Premier League Review: Five things we learnt from Gameweek 2

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl
Ralph Hasenhuttl's Southampton have big problems

Mike Norman highlights the teams that impressed, and those that didn't, in the latest round of Premier League fixtures and how their odds in various markets have been affected...

"That's a view that's reflected in the Premier League Winner market with Man City odds-on 20/211.94 favourites to win the title, with Liverpool - who made it two wins from two with a 2-0 victory at Chelsea on Sunday - available to back at 9/52.78."

1. There are big problems at Southampton

After losing their opening two games - one in the league Cup when fielding a full strength starting XI to Championship opposition - Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl said, "We have to be very, very clear that at the moment, with the team we have, it will be very difficult to win games."

It was a staggering admission from a manager in charge of a team that has been tipped in many quarter to challenge for a European place.

But it appears Hasenhuttl knows exactly what he is talking about on the evidence of his side's abject performance in losing 2-5 at home to Tottenham on Sunday. Southampton have no points from their opening two games and already sit in the relegation zone.

It's early days of course, and those who fancy the Saints will turn this dreadful start to the season around can back them at 2/12.94 to record a Top 10 Finish. But clearly there are problems at St Mary's. Just ask the team's manager!

2. Ancelotti's signings have completed Everton

From being a mid-table side Everton all of a sudden look the real deal, and a team that has the potential to challenge for a Top 4 Finish.

Midfielder Allan has previously played under Carlo Ancelotti, while James Rodriguez has spent the last seven seasons at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. In addition to those two new recruits the signing of proven Premier League player Abdoulaye Doucouré looks to have strengthened Everton in all the right places.

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Ancelotti's side now looks well balanced with striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin hitting the ground running, and Richarlison looking in the mood to terrorise defences.

The Toffees scored five in brushing aside West Brom on Saturday meaning they have maximum points from their opening two games. They can be backed at 6/17.2 to finish in the top four though the more achievable Top 6 Finish is likely to be a more popular bet at 7/42.72.

3. Second Season Syndrome a definite concern for Blades

Sheffield United were strong favourites for relegation on their return to the Premier League last season but they quietened all their doubters with a fantastic campaign, eventually finishing ninth after being in contention for Europe throughout.

Chris Wilder's men didn't lose away from home for five months, and when that first away defeat did come it was at the hands of Man City no less. It must be a big concern then that the Blades lost to Aston Villa in their first away game of the season on Monday night, meaning Sheffield United have now lost two from two this term without scoring a single goal.

True, there were mitigating circumstances that contributed to United's defeat at Villa, going down to 10 men early and missing a first half penalty, but that's now five Premier League defeats on the spin going back to the end of last season, and as I often say, losing can become a hard habit to break at this level.

A repeat Top 10 Finish - for which they can be backed at 4/15.2 - already looks a tall order for the Blades, and perhaps a fight against relegation might be on the cards, with Second Season Syndrome definitely being a factor. Wilder's men are 3.55 to drop back down to the Championship.

4. City worthy favourites to win title

There's a feeling that Manchester City are desperate to regain the title they lost to Liverpool last season, and they couldn't have wished for a better start than a 3-1 win at Wolves on Monday night.

For periods in the first half they looked breathtaking, with Kevin De Bruyne pulling all the strings from his advanced midfield role, and Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling regularly creating chances for each other and their team mates.

Pep Guardiola's men weren't quite as impressive in the second half and had to survive a Wolves fightback, but you always felt they had enough in the tank to see out the victory and that's how it proved.

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This was far from a full strength Man City team too, with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Bernado Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, and Aymeric Laporte all missing, and the feeling is that last season's title loss was just one big blip rather than City now being the second best team in the country.

That's a view that's reflected in the Premier League Winner market with Man City odds-on 20/211.94 favourites to win the title, with Liverpool - who made it two wins from two with a 2-0 victory at Chelsea on Sunday - available to back at 9/52.78.

5. Top 4 and Top 6 positions up for grabs

After just the second round of fixtures, three of the 'big six' have already lost a league game, and you sense that consistency is going to be the big problem for the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd and Tottenham.

Manchester United lost in disappointing fashion to Crystal Palace on Saturday, while Chelsea rarely threatened Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. Tottenham lost their first game of the season to Everton of course, but then scored five in a solid win at Southampton, while Arsenal had to wait until late in the game before getting the better of West Ham.

With the likes of Everton and Leicester winning their first two games, and Wolves - despite their loss to Man City - looking a strong side, it's quite possible that the usual suspects won't fill the top four places this season, and there's definitely room for a few surprise teams to finish in the top six.

Top 4 Finish Odds - Chelsea 8/151.54, Man Utd 6/52.2, Arsenal 9/52.8, Tottenahm 14/53.85, Everton 6/17.2, Leicester 6/17.2, Wolves 7/17.8.

Top 6 Finish Odds - Chelsea 1/81.12, Man Utd 30/1001.3, Arsenal 2/51.4, Tottenahm 4/51.8, Everton 7/42.72, Leicester 85/403.1, Wolves 11/53.2.

English Premier League: English Premier League (Winner 2020/21)

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Saturday 12 September, 12.30pm

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