You’d think that after two weeks of matches, players would adapt to the new points of emphasis and stop getting themselves sent off. That has not been the case. The weekend action in the Premier League saw three more red cards, although two were straight reds as opposed to accumulated yellows. Either way, there are significantly more games finishing 11 v 10 this year, and that’s not fun for anybody.
Chelsea 3 - Luton Town 0
Luton Town are not good. I’m not sure that Chelsea are either, but when you spend £1B you should comfortably be beating a club that spent less than £30M. Raheem Sterling scored a brace and continues to look like the player we know and Chelsea thought they were buying last summer.
Bournemouth 0 - Tottenham 2
Spurs play entertaining football. James Maddison is playing well, but he had far too much time and space against the Cherries. I doubt that happens against better clubs. Tottenham’s defense is nothing special and will get exploited.
Brentford 1 - Crystal Palace 1
The Bees saw a bit more of the ball in this evenly matched mid-table battle. Brentford should finish somewhere around where they did last season, and Palace will be comfortably safe rather than in the relegation battle as they were.
Manchester United 3 - Nottingham Forest 2
Forest jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening four minutes only to be pegged back over the course of the match. Manchester United scored the winner on a dodgy penalty. What else is new. United’s defense will leak goals and Casemiro is continuing to slow down defensively.
Everton 0 - Wolves 1
Everton might score a goal this season. The odds would say they will. They’re actually creating chances and generated expected goals but not putting them in the back of the net. Perhaps new addition Beto will tickle the old onion bag. If they don’t start converting chances, they’re in big trouble because they’re not that good.
Brighton 1 - West Ham 3
The surprise result of the weekend. Brighton had all off the ball (78% possession!) but couldn’t really generate chances. West Ham were clinical with their opportunities. I’m not convinced by David Moyes’ side yet, but they should have been better than they were last season. Perhaps they’re back to playing the mid-table football they’re capable of playing.
Sheffield United 1 - Manchester City 2
Oh, what could have been. Sheffield United equalized in the 85th minute only to have City retake the lead in the 88th. Phil Foden miscontrolled a cross, but the ball went right to Rodri, who blasted it into the top corner with his weaker foot. City don’t need luck, football gods. The xG in this one was similar to the xG in the Arsenal game. But City didn’t gift Sheffield any goals.
Burnley 1 - Aston Villa 3
Aston Villa are going to be the flat-track bullies of the Premier League this season. They’ve got attacking quality, but against better sides, they’re going to concede bunches of goals. We’ve seen this story before with Unai Emery. Don’t be fooled by it. Even if they go on a winning run, the form and results will crater at some point.
Newcastle 1 - Liverpool 2
The funniest result of the weekend, for me. Virgil Van Dijk received a straight red in the 28th minute with Liverpool already down 1-0. Newcastle couldn’t find any more goals, and Darwin Nunez scored two goals, 81st and 93rd minute, as a substitute to snatch the points. Trent Alexander Arnold is a disaster. He gave the ball away for the Newcastle goal and put VVD in a bad spot that led to his sending off. TAA is excellent on the ball but it’s better than even odds he undoes his attacking contributions with mistakes. Newcastle are extremely physical and benefit from that reputation. They get away with more fouls because of it. And their loud home crowd definitely seems to influence referee decisions.