What The Opening Games Of The Season Have Taught Us

(Image From SkySports)

1. The Big Three Set The Bar High

Whilst Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea have all had to dig deep to be over the line for some of their results, there’s no doubting that some performances have been pure class and shown a degree of professionalism we haven’t seen in the Premier League from these three giants for a while. Mourinho is perfectly experienced in the league and continues to show his expertise in grinding out results, but Guardiola and Conte have shown they’re not letting the reputation of the Premier League get to them as their sides show ruthlessness that other clubs have lacked in the opening three games.

2. Don’t Rule Out Arsenal, Tottenham or Liverpool

I’ve sang the praises of the big three, but in the defence of what I’d call ‘the next three’, the ‘big three’ have had a much easier start to Premier League life. Utd opening with Bournemouth (a), Southampton (h) and Hull (a); Chelsea with West Ham (h), Watford (a) and Burnley (h); and City with Sunderland (h), Stoke (a) and West Ham (h) are rather favourable runs compared to Arsenal’s Liverpool (h), Leicester (a) and Watford (a); Liverpool with Arsenal (a), Burnley (a) and Spurs (a); and Spurs’ run of Everton (a), Palace (h) and Liverpool (h). Granit Xhaka has made an early impact with many hoping he’ll be the player Arsenal have been missing in the centre of the park for so long. Liverpool’s signings have had an immediate impact with Mane and Wijnaldum slotting straight in, and Tottenham have strengthenedin key areas as well with Wanyama and Janssen adding steal and firepower. Don’t rule these teams out early, as the easier fixtures are yet to come for them.

3. Everton Look Better Already

It hasn’t taken Koeman long to apply his methods to an already strong Everton squad. Early wins and a respectable draw with Spur’s on the opening day should fill all Everton fans with plenty of hope. The big questions surround their signings, but I believe Bolasie will come good for the team. They lost out on Lucas Perez to Arsenal, so it’ll be interesting to see how good he is, but with Lukaku yet to find form, things can surely only get better for Everton? Ashley Williams is a top signing for them and Holgate looks ready to step in when needed. Great start for Ronald Koeman and Everton.

4. Stoke Struggling

Sitting at the bottom of the table, though have had a very tough opening set of games. That wouldn’t bother me if I didn’t worry that it sets a tone that can be hard to break out of. I think Stoke will be fine but they haven’t strengthened this summer as much as they would have hoped. Joe Allen is a very good signing for them but other than him they haven’t added too much. If Arnautovic finds form – and remember he rejected a move to Everton earlier in the summer – then they have every chance of climbing the table and big players like Shaqiri and Bojan will be key to their rise again. I think they’ll be ok, but they can’t go another 3 games without picking up a win.

5. West Brom Lacking Flair

West Brom have a win, a draw and a defeat under their belt. Absolutely nothing wrong with that start at all, don’t get me wrong, it’s the same start Arsenal and Liverpool have made! However I have a serious issue with West Brom and the direction they’re going in. Tony Pulis doesn’t fill me with hope and excitement and very rarely do I sit and watch football and not be excited, but when it’s West Brom I do. They dropped points at home to Everton and Middlesbrough, results I’d have hoped they’d do better in, but a win at Crsytal Palace is admirable in their defence. I feel like they won’t move forwards this season, and maybe West Brom fans will start to realise that they’re better without him, just as Crystal Palace and Stoke have been.

6. Middlesbrough Are Ready For The Premier League

A fantastic start for Middlesbrough with three tricky games show that they’re ready to make the step up and take on the big sides. I’ve been impressed with them and the addition of Calum Chambers is certainly going to add a bit of Premier League experience but more importantly some hunger in youth that want to prove themselves to the bigger clubs. I’m expecting Ben Gibson to be a really top defender and attract attention from the bigger clubs at some point, but for now, enjoy the season Boro fans!

7. Teams Have Adapted To Leicester

Hull City gave them a serious opening day challenge by sitting deep and expecting Leicester to dominate possession, something they’re not used to doing. Arsenal then visited the King Power Stadium and stuck to their passing game, but maintained a deep line to adapt to Vardy’s pace as Koscielny matched him for pace and strength. Leicester’s signings have been clever and calculated as Ranieri looks to keep the spirit in the squad and not panic buy with big signings. He’s kept calm, but no matter how many additions Leicester make, it’s all about their adaptation to a new style that’s going to determine how far up the table they go this time.

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