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It's only two games into the new Premier League season in England but already there are worrying signs for a trio of clubs who seem to have made hard work of life in England's top flight in recent years.

Everton are one; Chelsea and Manchester United, in relative terms to their best years, are the others.

The arrival of Sean Dyche at Goodison Park was supposed to give Everton a backbone after a couple of years battling against relegation but already after defeats at the hands of Fulham and Aston Villa, it appears the same old problems are apparent at the club. Successive Everton managers have been hamstrung by a combination of poor recruitment and financial mismanagement and it seems Dyche has walked into similar problems. Everton have signed just four players this summer, their perennially injured striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin is on the sidelines again and the squad is lacking in depth and, above all, creativity. At present it feels inevitable that if Everton do not drop into the Championship this season then it will happen at some point in the not-too-distant future.

The Scotland striker Che Adams has been linked with a move to Merseyside this summer having suffered relegation with Southampton last season but he would do well to consider his options – he would not be the first player to suffer back-to-back relegations from England's top flight with the two different teams and that alone might be enough to set alarm bells ringing. Operating in front of a midfield containing Idrissa Gueye, Amadou Onana and Abdoulaye Doucoure will not present the 27-year with bountiful opportunities and Adams might well find he's back where he started this time next year.

There is no such danger attached to Chelsea or United but there is sufficient reason to question whether they are on the trajectory their supporters will expect of them in the campaign ahead. It is year two of the Erik ten Hag project and United look no further on from where they finished the previous season. They were incredibly fortunate to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers in their opening game at Old Trafford and while, perhaps, a tad unlucky to lose 2-0 to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, that result should be taken in the context required: it was only Spurs' second game under a new manager and they, themselves, remain a work in progress.

The Herald:

Chelsea have similar but different problems. They are only a couple of matches into the Mauricio Pochettino era (which ended in a draw against Liverpool and a humbling defeat by West Ham) and their owner, Toddy Boehly, seems to have some sort of compulsive buying disorder. Chelsea have purchased 12 players this summer to go with the 16 new arrivals (some of whom have already departed) in the previous two transfer windows. It may take time for those players to gel into a cohesive unit or it might very well be the very thing that is hindering the team from progressing. A huge turnover of playing personnel does not, historically, make for a happy dressing room. Of course, there are instances where it has worked in the past – there is always an exception to every rule – but for the most part it tends to breed uncertainty and instability and so it might be a couple of months before Chelsea start to make any kind of impact on the league – if at all.