After enduring what seemed to be a very long break, football fans around the world were treated to a spectacle of football as the Premier League resumed in grand style.
From the 7-goal thriller at the Emirates to Burnley’s surprise win over Chelsea, there was more than enough action to go round for everybody. The Premier League couldn’t have started in any better fashion than the way it did this past weekend.
After 31 goals, a couple of controversies here and there, here are 3 things we learnt from the opening day of the new Premier League season.
- 3 at the Back
In what looked like will be the “new craze” this season, quite a number of teams featured 3 defenders in front of their goalkeeper during the opening weekend.
Whether it was a 3-5-2 formation (Manchester City) or a 3-4-2-1 formation (Everton), almost every other team seemed to jump on the three-at-the back trend over the weekend, a trend you could successfully say was made popular in the league by Antonio Conte.
Everton played three at the back. Spurs did the same against Newcastle. Chelsea fielded Luiz, Cahill and Rudiger in front of Courtois. Pep Guardiola also used a three-man central defense in his win at the Amex stadium. Stoke City and Arsenal also fielded a back line that had just 3 defenders.
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Maybe this is one of the trends we’ll have to get used to over time this new season.
- The Set Piece Goals
Another thing we realized was how susceptible the three-at-the-back formation was to crosses, free-kicks and corner kicks. Tottenham, Everton and Manchester City did not have any problems with set-pieces as they won their games comfortably.
But the reverse was the case for clubs like Stoke City, Chelsea and Arsenal.
Starting with Arsenal, all the three goals they conceded on that Friday night were products of one kind of set piece or the other. From Okazaki’s header to Jamie Vardy’s two goals, all were assisted by one cross into the box or the other.
Sean Dyche’s men found themselves 3 goals to the good against the Premier League champions on Saturday afternoon. Ward’s beauty of a goal was sandwiched in between goals scored by a certain Sam Vokes; goals which came in via crosses made into the box.
Will it be yet another loss for Conte’s men or will Tottenham start life in Wembley with a loss?
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Rooney’s goal against Stoke City was a header that saw him convert a cross into the box by nodding the ball past Jack Butland. Speaking of debut goals…
- Debut Goals
Back in the days, it was normal for fans to wait for quite the while before seeing their new striker score a goal. The myth then was about how the Premier League – then referred to as the English Premier League – was all shades of tough and how newbies would most definitely find life difficult.
Casting our minds back to January, a certain young Brazilian by the name of Gabriel Jesus proved all wrong by scoring on just his second ever Premier League game – which was his first ever Premier League start by the way.
Just when we thought that was a fluke, the opening weekend of the 2017/2018 Premier League season was littered with debut goals by players whose performances debunked every kind of myth we had about new players in the Premier League.
From Lukaku’s double, Rooney’s goal for his new club, Morata’s goal against Burnley and Lacazette’s goal against the Foxes, it must be safe to say that life is not that hard in the Premier League anymore. Or maybe it’s the players that have gotten tougher. Who knows?
The action continues this coming weekend and here’s what the fixtures look like:
- Swansea City vs. Manchester United
- AFC Bournemouth vs. Watford FC
- Southampton FC vs. West Ham FC
- Burnley FC vs. West Bromwich Albion
- Liverpool FC vs. Crystal Palace
- Leicester City vs. Brighton & Hove Albion FC
- Stoke City vs. Arsenal FC
- Huddersfield Town vs. Newcastle United
- Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea FC
- Manchester City vs. Everton FC
If you’re looking to back any of these teams to win, score goals, win either half, or keep a clean sheet, all you need to do is click on any of the games and you’ll be able to do all that, and more.Tags: English premier league, premier league, premier league lessons