Weekend review Premier League

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If you were waiting for some surprises in Gameweek 1 of the Premier League you might be disappointed but the quality of the football was already very high and we were able to see already most of the players that were in the World Cup. It comes as no surprise that Liverpool and Manchester City are the real deal and the race for the title should be close between them both.

The reds started the season with a clear 4-0 win against West Ham, with Mohamed Salah scoring the first of the season and Sadio Mane becoming the first Liverpool player to score in three successive opening matches in the Premier League since John Barnes.  The Senegalese scored the 2nd and 3rd goal of the match. The substitute Daniel Sturridge also scored, needing only 1 minute on the pitch to put the ball in the back of the net. Jurgen Klopp and his team are already in quite good shape, Naby Keita impressed in the midfield. For Alisson we will need another game to evaluate him, but generally speaking Liverpool’s defense did great against a West Ham team that has a lot of quality players up front.

The sky blues were also quite impressive as they totally controlled Arsenal and beat them 0-2 at the Emirates. With Kevin de Bruyne still sitting on the bench, Bernardo Silva controlled the midfield of the Champions and the pace of Sterling and Mendy was just to much for an Arsenal that as expected cannot be fixed in one transfer window. The first game came after a nice individual effort from Sterling, and Bernardo scored in the second half, maybe in the period when Arsenal was actually starting to get better. It would be unfair to take a lot of conclusions from this new Arsenal when they played against the best team in the league. The game against Chelsea might give us a better idea on how Emery wants his team to be.

Comfortable win for Chelsea, Spurs had to suffer in Newcastle

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Despite the lack of transfer activity, the Spurs started the season with a good away win against Newcastle. It was a bit of a surprise to see Harry Kane starting, but certainly not a surprise that he did not score in this game in August. The Spurs started very strong the game and Jan Vertonghen’s header at the 9th minute put them ahead. That was a short moment of happiness as less than 3 minutes after Joselu headed in Matt Ritchie’s superb cross to equalize. But Tottenham continued pressing and on the 18th minute Dele Alli put the visitors back in front, after a good cross from Serge Aurier.  In the second half Newcastle was several times very close to score and they should feel a bit frustrated from not getting a point but they have a chance already next week, when they face the new promoted Cardiff.

More comfortable was the Chelsea’s trip to Huddersfield Town. With Hazard sitting on the bench and Willian on the starting 11, Chelsea started the game a bit slowly but got better and better as the game progressed. One thing we can be sure about this Chelsea: their season will mostly depend on how good Jorginho and Kanté will be together. I can’t see them having any rest or be rotated in the league this season. Sarri assigned Kanté to a slightly more advanced role, appointing Jorginho as the deep scavenger in Chelsea’s midfield trio and allowing Kanté to probe down the right, often combining with Pedro. Both, Kanté and Jorginho scored today and Pedro sealed the deal on the second half. For Huddersfield this should be another long season and David Wagner should have a statue if he manages to save them again.

Manchester United, Watford and Bournemouth get the job done at home

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Goals from Pogba and Luke Shaw guaranteed the first 3 points of the season for Manchester United. It is a bit ironic that two of the players who are so much criticized by Mourinho scored in the same game. Pogba had been handed the captain’s armband and maybe it was a ceasefire from Mourinho who later called him a “monster” with the impressive power of his performance after just a few days of training. United are not looking great at the moment but the same can be said about them last season and they still finished second.  Do not take for granted that they can’t at least do the same.

In Bournemouth the home team also got the job done with a goal from Ryan Fraser in the first half and another one of Callum Wilson close to the end of the game. Wilson also missed a penalty in between. It was not a great match but Bournemouth did show that they have a better options than Cardiff and with more or less troubles they should not get relegated. As for Cardiff, they took the decision of not going crazy in the transfer window and they know will be a hard task on not getting relegated. They did have possession but still were unable to mount a serious threat to Asmir Begovic’s goal. On the defensive side they also need to improve and be more solid if they want at least to fight for the survival until the end.

More impressive was the Watford home win against Brighton. They dominated the game from minute 1, did not allow Brighton to have any shot on goal and the opportunities to score just came one after the other. Roberto Pereyra and Holebas combined perfect with the first getting both goals from assists of Holebas. Argentinian midfielder finished last season in very good shape and he starts this new season the same way. As for Brighton, they had the worst away record in the Premier League last season, and looks like they will have to trust on a very strong home record to stay in the League.

Richarlison and Ruben Neves share the spotlights, Crystal Palace counterattack gets the job done

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Wolves – Everton was one of the games that people wanted to see of this gameweek 1 and it did not disappoint. Richarlison scored twice and he is set for another great start of the season, just as he did last year under Marco Silva. The Brazilian was substituted with a small injury but should be fine for the gameweek 2. On the other side Ruben Neves scored the 1-1 from a free kick and assisted Raul Jimenez for the final 2-2. The away side looked better despite Phil Jagielka being sent off close to the half time. Wolves players were a bit nervous in this comeback to the Premier League, something that might be considered normal as for most of those players was the first game in the best league in the World.

Less lucky was the return of Fulham to the Premier League as they lost to Crystal Palace at home. It was a very clinical away performance for Palace, who taught some lessons about the Premier League to the promoted side.

The Cottagers started as the better side on the pitch, dominated possession and got quite a lot of chances. We can even say that it was quite an impressive start to the home team. But as it is so well known, if you do not score, you always get the risk of losing the game, and this was what it happen. In the last minutes of the first half Palace started to set better their counters and Patrick van Aanholt found Jeffrey Schlupp, who smashed to the back of the net.  The second half was more of the same, huge pressure from Fulham, Palace defending as they could and with the time running, becoming more and more dangerous on the break. And it was on one of those breaks that Wilfried Zaha scored the second goal on the 79th minute. Despite the defeat the manager Slavisa Jokanovic told they will adapt but not change the offensive minded football they shown this week.

For last we have the only 0-0 of the gameweek 1 and maybe doesn’t come as a surprise that Burnley is involved on it. For most of the game they were the better side playing away against Southampton, with Gudmundsson creating a lot of problems with his crosses from open play and set-pieces. The home side might be on the way to another season fighting to avoid relegation and only in the last 15 minutes of this match we saw some quality from their side. In that period, Ings, Lemina and Stephens were close to score a late winner but Joe Hart saved the day. Burnley will have now their Europa League match against Istanbul Basaksehir.

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Image from https://www.premierleague.com/tables

Saturday Football fever. Games to watch!

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What a great day of football today! The long Saturdays in front of the TV are back and the difficult is to select what to watch! Fortunately we got you cover with our selection of games that will make you travel to the Premier League, French Ligue 1 and Portuguese Primeira Liga.

13:30 (UTC+2) Newcastle – Tottenham

We start the day with a game between two teams who had a bit of a frustrating transfer window and for that reason both managers will have some extra work to do if they want to meet expectations.

The Spurs made history by becoming the first team not to sign a single player but they did sign a new contract with their star Harry Kane and they kept all their other stars. On the other side Newcastle fans are planning protests against the owner Mike Ashley.

Newcastle was one of the toughest teams to break at home last season and this should be a very close match. It can hardly be considered a surprise if the Spurs drop points today.

16:00 (UTC+2) Fulham – Crystal Palace

I’m really interested in watching this Fulham squad! They signed some very interesting names as Seri and Schurrle, Mitrovic moved on a permanent deal and they kept the hot prospect Sessegnon. Crystal Palace is always an exciting team to watch and I’m interested to see if Max Meyer is starting straight away. I feel this will be the game with most goals from the ones starting at 16:00 for the EPL.

18:30 (UTC+2) Wolves – Everton

Two high spending teams, two Portuguese managers, two teams who might need time to settle after so many transfers. The young Portuguese prospects Diogo Jota and Ruben Neves have now their opportunity to shine in the Premier League and Richarlison will be under pressure to deliver since day one, after the high fee that was paid.

20:00 (UTC+2) St Etienne – Guingamp

We will miss the first 15 minutes of this match but from the Ligue 1 this is the game I will follow. St Etienne ended last season really close to a Europa League spot (did not qualify due to the goal difference). They signed the Tunisian international Wahbi Khazri, player who had a really interesting World Cup. Guingamp come from a good pre-season and is a team who always finds some interesting players during the years. Drogba, Malouda and Candela for example appeared on a higher level on this Guingamp. This looks to be a team with a lot of experience but you know how it is in France. At any moment some kid from the Academy appears and takes the league by storm.

22:00 (UTC+2) Porto – Chaves

Just as the French Ligue 1, the Portuguese Primeira Liga is one of those who feeds the top Leagues for the last 20 years. This is also a league that several South American players use to start their adventure in Europe. FC Porto is the Champion and always a competitive team in the Champions League. They are a clear favorite against Chaves, but you can wait for a good and fast game and with some luck you will be also looking for some future signing of your team.

Release Clause paid – Adama Traore joins Wolves

 

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Image from Wolves twitter: @Wolves

Wolves have signed the winger Adama Traore for a club record fee of £18m. The Spanish will have his third experience in the Premier League, after making part of the Aston Villa squad that was relegated in 2015/2016 and Middlesbrough, who had the same destination one year after.

International U21 for Spain, Traore is a product of the famous Barcelona La Masia but it was last year with Tony Pulis that he finally exploded with the Middlesbrough jersey. Now at Wolves we still have to understand where he will play, but most probably will share time with the Portuguese Ivan Cavaleiro and Helder Costa.