The first three Premier League match weeks are in the book, it is still way too early to trust the lying table (except for Arsenal winning the League, I am going to believe that is true) and still too small a sample to draw too much meaning from the stats.
So what I am going to do here is look at a few teams that I think I have changed my priors on based on their opening matches the most.
Stock Up Leeds United 📈
Leeds United have been a bit of a surprise for me. They lost two very key players in the summer and were coming off a relegation fight that went down to the last day of the season.
My expectations for them was that they would be better than the relegation fight but could still get dragged into it if things didn't break right again. Instead, they have looked strong to start the season strong, posting 2 wins and a draw with numbers behind that back it up with a positive goal and xG differences.
They started the season as the 17th best team in my model's ratings and I was a bit more bullish on them than that it would really have only been a couple of spots. After the start of the season, they are up to 13th and I think that is about right. I am pulling for this heavily American team and enjoy the brand of soccer that they play.
Stock Down Chelsea 📉
Chelsea was a tough team to get a feel for at the start of the season. They were a team that started last year with aspirations to compete for the title but that didn't happen with them landing as solidly Champions League quality but very much outside of the top tier with Liverpool and Manchester City.
One of the biggest questions I had about Chelsea is the what if they have injuries to N'Golo Kante who they seemed to have placed a ton of eggs in that basket. Now that he is again injured it really exposes the weakness in the midfield without him. There is also the very weird attacker churn going on, Chelsea have or had numerous attacking players that had different styles and track records of success at other clubs but for some reason have not worked at Chelsea.
With all of these moving parts and weaknesses I think my thought that they were the third-best team has taken a hit, they still could end up in third but I have updated that they are much closer to 5th than they are to 2nd.
Stock Up Arsenal 📈
Arsenal are the flip side of Chelsea.
They met my expectations last season and I thought it was a successful season (even if others may not have shared that view). Coming into the season I was excited by this team but still held the opinion that this was the 5th best team in the League, close to 3rd and 4th, but still the 5th best team.
I am not moving off of that.
Chelsea has dropped in my view, Tottenham have made good moves in the transfer market but I have not been impressed at all about them so far (this is a good article on their defense so far this season) but still think a team with Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min could be dangerous.
Overall, I think the stock of Arsenal is up and while I am trying to temper my expectations I think they could emerge from this group as the third-best team (is second out the picture if Liverpool continues to struggle, it is too soon to say).
Stock Down Leicester City📉
It wasn't long ago that the question of is Leicester actually part of the "Big Six" over Arsenal was a thing and something that had some merit based on their performance (but not their finances and I think that is really what separates things here and determines long term trends). That is very much not the case right now.
My prior about them at the start of the season was that this was a team that would be solidly upper midtable and on the fringes of the automatic European qualifications.
The first three matches and their lack of strengthening in the transfer market has moved me from thinking this is a 6th to 8th place team to thinking this is an 8th to 12th place team. They are one of the teams that my opinion on has changed the most so far this season.
Week 4 and 5 Match Odds
We will have the first-midweek action of the Premier League season and it won't be the last one as the season gets compressed with 13 rounds of matches in 77 days, with the League Cup, plus the European Cup group stages also coming.
There will be some fun storylines to follow this weekend.
Is United fixed or was that a fluke against Liverpool? Will Crystal Palace cause another scare for a big team? Can Liverpool finally get a win against the worst team in the League? Will Arsenal stay perfect?
The turnaround to the Tuesday through Thursday matches won't leave a lot of time to marinate on the answers that might come to these questions because the Premier League is never short of storylines.
Enjoy the weekend and thanks for reading.
Yee Haw 🤠