Premier League Game Week Two – A Review

The second round of matches from the Premier League saw 25 goals, 8 clean sheets, 3 penalties, 2 own goals, 29 yellow cards, and the season’s first red card! This week also finished with West Ham sitting at the top of the Premier League for the first time in over 50 years.

Liverpool 2 – 0 Burnley

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A nice and neat 2-0 win over Burnley helped Liverpool continue to push to reclaim the Premier League title, with the Reds currently leading the Premier League shot chart. Both teams played as expected, with Burnley committing a myriad of fouls and Liverpool scoring both goals thanks to assists from their wingbacks. Tsimikas, likely to be benched when Robertson returns from injury, provided the first assist as Jota scored his second goal in two games and first goal at Anfield for over a year.

Although Burnley had the ball in the net thanks to an offside Ashley Barnes goal, they never looked like repeating the feat of winning at Anfield, as they did last season when they ended Liverpool’s 68-game home unbeaten run. Overall, neither side can have many complaints about the result – although Klopp made it clear to the press afterwards his concerns about the willingness of referees to allow what he considered ‘dangerous’ tackles and challenges, suggesting “I am not 100 percent sure if we are going in the right direction with these decisions if we go 10-15 years back”.

Man of the Match: Kostas Tsimikas
Goals: Jota 18′, Mané 69′

Manchester City 5 – 0 Norwich City

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In a high-scoring event, Grealish scored his first goal in sky blue, although the main star of the day was Gabriel Jesus who managed a hattrick of assists. The game started off badly for the canaries, with Tim Krul conceding an early own goal and giving City the lead. With only one shot all game and no shots on target, they never looked close to replicating their famous 3-2 win over Manchester City two seasons ago – instead reminding viewers more of their 5-0 loss later on in that same season.

Grealish, the Cityzens’ new £100m star signing, got off the mark for his new club with a messy goal off his shin at the back post. Gabriel Jesus, rumoured to be for sale, did plenty to show why he should remain a key player at the Etihad, providing the assist to Grealish and to Sterling later in the game. Ruben Dias, one of the few players you can reliably bet on starting and playing, also showcased his talents with an assist late on in the game for Mahrez. As Pep Guardiola will hope, this win should provide the confidence and impetus for City to go on and push for another title with big games against Arsenal, Chelsea, and Leicester coming up in the next month.

Man of the Match: Gabriel Jesus
Goals: Krul 7′ (OG), Grealish 22′, Laporte 64′, Sterling 71′, Mahrez 84′

Leeds 2 -2 Everton

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Leeds hosted Everton in their first full-house Premier League game since 2004 over the weekend, putting on a wonderful show for the Leeds faithful. Reeling from their harrowing 5-1 defeat against Manchester United the week before, it was important to gain a positive result. Everton, confident after coming from behind to defeat Southampton in the first week, started the scoring with a Dominic Calvert-Lewin penalty following a foul in the box by Liam Cooper. Just before halftime, Leeds would respond with a goal from Mateusz Klich.

The second half continued with much of the same exciting end-to-end football, with new Everton signing Demarai Gray scoring his first goal in England for over a year. Raphinha scored the equalizer in the 72nd minute for Leeds, scoring his 3rd goal in three games against Everton. While Leeds had the majority of the possession the chances were even. Since Leeds was promoted, their fixtures with Everton proved to be exciting and entertaining encounters – and this game showed more of the same.

Man of the Match: Raphinha
Goals: Calvert-Lewin 39′ (Pen), Klich 41′, Gray 50′, Raphinha 72′

Crystal Palace 0 – 0 Brentford

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Following the departure of Roy Hodgson and nine first-team players, Viera has picked up his first point as Crystal Palace manager. Brentford are enjoying their first season in the Premier League, being one of only four sides to have kept two clean sheets in two alongside heavy hitters Liverpool, Chelsea, and Spurs.

Palace sat deeper than Arsenal did in the first game week in order to deal with the long balls from Brentford which successfully cut away at the attacking threat of the Bees. Patrick Viera, attempting to implement his own style on his new club, tried to play the game on the ground and had a few good moments largely thanks to Conor Gallagher. It was an otherwise quiet game, with only 5 shots on target between the two sides and no real moments of excitement. Still, four points from six for Brentford is a strong start for the Premier League newbies.

Man of the Match: Ivan Toney
Goals: None

Aston Villa 2 – 0 Newcastle United

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Danny Ings continued his fine start at Aston Villa with a world-class acrobatic goal created from a throw-in by Matty Cash headed on by Tyrone Mings. The Ings-Mings combination provided delight to many football fans, but none more so than to the Villains who saw their star player Jack Grealish sold over the summer. Having replaced their star man, the replacements brought on have so far done a fine job with Leon Bailey providing an assist in his first game for the club. The first half of the game was scrappy, the aforementioned bicycle kick being the only quality chance of the half.

Both sides would have penalty shouts in the second half, although only Villa would get one which was scored by Anwar El Ghazi in the 62nd minute. Newcastle might feel aggrieved that decisions didn’t go their way, although poor finishing from Callum Wilson stopped them from taking the lead in the 5th minute before his penalty shout was dismissed due to the striker being ruled offside. Newcastle have lost more league games in 2021 than all sides bar Southampton and Burnley and will be desperate to turn their fortunes around against Burnley in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, or against Southampton on the 28th.

Man of the Match: Danny Ings
Goals: Ings 45+3′, El Ghazi 62′ (Pen)

Brighton 2 – 0 Watford

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Brighton, a side let down by their finishing last season, have impressed so far. Brighton have won both of their opening two games for the first time in their nine-season spell in the Premier League. Shane Duffy, having returned from a year-long loan at Celtic, scored the first goal of the evening from a Pascal Groß corner. Neal Maupay scored the second, making it two goals in two games and leading the line for the Soaring Seagulls. Yves Bissouma, linked with a host of clubs over the summer, was by far the best player on the pitch and provided the assist for Maupay.

Watford offered little going forward throughout the game, only managing one shot on target and even this effort was tame and easily saved. The side that managed to shock Aston Villa and win 3-2 last week seemed neutralised, Ismaila Sarr and Emmanuel Dennis providing little to a tame hornets performance.

Man of the Match: Yves Bissouma
Goals: Duffy 10′, Maupay 41′

Southampton 1 – 1 Manchester United

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Following a blistering 5-1 win over Leeds, Manchester United was heavy with the expectation that more of the same would be seen. Instead, Southampton were able to see off a strong early showing from the visitors before providing a strong enough performance to earn a point. Southampton started the scoring in the 30th minute when a shot from Che Adams deflected off of Fred and past De Gea. New wingbacks Romain Perraud and Valentino Livramento for Southampton provided plenty of attacking threat throughout and largely kept their opposite numbers quiet.

Manchester United hit the woodwork 6 times over the course of the game and may feel aggrieved to have only earned a point, but failures by their attackers to put away the chances they created proved decisive in a match of small margins. Martial, disappointing throughout, was replaced by £73m new signing Jadon Sancho who failed to have an effect on the game. On the bright side for United, their unbeaten away run continues and will next be challenged when they visit Molineux to play Wolverhampton Wanderers on the 29th.

Man of the Match: Che Adams
Goals: Fred 30′ (OG), Greenwood 55′

Wolves 0 – 1 Tottenham Hotspur

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There’s plenty for Wolves to do following another 1-0 defeat in which they had the majority of the chances and possession. An early mistake by new goalkeeper Jose Sa provided a penalty to Dele Alli which was taken and scored, his first goal in 17 months. Wolves threatened for the rest of the 90 minutes but lacked a cutting edge where it counted. Hugo Lloris, Eric Dier, and Davinson Sánchez did a solid job keeping Wolves out, with only six of the 25 shots Wolves had landing on target. Jose Sa made a number of brilliant saves towards the end of the game, but both keepers performed well.

This match also saw the return of Harry Kane to the game, coming on as a 72nd-minute substitute although offering little once brought on. While there was a lot for both sides to reflect on positively, Wolves need to move in the transfer window to bring in the attacking players that can finish the chances created. The question also remains as to which team Traore will be playing for at the end of the window, with Nuno seeming to want him at Spurs. Tottenham can take confidence from Harry Kane agreeing to stay at the club, and will need that to overturn the 1-0 deficit to Pacos De Ferreira this Thursday.

Man of the Match: Adama Traore
Goals: Dele 10′ (Pen)

Arsenal 0 – 2 Chelsea

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Lukaku, returning to Chelsea after over a decade, scored in his first appearance back for them. Signed from Inter Milan for £97.5m, the elite striker continued where he left off in Milan. Arsenal, poor against Brentford in the first week, never looked a threat to the current European Champions. Pablo Mari, given the task of marking Lukaku, was repeatedly beaten by the striker. If not for Berndt Leno, Lukaku and Chelsea could have had many more.

Chelsea’s second, a rocket from Reece James, compounded the issues Arsenal were already facing. With a squad ravaged by Covid and tactical failings all over, Arsenal have lost both of their opening two games without scoring a goal. Arsenal will be hoping for some respite and for their form – and luck – to turn around, but with their next league match against Manchester City, they may have to wait a little longer.

Man of the Match: Romelu Lukaku
Goals: Lukaku 15′, James 35′

West Ham United 4 – 1 Leicester City

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West Ham United, having not made a signing all summer, have started off this season strongly with 8 goals in 2 games and currently topping the table. Pablo Fornals and Said Benrahma scored the first two goals, either side of an unfortunate red card for Ayoze Perez who was sent off for a bad tackle on Fornals. Benrahma, signed from Brentford last summer, seems to be one of the solutions to the loss of Lingard. Having a quiet season last year, the Algerian seems to be coming into his own at the London Stadium. Michael Antonio scored the third and fourth goals for West Ham, becoming their all-time leading Premier League goalscorer in the process.

Leicester City haven’t done much to impress this season so far. A quiet 1-0 win over Wolves last week leaves the Foxes having scored twice in two games. With a number of their defenders out due to injury at the moment, Daniel Amartey partnered Caglar Söyüncü in central defence. Söyüncü had a difficult game, gifting them their second goal after a woeful pass to Michael Antonio. Outclassed and outfoxed, Leicester will be hoping to pick up their form before their European campaign begins.

Man of the Match: Michael Antonio
Goals: Fornals 26′, Benrahma 56′, Tielemans 69′, Antonio 80′ & 84′

Header Image Credit: Equestro Etino, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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