Arsenal 2-1 Burnley
Arsenal continued their bright start to the season with another one-goal victory, this one over Sean Dyche’s Burnley. Arsenal’s Big 2 up front each netted a goal, but this is more about their much maligned defense. Ashley Barnes and Burnley presented a tough, physical threat, and though Barnes got on the scoresheet with a 43rd minute equalizer, Arsenal’s defense held its own for the most part. The big takeaway here is that Dani Ceballos is as good as advertised, and slotted perfectly into the Arsenal midfield. His emergence along with his preferred style of play is good for the Gunners, but bad for Mesut Ozil, who suddenly seems very much on the periphery of Emery’s plans.
Aston Villa 1-2 Bournemouth
Villa gave their fans hope late, but two crucial mistakes at the back gifted Bournemouth two goals. It’s a sure sign that they are still adjusting to the quality of the Premier League, but they do seem to be growing into it, though their fans would naturally expect more after a summer in which they spent a lot of money in order to bring in Premier League level talent. For Bournemouth, it was good to get their first win of the league season after a disappointing late draw with Sheffield last week. It is worth keeping an eye on their defense, which has now conceded two goals from leading positions late in matches over two weeks.
Brighton 1-1 West Ham
This result leaves Brighton—a team that many had ready to be relegated—in 5th place. Yes, it’s only two weeks in, but it’s a great start from the Seagulls to get consecutive results over “better” teams. For West Ham, it’s their second straight stinker. They added a lot of creativity over the summer specifically to help them beat teams with “lesser” talent like the aforementioned Brighton. For a team with legitimate top 6-7 aspirations, it looks like another ho-hum season might be on the cards.
Everton 1-0 Watford
Bernard struck a beautifully hit ball in the early stages of the game, and Watford never recovered. Everton haven’t hit top gear, but it was good to see them produce a win after a rather lackluster week 1 draw with Crystal Palace. Watford now sit bottom of the table, and have lost 5 of their last 6 games (including friendlies), having been outscored 17-4 in doing so. It’s not yet time to panic, but Watford seem to be in some trouble in the early goings of the season.
Norwich 3-1 Newcastle
PUKKI!!! The league’s top scorer netted a hat trick against Newcastle, and Norwich built off a strong second half against Liverpool. They’ve played well their first two games back in the top flight, and have continued to play free-flowing football that suits them. For Newcastle, this is getting ugly fast. There are already calls for Steve Bruce’s job, and the squad does not look like it belongs in the Premier League at the moment. Over two weeks, they’ve been uninspiring and flat out boring. They need a win—and fast—if they’re going to calm nerves about their…rocky summer.
Southampton 1-2 Liverpool
Liverpool did not look like a 97 point team in the first half. In fact, they were outright dominated by a weak Southampton side that has often been a thorn in their paw. Up step Sadio Mane, who scored a world class goal to save the first half for the Reds. The second half was a different story, however Southampton were gifted a goal by Adrian’s ridiculous passing, and almost equalized moments later. Southampton at least looked inspired after losing 3-0 in Matchweek 1, and seem to be getting it together a little. For Liverpool, they now have a lot to worry about after Adrian looked shaky on the ball for the entire game. Arsenal’s high pressing presents a huge worry going into next week.
Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham
Okay, let’s just get into it. City dominated the entire match, but Tottenham were clinical with their chances (and were also GIFTED their opener by virtue of City refusing to close down Lamela and Ederson’s…questionable positioning). That’s a little worrying for City’s backline without Kompany this season. That’s the analysis. Now for the fun part: VAR ruled out a last minute goal, and didn’t give City a deserved penalty in the first half. While VAR got the rule right for the disallowed goal, the rule itself is a talking point. The handball was so miniscule and unintentional that you’d be hard pressed to say it’s the reason City scored. Bottom line is that City needed to be more clinical and sometimes you don’t get the result you deserve. That’s the nature of the sport unfortunately.
Sheffield 1-0 Crystal Palace
How about the Blades! Four points through two games is a great return, and they’ve fully earned them. I want to talk about Palace though. They’ve looked awfully uninspiring, and Zaha seems to be incredibly discontent in this team. Meanwhile, Christian Benteke has been a waste of money and is not providing even a quarter of the striker Palace thought they were getting. Worrying times over at Selhurst Park early in the season.
Chelsea 1-1 Leicester City
This was truly a game of two halves. Chelsea played very well for the first 45, seeming to put their Old Trafford nightmare behind them, while Leicester spent the following 45 looking like a team that belongs in the top 6 conversation. Youri Tielemans bossed this game, and James Maddison was the man of the match, causing Chelsea problems with his creativity and vision. If either team can figure out how to put a full 90 minutes together, they have serious potential. Lampard is going to need time to get that out of his young Chelsea side, but things have started to come together over the past week. The vision is there, the execution will come.
Wolves 1-1 Manchester United
The final game of the week made for some great viewing. Ruben Neves’ wonderstrike cancelled out Martial’s gorgeous opener, and in the end this was a very deserving 1-1 draw. Manchester United looked like they’re still struggling to bring everything together under OGS, but the development has been there. The penalty question is nonsense, as OGS said that Pogba and Rashford are their pen takers, and worked it out themselves on the field. Hindsight is 20/20, and Pogba should score, but they clearly have a system in place for that, and right or wrong, that is not up for debate. My key question for them is: when do you move on from Jesse Lingard? He’s no longer a young player with bags of potential, and you need results now. Whether he grew up in their youth system or not, they have to decide whether he is truly a player capable of playing at this level. Since May 2018, he has only scored or assisted in 6 goals, with ALL of them coming in December of 2018. That’s not good enough.
That’s all for the recap of Matchweek 2, keep an eye out for Nico’s Matchweek 3 preview coming later this week.