A difficult start to the season for Manchester United could to get even worse if Jose Mourinho doesn’t turn a tide of negative publicity and inspire a reaction from his side against Tottenham Hotspur on Monday.
United already trail title favourites Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea by three points after a dreadful display in losing 3-2 to Brighton last weekend and that gap could have doubled by kick-off at Old Trafford with all three expected to win again this weekend.
Spurs are also yet to drop points after defying off the field distractions to see off Newcastle and Fulham.
The Londoners have however lost 1-0 on each of their last three league visits to Old Trafford, and are also seeking revenge for defeat in last season’s FA Cup semifinals.
Reversing that run would be a strong statement of intent that they and not United will rival City, Liverpool and Chelsea for the title.
Elsewhere, a summer of change at Arsenal and West Ham has so far yielded no points for either, making Saturday’s London derby vital for Unai Emery and Manuel Pellegrini to kickstart their new regimes.
Emery was handed an unforgiving start with the visit of Manchester City and a trip to Chelsea to begin his reign as Arsene Wenger’s successor.
But the Spaniard is fully aware of the importance of getting a win to keep the fans onside.
“We need to win this match,” said Emery. “I think it’s very important to show them (the fans) a better performance than in the two first matches.”