Manchester United are sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League with an unbeaten start to the campaign following the closure of the summer transfer window.
Jose Mourinho’s summer signings have slotted in perfectly with Romelu Lukaku’s goals helping to give the Red Devils a flying start while others have stuttered.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United sides were traditionally stronger after the Christmas period as they conserved their energy to chase down titles and fight on multiple fronts.
Mourinho operates differently. The Special One is much happier leading from day one and his great Chelsea teams were comfortable pushing early on and holding their nerve.
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We are already seeing that hallmark beginning to emerge at Old Trafford this season and consolidating their slender advantage throughout the month of September could well determine where the title resides come next May.
United do not face their first real examination until their showdown with Liverpool in the middle of October at Anfield. The league leaders have the chance to cement their position at the summit before that fixture.
While Mourinho’s men take on the likes of Crystal Palace in their domestic fixtures, Burton Albion in the EFL Cup and begin their Champions League quest after a favourable draw, the chasing pack have a tougher proposition.
The aforementioned Liverpool’s month starts with a trip to Manchester City on Saturday lunchtime. It’s not a fixture either side will be relishing after the exertions of international travel.
Chelsea and Arsenal are set to lock on horns at Stamford Bridge on September 17 in match that could be overshadowed by a public protest from Gunners fans directed at Arsene Wenger.
Wenger is already right back under pressure following their recent hammering at the hands of Jurgen Klopp’s Reds and a chaotic end to the transfer window that saw Thomas Lemar reject a move to the Emirates.
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Antonio Conte’s Blues also had a difficult window, losing out on Lukaku to United, and their lack of firepower could hamper them as they return to Europe’s elite cup competition.
Spurs face Everton at Goodison Park this weekend before hosting Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund. Three days later they welcome Swansea to Wembley in a match that looks to have Champions League hangover written all over it.
United’s near neighbours, City, could point to what should be some routine wins in the middle of the month, but that opener with Liverpool and rounding off with a tricky trip to Chelsea on September 30.
The Red Devils, though, were the clear winners when the September fixtures dropped and having made that stunning start, Mourinho will know this is his big opportunity to take hold of the race for the Premier League crown.