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Throughout the Premier League season, Sebastian Noren will provide analysis from the week of games, talking about the good, the bad, and the bizarre.
The Premier League has finished up its third week of play. Champions Leicester got their first win of the season after beating Swansea City 2-1, while Manchester United, Chelsea, and Manchester City all sit at the top with three straight wins. Here’s a full rundown of what happened over the weekend.
Honors Even Between Tottenham And Liverpool
What Happened: Tottenham and Liverpool ended up getting a point each after a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
Liverpool took the lead through left back James Milner from the penalty spot in the 43rd minute. After a less than stellar performance by regular left back Alberto Moreno in the opener against Arsenal, Milner has been moved from midfielder to left back. Pool were looking to bounce back after getting burned against newcomers Burnley last weekend, suffering a 2-0 loss at Turf Moor. But they had to settle for one point as Spurs tied things up in the 72nd minute with a goal from their left back Danny Rose.
Seb’s Take: Liverpool had chances to win the game, and had a close call with a goal being disallowed for offside, but they can take some positives from the game as it was an improvement compared to what we saw last weekend against Burnley. Tottenham still feels a bit knackered, and they might just be a bit slow started, but they can’t afford to fall behind early if they are to contend for the title.
Chelsea Stays Perfect With Win Over Burnley
What Happened: Chelsea posted a clear 3-0 win over Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Saturday after goals by Eden Hazard, Willian and Victor Moses.
The Blues have pulled out two late wins in the first two games of the season, but it was a more confident and commanding display against the newcomers on Saturday. Hazard opened up the scoring in the 9th minute, after making an unchallenged run with the ball from the halfway line and placing a shot into the bottom right corner from just outside the penalty area. Willian made it 2-0 in the 41st minute with a shot from close range, and Moses closed out the scoring in the 89th minute after coming on as a substitute for Willian in the 77th minute.
Seb’s Take: Chelsea looked really good and thoroughly dominated the match. They got a bit lucky in their two opening games with Diego Costa bailing them out twice in the late stages with some very important goals, but on Saturday they looked like a team that should be in the title conversation. Burnley’s season is about survival, and losing on the road against Chelsea isn’t the type of game that will define their season.
Palace Rescues Late Draw Against Bournemouth
What Happened: Scott Dann salvaged a point for Crystal Palace as he scored late into stoppage time against Bournemouth on Saturday to force a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park.
Both teams are still looking for their first win of the season, and Bournemouth came really close to grabbing the three points. Joshua King gave the visitors the lead in the 11th minute, but Palace had an opportunity to tie the game just five minutes later when they were awarded a penalty. Yohan Cabaye stepped up, but he had his attempt saved by Artur Boruc in the Bournemouth net.
Bournemouth almost held on to grab the win, but Dann tied things up in the 93rd minute with a powerful header on a cross by Jason Puncheon to earn Palace their first point of the season.
Seb’s Take: Both teams have struggled to start the season, and they could very well be involved in the relegation battle unless they get on the winning track soon. Christian Benteke made his first appearance for Palace, and he could very well be the difference maker.
Everton Stays Undefeated With Narrow Win Over Stoke
What Happened: Everton grabbed a 1-0 win over Stoke City at Goodison Park to stay undefeated. Stoke goalkeeper Shay Given scored an own goal to hand Everton the win.
Everton dominated play against Stoke, but had trouble finding a way to get the ball in behind Given who is filling in for the injured Jack Butland. Everton were awarded a penalty in the 50th minute after grappling inside the penalty area, a rule that the referees have been instructed to enforce a lot more stringent this season, and Leighton Baines effort when via the post and Given and in, ending in the goal being credited to Given as an own goal.
Seb’s Take: Things seems to have calmed down a bit in the Everton camp after Romelu Lukaku stating that he wants to stay at the club for at least another season. Koeman is starting to put his fingerprint on the side and they sit pretty with two wins and a draw in the opening three games. Stoke are struggling, sitting at the bottom of the table with just a single point.
Leicester Picks Up First Win Thanks To Captain Morgan
What Happened: Champions Leicester City grabbed their first win of the season by beating Swansea City 2-1 at King Power Stadium on Saturday after goals by Jamie Vardy and captain Wes Morgan.
The Foxes were unlucky to only get a scoreless draw against Arsenal last weekend, as they were denied a clear-cut penalty by the referee. Against Swansea they got off the mark in the 32nd minute thanks to Vardy who scored his first goal of the season. Leicester dominated the game and extended their lead in the 52nd minute through Morgan. They had a chance to kill the game off in the 56th minute, but Riyad Mahrez had his penalty shot saved by Lukasz Fabianski.
Leroy Fer gave Swansea a glimmer of hope with 10 minutes to go as he pulled one back for the visitors. But Leicester held on to get the three points.
Seb’s Take: Leicester were forced to sub off goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel in the second half, as the Danish international is struggling with a hernia problem. It remains to be seen how long he will be out, but it is a chance for new signing Ron-Robert Zieler to show off what he can do.
Southampton, Sunderland Split Points
What Happened: Southampton and Sunderland had to settle for a 1-1 draw at St. Mary’s Stadium, with Jermain Defoe and Jay Rodriguez scoring the goals.
Southampton dominated much of the game, putting up several shot on target. But it was the visitors that broke the deadlock in the 80th minute when Defoe scored from the penalty spot. Five minutes later it was Rodriguez that salvaged a point for the Saints, with his first league goal since 2014.
Seb’s Take: Southampton is still trying to adjust to life without manager Ronald Koeman and star player Sadio Mane. They will need to get things turned around soon if they aim to finish in the top 10 again this season. Sunderland barely escaped relegation last season, and it looks like they will be battling for survival against this season.
Arsenal Grabs First Win
What Happened: Arsenal took a 3-1 win over Watford at Vicarage Road to secure their first three-pointer of the season.
The Gunners dominated the first half, and jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Santi Cazorla opened up the scoring from the penalty spot in the 9th minute. Alexis Sanchez made it 2-0 in the 40th minute before Mesut Ozil extended the lead to 3-0 right before halftime.
Roberto Pereyra pulled one back for the home side in the second half, but Arsenal were never in any real danger of letting the game slip from the hands.
Seb’s Take: Ozil had a strong first showing, and was especially dominant in the first half. The German has been a key player ever since joining the club from Real Madrid back in 2013. He will need to be at his best if the Gunners are to have any chance of competing at the top of the table.
Rashford Scores Late To Keep Man United Perfect
What Happened: Marcus Rashford played the part of the hero for Manchester United, as he scored a late goal in the 1-0 win on the road against newcomers Hull City.
The weather at the KCOM Stadium was absolutely horrible, with the rain just pummeling down, making the pitch difficult to play on. United dominated the whole game, but were unable to find the back of the net. It took until stoppage time in the second half for United to find a winner through substitute Marcus Rashford. The 18-year-old forward tapped the ball in from close range after a nice move from Wayne Rooney down on the left hand side.
Seb’s Take: United were dominant throughout the whole match, but it looked like they would be heading home to Manchester with just one point. Rooney did extremely well to get the ball to Rashford, and should be given a lot of credit. Three wins in three games makes a real statement to the rest of the league that United are back. They have a big test ahead of them after the international break when they take on rivals Manchester City in the derby.
No Winner Between WBA And Middlesbrough
What Happened: West Bromwich Albion had to settle for a scoreless draw at home against newcomers Middlesbrough on Sunday at the Hawthorns.
The WBA fans made their voices heard over the lack of signings made by the club, as the boos rang out after full time. It was a drab match, and WBA manager Tony Pulis shares the same feelings as the fans, which was clear in his post-game comments.
“I don’t think there is a problem with the boardroom,” Pulis said. “They don’t need people to boo to know my feelings.
“What we’ve got to do – and we keep saying it – is bring some players in.
“Two years ago when I came into the club, they were struggling at the foot of the table and 14 or 15 of those players are still here. They’ve done fantastic. They’ve kept going and finished 12th [13th] and 14th – but we need new blood now. We need to get some players in and hopefully over the next few days that will happen.
“I think the players, as much as anybody else, need to see a few coming in.
“And not just any players; players with quality. We’re the top team in the West Midlands and that’s what we want to be and stay, and to do that we need to get some players. I think we need it all the way through the pitch.”
Seb’s Take: West Brom are in desperate need of some new creative players, as they are very limited going forward. They have decent attacking options in Salomon Rondon and Saido Berahino, but there’s no creativity in midfield to supply them with the type of balls they need to get into good scoring positions.
Man City Stay Perfect With Win Over West Ham
What Happened: Manchester City took a comfortable 3-1 win over West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday after a brace by Raheem Sterling and a goal by Fernandinho.
City opened up strong and held a 2-0 lead early on after a strike by Sterling in the seventh minute and Fernandinho finding the back of the net in the 18th minute. City created a slew of chances and dominated possession, but it was still just 2-0 at halftime. West Ham pulled one back through Michail Antonio, who was named in Sam Allardyce’s first England squad, in the 58th minute, but a late goal by Sterling restored the two-goal advantage.
Seb’s Take: Man City is looking really strong to start the season, and their big test will be against rivals Man United in the Manchester Derby after the international break. West Ham will look to get healthy as they were without Dimitri Payet and Andy Carroll.
The Good: The Top Three
Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United have all been convincing to start the season, picking up three wins each to stay perfect. They all have won games in different ways, and they are all coming off dominant performances over the weekend. United had a difficult time scoring against Hull, having to settle for a late 1-0 win after a goal by Rashford, but they were dangerous time and time again when they went forward. City and Chelsea dominated from start to finish in their games and picked up comfortable wins.
The Bad: West Bromwich Albion
Having only signed one player over the summer, WBA could be in a dangerous spot if they fail to make some additions. When your manager goes out and publicly vents his frustration over the lack of new blood and says that the team is stagnant, you know you’re in trouble.
The Bizarre: Liverpool
Liverpool has been a real mixed bag so far this season, mixing the exciting performance like the one against Arsenal, with a real nosedive against Burnley. Against Tottenham we saw a bit of both, with the Reds creating good chances, but also struggle a bit defensively. The decision to put James Milner at left back is a clear sign that Jurgen Klopp still has some work to do.