Week 1 is in the books. After a painful 91 days, we all have our weekends back from the grueling, productive tasks like grocery shopping, laundry, and, um, Saturday afternoon brunch. So what the first week have in store?
Sadio Mané looks worth every penny of his £30M+ transfer fee. He scored what is probably the goal of the week, showing off his world class pace, tricky dribbling, and impressive balance and strength. Oh, and that finish.
The Liverpool attack as a whole looks fluid, fast, and phenomenal – hey, even Adam Lallana scored! – and while it might be tough to figure out who’ll be among the goals each week, their second half performance gives you the impression that there will be lots of them to go around.
Zlatan Gonna Zlatan
A scorer who can score any type of goal, Zlatan showed he can handle the physicality of lower-table Premier League opposition, that he’ll create chances with clever flicks and touches, and can find the back of the net with a well-placed shot.
Early days, and while we had him ranked a bit lower than he probably should have been due to concerns over age and adjusting to a new league, we can’t deny that he’s off to a flyer, with two good goals in his first two matches.
What have we learned? Well, We learned that City might get some time to get going. That Liverpool took a half to get going. That Arsene Wenger is trying to sabotage his team with
City of Blah
The Pep Guardiola era got off to a, shall we say, pedestrian start. Yes, they grabbed the full three points but it was against a hapless Sunderland team, courtesy of a penalty and an own goal. For a team with double – nay treble! – aspirations, this was hardly an inspiring start. Sure, championship-calibre teams need to win ugly on occasion, but you’d expect more out of a squad oozing with talent.
You never like to see injuries to your fantasy players and there were a fair few high profile guys that didn’t survive the week. Ross Barkley hobbled around with what looked like a pulled hammy, Hugo Lloris will miss about a month with the same, and new West Ham signing Andre Ayew is out for an undetermined amount of time after pulling up limp while chasing after Eden Hazard.
Sometimes it seems like the Arsenal gaffer is trying to sabotage his own team. He basically refuses to spend the buckets of cash in the club’s coffers, leading to situations like being forced to play inexperienced center backs like Callum Chambers and Rob Holding.
And even in positions where he has depth, quality, and experience, he refused to give starts to Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. (Or is it just Chamberlain now? His shirt this season omits the Oxlade component; maybe it was just weighing him down with all those pesky letters.)
Sure, Aaron Ramsey had a great start to the season, and sure, Iwobi had an excellent preseason. But as soon as they got on the pitch, the two aforementioned veterans made immediate impact. Cazorla is apparently working his way back to fitness, but he looked great, serving up two assists in the losing effort. How does he start on the bench, having missed the Euros this summer, when Alexis Sanchez gets the start after playing in his second straight Copa America?
Andy King ≠ N’Golo Kante
Leicester look to be in a bit of trouble without their talismanic ball winner of last year. While Mahrez and Vardy got most of the attention and accolades, N’Golo Kante’s absence is showing just how important the French workhorse was to the former’s greatness.
It’s probably too early to write off Leicester’s attack. They’re working with a remade squad and are probably still hungover from their miraculous season. But there’s a reason why most had Vardy and Mahrez knocked down a few tiers on their draft board, and after one week of action (and a Community Shield match), fears over Leicester’s demise are looking well-founded.
Pep: No Soup For You
Yaya Toure looks like he’s played his last match for Man City (unless he gets a shot with the reserves) and Joe Hart is apparently already looking abroad for Champions League opportunities.
Not the headlines owners who drafted these players wanted to read. While neither were particularly high draft picks – we hope – they still look like a waste no matter where they were taken.
Costa Back to His Old Tricks
Is there a more predictable storyline than the league’s biggest heel (do we even need to call him out by name?) escaping a blatant second yellow, only to bury the winner in the match’s dying moments?
West Ham fought their way back for a deserved point through an unlikely James Collins’ equalizer, only to see their hearts broken by the villainous striker who should have already been in the locker room. Chelsea fans, and likely Costa owners as well, wouldn’t have it any other way, and the player rumored to be going back to Spain now looks firmly entrenched in Conte’s plans.