An enthralling weekend ensued as the English Premier League made its return this weekend with a bang. There were goals aplenty as the opening round saw the net bulging 31 times over the weekend. There was some delightful football, some embarrassing mistakes and many costly decisions.
Premier League Opening Weekend: 5 Things We Learned
So here are five things that we learned from the opening weekend of the English Premier League season.
1. Defending is a lost art in the Premier League.
The opening two games of the season saw 13 goals scored and not one of them was a classy team goal or a piece of individual brilliance. In fact, they were all scored thanks to some fragile and disorganized defending. Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea all shipped three goals each this weekend. While Leicester City, Watford, Crystal Palace and West Ham were sloppy at the back as the attackers enjoyed a fantastic weekend. And although it made for great viewing, the level of defending is something that needs to be addressed by certain clubs.
2. Chelsea are in crisis mode, already.
Exactly three months to the day Chelsea were crowned Champions of England, they were torn apart at home by a Burnley team that only managed one win away from home last season. Antonio Conte saw his new club captain get sent off inside 15 minutes before seeing his side ship three goals in the first half to Burnley. Meanwhile, his best striker from last season was watching the game from his hometown in Brazil. And a day after seeing his midfield battered by the Clarets, Conte saw Nemanja Matic put in a man of the match performance for Manchester United. This comes just two weeks after leaving Chelsea. There is a sinking feeling around the club already. And next up is a trip to the mighty Tottenham Hotspur.
3. The new signings are fairing well
With gigantic transfer fees being paid for the players these days, there is an enormous pressure to start produce immediately. And many of the Premier League’s newest arrivals got off to flying starts this weekend. Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette needed just two minutes to open his account on his Premier League debut. While Mohamed Salah also netted for Liverpool on his Premier League return. Wayne Rooney scored the winner for Everton, while Jonas Lossl and Steve Mounie helped give Huddersfield the perfect start. Alvaro Morata grabbed a goal and an assist for Chelsea and Ahmed Hegazy scored West Brom’s winner. And on Sunday, Romelu Lukaku scored twice on his Old Trafford bow while Nemanja Matic put in a man of the match performance. A good weekend overall for the new signings.
4. Manchester clubs look like safe bets for the title
Manchester United and Manchester City both enjoyed comfortable wins in their opening matches of the season. The Red Devils smashed four past a sorry West Ham side. And City secured a comfortable 2-0 win over Brighton. The two clubs have once against spent the most money this season and have the most complete squads in the league. It looks like we will witness another battle between the two Manchester rivals for the title. Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho have battled for league titles over the years in Spain. And their rivalry with add another exciting dimension to this enthralling battle. With their rivals already showing signs of faltering, the Premier League title will be on it’s way to Manchester this season.
5. Plenty of work to be done for the rest of the top teams
While the Manchester clubs delivered statements of intent, the other top 6 clubs failed to impress. Champions Chelsea had a weekend to forget as they had two players sent off in a home defeat to Burnley. While Arsenal enjoyed a spirited comeback win over Leicester City, doubts remain over their defence. Liverpool shipped three goals in their draw against Watford. While Tottenham required a moment of madness from Jonjo Shelvey (who was sent off for a stamp on Dele Alli) to beat Newcastle United. These performances suggest that there is still a lot of work to be done by these clubs if they are to challenge for the title this season. They have two more weeks to add reinforcements and improve their teams. Otherwise they could fall behind in the race for top 4.