Premier League Week 2 Round-up
Following the first round of Premier League fixtures, there was one match in particular that was whetting the appetites of English football fans – as Champions Manchester City welcomed Newcastle to the Etihad.
Fresh, or perhaps exhausted, from the their midweek jaunt to Greece where they beat Sevilla on penalties to win the European Super Cup for the first time, Pep Guardiola’s side would have had a legitimate excuse to be a little jaded. But instead, as the great teams always do, they dominated their opponents and came away with a valuable three points to maintain their early 100% record, thanks to a great strike from Julian Alvarez.
City share top spot with Brighton, who are laughing in the face of the idea they would be weakened by the loss of big money players Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister. The Seagulls have scored 8 goals in their opening two Premier League matches, albeit against teams likely to be at the lower end of the table come May. Having put four past Luton last week, Wolves were the victims at Molineux on Saturday afternoon, Solly March scoring twice after Kaoru Mitoma had scored a spectacular solo goal to get the ball rolling.
At Anfield, Liverpool hit back after conceding an early goal to beat Bournemouth 3-1, including a smart volley from Colombian forward Luis Diaz. The aforementioned Mac Allister had an eventful home debut, which ended prematurely with a red card just before the hour mark.
Fulham also finished with 10 men in the all West London clash against Brentford at Craven Cottage. American defender Tim Ream picked up a second yellow card as he gave away a penalty, converted by Bryan Mbuemo to seal the Bees’ 3-0 win.
Across the capital at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the home fans got their first glimpse of Ange-ball – and after visitors Manchester United dominated the first half an hour of the game, the Spurs faithful seemed to like what they saw. Senegalese Pape Matar Sarr opened his account for the club, before Lisandro Martinez poked into his own goal to wrap up the 2-0 win., compounding a disappointing start to the season for United – who look in desperate need of getting Rasmus Hojlund fit and on the pitch.
On Sunday two of English football’s historic giants met in Birmingham, as Aston Villa entertained Everton, incredibly the 229th time the sides have met in all competitions. It’s been 7 years since Everton took three points against Villa, and after skipper John McGinn’s early goal gave Villa the lead it looked a long road back for a Toffees side that included 38 year old former Villa player Ashley Young. Douglas Luiz doubled the home side’s advantage from the spot five minutes later after England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford clattered into Ollie Watkins, before Villa added two after
the break courtesy of Bailey and Duran. Everton remain winless and goalless, and with Dominic Calvert Lewin withdrawn with an injury things already look bleak on the blue part of Merseyside.
West Ham welcomed Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea to the London Stadium, and took an early lead when Nayef Aguerd nodded in a corner from debutant James Ward Prowse. The former Southampton captain has now provided 25 assists from dead balls since his Premier League bow in 2012 – a number bettered only by Christian Eriksen in the same time frame. Despite the early setback, Chelsea dominated the first half, and deservedly equalised just before the half hour,
through Carney Chukwuemeka. They then had an opportunity to take a lead into the second half, but £100m man Enzo Fernandez missed from the spot. Perhaps this was the motivation West Ham needed, because after the interval, Michail Antonio fired them back in front, with the cherry on the cake coming from Lucas Paqueta – who may or may not be on Manchester City’s wishlist – as he showed Fernandez how to take a penalty, after a poor challenge from another £100m plus signing, Moises Caicedo.
It was another all-London clash on Monday night, with Arsenal the visitors to Selhurst Park. Last year’s runners-up took the lead from the penalty spot just after the break – captain Martin Odegaard converting after Eddie Nketiah was brought down by Palace keeper Sam Johnstone. But it was the defensive reliance which will have pleased Mikel Arteta the most, as Arsenal had to defend for their lives following a second yellow card for Takehiro Tomiyasu with half an hour remaining. The Gunners survived the onslaught, and maintain their 100% start to the season.
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