With the fairly unusual, post-covid scenario of matchday two in the middle of September, who might begin to show early signs of promise? Who would establish some early-season momentum?
Liverpool hosted West Ham United in Saturday’s early kick-off, and the defending champions made short work of an abject Hammers side, with Roberto Firmino scoring after only four minutes. A Mo Salah penalty followed after just nine minutes, and the Egyptian forward slotted home right after the break, to seal a comfortable victory.
Everton won on the opening day, and they won again at Leicester, with two quick-fire first half goals, on the half-hour mark, from Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison. Perez pulled one back for the home side on 62 minutes, but Everton held on to make it two wins from two.
Manchester United banished their opening-day defeat by crushing a poor Brighton side at Old Trafford. Martial got the Red Devils off the mark after four minutes, and though Bissouma restored parity on 13 minutes, it took only another five minutes for Rashford to restore Utd’s well-deserved lead. Cavani made it 3-1 before the break with a neat right-foot effort, and McTominay made it four from an early second-half corner.
Arsenal might be left to rue missed chances at Newcastle. The visitors trailed at the break, following a quick breakaway and nice, calm finish from Callum Wilson, but Newcastle could not hold on, and on the hour mark, Aubameyang headed from short range to earn Arsenal a point, a deserved point, but on balance, it should have been all three.
Sheffield United were held at home to Fulham, and gave up a two-goal lead in the process. Loftus-Cheek and Decordova-Reid cancelled out Mousset and McBurnie’s earlier efforts.
West Brom got their first win of the campaign at home to a rather poor Crystal Palace side, cruising to a 3-1 win, whilst Manchester City were made to work for it at Burnley; Foden and Silva scored either side of the half, and either side of a Wood goal.
On Sunday, Chelsea hosted Southampton, and like Man City, had to work hard for victory. A early goal from Ziyech set Chelsea on their way, but they could not capitalise on their chances, and veteran forward Danny Ings levelled early into the second-half. It took a sweet, 20-yard effort from rising star Mason Mount, on 65 minutes, to settle the game.
Aston Villa had flirted rather dangerously with relegation last season, and had lost their opening game, but at home to derby rivals Wolves they delivered a lightening-quick display of clinical finishing, at least in the first-half. Grealish and Barkley had put Villa 2-0 before we even had 10 minutes on the clock, though Wolves rallied, and Jimenez pulled one back, midway through the second-half, to create some nerves, both within the stands, and Villa’s defence. Villa held on, and will hope this kick-starts their season.
Leeds were handed a spanking at the hands of Spurs, who demonstrated to the newcomers the scale of the mission they face to survive. Moura, Hojbjerg, Alli and Son were all on target, as Spurs ran out 4-0 winners, without being truly troubled. The harsh reality of the Premier League is that it is unforgiving, and whilst Leeds played with a lot of energy and attacking endeavour, a lack of defensive focus left them vulnerable, over and over again.
Tottenham will be pleased with their start, but whether Mourinho’s men can keep up their performances… well, that remains to be seen. Liverpool have put in some good displays of their own, and Man City look quietly focused and determined. It is of course, still all to play for.