Talking points from Gameweek 2 of Premier League
Gameweek 2 of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign was the highest-scoring week of action in the competition’s 20-club history. The teams combined to score 44 goals with three matches witnessing seven goals netted. There were also two hat-trick scorers in the latest gameweek as Dominic Calvert-Lewin bagged a treble in Goodison Park, while Son Heung-min scored four times for Tottenham Hotspur in their 5-2 victory over Southampton.
Liverpool the team to beat again
Any hope that Liverpool’s focus may not be on the prize after finally ending their long wait to win the Premier League seems to be fast dissipating with every passing week. The champions were in action against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last week and demonstrated why they are favourites to successfully defend their league title.
Even though Chelsea went a man down in the first half and a goalkeeping error didn’t help their cause either, Liverpool’s intensity and determination to succeed prevented the Blues from playing their natural game. They showcased just how to exploit a team playing with 10 men as you’d expect from champions. With two wins in the league from two, the Reds are quick off the blocks once again this season and if the early signs are anything to go by then they will need some stopping.
Contrasting starts to the season for Manchester clubs
Although both Manchester clubs were involved in the latter stages of European competition last season, leading to a delayed start to their new campaigns, the two teams’ Premier League starts were very different. First up on Saturday was Manchester United and the Red Devils looked way off the pace as they ended up being dominated at Old Trafford by Crystal Palace and succumbed to a season opening 1-3 defeat. The lack of fitness and match sharpness will worry United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær, who knows his side must improve soon.
City, on the other hand, were on the ball in their encounter against Wolverhampton Wanderers, especially in the first half. And while they did fade a bit in the second half against Wolves, Pep Guardiola’s men hung on to claim a win and show Liverpool that they have the stomach for a title challenge this season and will not allow the Reds to be runaway champions as they were last campaign.
Fulham, West Bromwich Albion look destined for the drop
Newly-promoted clubs will always find it difficult in the Premier League and Fulham as well as West Bromwich Albion can attest to that. After shipping three goals at home against Arsenal in their opening fixture of the season, Fulham conceded four times in a 3-4 defeat against Leeds United this past week. Their defensive frailties and lack of cutting edge with the exception of Aleksandar Mitrović were evident for all to see and will be something to improve on if they are to beat the drop.
West Brom’s start to the season is even worse than that of Fulham’s. They currently find themselves at the bottom of the standings after two defeats which saw them concede eight times and have a player as well as their manager sent off. Next up in the Premier League for the Baggies is a visit from Chelsea and manager Slaven Bilic will want his players to take something from the game and get their first points of the season.
Everton’s displays make for a competitive top half of the table
Undoubtedly the surprise team after the first few game weeks, Everton are certainly the most improved club in the Premier League this season. The strengthening of their midfield with the addition of James Rodriguez and Allan by manager Carlo Ancelotti seems to have had a transformative effect on the rest of his players.
Calvert-Lewin’s early season form has also contributed to Everton’s solid start to the season and it will be interesting to see if they can maintain their momentum in the coming week when they face Crystal Palace, who have also won both their first two league games. Regardless of anything else, Everton’s start to the campaign suggests that we’re in for a tight top 10 that also features the likes of Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and the traditional big six.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Matt Dunham