone a boost – off the pitch, anyway.
Negatives: Lost ‘winnable’ game to Crystal Palace on the opening day. Well-drilled, but can lack that cutting edge if Ings isn’t on form.
Best Game So Far: Southampton 2-0 West Brom
Overall Start: 5/10 – Two wins, two defeats. Middle of the road.
League Position: 6th
Positives: Excellent recruitment in the transfer window. Gareth Bale waiting in the wings, and goals are starting to flow under Mourinho. Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son are on a wave of their own. Battered Man Utd in their own backyard. Mou rides again.
Negatives: Can fall into the trap of looking a little dull and out of ideas. Played a lot of games too, so fatigue could become a factor.
Best Game So Far: Man Utd 1-6 Spurs
Overall Start: 7/10 – A so-so beginning looks a whole lot prettier with a 6-1 shellacking stuck on the end. Time to build.
League Position: 17th
Positives: There are goals in this team. Matheus Pereira looks to have adapted well to the top flight.
Negatives: Worst defensive record in the league tells you all you need to know. May not have strengthened enough to survive. Also got a boiler as a mascot.
Best Game So Far: West Brom 3-3 Chelsea
Overall Start: 4/10 – Little to cheer, and celebrations could be in short supply at the Hawthorns.
League Position: 10th
Positives: Shocking start has quickly been forgotten following two great wins. A pair of clean sheets to boot. David Moyes is getting a tune out of this team – ironically since staying as far from the squad as possible. Food for thought.
Negatives: In disarray behind the scenes, unrest could easily disrupt performances on the pitch.
Best Game So Far: Leicester 0-3 West Ham
Overall Start: 7/10 – Hard not to be optimistic after the last two results, but caution is always needed with the Irons.
League Position: 13th
Positives: Kept hold of Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez. New faces look exciting, if a little unsure of their new system and environment.
Negatives: Lost some top quality in Matt Doherty and Diogo Jota. Time will tell if they’ve replaced them adequately. Until then, it’s all a bit disjointed. Losing 4-0 to West Ham is never ideal, either.
Best Game So Far: Sheffield Utd 0-2 Wolves
Overall Start: 5/10 – Results will come – a bit of patience is needed.