Good Monday morning, everyone. This season, as I’ve done at times in the past, I’m going to use the start of the week for a brief recap of the Premier League action over the weekend. As the season progresses, I may even throw in some non-PL matches if there are any particularly shocking results and / or big contests. It’ll be a nice forum for y’all to talk about the other matches you watched.
Manchester United host Wolves at 3 pm ET to close out Matchweek 1.
Burnley 0 - Manchester City 3
I was impressed by what I saw from Burnley. Their high energy pressing is going to give teams in the Premier League trouble, especially those whose defenders aren’t as good on the ball as the defenders at Manchester City and other top clubs. But Burnley need to be able to turn their early press into goals because they definitely ran out of steam as the match wore on.
After Manchester City scored a quick opener, Burnley were pretty clearly the better of the two sides for about 25 minutes.
Sheffield United 0 - Crystal Palace 1
Odsonne Edouard scored the lone goal in a mostly one-sided affair and probably should have netted himself a brace. Sheffield United keeper Wes Foderingham did well to keep the match within reach. Roy Hodgson, all 76 years of him, got into a bit of sideline fracas with Sheffield United player Max Lowe in the middle of the match.
Bournemouth 1 - West Ham 1
Jarrod Bowen scored a cracking goal for West Ham, but Dominic Solanke’s late equalizer split the points. Lucas Paqueta seems to be headed to Manchester City, leaving David Moyes with the tall task of rebuilding the center of his midfield. The addition of James Ward Prowse should help, and Harry Maguire will improve their defense. I think West Ham will be boring and irrelevant this season.
Brighton 4 - Luton 1
It doesn’t seem to matter who Brighton lose (or who doesn’t play in anticipation of a move like Moises Caicedo) the Seagulls keep ticking over. New striker Joao Pedro looks talented, and Simon Adingra, who signed last summer and spent the season on loan in Belgium, looked bright, too.
Luton didn’t offer much at all. Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu became the first player to represent the same club from non-league football all the way to the Premier League, which is neat.
Everton 0 - Fulham 1
The Toffees did everything right but score goals, Neal Maupay being the chief offender. They accumulated nearly 3 xG, which is more than any team managed last season without scoring. Everton should also feel hard done by because they had a goal taken off the board for a really poor foul call against James Tarkowski — Bernd Leno jumped over him to claim a ball, collided with him, and spilled it. Not really sure what Tarkowski is supposed to do in that situation. Bobby De Cordova-Reid scored the lone goal in the match.
Newcastle 5 - Aston Villa 1
Welcome to year 2 of Unai Emery, Villa supporters. I don’t think Newcastle were even all that good, but they didn’t need to be. Villa were abject — they didn’t seem to have a structure or a gameplan. The goals Newcastle scored were simple and easy.
Tyrone Mings suffered a serious knee injury.
Brentford 2 - Tottenham 2
The two London clubs combined for a four-goal first half and a dull second. Tottenham look like a club that may score 70 goals this season, but they’re going to concede 60. Brentford looked fine with Yoanne Wissa leading the line in place of the suspended Ivan Toney.
Chelsea 1 - Liverpool 1
A strange match. Liverpool looked great for the opening 25-30 minutes, clearly better than Chelsea. Then the match completely flipped. Chelsea looked by far the better team and Liverpool struggled. Jurgen Klopp’s side remind me of Tottenham at the height of the Kane-Son partnership — elite attacking play that can win matches and the rest is ???. Chelsea did nothing to assuage concerns about their ability to score goals (just 38 last season). And their defense looks shakey. Ben Chilwell and Reece James looked really good as wingbacks, though.
A few general notes / observations:
- The new time-wasting yellow cards on throw-ins are dumb. I saw several this weekend where the player looked to be actively searching for a teammate to throw to but couldn’t find anybody open. I know teams will try to game the system that way, but the cards I saw felt wrong.
- Cautions for asking for / signaling for a card for an opponent is dumb, too. Is that gesture really that much of an issue? It doesn’t bother me, but maybe it really irritates others.
- Under the new rules, players are supposed to be cautioned for surrounding the referee to protest a decision. The guidance says that if more than one player goes to speak to a referee, he’s supposed to start handing out cards, and he can card multiple players from one incident. I saw several instances where two and three players went up to a referee and none of them received cards.
- After one weekend worth of the new rules and emphasis, I can definitively say I do not like them. From where I sit, it has just added more instances where referees can decide to enforce or not enforce rules, with the fun little bonus of more cards (because they’re supposed to be automatic under the correct circumstances). Giving referees more latitude to selectively and arbitrarily apply rules is extremely bad.
- The fact that a trailing team can substitute on players and get additional time added onto the match for those substitutes seems wrong.
- It felt like a lot of matches lost steam in the second half. Apparently players aren’t at full match fitness, which I suppose is to be expected. Have other opening weekends gone that way as well and I’m just not remembering correctly?