After what proved to be a rollicking start to the 2021-22 season, the Premier League has set high expectations for the rest of the campaign. From newly-promoted Brentford registering a shock win over Arsenal to reigning champions Manchester City slipping up against Tottenham Hotspur, the opening weekend had its fair share of moments.
Now, even before the dust has settled, another set of intriguing fixtures await the top guns in the Premier League. Although it is too early to predict how the season will pan out for the traditional top-six, the early signs indicate the competition will be intense among them.
Ahead of what promises to be another promising weekend of Premier League action, we delve deeper into the five main talking points before the second round of fixtures:
#1 London derby awaits Lukaku on Premier League return
And hence, there is no better game than the London derby against Arsenal for Lukaku to make a statement on his return to Chelsea. By his own admission, the Belgian feels matured and ready to shoulder the goal-scoring responsibilities at Stamford Bridge.
The fact that he is set to take on a depleted Arsenal, who suffered a demoralizing opening day defeat to Brentford, should give him a huge shot in the arm. But several others before him have fallen to the curse of the no.9 shirt at Chelsea.
The added pressure is always there when you represent Chelsea, however, Lukaku has a point to prove in the Premier League. He was crucified by the media in England after all, constantly picked up on during the stint at Manchester United.
If Arsenal fail to sort out their defensive frailties, they could end up playing into the hands of a determined Lukaku. That will almost definitely end up being tough viewing for the home crowd at the Emirates. With the stage set and the spotlight on, can Lukaku fulfill his Chelsea prophecy?
#2 Red Devils prepare Varane initiation on the south coast
Raphael Varane would have enjoyed what transpired at Old Trafford last Saturday. But it is only natural for him to have felt a little less important at the end of the Premier League game, which Manchester United won 5-1.
Prior to kick-off, Varane was pretty much the cream of the crop. A much-needed reinforcement at the back, the world-class centre-back was unveiled in front of a packed house ahead of a fierce Premier League derby at Old Trafford.
The Frenchman received a raucous ovation from the fans. But as soon as the referee's whistle blew, the attention had understandably shifted. Come the end of full-time, the likes of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes were celebrated and dominated the headlines after the dismantling of bitter rivals Leeds United.
Not that Varane would mind. But the Red Devils did not really look like a team crying out for his help.
With the formalities done, it is now time for Varane to show the Premier League what he can offer to Manchester United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men are away on the south coast this weekend as they prepare to face Southampton.
The Saints failed to hold on to a lead in their opening game of the Premier League season last weekend and were beaten 3-1 by Everton. Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl will know Southampton have a herculean task on their hands on Sunday.
Varane will be keen to establish himself within this Manchester United side starting with a strong debut against Southampton. If everything goes well, he'd fit in like a glove too. The omens are surely looking great for the Red Devils, who could retain their place at the top of the Premier League table this weekend.