August 15, 2017
On the opening weekend of this Premier League season, Manchester United had the strongest performance of any side looking to challenge for the title, and sit atop the table with a convincing win at Old Trafford over West Ham. New signings Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic both impressed, with Lukaku bagging a brace and Matic being awarded man of the match. This win was a clear statement of intent from United that they are ready to challenge for the title, and along with the other results, a lot of pressure has been lifted off United. Next weekend, should United pick up another strong win over Swansea City, the pressure could mount on other teams to match the pace set by United.
While United smashed West Ham, other title contenders faltered during the opening weekend. With the first match of the weekend, Arsenal struggled against Leicester City, and although they ended up picking up all three points in a 4-3 win, they failed to convince. Their defence looked extremely fragile, and teams will now look at Arsenal and be confident they will be able to break down their defence. For Tottenham Hotspur, it took Jonjo Shelvey being sent off for a rash stamp on Dele Alli to really get into the game. A 2-0 win over a ten man Newcastle United, who were just promoted back into the Premier League this season is not exactly convincing. The same could be said of Manchester City, who took 70 minutes to break down newly promoted Brighton and Hove Albion. During that time, City
A 2-0 win over a ten man Newcastle United, who were just promoted back into the Premier League this season is not exactly convincing. The same could be said of Manchester City, who took 70 minutes to break down newly promoted Brighton and Hove Albion. During that time, City were very close to conceding on a few occasions, with Albion having a couple very notable chances off of corner kicks. This result is another win which was expected, but the manner in which they achieved this victory was not convincing.
The two teams who dropped points, Liverpool and Chelsea, look the most unready for the new season. Just like last season, Liverpool’s attack looked high powered and threatening, as they were able to put three goals past Watford. However, also like last season, their defence looked fragile, as Watford were able to equal their goal tally and come away with a point. This will be a big concern for Liverpool, as the same problems which hindered their progress last season appear to have remained unsolved. In the biggest shock of the weekend, Chelsea lost to Burnley at Stamford Bridge. Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas were both sent off for Chelsea, meaning they will most likely be suspended, creating more problems for Chelsea. For both of Sam Vokes goals for Burnley, Chelsea’s marking was very poor, exposing some issues with last years Premier League winners defence.
Next weekend, United play Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium. This should be a good opportunity for Jose Mourinho to play another attacking lineup and for United to again assert themselves on their opponents and have another dominant display. Meanwhile, there are more difficult matches for the other top sides. Arsenal travel to the Britannia Stadium to face Stoke, which is no easy task. Liverpool face Crystal Palace, who will be looking to rebound from a 3-0 opening defeat to Huddersfield Town, and Manchester City face off with an Everton side filled with quality.
It would not be difficult to imagine all three of these sides dropping points. Also, Chelsea faces Spurs at Wembley, meaning one or both of these two title contenders will drop points. With a good result for United and slip ups for other members of the top six, the pressure could be further put on United’s other title challengers to keep up with United’s early season pace.