Premier League Matchweek 3 Recap

Aston Villa 2-0 Everton

Aston Villa finally got their season off the mark with a win over a generally listless Everton side at Villa Park. For Villa, Tyrone Mings and Jota absolutely bossed this match from the beginning. Everton couldn’t get past the brawny Villa center back, and Jota was a menace on the right wing, constantly troubling the Toffee’s with his pace and trickery. It’s good for Villa to finally get the result that their performances have warranted, and can now turn their focus to staying up. For Everton, who want to consider themselves a big club, and have the financial backing to do so, but in order to break into that upper echelon of clubs you have to go on the road and win these games. They didn’t and frankly weren’t all that close to doing so. Another disappointing performance leave them asking questions on the blue half of Merseyside, and left a lot to be desired. Andre Gomes got the run-around in the middle of the park, and there was a distinct lack of clinical finishing up front.

Norwich 2-3 Chelsea

Pesky Norwich is going to have a lot of these types of games this season. Seriously, start hammering their overs until they show you otherwise. Teemu Pukki has now scored or assisted on 100% of Norwich’s goals this season. That’s *checks notes* very impressive, sample size be damned. If he goes down with a knock, it’s hard to see Norwich getting much out of the rest of their squad. For Chelsea, Frank Lampard finally gets his first managerial win. His plan is in place and the trust that he’s shown his younger players is really starting to pay dividends, with Tammy Abraham netting a brace and Mason Mount scoring for his second consecutive game. There will be ups and downs this season, and Chelsea’s defending looks not too far off from a Sunday league team’s, but there are positives. A net positive for everybody involved in this game, as Norwich have hung with two of the “Big Six” with a solid second half performance against Liverpool and now a good showing against Chelsea.

Brighton 0-2 Southampton

A moment of silence for my Brighton To Win The Premier League future bet. After being ousted by Southampton, I’m not feeling uber confident in that. But truth be told, they were due for a letdown, and it’s unfortunate to have come against a struggling Southampton team desperate for points. It would have been nice for Brighton to have 5 or even 7 points going into the Etihad this weekend, but not all hope is lost–they’re still undefeated when they have 11 men on the field! Southampton, on the other hand, now have some momentum going forward after a difficult couple of weeks, and can breathe easy now that they’re on the board. They were again unimpressive, but now have some points to hold onto, which is the most important thing when you think about being a potential relegation candidate.

Manchester United 1-2 Crystal Palace

How about the Eagles? Crystal Palace conceded a late equalizer, and it looked like their torrid start might continue, but they came to Old Trafford and squeezed the life out of the game for large portions, and found a winner from their marauding left back Patrick van Aanholt. Now, onto Manchester United. Is this bad? A lot of people are saying this is bad:

Yeah, that’s bad. OGS now finds himself FIRMLY on the hot seat in Manchester, and it only took 3 games. None of United’s stars came to play, and it took an equalizer from a 21 year old kid from Swansea to give ANY semblance of energy to the crowd. It’s a lot of doom and gloom at Old Trafford this season already, and bringing Mason Greenwood off the bench as your first sub (talented as he may be), shows the lack of depth at United. Apparently, Harry Maguire can’t fix everything overnight.

Sheffield 1-2 Leicester

It wasn’t overly impressive, but Leicester have their first win in a hugely promising season. They’re still clicking, and it seems Brendan Rodgers is still figuring out his best team, but they absolutely have the pieces to wreak some havoc. Ayoze Perez was a stellar signing and James Maddison has “Future Star” written all over him. Their back 4 is still a major issue (sans Ben Chilwell), but they can hit anybody on the counter and have started to evolve into a much better possession-based team. Sheffield tried, but they just didn’t have the firepower to get a second goal, and they lack the strength at the back requisite to holding onto results against sides like Leicester. They have fight and spirit in spades, and they’re going to need every bit of it week-in and week-out to stay up.

Watford 1-3 West Ham

West Ham are finally on the board. In the battle of the winless, the Hammers finally got their win. Sebastien Haller looked every bit of the physical, dominating presence they were hoping for up front when they broke their club record fee to sign him, and was clinical in his finishing. This might be the breakthrough they were hoping for and can now turn their attention to moving up the table with Norwich’s shaky defense and Aston Villa around the corner. As for Watford, they are now the sole team to have 0 points through three games. After so many mid-table finishes, Watford are now leaking at the back and having serious trouble scoring, and they seem to be in very real trouble. Only 3 games in, but it’s time to worry. Last year, 2 teams were winless through three games. The now relegated Fulham and West Ham, so it’s not all bad, but they need to right this ship quickly. Newcastle next week is now a must-win, because they cannot go into a 3 game stretch of Arsenal-Man City-Wolves with no points.

Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal

Some things are temporary – pain, high school relationships, the denim phase we all had in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Some things are permanent – scars, college relationships, and Anfield being a House of Horrors for the Gunners. Unai Emery came into Merseyside playing a diamond midfield and a front two, and promptly got run out of the building by the Liverpool fullbacks and the brilliant Mo Salah. This result is disappointing considering the optimism at Arsenal, but there’s no shame in losing at Anfield. You just wish it was because the squad got outclassed on the day, not tactical decision making that did it.

Nicolas Pepe was strong on the wing (he became the first player to dribble past Van Dijk in FIFTY GAMES), but Aubemeyang was virtually invisible. His only serious impact was a blocked shot on goal that was only blocked because he was run down by Joel Matip, who is unequivocally the most exciting player in the world (though he was probably offside anyways). It was the Mo Salah show for Liverpool though, as he eviscerated Arsenal time and time again. David Luiz is probably still looking for him after that turn for Salah’s second goal that ultimately sealed the game. Also, Roberto Firmino did this…in the middle of a game… against Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos… who many people were saying looked like Santi Cazorla the week before. Liverpool are now the only Premier League side that’s perfect through 3 weeks. 42 straight unbeaten at Anfield, the place is a fortress.

Build him a statue and immortalize this, because had this been a goal the entire city of Liverpool might have collapsed inside itself like a dying star, or a sinkhole in any random Florida county.

Bournemouth 1-3 Manchester City

Good for Pep Guardiola, who needed this win desperately after finding himself on the hot seat after last weeks draw (I kid, obviously). Another win in the books for the sky blues. Kevin de Bruyne could pick a pass out of a coffin, and Raheem Sterling only scored one goal. Sergio Aguero remains one of the three (two? One?) best strikers in Premier League history, and will never slow down. I don’t have much to say about Bournemouth, who certainly made a game of it for a while, which is impressive in it’s own right against the class of the league, so instead I’m going to show you this clip and hope that you never stop watching it.

I’ve thought about this goal twice an hour every day since it happened. Harry Wilson only scores screamers.

Tottenham 0-1 Newcastle

Oh, Tottenham. If you look at their season from a wider perspective, these are how their first 3 games line up:

Matchweek 1 – needed a Christian Eriksen masterclass to squeak by newly promoted Aston Villa.

Matchweek 2 – outshot 30-3 and got a point based off of an incredibly tight and controversial rule.

Matchweek 3 – lost. At home. To Steve Bruce’s Newcastle.

They could just as easily have 0 points. They need to figure things out in their midfield, get Christian Eriksen to sign a contract by any means necessary (or sell him, but it’s too late to do so with the window closed in England), and get their back line in order. The fullbacks have been thoroughly unimpressive, and the front line wildly inconsistent, even with the return of Son.

Newcastle weren’t lucky here. They were incredibly compact the entire game and frustrated the life out of Tottenham from start to finish. They capitalized on their best chance of the game, and constricted a Tottenham attack that had no idea how to create elite chances (bar one cross from Harry Kane to Lucas). They fully deserved all 3 points, and deserve even more credit for getting them amidst the very real turmoil at the club.

Wolves 1-1 Burnley

The less said about this game the better, but a big shout out to Ashley Barnes. He remains a deadly striker, and can absolutely kill a team with minimal chances to do so.

Wolves have looked uninspiring to start the year, and they need to start winning some games before their European obligations start kicking in. I’m not worried about them as I am a team like Watford, but I think expectations were a little fluffed for a team that didn’t do too much to strengthen their best XI.

-Jared Gosule

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