Tuesday, June 18, 2024

5 Things We Learnt From The Opening Weekend Of The English Premier League

Last weekend was everything we dreamed of and more. Goals were plentiful, heartbreaks were common, big teams were upset, and referees simply fumbled. If you know what’s up, then you would realise that we are talking about English Premier League’s opening weekend. But in a weekend with too many swashbuckling activities, how can we interpret the season ahead with just ten games played? We know this is a tough ask but we can only try;
1. Liverpool’s Downfall Might Be In Their Defence
Plenty have had their say on Liverpool’s defensive shortcomings following their 3-3 draw with Watford. The Merseysiders have conceded 27 Premier League goals from set pieces since Klopp took charge in 2015, with only Crystal Palace and Watford themselves letting in more. Klopp insists work on the training ground can improve the situation, but that is what Brendan Rodgers also said when he was in charge of a side regularly undone at set-pieces. Little has changed and for all their great attacking play there is simply no chance of Liverpool competing for the title while they remain so shoddy at the back.
2. De Boer Finally Realised That The Premier League Is No Child’s Play
At Selhurst Park on Saturday a smart and energetic team whose players knew what they were doing deservedly beat a Crystal Palace team in which several men looked confused. Frank De Boer hopes to transform Palace as radically as Wagner has revamped Huddersfield and the Dutchman will need patience. He may also need some new players. He certainly needs the existing ones to learn quickly – the way he gesticulated at them on Saturday to hit long passes to escape Huddersfield’s pressing suggested he found their attempted application not up to standard.
3. Teams Better Watch Out For The Red Version Of Romelu Lukaku
Lukaku had his doubters when he signed for Manchester United for £75 million but going by tonight’s performances, he looked to be the real deal. Lukaku was unstoppable against the Hammers with the new signing leading the line perfectly and combining well with the other attackers. He looked threatening when combining with Marcus Rashford who cut inside on his right foot at will yesterday. The 24-year-old is already looking like an inspired buy for the Manchester side and a signing which can take them closer to the Premier League trophy.
4. Eriksen Is Spur’s Most Important Player
Not for the first time, Eriksen was the man who unlocked the door for Tottenham Hotspur. After a first half in which he had been Spir’s most threatening attacker, drifting infield from the left flank to take up dangerous positions between the lines, the Dane delivered a sumptuous cross to allow Alli to open the scoring just after the hour-mark. His second assist was a little more fortunate, but Eriksen also created chances for Harry Kane and Son Heung-min in a terrific second-half showing.
5. Chelsea Need To Look Beyond Kante
N’Golo Kante who was one of Chelsea’s few real leaders from last season lasted the whole 90 minutes during the weekend’s game but failed to make any mark. Kanté was not to blame for defeat but he was a bit slack in his covering for two of Burnley’s goals. And the feeling remains he needs the right partner to flourish. Much will hang on how quickly the partnership with Tiémoué Bakayoko gels. As it is, Kanté looked quite a long way from a man you’d pick out as the reigning player of the year for the second year running.Photo Credit: Getty

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