We may only be eight games deep in the Premier League season, but already it has offered up plenty of talking points.
Here, Sportsmail assess how each manager has fared so far and what problems they need to address after returning from the international break.
UNAI EMERY – ARSENAL
Slowly but surely, block by block, Unai Emery is building something at Arsenal. The Spaniard has established a new identity of playing and the squad seem to be on board.
They’ve been a good watch this season, but as promising as the attacking play has been, the defending has left a lot to be desired – although they’ve looked sturdier and more resolute in recent weeks. Arsenal have never been synonymous for grinding out wins but that’s what they’ve had to do recently, which can be seen as a positive or a negative depending on which way you look at it.
Out of the big six, Arsenal were many’s favourites to miss out on a top four spot this season, but sitting pretty in third and just one point behind champions Manchester City after eight, they are in good shape to prove their doubters wrong.
Unai Emery’s Arsenal have made a decent start to the season and look good for top-four finish
DEAN SMITH – ASTON VILLA
First season back in the top-flight was never going to be easy and Dean Smith wouldn’t have expected anything else other than an almighty challenge to pick up points.
In their opening eight games though, Villa have shown they are very capable of holding their own at this level. They’ve proved they have got the fire power to give any side trouble on their day but Smith will want his defence to tighten up.
You can’t ship goals at the regularity Villa do and expect to beat the drop. They’ve also thrown away leads too easily a few times this season and will want to improve on their home results, but overall a decent start. So far, so good for Smith.
Aston Villa have been inconsistent but got a good win on the road at Norwich last time out
EDDIE HOWE – BOURNEMOUTH
Bar the opening game of the season, Bournemouth have won every game they would have expected to.
They’ve also lost every game you’d expect them to, coming off second best against Leicester, Manchester City and Arsenal. So nothing spectacular nor disastrous. Eddie Howe will want to push his side, who give you that feeling they are capable of a little bit better than mid-table mediocrity.
One thing that Howe seems to have worked on is consistency. Bournemouth were that kind of side last season who could beat Everton at home one week and the next get battered at Watford, but this season they seem different. 10th after eight games is pretty solid and Howe will be content enough with the start they’ve made.
Eddie Howe will be content with Bournemouth’s start but will still be hoping for more
GRAHAM POTTER – BRIGHTON
Graham Potter came in in the summer and immediately stamped his mark on this Brighton side.
Gone are the days of defensive football at the Amex. Potter has got Brighton playing on the front foot because that’s how he wants to play the game and he deserves to be commended for that.
However, despite an auspicious start, results have not been too great. A 3-0 victory against struggling Tottenham on the weekend gave Brighton a much-needed boost up the table but they’ve still not shown enough yet to suggest they can avoid being dragged into another relegation battle this season.
Graham Potter has stamped his mark on Brighton but performances haven’t returned results
SEAN DYCHE – BURNLEY
I challenge any manager to try and do a better job at Burnley than Sean Dyche has.
What the 48-year-old has managed to achieve at Turf Moor with the players and funds he has at his disposal is nothing short of remarkable.
Last season was uncharacteristic of what we have come to know of Burnley but Dyche seems to have his team back to their best. Arsenal and Liverpool are the only sides to get the better of them so far and most won’t be looking forward to their encounter with Dyche’s men. They occupy seventh spot and look good for a top-half finish.
Sean Dyche’s Burnley continue to defy the odds and are up to seventh after beating Everton
FRANK LAMPARD – CHELSEA
Amid a gloomy backdrop, Frank Lampard has steered his side towards the light. Expectations were low this season having lost Eden Hazard and been prohibited from signing new players, but hopes have been restored by some encouraging performances.
Lampard has got Chelsea playing an attractive brand of football and his faith in youth is being repaid with the likes of Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount reveling in their new first-team roles.
Things got off to a shaky start but Chelsea have found their balance and have three wins from their last four. Most Blues fans will tell you Lampard has exceeded their early expectations and I tend to agree.
Frank Lampard has got Chelsea playing attractive football and they are picking up wins
ROY HODGSON – CRYSTAL PALACE
Few would have predicted Crystal Palace being one point outside the top four after eight games, but that’s where they are.
Palace have spent just £6m this summer – crumbs in comparison to their Premier League counterparts – and yet they’ve made such a strong start to the season.
Hodgson has got Palace very organised at the back but if one thing needed improving it would be their goalscoring threat. They have scored just eight times this season and face difficult games against Manchester City and Arsenal next.
Crystal Palace picked up an impressive win at West Ham to move within a point of the top four
MARCO SILVA – EVERTON
Marco Silva can consider himself fortunate to still be in the job.
Seven points from eight games is just not good enough for a club like Everton. They spent big in the summer with the hope of improving the squad but results have been underwhelming to say the least. Last month’s 2-0 home defeat against Sheffield United was perhaps the worst of them all.
They dominated that match but couldn’t find a way through. It’s been the story of Everton’s season so far, that final ball seems to be eluding them at the moment and at the back they just seem to crumble all too often. Silva’s never really been able to get any momentum going since taking over in May last year and there’s a feeling of unrest at the club. Something needs changing, whether that be team selection, formation or manager.
Marco Silva spent millions this summer but his side have been poor and are in bottom three
BRENDAN RODGERS – LEICESTER
Leicester burnished their top-four credentials in defeat at the weekend.
Had it not been for a controversial last-minute penalty decision, they would have ended Liverpool’s winning run – a feat only Sheffield United have come close to doing this season. Brendan Rodgers’ men may have walked away from Anfield empty handed but their performance was further evidence that they really can breach the top six.
Rodgers inherited a strong squad but has added quality and depth to it and it looks to be a well-balanced team. He has got them playing sweeping, flowing football and has already secured a couple of big results. Don’t be fooled into thinking their start to the season is a flash in the pan, Leicester are here to stay and they will be a threat to the big six in the league.
Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester look like a side who are very capable of breaking into the top four
JURGEN KLOPP – LIVERPOOL
Jurgen Klopp couldn’t have asked for much more from his players: eight games, eight victories.
Klopp has got Liverpool firing at the top end of the pitch but he is not without his problems. If last Wednesday’s 4-3 win over Red Bull Salzburg didn’t highlight a need to improve at the back then the narrow win over Leicester did. Liverpool have now failed to keep a clean sheet in their previous three Premier League games.
Last season their title mount was built on a dogged defence, but recently they’ve been conceding too many opportunities. Suddenly players are beating Virgil van Dijk, too, and the cloak of invincibility that was draped around his shoulders last season seems to fading. There is no need to sound the alarms or push the panic button, Liverpool have still been fantastic, but there’s certainly some food for thought for Klopp.
Jurgen Klopp will be delighted by Liverpool’s perfect start but there are problems to address
PEP GUARDIOLA – MANCHESTER CITY
By Manchester City’s standards their start to this season has been extremely poor.
They’ve already lost half the number of games they did in the entirety of last season and have only faced Tottenham out of the big six clubs. As City showed earlier this year, the title race is not over until it’s over so it would be foolish to write them off despite Liverpool holding a significant eight-point lead this early on.
City do have problems though that need addressing. Alarmingly, they have conceded more times this season than Sheffield United, Crystal Palace, Manchester United and Leicester and Pep Guardiola must be regretting not signing a centre-back in the summer. The City boss attempted to change and focus on the positives for this season, but it’s not working. His team certainly didn’t give him any reason for smiles on the weekend as they wasted chance after chance against Wolves before being punished on the break. City must return to their ruthless ways if they are to keep up with Liverpool. Maybe Guardiola needs to too.
Manchester City have already lost twice this season after being beaten at home by Wolves
OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER – MANCHESTER UNITED
When the Norwegian first came in, he had United playing fast counter-attacking football and it was effective but teams have worked them out now.
The blueprint to beat United is there for all to see: sit back and let them have the ball. There’s been a real lack of creativity and urgency in United’s midfield and they’ve struggled to break teams down. Norwich, Wolves and Burnley all have more goals than them this season. It feels like United are constantly on TV at the moment and as a neutral, it is getting repetitive; watching paint dry genuinely feels like a better alternative.
The bookies are making Solskjaer one of the favourites to get the boot next and it wouldn’t be surprising. Nothing seems to be changing and the atmosphere around the club appears to be at an all-time low. Solskjaer, at one point, seemed to be getting the best out of his players but that certainly is not the case now. Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Fred and several others are probably on the worst run of their careers. United are closer to the relegation zone than they are the top six with just nine points from their opening games. It’s ominous times at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is failing to get the best out of his players and is in danger of being axed
STEVE BRUCE – NEWCASTLE
Had it not been for Sunday’s vital victory over United, Steve Bruce could have easily had a much harsher rating.
Bruce’s dream job is quickly turning into a bit of nightmare, but at least the silver lining of three points will keep them afloat for the time being. He still has plenty to do to win the fans over – one that will help his case will be to get them firing at the top end of the pitch.
They have scored just five in eight games – only Watford have fewer goals. Bruce will also be cursing the gods that he hasn’t been given a proper chance to get some momentum going with the interruption of the international break followed by a trip to freescoring Chelsea. It looks like the Magpies are in for another long, tough season.
Matty Longstaff’s strike secured a massive three points for Steve Bruce’s Newcastle on Sunday
DANIEL FARKE – NORWICH
Daniel Farke’s Norwich play exciting, attacking, edge-of-your-seat football and it is brilliant to watch. Even against the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City, Farke has refused to go against the grain.
You could call it brave or naive. Which ever way you see it, Norwich have, and will, continue to provide plenty of entertainment this season. Farke has done a superb job at Carrow Road but this is a results business and two wins from eight is not the kind of form that will keep them up.
It is commendable of Farke sticking to his guns, but is it being close minded? You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. The best managers are those who adapt. Norwich have conceded more goals than any other team – and remember that City hit Watford for eight in a single game – so it definitely seems worth while to consider changing Norwich’s approach.
Daniel Farke’s Norwich side are a joy to watch but they are shipping way too many goals
RALPH HASENHUTTL – SOUTHAMPTON
The Austrian had an immediate impact when he was drafted in to save the day at Southampton last season.
There was a sense the club could kick on after escaping relegation, but that does not appear to be the case. The Saints’ points return has been modest this season and their performances haven’t really deserved much more. Another relegation battle is on the cards and Hasenhuttl won’t be feeling optimistic when he looks at the fixture list.
Wolves, Leicester and Manchester City up next. He was furious with his side’s display against Chelsea and they will need to make drastic improvements if they are to pick up any points from their upcoming fixtures. Southampton’s players are struggling with a confidence crisis but Hasenhuttl is a passionate person with good man-management skills, so performance levels should get better.
Rating: 5.5/ 10
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have been underwhelming and he faces a battle to restore confidence
CHRIS WILDER – SHEFFIELD UNITED
Sheffield United will definitely not go down. Few, if anyone, thought they’d be thinking that at this stage of the season but that is certainly the general consensus.
There were doubts if United possessed enough attacking quality in their squad to survive, but Billy Sharp, Callum Robinson, Lys Mousset and Oli McBurnie have stepped up to the plate. Chris Wilder has them well set-up at the back too and they’ve proven hard to beat.
United are 13th after eight games and have lost just three times. Two of those came against Liverpool and Leicester, so no shame there. But Wilder will want to see an improvement in their home form, which has been disappointing. Only Watford and Southampton have performed worse on their own soil. Besides that, it’s been an impressive start to the campaign.
Chris Wilder has done a superb job at Sheffield United, who look good enough to stay up
MAURICIO POCHETTINO – TOTTENHAM
Mauricio Pochettino is in serious danger of losing his job.
The Argentine was untouchable after last season and there was an air around him that he could do no wrong, but what has happened so far this season at Tottenham has been inexcusable. Winning one from their last six, losing 7-2 against Bayern Munich and 3-0 at Brighton is nothing short of embarrassing.
There are concerns that Pochettino has become disillusioned and has lost the dressing room and if fortunes don’t change soon, Daniel Levy will pull the trigger. There is no getting away from it that Tottenham have one of the best squads in the league and are massive underachievers at current. On the basis of what we’ve seen so far, that long wait for a trophy will continue.
It is frustrating times at Tottenham after a dismal run of just one win in their last six outings
QUIQUE SANCHEZ FLORES – WATFORD
This was always going to be a tough job for Quique Sanchez Flores.
He has tried to pick the players up from the floor but so far, no luck. His arrival has brought no change to Watford’s fortunes. In the four Premier League games he has managed, Watford remain without a win.
You’d think he’d get time to work on things but the owners will want to see improvements and fast. So far he hasn’t delivered. A 0-0 draw at home to Sheffield United on the weekend felt like a wasted opportunity and you have to wonder how Watford are going to get themselves out of this funk if they can’t beat newly-promoted sides on their own patch.
Quique Sanchez Flores has been unable to deliver victory in the four games he’s managed
MANUEL PELLEGRINI – WEST HAM
This year feels like the big six’s stronghold on the European places is beginning to loosen.
Manchester United and Tottenham look poor, while there are doubts about the strength of Arsenal and Chelsea this season. Make no bones about it, West Ham are in the equation to get a European spot at their expense.
Manuel Pellegrini has spent well this summer, Sebastien Haller in particular looks a good buy. They’ve got players like Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko, Manuel Lanzini and Declan Rice, who you could argue could play for any side in the league. There is real quality in their team and they should be aiming to upset the apple cart this season. They’ve made a decent start to suggest they are capable of doing it, although losing at home to Crystal Palace last time out would have felt like a big blow.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men have made a decent start but he’ll be disappointed by Saturday’s loss
NUNO ESPIRITO SANTO – WOLVES
Wolves are another team who’d be worth considering putting money on to break into the top six this season.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s men have not made the best of starts to the season but there have been signs recently that the wheels are beginning to turn. Their 2-0 win at Manchester City last weekend was one for the books and followed a solid victory in Europe against Besiktas.
Wolves don’t have the biggest of squads and you worry they could burn out with the extra games of the Europa League this season so Santo may look to strengthen in January. They haven’t looked as impressive as they did last term but Santo’s side have now got a great opportunity to kick on with games against Southampton, Newcastle and Aston Villa up next after the international break. Those three games may give us a better indication of how far Wolves can go this season.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves have not been as good as last term but are slowly improving