After Arsenal got the Premier League back underway on Friday with a 2-0 win over Crystal, the leagues first full day of action Saturday had all the action you could want. It started with an upset, proceeded to Americans making waves, a defender scoring an absolute peach of a goal, and ended, well, maybe the less said about the way it ended the better as Everton and Chelsea played out a sour, grinding 1-0 win for Thomas Tuchel’s side. Let’s get to some takeaways.
Liverpool need Nunez to rescue a point
The Premier League got back underway in typical style on Saturday with a 2-2 draw between Fulham and Liverpool at Craven Cottage. Nunez hit the ground running in his full debut registering a goal and an assist with Mohamed Salah on the other end of each but it was a mistake from Virgil van Dijk that would prove costly.
Jurgen Klopp’s men took their time to get going and it was the newly promoted hosts who went ahead through Aleksandar Mitrovic’s header. Part of an early second half double change for Liverpool saw Darwin Nunez make his debut and the Uruguayan did not need long to pull the Reds level. Parity only lasted less than 10 minutes, though, as Mitrovic doubled his tally from the penalty spot and left the visitors facing defeat. Mitrovic was losing the ball but a penalty was awarded and confirmed after a VAR review.
Nunez came to the rescue with nine minutes remaining as he teed up Mo Salah to level and keep up his incredible opening day record of scoring in all six fixtures with Liverpool. Ultimately, it was a point gained by Klopp’s men as Fulham outfought them on many occasions while Marco Silva’s Cottagers will be heartened by their spirited showing. With most of their new signings on the bench from the start, it’s a great result to kick off the season, and quite a building block moving forward.
After the unexpected result, it’s possible Jurgen Klopp will need to make some adjustments going forward.
Chelsea bailed out by Abdoulaye Doucouré
A clumsy penalty conceded by Abdoulaye Doucouré was the difference in the match as Chelsea defeated Everton 1-0 on opening day. Frank Lampard’s side lined up well and despite being short on forwards, they were able to hang with Chelsea as the Blues struggled to get their season going. Everton were hit with another injury blow only 18 minutes into the match as Ben Godfrey left the match on a stretcher after a lengthy delay. Considering that he had his leg immobilized, it doesn’t look good. He was eventually replaced by Mason Holgate.
From there, both teams were missing a true number nine, but it was Everton who did better coping with that as Anthony Gordon led the attack. Everton were able to create chances on the counter but the final ball wasn’t there. Ben Chilwell drew a penalty before the half as Doucouré put both hands on his shirt while he was going down in the box. Jorginho didn’t mess around as he drove the penalty home to give Chelsea the advantage.
The second half went similarly to the first but Everton will be the happier team about that. Amadou Onana was in the crowd watching as he’ll be in the Everton midfield sooner than later after they agreed to a deal with Lille but for Chelsea, even with Armando Broja on the pitch they were missing a proper nine. Raheem Sterling filled the role but he’s better from the wing despite his strong work rate in the box.
He was bright along with Kalidou Koulibaly in making their debuts Saturday but most of the team didn’t shine along with them. Nathan Patterson also created a good chance for Dele Alli when he entered but Dele didn’t know what to do with the ball in the box as he fluffed his chance. Plenty of work to be done for each side in a game that ended up going almost 110 minutes due to various stoppages in each half.
Aston Villa roll over worryingly against Bournemouth
Bournemouth picked up three unexpected points on Premier League opening day with a 2-0 win over an abject Aston Villa side at Vitality Stadium. The Cherries were ahead after just three minutes as Jefferson Lerma fired home after Marcus Tavernier’s corner was headed down by Lloyd Kelly while Lucas Digne was off the pitch of Villa.
Bournemouth could have been two goals up by the break had Kieffer Moore connected with Adam Smith’s low cross after Dominic Solanke had played him in. Eventually, it was two when the Wales international headed home a Kelly cross with 10 minutes remaining to give Scott Parker the ideal start to the new campaign and Steven Gerrard a nightmarish one.
Villa were barely at the races and rarely threatened with Danny Ings, John McGinn and Boubacar Kamara going closest without really threatening for the away side. While Aston Villa had 15 shots, and two-thirds of the possession, they only managed 0.66 expectedgoals. Not great all around. Next up for Bournemouth are defending champions Manchester City while Villa are at home to Everton with much better expected after an impressive summer transfer window.
Newcastle score goal of the day against Nottingham Forest
Thanks to a strong performance from Dean Henderson, the match couldn’t get completely out of hand but Ryan Yates was missed as Steve Cooper’s side struggled to maintain a presence in midfield. The Tricky Trees only took five shots and were the only promoted side to not pick up at least a point on Saturday. Brennan Johnson was isolated only touching the ball 20 times while Newcastle rolled. The Magpies took 20 shots with Callum Wilson and Fabian Schar scoring goals and Schar’s was quite a belter.
Leeds mount comebacks behind USMNT stars
Americans took center stage for Leeds as they came back after conceding to Wolverhampton early, and walked away with a 2-1 win. Brenden Aaronson might not officially get credit for the goal, but it’s not going to stop him from claiming it as Jesse Marsch’s team starts the season off the right way.
Premier League Scoreboard
Fulham 2, Liverpool 2
Bournemouth 2, Aston Villa 0
Leeds United 2, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
Newcastle United 2, Nottingham Forest 0
Tottenham 4, Southampton 1
Everton 0, Chelsea 1