Premier League 20/21 Week 2: Talking Points

The Best and Worst of the Second Week of the Season

It was another exciting weekend of action from the Premier League, with 44 goals scored across 10 games, as well as 4 red cards being shown, 8 penalties given and all but 2 of the games producing 3 or more goals. With so much action this weekend it would be easy to miss something, so here at Sports Obsessive we’ll take you through the major talking points of the weekend’s games.

Talking Points

Leeds Produce Another Seven Goal Thriller

After the thrilling encounter between Leeds and Liverpool last week, many would’ve thought that things would settle down for Marcelo Bielsa’s side this week. They were sadly mistaken, as the Yorkshire side came away on the winning side of another seven goal thriller, this time at home to Fulham. It was a blistering start for the Championship champions as they took the lead inside five minutes—Helder Costa being left on his own at the back post to score following poor Fulham defending from a corner.

Poor defending would come to summarise Fulham’s day but only after they equalised from the penalty spot following a silly challenge on Joe Bryan in the box from Robin Koch. Leeds received a penalty of their own, which Mateusz Klich converted, when Bryan pushed Patrick Bamford over in the box.

Leeds were in control as the game reached half-time and scored twice more following the break as Klich, who was given far too much space, passed to Bamford, whose run wasn’t tracked, and he slotted it into the far corner with his right foot. Costa then scored his second of the game after an excellent run down the left from Bamford, who cut it back for Costa to slam home Leeds’ fourth of the game. Leeds looked to be cruising, but between the 60th and 70th minute they completely lost control as they conceded two goals in the space of five minutes. Bobby Decordova-Reid capitalised on a defensive error from Robin Koch to make it 4-2, then a cross from new Fulham right-back Kenny Tete left Illan Meslier in no-man’s land and allowed Aleksandr Mitrovic to head home. Leeds regained control following the arrival of Gjanni Alioski to the game and they saw their one goal lead out quite comfortably to secure their first Premier League points in 16 years. Marcelo Bielsa wasn’t happy with the quality of defending from his side but he’ll be confident the incoming arrival of Real Sociedad defender Diego Llorente, as well as more time in training for Koch, will add a bit more solidity at the back in the coming weeks.

The James Rodriguez Hype Train in Full Swing

By the time the final whistle blew on at Goodison Park on Saturday, almost every person watching the game between Everton and West Bromwich Albion will have been reminded just why Real Madrid signed James Rodriguez in the summer of 2014. The Colombian international was at the heart of everything good for Everton, just as he was in the victory over Tottenham last week. He scored Everton’s second of the game, following Calvert-Lewin’s opener, with an excellent drilled strike from outside the box, and was heavily involved in the other goals in the 5-2 victory. His passing was absolutely magnificent throughout, in particular his cross field passes to Richarlison which exposed West Brom’s lack of quality down the left throughout the game. James and Richarlison have started the season superbly and they will be crucial to any challenge for European football for the Toffees this season

Contrasting Fortunes for Both Manchester Clubs

Both Manchester City and Manchester United played their first fixtures of the 2020/2021 season this weekend after receiving an extra week off following their exploits in last season’s Champions League campaign. It was a poor start from the red half of Manchester, as United lost 3-1 to an excellent Crystal Palace side who nullified United’s attacking threats and never looked in any real danger of losing after taking the lead through a controversial Wilfried Zaha penalty.

Palace deserve credit, as not only were they superb on the counter attack, they were also defensively sound, with the midfield pairing of James McCarthy and James McArthur working their socks off to ensure United didn’t break through the Crystal Palace defence.

It was a well-earned victory for the Eagles, just as it was for Manchester City on Monday night as they beat Wolves by three goals to one. City dominated the ball from the early stages and they capitalised on that pressure, as Kevin De Bruyne scored from the penalty spot to give Pep Guardiola’s side the lead, before doubling their lead through Phil Foden.

Wolves got back into the game after Daniel Podence went on a sumptuous run before crossing for Raul Jimenez to score the equaliser against the run of play, but there would be no comeback, as Gabriel Jesus finished the game off in stoppage time. It’s a promising start to the season for City, but for United there is a lot of work to be done, especially in the transfer market.

Chelsea’s Goalkeeper Woes Continue

Things just get worse and worse for Kepa Arrizabalaga every time he plays. The 2019/20 season was riddled with mistakes from the 25 year-old Spaniard and, unfortunately, things have not improved. He conceded an easily preventable goal last Monday away to Brighton, and things did not get better this week, as he virtually gave Sadio Mane of Liverpool the ball on a plate for the Senegalese winger to score his second goal in their 2-0 victory over Chelsea on Sunday afternoon.

Despite how the afternoon went for Chelsea, there were actually some promising signs from Frank Lampard’s side. Lampard set his side up differently this week, playing more defensively and looking to hit Liverpool on the break, which they showed when they successfully nullified Liverpool’s attacks in the early stages as well as looking sharp on the counter, with Timo Werner in particular looking dangerous.

The game plan was going well until Andreas Christensen’s awful last minute challenge on Sadio Mane after allowing him to make an easy run in behind the Chelsea backline. The Blues fell apart in the second half as Mane scored a brace either side of Jorginho’s missed penalty to seal the victory for the champions, who take two wins from their opening two games.

This game will most likely also be the final game of Kepa’s career at Chelsea, with Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy set to be announced before the weekend’s games. It’ll be the end of what has been an horrendous spell for Chelsea’s record signing, whose confidence looks completely shot. A loan move abroad would do him a world of good and allow him to find the confidence and ability that convinced Chelsea to splash out £72 million on him in the first place.

Performance of the Week

Harry Kane Demolishes Saints

Spurs as a whole weren’t particularly impressive in their 5-2 victory over Southampton on Sunday, but their attacking duo of Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane were absolutely magnificent. Son scored four of Spurs’ goals, but it was Kane who stood out the most for me. Scorer of the winning goal, as well as assisting all four of Son’s finishes, Kane’s movement and passing when setting up goals was absolutely outstanding. Two of his assists were first time passes in behind the Southampton defence, and although the Saints defence was poor on the day, Kane’s quality cannot be undermined. He was superb from start to finish and created chance after chance throughout the game. He is more than deserving of this week’s Performance of the Week award.

Written by Gerard Mooney

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