The Villans looked off the pace and out of sorts on the South Coast last Saturday and though a simple false start narrative cannot be discounted, it also brings their poor form at the tail-end of last season into the reckoning. From mid-March on, Villa won only two from their concluding 11, both against sides that were eventually relegated.
Better application can be expected in front of their home fans but still, until they get the best out of Buendia, and until Coutinho influences games as they need him to then Steven Gerrard's side will struggle. Against Bournemouth they accrued just two shots on target.
The Toffees were similarly shot-shy in their opening fixture, and this hardly surprises given they are presently minus a recognised centre-forward.
All told, the lunchtime kick-off will likely be intriguing but low scoring.
The Gunners impressed at Selhurst Park last week and Mikel Arteta's words post-game were revealing. "I have had this feeling since the boys started pre-season. They are ready, they look hungry."
That hunger was epitomised by Gabriel Jesus' endeavours up front, the Brazilian having 10 touches inside the opposition box while his take-ons matched a personal best in the Premier League. With seven goals across pre-season, the 25-year-old will be determined to put on a show on his home debut.
As for the Foxes, it increasingly feels like a tough campaign lies in wait, a feeling that grows with every sale they make and fresh injury they endure. On both occasions last term, they lost 2-0 to Arsenal and it would not be remarkable if history repeated itself here with our own Jake Osgathorpe going further and suggesting the Emirates is becoming a fortress.
Both sides were terrific on the opening weekend, overcoming very different challenges in relative comfort and with no little style.
In beating newly-promoted Forest, the Magpies racked up more shots than anyone else in the top-flight. Brighton meanwhile, cleverly pinpointed Manchester United's weaknesses and duly capitalised in what amounted to a Graham Potter tactical masterclass.
It really was an admirably cohesive display considering they lost two of their best players over the summer.
Callum Wilson has scored three in his last two appearances for Newcastle and he's their obvious danger man, while Danny Welbeck takes that mantle for the Seagulls. Leandro Trussard should feature heavily too. The Belgian winger has twice scored previously in this fixture.
Erling Haaland's brace at the London Stadium has quickly dispelled the silly notion that he might struggle in the Premier League. Instead, we are now seeing plenty of pundits flying to the other extreme, such is the way with these things.
The Nordic Meat Shield broke a Bundesliga record for his minutes per goals ratio and already it is anticipated he will do likewise in England. Who knows, he just might.
For now though, common sense needs to prevail. The Norwegian hit-man has the same odds to fire a hat-trick against the Cherries as Kevin De Bruyne to open the scoring and in the last six games when De Bruyne has found the back of the net he has done precisely that.
Indeed, eight of the Belgian's last 10 goals have been converted within the opening half an hour.
The Saints took four points off Leeds last season, but an awful lot has happened since, most of which suggests Ralph Hasenhuttl's side will be fortunate to get four points come September.
In attempting to address a worrying form-spiral that saw Southampton win only one from their last 12 in 2021/22, the Austrian embarked on a summer overhaul, investing almost exclusively in youth.
Was it brave and commendable that the average age of his seven signings was 19.4? Almost certainly. Was it madness in the circumstances? Again, same answer.
With a string of tricky tests on the horizon, it's a decision that may ultimately cost Hasenhuttl his job.
Leeds are strongly fancied here, and any bets covering late goals should be green-lit. Seven of the 15 goals they have scored in the Jesse Marsch era have come beyond the 70th minute.
Backing a comfortable away victory is probably the wisest choice though.
Wolves v Fulham (15:00) - Cottagers have early momentum
Fulham returned to the top-flight with a bang last Saturday, surpassing Liverpool for intensity and showing they have ample mettle to go with their attacking flair that harvested 106 Championship goals last term.
We should perhaps be sceptical of such performances extending into the autumn but while Aleksandar Mitrovic appears hell-bent on proving his doubters wrong - who insist the burly Serb is too good for the second tier but can't cut it at the highest level - then let's jump aboard the Fulham express for the time being.
Wolves meanwhile only managed to out-score the three relegated sides last season and have strived to resolve their goal-scoring woes this week by bringing in Goncalo Guedes from Valencia. Boasting just 28 goals from 146 La Liga outings however, prolific he is not and maybe it matters too that the Portuguese forward is no stranger to a yellow card.
It is far too early to start quoting The Who's Won't Get Fooled Again concerning Erik Ten Hag and Manchester United. Last Saturday though it did very much feel like 'meet the new boss, same as the old boss'.
Or at least that's what was reflected on the pitch, with the Dutchman's pressing mandate barely in evidence and with a midfield still incapable of retaining possession. You would never have guessed a new manager was at the helm, were it not for a thousand camera shots aimed at the dug-out.
It's tempting to hark back to Brentford's rousing victory over Arsenal early on last season and believe United are in for an extremely tough time of it in West London.
But perhaps it is revealing that both teams were in the bottom five for tackles made last weekend. Perhaps it won't be as rough and ready as clichés dictate.
What we can anticipate however, is their task will become more difficult as the game wears on. In his acca building column Alex Keble pinpoints a tactical switch that stung the Bees into life at Leicester but additionally, they have long improved in the latter periods of matches, scoring 16 of their last 20 the other side of the break.