Arsenal’s miserable start to the Premier League season could get even worse as Chelsea unleash record signing Romelu Lukaku for his debut on Sunday, while Liverpool and Manchester United look to build on a promising start to their title challenge.
Lukaku has returned to Stamford Bridge, seven years after his first spell at Chelsea came to an end, for a £97 million fee ($133 million) after leading Inter Milan to the Serie A title last season.
The Blues believe the Belgian striker can be the final weapon needed to turn a squad that already won the Champions League last season into Premier League title contenders.
Lukaku is already in the top 20 all-time Premier League goal scorers with 113 to his name for West Brom, Everton and Manchester United.
“I think I’ve learned much more about myself, setting higher standards for myself,” said Lukaku on what has changed in his two years since leaving the Premier League.
“As a player, I’ve become more complete because the game in Italy is tighter spaces, much more technical and tactical, which helped me a lot.”
Arsenal could also have two new recruits registered in time for Sunday with goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and midfielder Martin Odegaard set to join the Gunners.
Those two signings would take Arsenal’s spending for the transfer window above Chelsea’s after the arrivals of £50 million defender Ben White, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares.
That level of investment has come as a surprise with Arsenal facing up to a fifth consecutive season without the riches of Champions League football.
Manager Mikel Arteta is therefore under pressure to turn that backing into results after a 2-0 defeat to newly-promoted Brentford to open the new season.
After the visit of the European champions, Arsenal travel to Manchester City next weekend and face heading into the September international break without a single point from their opening three games unless they can spring a surprise.