Weekend Wanderings: Ronaldo returns and Emery evaluates

Despite the new football season still being its infancy, there are plenty of storylines already rearing their heads.

From early disappointments, to speedy starts, lines are already being drawn in the sand.

This weekend we see another round of football fixtures taking place and here are five things you should be keeping an eye on.

1. Can Emery’s Arsenal come alive?

Poor Unai Emery. After arriving to succeed Arsene Wenger, the Spaniard would have wanted to make an instant impact. Instead, he was handed arguably one of the toughest starts around.

After coming unstuck against champions Manchester City in their opening game, the Gunners travel across the capital for a derby fixture at Stamford Bridge.

Emery’s team showed flashes of quality against City, and the inclusion of youngster Matteo Guenduzi in the starting XI means there is plenty of potential there, but whether it will come to fruition at this early stage is a different question entirely.

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Chelsea – also under new management in Maurizio Sarri – got their campaign underway with a relatively comfortable 3-0 win over Huddersfield.

However, the defeat in the Community Shield proved the Blues still need to show they can put on a show against a top-six side.

2. Has Gary Rowett’s side come unstuck already?

The Championship season is just two games old and already some fans are questioning the tactics, game-plans and managers.

One of those managers is Gary Rowett, who ditched Derby County in favour of relegated Stoke City in the summer.

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The Potters were quickly installed as promotion favourites, but their opening games have yielded just one point and fans have been highly critical of the displays thus far.

Following the 3-1 defeat to Leeds and 1-1 draw with Brentford, Stoke City travel to Preston North End who can certainly cause problems under the stewardship of Alex Neil.

If promotion is to become a reality for Stoke and Gary Rowett it would help if the winning starts now.

3. Can Celtic bounce back from their early season failings?

As impressive as Brendan Rodgers’ stint at Celtic has been there was always one thing nagging away – Europe.

The Hoops have dominated domestically with back-to-back trebles under the tenure of the ex-Liverpool boss, but their showings in the Champions League group stages haven’t exactly flattered.

This year, the aim was to do better abroad but those hopes have quickly been extinguished as the Scottish side were dumped out of the Champions League by AEK Athens.

That defeat came off the back of an early season loss to Hearts in the league, so there is plenty to work on.

This Saturday there is a Glasgow derby in the offing as Celtic travel to Partick Thistle and a win there would help get things back on track.

Plus, with rumours swirling that striker Moussa Dembele could soon be on his way to Marseille, the fans could use a little cheer right now.

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4. Italy welcomes back Carlo Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelloti is back managing in Italy for the first time since he left AC Milan in 2009.

After winning domestic titles and Champions Leagues at Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, the 59-year-old Italian has been used to coaching the very best around.

However, his latest job is a wholly different prospect to what he has undertaken in recent years.

With Maurizio Sarri taking the reins at Chelsea, Ancelotti was installed as his replacement at Napoli.

This season, Napoli will likely find themselves as the underdogs, with Juventus expected to dominate and Inter full of new talent.

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For the first time in many years, Ancelotti’s team won’t be starting as favourites and he kick starts life back in Serie A with a tough trip to Lazio.

We will wait and see what King Carlo can deliver in his latest assignment.

5. Serie A welcomes Cristiano Ronaldo

Regular players of FIFA Career Mode will recall that at some stage the game will start generating random transfers that make no sense.

One such transfer that always seemed virtually impossible was that of Cristiano Ronaldo away from Real Madrid – except this summer it did actually happen.

After nine years in Spain, the Portuguese superstar joined Italian champions Juventus in a ground-breaking deal.

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Everyone knows the global powerhouse keeps himself in exceptional shape and following another astounding year, where he bagged in 44 goals in all competitions, people are expecting him to keep scoring at a frightening rate.

The first defence Ronaldo will test himself against in Serie A is that of Chievo.

You can follow Alasdair on Twitter @adjhooper1992

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