What Erling Haaland is doing at Manchester City is absolutely remarkable — but I believe Arsenal’s capture of Gabriel Jesus has been the signing of the season.
If you compare Arsenal before Jesus arrived to how they are looking now, that is where we’ve seen the biggest transformation of all the teams in the Premier League.
The Brazil international is something different. He brings such a high level of quality, work-rate and enthusiasm — not to mention the goals he has scored.
What does concern me is that if the Gunners were to lose him to injury, the gap in quality between him and what is on the bench is massive, so Mikel Arteta will be keen to manage his striker’s workload.
Spirits continue to be high at the Emirates after the North London derby win and beating Liverpool may force the rest of the league to take the Gunners seriously.
They have enjoyed an excellent season so far but the question remains whether it is just a good run of form or something they can sustain longer term.
I feel it is still too early to call them title contenders. But if they reach the break for the World Cup with a one or two-point lead over Manchester City at the top, I may have to reconsider that stance.
After Sunday’s home clash with the Reds, they have a favourable run of fixtures before the Premier League breaks — with Chelsea the biggest test among games against Leeds, Southampton, Nottingham Forest and Wolves.
They’ve already beaten Tottenham and despite losing at Manchester United, they played very well and the performance was certainly there.
That is the big plus for them. They are getting results but also doing it with their own unique style under Arteta. There is a philosophy you can see is being regularly worked on.
Given Liverpool’s inconsistency this season, there is no reason Arsenal can’t get a result on Sunday to set them up nicely for those coming games.
Along with Jesus, plenty of others have made a massive difference for the North Londoners this season.
William Saliba is exceptional. He’s so calm and his decision-making is superb. Thomas Partey has been regularly fit and now looks the player they always hoped he would be.
Granit Xhaka also deserves a lot of credit. He has not always been loved by fans but now looks at home in the midfield.
The way the manager has handled his situation has been impressive. We’ve seen Arteta discard other players if he feels they are bad for the group.
While unpopular at times, it’s clear the Swiss international hasn’t been disruptive internally.
It’s an eye opener for supporters because while performances might not always be at the level you hope them to be, players mean more to clubs than just what you see on the field.
Xhaka is one of the leaders in the dressing room and even when things haven’t gone his way, he has still been trusted to perform and we are now seeing the impact he is having.
Anyway, let’s have a look at my weekend predictions.
Joleon Lescott’s Premier League Matchday 10 predictions
Bournemouth vs Leicester (Saturday, 3pm)
The 4-0 win against Nottingham Forest was a huge statement for everyone at Leicester — not least manager Brendan Rodgers.
I don’t think there’s ever been a question of the Foxes not playing for him. Sometimes they have made mistakes that have been punished by top-quality opposition but they finally put in a complete performance on Monday.
I expect them to continue with that level of confidence against Bournemouth and claim another victory.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-2 Leicester
Chelsea vs Wolves (Saturday, 3pm)
It was a solid performance by Chelsea against a top European team in AC Milan in midweek.
With Wolves without a manager and seemingly unsure of what direction they even want to go in, it’s difficult to predict what their team will even look like.
It’s hard to see anything other than a win for Graham Potter’s men.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Wolves
Manchester City vs Southampton (Saturday, 3pm)
This could be anything. Given the contrasting form of both teams, Manchester City could score four, five or six goals here.
But Southampton have proved difficult for City in recent seasons and Pep Guardiola has already said this game won’t be taken lightly.
It has been one of the more unpredictable games of late but with Haaland scoring at the rate he is, you’d back the home side to comfortably take three points.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-0 Southampton
Newcastle vs Brentford (Saturday, 3pm)
This will see two solid teams go head-to-head. Brentford will probably be happy with where they find themselves, Newcastle still might be expecting more even though they are now seventh.
The Magpies have performed well but have only won twice this season. They will want to improve on that in the coming weeks.
Both will believe they can get the win and that should lead to an entertaining game.
Prediction: Newcastle 2-2 Brentford
Brighton vs Tottenham (Saturday, 5.30pm, Sky Sports)
This is a big game for Spurs! Fans are starting to get frustrated with the style after some poor results.
I don’t think the way they play is getting the best out of some of their top-quality players and it’s being highlighted more now that results haven’t been great.
Brighton seem to have continued their style under new manager Roberto De Zerbi and it could be a big turning point for Antonio Conte if Spurs get outplayed at the Amex.
Prediction: Brighton 1-1 Tottenham
Crystal Palace vs Leeds (Sunday, 2pm, Sky Sports)
Both Crystal Palace and Leeds have proved they can play at a high level but might think they should be higher up the table.
The Whites are in danger of falling into their old habits of last season in terms of being entertaining but not picking up the results.
I’m going to go for Palace to get the win at home.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-1 Leeds
West Ham vs Fulham (Sunday, 2pm)
Fulham have been great to watch and always play to win but are up against a West Ham team on a high after their victory over Wolves last weekend.
The Cottagers need to make sure their 4-1 defeat to Newcastle was just a one-off, especially given they had a man sent off.
It’s a difficult one to call but something tells me the Hammers’ momentum has switched due to that result at the London Stadium.
Prediction: West Ham 2-1 Fulham
Arsenal vs Liverpool (Sunday, 4.30pm, Sky Sports)
It has not been the best season for Liverpool so far but they are bound to still provide leaders Arsenal with a tough test.
It will be a great game to watch and that’s why it’s another one that could easily go either way.
I don’t have too much confidence in saying this but I’m going to back the Gunners to continue their run.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
Everton vs Manchester United (Sunday, 7pm, BT Sport 1)
This is a real tough game for both Everton and Manchester United for different reasons.
At home against the Red Devils, the Goodison Park crowd will be well up for it and the Toffees’ run of two straight victories has been massive for the mood at the club.
I’m going to go with my heart and back my old team to claim another win.
Prediction: Everton 1-0 Manchester United
Nottingham Forest vs Aston Villa (Monday, 8pm, Sky Sports)
Both managers are under pressure ahead of this clash but I think Steve Cooper is feeling the heat slightly more.
The Welsh manager could go if they don’t get a result and his new-look team are lacking quality in the key moments — it has been an eye-opener for what the Premier League is all about!
Villa are slightly more settled as an outfit and that should see Steven Gerrard’s men leave with the points.
Prediction: Nottingham Forest 1-2 Aston Villa