So then, game week two. Everyone should be back from their holidays, the country has finally shaken off that World Cup fever, and the Premier League’s stars are shaking off the cobwebs and showing their class.
The blue side of Manchester continued their fine form from last season, crushing David Wagner’s Huddersfield Town 6-1 at the Etihad.
Southampton came out fighting at Goodison Park, but their spirited display wasn’t enough to snatch a draw against an impressive Everton side. The Toffees were competing for the first time at home since Marco Silva took the helm.
Former Arsenal man Theo Walcott opened the scoring after a clever free-kick routine, before summer signing Richarlison doubled Everton’s lead. Jordan Pickford will feel disappointed that he didn’t leave the game with a clean sheet, but a resurgent Danny Ings grabbed his second goal in as many matches to half the deficit.
Jamie Vardy saw red as Leicester City cruised to victory over newly promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers, with the England man now set to miss games against Liverpool, Bournemouth, and Huddersfield. The Foxes went ahead early thanks to an own goal from Wolves’ Matt Doherty, before James Maddison struck on his home debut to double their lead. It was a shaky display from Claude Puel’s side, and, to be honest, if Wolves had taken their chances, it would have been a totally different game.
Harry Kane finally managed to score in August, and helped his side storm to a 3-1 victory over fellow Londoners Fulham. Lucas Moura had opened the scoring early in the first half, curling a delicate shot past the hands of a flailing Fabri, before Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic nodded home to level things up.
Kieran Trippier brought us all back to Russia with his goal, smashing home a beautiful free kick to put Spurs ahead. Kane polished off the victory with a delicate flick, leaving Mauricio Pochettino’s men with six points from a possible six.
West Ham continued to under-perform, throwing away a certain victory against Bournemouth to leave the Hammers deflated. The home side seemed disconnected and painful to watch at moments. Callum Wilson and Steve Cook capitalised on the hosts’ uncertainty, forcing the home fans to climb the stairs as quickly as Bournemouth are climbing the table.
Chelsea and Arsenal finally gave us a London derby worth talking about, thanks to an 81st-minute winner from Marcus Alonso. The Blues had gone ahead thanks to a crisp goal from Pedro in the opening 10 minutes, before Alvaro Morata got in on the action halfway through the half. Despite Maurizio Sarri’s men seemingly being in control, however, they self-destructed and allowed the Gunners to grab two goals in two minutes.
The second half was scrappy, physical, and – for Arsenal fans – infuriating, but Alonso’s strike was a worthy winner.
Sunday got off to a quick start, with Watford and Burnley each finding the net within the six minutes. Burnley were clearly weary from their travels in Europe, and it didn’t take Andre Gray long to find the net against his former employers.
James Tarkowski headed in an equaliser moments later, but that was all the Clarets’ attack could offer. After a somewhat slow first half, Watford came into their stride and secured their win thanks to goals from skipper Troy Deeney and midfielder Will Hughes. There was much to be said about Richarlison’s transfer over to Merseyside in the summer, but Watford have temporarily silenced the critics with this victory. The team seem to have a point to prove, and they look like they could be the surprise package this season.
Manchester United slumped to an embarrassing away defeat to Brighton, with the Red Devils needing a shock bigger than the one Sir Alex Ferguson got from that balloon to change their fortunes.
Despite Paul Pogba’s impressive World Cup, the Frenchman struggled to string a pass together on Sunday, whilst Brighton and Hove Albion ran wild in the centre of the pitch. Two quick fire goals from Glenn Murray and Shane Duffy saw the Seagulls go ahead, before Lukaku’s rather limp header halved the deficit.
Pascal Groß duly dispatched a penalty after a horror tackle from Eric Bailly just before the half-time whistle to extend the lead, ensuring the plaudits stayed in Brighton.
As predicted, City continue to run rampant at the top of the tree. Even losing Kevin De Bruyne to injury didn’t dampen the Shark Team’s spirits, with Sergio Aguero grabbing a hat-trick as he enters his eighth season with the club.
Tottenham have continued to display that they aren’t just ‘The Harry Kane Team’, and despite failing to secure a single signature in the transfer window, they’re thriving on having such a dynamic and gelled squad.
Other than West Ham, there’s no other teams that look certain for the drop. Huddersfield are bottom for now, but they seem to have more fight, whilst the Hammers look like they’re just continuing on from their dreadful performance last season. Cardiff and Wolves are struggling, but we can’t expect them to hit form until October…saying that, they’re probably a safe bet to grab some points against United.
Goal of the weekend
This one was pretty easy.
For a long time, the Premier League has been lacking in set play routines, but step up Kieran Trippier. Fair play, the boy can hit a ball. It’s got everything, power, pace, dip, drive, and technique. It’s a goal you won’t get bored of watching, made even better by the fact that it was scored by a 5”8 lad from Bury. I love football.
— David Blackwell (@Eastendyid) August 18, 2018