The English Premier League Is Back!


The English Premier League returned to our screens this weekend and although we are still minus the fans there was certainly no lack of drama. It only seems like yesterday that the 2019-2020 season finished, and the new season is upon us and there has been plenty of transfer activity and there promises to be even more in the coming days. Chelsea have been by far the biggest spenders bringing in seven new signings which include German duo Werner and Havertz along with Ben Chilwell and the experienced Thiago Silva. Other teams to invest heavily so far include Everton who have signed Allan, James Rodriguez and Abdoulaye Doucoure. Manchester City will be looking to close the gap on champions Liverpool, and they have spent over sixty million pounds bringing in Ferran Torres and Nathan Ake but they recouped most of that back selling Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich. Arsenal have made a couple of shrewd signings bringing in Brazilian duo Gabriel and Willian whilst the transfer window has been a lot quieter for both Liverpool and Manchester United who have only made the one signing each so far.

We will now take a look back at the first weekends action and see if we can get any pointers for the future and to see if we can find anything that stands out for this week’s coming fixtures. We start with champions Liverpool who hosted the Championship winners Leeds United and this one certainly did not disappoint. Liverpool will count themselves lucky to have been on the right side of a 4-3 victory after winning a dubious penalty in the fourth minute which Salah converted to get the champions off to a good start. However, they was pegged back in the twelfth minute by a wonderful goal by Jack Harrison. The teams exchanged goals twice before Mohammed Salah scored his second penalty, completing his hat trick in the eighty eighth minute to give Liverpool a winning start. Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds will take plenty of heart from there performance however and if they can keep things tighter at the back and display the attacking football which they showed at Anfield then the future appears optimistic for them. The first match of the season saw Arsenal run out 3-0 comfortable winners over a lackluster Fulham side. New signing Willian fit right in and you would almost think he had been playing with this Arsenal side for years rather than making his debut and fellow debutant and Brazilian compatriot Gabriel actually managed to get on the score sheet in the middle of goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Aubameyang. Arsenal’s north London rivals Tottenham unfortunately did not have the same fortunes and lost narrowly 1-0 to a second half Dominic Calvert-Lewin goal. Jose Mourinho’s men looked very labored in their approach and after the game he criticized his players calling them lazy. Everton on the other hand will be extremely happy having won there first match against a top six side in 40 games. Leicester City shook off their disappointment of missing out on Champions League football by thumping newly promoted West Brom 3-0 with goals from Timothy Castagne on his debut and a brace of penalties from last season’s top goal scorer Jamie Vardy. The start could not have been bleaker for West Brom as there was very little positives that they could draw from as they could only muster one shot on target and enjoyed a messily 35% possession. Wilfred Zaha put his speculation behind him after manager Roy Hodgson admitted that his head had been turned as he came up with the only goal of the game to give Palace a winning start. Roy Hodgson will be delighted with the win especially given they were missing seven first team regulars and their makeshift defense managed to keep a clean sheet. Southampton will be frustrated given that they enjoyed the lion’s share of possession (71%) but did very little with it. There was more debutant glory at the East London stadium as both Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick managed to get on the score sheet to give Newcastle a 2-0 win over West Ham. It was a very poor start to the season for West Ham and not much appears to have changed from last season other than the fans are now protesting outside the stadium rather than it. The last two fixtures of the round saw wins for both Wolves and Chelsea. Wolves managed to beat Sheffield United 2-0 thanks to a whirlwind of a start with goals from Raul Jimenez and Romain Saiss inside the first six minutes. It was Wolves first victory in Yorkshire since 1981 and it was the first-time manager Chris Wilder had tasted defeat on the opening day of a Premier League season. Chelsea ran out 3-1 winners over Brighton but the contest was probably not as one sided as the score line might suggest as Brighton had more possession and more shots, but it was Chelsea who were more clinical on the night. Chelsea’s under fire goalkeeper Kepa did himself no favours as he was again at fault for Brighton’s equalizing goal. But soon after a stunning strike by Reece James was followed up by a deflected effort from Kurt Zouma to give Chelsea all three points.

Looking ahead to this weekend’s fixtures both Everton (8/15) and Arsenal (10/19) must be licking their lips at the prospect of facing West Brom and West Ham after there poor starts to the season. There is a battle of the newly promoted sides when Leeds face Fulham at Elland Road. If Leeds (20/33) can play as well as they did against reigning champions Liverpool, they will surely fancy themselves to win although they have only beaten Fulham once out of the last nine fixtures. Manchester United and Manchester City both start there campaigns off against tricky opposition in Crystal Palace and Wolves, both of which won on the opening day of the season. Manchester United have however made a winning start to the last five seasons in a row. Manchester City will be hoping to reverse fortunes with Wolves as they lost both fixtures to them last season. Southampton and Tottenham will both be looking to turn around their fortunes when they face off against each other at Saint Mary’s. The home side on the day has won the last four fixtures which bodes well for the Saints. Newcastle will look to continue their fine start as they host a Brighton side who will be encouraged by there performance against Chelsea. It is hard to know how good Newcastle’s winning start actually was given West Ham appear to be a club on a downward spiral. Leicester City host Burnley who are yet to play a game and they will be hoping to repeat last seasons 2-1 victory over the clarets. Aston Villa kick off their season with the visit of Sheffield United. They will be encouraged with the fact that star man Jack Grealish has recently signed a new contract with the club. The tie of the round sees Chelsea face Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. Both sides got off to shaky starts but were full of goals which makes for an interesting encounter. You can get odds of 10/19 for both teams to score which is what has happened on three of the last four occasions that the sides have met.

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