Mesut Ozil Day
For Arsenal fans it is Mesut Ozil Eve. Just one more sleep and then they get to coo over their shiny new German genius at Sunderland, where Ozil is likely to be thrown straight into an Arsenal side depleted by injuries. One need only to listen to the wailing about Ozil's hurried exit from Real Madrid by his former team-mates to understand the esteem in which he was held at the Bernabéu and the impact he could make for Arsenal. He is not the final piece of the jigsaw or even necessarily the player that they required most. Arsenal could have done with another centre-back, perhaps another player in central midfield and they certainly needed a striker, even though Olivier Giroud has started the season in sharp form. But, if offered the chance to sign Ozil, one does not say no. We are routinely told that Arsenal are a club of class, so it was about time they signed some. JS
Lamela and Eriksen to give Tottenham a cutting edge
Tottenham have been trying hard not to appear too heartbroken over Gareth Bale's exit and the ambitious signings they have made this summer make a compelling case for the optimism around White Hart Lane. However, while Tottenham do appear to have a better squad than last season, it will still be difficult for their new players to replicate Bale's brilliance: the free-kicks, lung-busting runs and last-minute winners which had started to feel so routine by the end of his time in England. It could take a while for André Villas-Boas to work out his best team and Tottenham, who are yet to score from open play in the league, looked like a work in progress during the 1-0 defeat by Arsenal, who suggested they still might just hold the ascendancy in north London. There is little in it, though, and Villas-Boas will hope that the inclusion of Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen, who could both make their full debuts against Norwich at White Hart Lane, will transform his side's attacking potency. JS
New faces in Everton's midfield
Everton have made life difficult for Chelsea at Goodison Park in recent years but that was largely down to the intensity of David Moyes' sides. Under Roberto Martínez Everton will present a more cerebral challenge for José Mourinho's visitors, although their new toffee-taka style has yielded only three draws in their opening three matches. The loan signing of Romelu Lukaku should help to resolve their problems in front of goal but, with the Belgian ineligible to play against Chelsea, the focus will instead be on Everton's new midfielders, Gareth Barry and James McCarthy. Barry, a fine Premier League player, should bring a measure of calm to their midfield, while the signing of McCarthy, who was so impressive in a doomed Wigan side last season, means that the loss of Marouane Fellaini to Manchester United has not been felt so keenly. JS
Can Cardiff improve on their travels?
Steve Bruce and Malky Mackay would probably both settle for a rather more downbeat affair between Hull and Cardiff at the KC Stadium this time. When their sides met on the final day of the Championship season in May they produced one of the most memorable matches of the year, Hull securing a barmy 2-2 draw that gave them automatic promotion at Watford's expense, even though they managed to miss and then concede a penalty in stoppage time. There is unlikely to be as much drama this time but it is still an important afternoon for both sides. While Hull will be looking for a second victory at home after they beat Norwich 1-0 with 10 men three weeks ago, Mackay will demand to see an improvement from Cardiff's last away match, when they failed to muster a single shot on target in a lifeless 2-0 defeat at West Ham on the opening day. JS
Southampton performing at home
Sam Allardyce's West Ham are precisely the sort of side that Southampton dislike playing against. Although West Ham will be missing Andy Carroll, Joe Cole and Stewart Downing – laugh it up, Liverpool – at St Mary's, they are likely to be tough, resilient and all too willing to ensure there is nothing particularly super about this Sunday. Under both Nigel Adkins and Mauricio Pochettino Southampton have found it difficult to break down sides who are happy to leave the south coast with a 0-0 draw, partly because they can lack natural width, while their defence's habit of conceding sloppy goals in matches that they are controlling is one they need to eradicate. JS
What is the point of football? A question posed daily by the amount of energy, thought, hatred and love invested in it, and also by Martin Jol's Fulham. Neither going to win the league nor be relegated, Jol has taken the opportunity to recruit an artists' collective of players he would like to watch – despite its appalling connotations, a sensible wheeze, especially given that he has no choice. But it leaves him slightly lacking as regards a viable team, evidenced by defeat to Newcastle – a game which prompted him to accuse an outfit, selected by him and containing Dimitar Berbatov and Bryan Ruiz, of lacking energy. For purists and aesthetes, this is a price worth paying but, if Fulham manage to avoid wining at home to West Brom, those of a less fragile bent might begin to bristle. DH
Negredo or Jovetic?
With the mid-ranking Premier League teams able to invest in players and those at the top not all that good, winning the title this season will probably require fewer points than in the previous two. But even so, Manchester City cannot really afford to lose at Stoke, already improved under Mark Hughes, and Manuel Pellegrini would do well to identify the most suitable partner for Sergio Agüero. In City's three games so far he has chosen Edin Dzeko but the success of his fairy elephant galumphing is haphazard at best and he must discover which of Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic fits more suitably with the rest of the attacking players and integrate him into the team as soon as possible. DH
Lambert and battlers
Last winter Aston Villa endured a league run of seven games in which they drew three and lost four and were also beaten in the cups by teams from lower divisions; the tedious cycle of news quickly prefixed Paul Lambert's name with "beleaguered" and "under pressure". But Randy Lerner kept his nerve (and his severance pay) and is nearing vindication. Though Villa have already lost twice this season, they impressed against both Chelsea and Liverpool and the youngsters in whom he has shown such faith have clearly improved as a consequence. But now he has got them playing he must teach them how to win. A home game with Newcastle is a helpful place to begin. DH
Swansea are set to become a Premier League staple. The club is sensibly run and partially owned by its supporters – a complete coincidence, of course – with an astute and handsome manager, who is building and developing a handy squad. Accordingly there is very little chance that they will be drawn into a relegation battle but, on the other hand, the likelihood of their winning another Cup or finishing in a European spot is small, for the time being at least. So, with a Europa League game away to Valencia in midweek, might Michael Laudrup be wise to use the game against Liverpool as preparation for that? The potential thrill of unique glories and memories is surely worth more than the grind for Premier League prize money. DH
A midfielder! For Manchester United!
Once upon a time Manchester United's midfield was a joke. Then, making jokes about Manchester United's midfield became the joke, followed by jokes about making jokes about Manchester United's midfield, and so on for eternity and to infinity; such is the pleasure of information age metahilarity. But finally the club has signed someone to keep Michael Carrick company and Marouane Fellaini should make his debut this weekend against Crystal Palace. There has been much conjecture about whether he is precisely what the team requires but this is to miss point, the crux not what he does but how well he does it. United's midfield is not so complete that David Moyes can afford to be picky about a No6, a No8 or a false No68; it needs brilliance, of any description, far more than it needs a particular player with specific attributes. If Fellaini can add that, then he will be a brilliant buy. DH