The international break, at times, can't come soon enough for certain clubs thanks to an inconsistent start. For Manchester United, this may have just been perfecting timing. Remember those positive vibes produced after crushing Chelsea 4-0 to start the season? Since then, United has taken two of nine points as doubts continue to surround the actual quality of this squad. Drawing at Wolves wasn't all that bad, but losing to Crystal Palace and drawing at Southampton have to make you wonder whether this team really has it.
Speaking in his post-match press conference after drawing the Saints, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said they haven't had a dip in form, rather a dip in results. They've only given up a goal a game, and he may be right, but the issue has been the finishing or lack thereof. United has averaged 15.75 shots per game, a high number, but combined with a lack of clinical finishing and two missed penalty kicks, the Red Devils finds themselves in this situation.
Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have been solid but have gone missing the last couple weeks, and United is certainly thinking about what type of striker the side can bring in come January after not replacing Romelu Lukaku. Solskjaer has some time to think about how he may want to tinker with the lineup, but a solution has to come quick. Four of the five upcoming league games are against teams ahead of United in the table: Leicester City, West Ham, Arsenal and Liverpool.
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Where do the Red Devils stand in our power rankings? Let's take a look:
1. Liverpool (+2)
On a tear and doing just fine without Alisson. The Reds have scored at least two goals in every game this season, and is there a more underrated player than Robert Firmino? Proving to be as valuable as Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. He just became the first Brazilian in Premier League history to score 50 goals.
2. Manchester City (-1)
Only slipped a spot because Liverpool has a perfect record, but this team is ridiculous again. Fourteen goals in four games, with Sergio Aguero scoring in each. Still the slight favorite to win the league over Liverpool because of that sustained dominance.
3. Leicester City (+8)
A team I pointed to in our, this is a sneaky good team so far that grinds out results. There are three teams in the Premier League that have yet to lose a game -- Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester City. Jamie Vardy looks sharp, and they can push for the top six.
4. Arsenal (+1)
Just a point outside the top four but with some real potential. If the Gunners can improve defensively, then a top-four spot is certainly reachable. Only one loss, and that was to the league's top team at the moment. Showed some grit in coming back to draw Spurs despite a slow start.
5. Tottenham (-1)
Not a good end to August or start of September. Losing to lowly Newcastle and then blowing a 2-0 lead at Arsenal puts some pressure on this team to come out strong after the international break. Christian Eriksen seems fine, but his contract situation has to be a distraction to him, teammates and the coaching staff.
6. West Ham (+12)
The Hammers have been a decent team on paper for years but have lacked a quality striker to be consistent and help them earn results. They may have that in Sebastien Haller, who has three goals in his last two games. The former Eintracht Frankfurt man is physical, athletic and agile -- and he's also proving he can be clinical in England.
7. Sheffield United (+1)
Five points through the first four games puts Sheffield in a fantastic spot. If it can keep up this pace, the team will avoid relegation quite comfortably. One of the surprises of the season so far.
8. Crystal Palace (+5)
Don't look now, but Palace is in fourth place and is the highest London-based club in the table. It hasn't always been pretty, but two straight wins has this team gelling. Avoiding relegation is always the goal, and Palace is well on its way.
9. Manchester United (-7)
Back to life, back to reality? The Red Devils have gone three games without a win, including that embarrassing home lost to Crystal Palace. They had no business drawing Southampton and were given every opportunity to earn the three points. So much work to do. Not good enough for top four right now.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still optimistic:
10. Everton (+2)
Marco Silva's team is quietly off to a nice start. Richarlison has three goals in his last two games and Everton plays an excited brand of soccer. This team just needs to be disciplined in defense, and there's no reason why it can't push for a top-six spot. If Andre Gomes gets going, look out.
11. Burnley (-5)
Four games without a win and already out of the EFL Cup, that run was capped off by getting crushed by Liverpool on Saturday. The Clarets have scored three goals in their last four matches, conceding eight times. A mess in defense.
12. Wolves (-2)
There was a lot of excitement around this team since it's in the Europa League, but without a win in their first four league games is quite the concern. It could be chalked up to having played so many matches already, more so than any other team in the league. But that magic from last season needs to be rediscovered quickly.
13. Newcastle (+3)
If this team somehow avoids relegation, come season's end, that win at Tottenham may be the result you point to as the biggest win of the season. They looked headed for zero points after four games on paper but have four already. Still don't quite believe in that front line though.
14. Southampton (+3)
Three matches unbeaten, and that draw with Manchester United felt like a win. The Saints weathered that storm to earn a valuable result and plenty of momentum. Angus Gunn, their goalkeeper, deserves credit. He has come up big time and time again.
15. Chelsea (-1)
I love what I see from Tammy Abraham, and Christian Pulisic can be an impact player for them, but defensively the Blues are a mess. This time, it's Kurt Zouma scoring an own goal. They've let point after point slip away. They need answers quickly, because it could spell trouble domestically and in the Champions League.
16. Bournemouth (-7)
Callum Wilson scoring is an encouraging sign, but the Cherries have scored just two goals in their last three games, needing penalty kicks to beat Forest Green. They'll find their way, but it's been a slow start.
17. Brighton (-10)
I suspect Brighton will be relegated, and we are starting to see the issues. Sure the defense has been poor, but there is just no creativity in attack. This team will need to find somebody in the middle to be that engine, and I'm not sure that player is currently on the roster.
18. Aston Villa (-3)
Unfortunate not to have gotten a draw at Crystal Palace with the VAR controversy. But when is Jack Grealish going to step up and be the man? Until then, Villa will flirt with relegation.
19. Norwich City (--)
Ultimately, I think the Canaries stay up. They've played some strong teams so far and have Manchester City next, but Teemu Pukki is a difference maker for them. With Burnley, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Bourenmouth they can get some points but the defense must limit the errors.
20. Watford (--)
Their start to the season has just been odd. One of two teams yet to win and in dead last in the league. They are on pace to finish the season with single digit points. No team has been as bad in front of goal either with two goals for Watford in 360 minutes.