Barring an extraordinary game at the Etihad Stadium tonight it will be Manchester United who finishes the week top of the league. Their 4-0 win away at Swansea showed that they could mount a challenge for the title this season but this game wasn’t quite as simple as the scoreline suggested. Swansea City had some chances during the early exchanges and hit the bar inside four minutes. United took a narrow 1-0 lead into the break after Eric Bailly tapped in from very close range to end a tight first 45 minutes. It was, however, the closing stages of the game where United took hold, scoring three goals in less than four minutes. Swansea slip further in the table and have just a solitary point so far.
Chelsea bounced back from their opening day misery to compound Tottenham’s Wembley woes as they beat them 2-1. Scoring all three goals, champions Chelsea got their season underway by beating one of their closest rivals from last season. Marcos Alonso was the difference between the sides as the advancing defender scored in both the 24th and 88th minutes to settle the tie. Tottenham were not without their chances and were level with eight minutes remaining through a Michy Batshuayi own goal but it wasn’t enough. Chelsea’s title defence is back underway but they will look to improve further next week at home to Everton. Spurs now need a comfortable victory at Wembley against Burnley next week in order to build some confidence back into the side.
Arsenal were on the wrong side of a few close decisions but in the end lacked penetration against Stoke on Saturday evening. They could have been awarded a penalty in the first half for a foul on Hector Bellerin who went down under a clumsy challenge. Apart from that, the first half was quiet for clear chances, Arsenal dominating the early play with Stoke braking when they had the chance. Stoke had not troubled the top six all last season but in this game, they looked a more cohesive unit defensively and Jack Butland was a match for anything Arsenal could offer. Two minutes after the break on loan man Jesé countered and finished his own move off to give Stoke the lead. There was little urgency within Arsenals play after that and but for a very narrow, and probably incorrect, off-side call they did not trouble the goal. It was Alexandre Lacazette who was adjudged off-side after finishing well only to see his effort ruled out. Both sides are now in mid-table with a win a piece after two games and Arsenal face a difficult away trip to Liverpool next.
Huddersfield Town won their second game in a row to remain second in the league behind United. They beat Newcastle at home 1-0 courtesy of a stunning strike from Aaron Mooy to settle what at times felt like a Championship match from last season. Newcastle had chances to level but the game as a whole lacked any real quality aside from the goal. Next up for Huddersfield is Southampton at home and West Ham away where they could continue their excellent start to the season.
Liverpool against Crystal Palace is often a game which produces goals and entertainment but for once this game didn’t deliver. It took a long time for the game to warm-up. Liverpool had the better of the early exchanges but could not find the breakthrough. It wasn’t until the 73rd minute when Liverpool scored and although Palace had some chances they were unable to really trouble the home side. Liverpool remain unbeaten at the start but have so far made hard work of what should be two straightforward fixtures.
The game of the weekend happened on the south coast as Southampton hosted West Ham. The visitors were very much the masters of their own downfall gifting Southampton two penalties and playing much of the game with a man less. Southampton took an early lead through Manolo Gabbiadini but the game got all the more difficult for West Ham as Marko Arnautovic received a straight red card for a needless elbow on Jack Stevens. It was then, former Southampton captain Jose Fonte who conceded the first penalty which was converted to give Saints a 2-0 lead. West Ham found a way back into the game and drew level through Javier Hernandez’s first two goals of the season. They looked to have rescued an unlikely point until the dying moments when a second, but this time more harsh penalty was given. A nudge by Pablo Zabaleta gave the referee an opportunity to award the spot-kick which Charlie Austin converted. West Ham remain rooted to the bottom of the table and face a third successive away trip to Newcastle next week.
There had been 16 goals in the last four Premier League meetings between Burnley and West Brom before this weekend. This game, however, was a closer encounter with both sides showing their defensive strengths. In the early minutes, Burnley were limited to long range efforts and both sides came close from set pieces. Little of note happened after the break until West Brom broke the deadlock with a Hal Robson-Kanu goal midway through the second half. West Brom were then reduced to ten men after the goal scorer was sent off for an elbow. Burnley had no answer to the goal until injury time when Jon Walters fired over from close range. West Brom now have two wins from two and climb the table where as Burnley will likely be disappointed with the loss in this one.
Brighton look to be struggling to adapt to the Premier League so far but they have had a difficult start so far. This weekend saw them travel to former champions Leicester City but fall behind within the opening minutes. Riyad Mahrez created the opportunity with a neat run into the box and once his effort was blocked it was down to Okazaki to finish. The home side doubled their lead 10 minutes after the break from a corner and that’s how the game finished. Brighton didn’t offer much in this game but they will be aiming to challenge more when their fixtures soften later in the season.
The final game of the weekend saw Watford get an impressive 2-0 win away at Bournemouth. They are enjoying an unbeaten start to the season and climb to 4th ahead of their next match at home to Brighton. A win in that could see them rise further up the league. Bournemouth drop down the league and with games against Man City and Arsenal next could soon find themselves in difficulty.
Manchester City and Everton meet tonight in a game which could change the league standings.
A defeat to in this game would have seriously derailed any hopes of keeping hold of the league title following last weeks result. This win, however, does two things. Firstly it keeps Chelsea elevated in the league but perhaps, more importantly, it hampers the confidence of one of the leagues top sides. Next time Spurs come to play at Wembley they will do so without momentum.