It’s finally back! The Premier League triumphantly returned at the weekend as every top flight club played their opening fixture. Here are 5 things we learnt from the Premier League in week one.
Harry Kane is over his August gloom
Social media joked that Harry Kane couldn’t score in August but the longer the run went on, the less of a joke it became. The England captain’s drought actually reached 13 matches but it proved to be unlucky 13 for Fulham who becmae the fall guys as Kane finally broke his curse in a 3-1 victory last August.
He followed that goal up with Tottenham’s second in a 3-0 win over Man United but neither strikes was decisive and they merely piled on the agony for opponents who were already beaten.
Fast forward to 2019 and it was Aston Villa who were truly undone by Kane’s ruthless poaching. The Villans led since the ninth minute and it took a 73rd minute equaliser from new signing Tanguy Ndombele to level things up. It was a late salvo from Kane that decided the match though, with 86th and 90th minute strikes securing the points. Man City beware, the curse is well and truly over.
“He doesn’t score in August…”
Imagine what a fully fit, on form Harry Kane could do this season…
— Welsh Spurs (@spurs_welsh) August 10, 2019
Man United’s new signings have lifted the club
Nine months into the job and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had more new dawns than most managers get in a lifetime. The relief among fans was palpable as the Norwegian took over from Jose Mourinho, whose dour style of football drew groans around Old Trafford. When the United battered Cardiff 5-1 in his first match as caretaker manaher, the first time they had scored five since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, it was a breath of fresh air.
Unfortunately it was mere paper over substantial, widening cracks and his permanent appointment in March sparked a bad run in which United won just two of their remaining eight league games, losing four. Indeed, they only finished five point shy of the Champions League and Solskjaer will look back on defeats to Wolves, Everton and Cardiff in addition to a draw with Huddersfield and wonder what could have been.
Which brings us to this season. United have finally invested heavily in their defence, purchasing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire for record fees. They added youth and pace with the acquisition of Daniel James. All three played as United dismantled troubled Chelsea 4-0,making The Blues look like a side who have appointed a rookie manager, lost their best player and suffered a transfer ban. The two defenders kept a clean sheet and James scored the decisive goal, all on debut. A fresh start or another false dawn?
— 2ωεɳ†ყ 9เɳε ωεเ૨ɖ๏ ™ 🇬🇭 🇳🇬 (@Funnycator1) August 11, 2019
The big six are still streets ahead
Four matches played, twelve points won, thirteen goals scored, two conceded. That was the story of the big six (Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal and Tottenham) who didn’t play each other at the weekend, with Man United’s 4-0 drubbing of Chelsea the outlier. It’s very early days but, based on this opening weekend, the big six mean business again.
Liverpool 4-1 Norwich
West Ham 0-5 Man City
Spurs 3-1 Aston Villa
Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal
Man Utd 4-0 Chelsea
Chelsea were the only ‘Big Six’ side not to win in the opening weekend of the 2019-20 Premier League season. 😳 pic.twitter.com/lmV2eymAAl
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 11, 2019
Sheff United might not be whipping boys after all
There isn’t a pundit or sports writer in the land who thought Sheffield United stood a chance this season. Indeed, we ourselves were guilty of writing them off. However, a highly credible opening day draw away to Bournemouth reminded us that the Blades aren’t here to make up the numbers.
As far as achievements go, Chris Wilder’s incredible effort to get Sheffield United promoted would be dwarfed by keeping them up, with the club only managing the feat once in the Premier League era and that was in the early 90s.
Nobody is getting ahead of themselves as Wilder’s men will face far stiffer tests ahead on an awfully long road. However, with 36 points the average required to stay up over the last five seasons, a point a game would give you a great chance of survival and they have their first one on the board.
Billy the sharpest of Blades comes off the bench to equalise for @SheffieldUnited
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) August 10, 2019
Watford’s end of season troubles may not have been cup related
After six games of last season, Watford were fourth and there was nervous talk of them ‘doing a Leicester’. Then after 35 games of the season, the Hornets were seventh and expectations had been downgraded to them nicking the Europa League qualification spot. However, finishing with three successive defeats, Watford not only lost their grip on seventh but on the top half completely, slipping down to 11th place.
The losing streak was the tip of the iceberg, as they endured a terrible run which saw Javi Gracia’s side lose seven of their final 11 games, the blame was largely placed on the shoulders of their run to the FA Cup final, where they were brutalised 6-0 by Man City.
With a full summer to re-energise and re-focus, Watford would surely be back to their best at home to a Brighton side who had been widely tipped to struggle right? Wrong. The Seagulls romped to a deserved 3-0 victory that suggests Watford’s form may have carried over.
With tough fixtures against Everton, West Ham, Arsenal, Man City and Wolves in their next five, Gracia will need to address the slump quickly if he is to avoid testing the patience of the club’s notoriously trigger-happy hierarchy.
Javi Gracia out by December then?
— YFC (@Y_FriendlyCynic) August 10, 2019