Finally, it’s here! After a long wait of three months, the new Premier League season has begun. This summer was lit up by the FIFA World Cup but the PL is a different animal altogether. Club rivalries are fierce and the closest of friends often turn into enemies once the season begins! So the opening weekend is done and dusted now. We began with Manchester United facing Leicester City. And it did not disappoint. Overall, the weekend was full of goals and infact there was just one goalless game. The entertainment quotient was high with red cards and penalties adding to the drama. So what did we learn from the first weekend? Here are the three most important learnings from gameweek 1:
1) Marvellous Manchester City
Pep Guardiola’s men set all kinds of records last season, becoming the first team ever to hit the 100 point mark. And they have begun this season the way they ended the last one. The way they played against Arsenal showed that they will continue to be relentless this year as well. Arsenal have a good record at home and they also have a new manager. However, they could not compete with City despite huffing and puffing a lot. Once City scored one early and then doubled their lead after the break, there was no coming back. Arsenal fashioned a couple of chances but City were comfortable. This match should be a warning sign to City’s rivals.
2) Spending Yet Failing?
Wolves and Fulham are two of the promoted sides this season. Both have spent very heavily in order to improve their squads. But both failed to show any cohesion on the pitch. Fulham were hammered at home by a mediocre Crystal Palace whilst Wolves got a point yet couldn’t beat 10-man Everton at home. Time and again the promoted sides have tried to be too expansive in terms of spending but failed to deliver accordingly. Fulham were infact the third highest spenders this summer, ahead of teams like City and United. But the performance was timid to say the least. Worrying times!
3) Champions League Challenge
One of the most closely fought battles this season is going to be the race for the top four. There are five contenders who looked good at the weekend. And this may become six if Arsenal get their act together. But there are only four places. Liverpool looked sublime in attack, Chelsea played well under new manager Sarri, Tottenham and Manchester United got wins as well. So it looks likely that this battle is going to go down to the wire. Out of these teams, only Liverpool look likely to seriously challenge City’s crown. But as they say, it’s a marathon not a sprint. Still a long way to go!
To sum up, we got our usual dose of thrills and spills from the PL opening weekend. Fans will hope that excitement levels continue to remain high right through to the end of the season this time. Hoping for a really thrilling season ahead in the best league in the world!