The second matchday in the Premier League saw the twenty English teams scoring a total of forty-four goals, setting a new record in the Premier League. There were upsets and goal-fests in games such as Everton versus West Brom, Leeds versus Fulham, and Man United versus Crystal Palace. Now, here’s what we learned from each game.
Everton 5-2 West Bromwich Albion
Rejuvenation with Rodriguez
After flirting with relegation and then marching towards a mid-table finish last season, Everton needed a big summer. Despite the short turnaround, Carlo Ancelotti, the Everton boss’s work in the transfer market has been impressive with the addition of Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan, both already appear to have significantly improved the Toffee’s midfield despite only playing two games into the season.
But it is the Colombian midfielder that looks set to be the bargain. Rodriguez caught the eye with his impressive footwork and vision in Everton’s opening win against Tottenham, and in the second game, the new signing from Real Madrid demonstrated his dead-eyed long-range shot ability. His strike into the bottom right corner made the Toffees lead 2-1 against the visitors West Bromwich Albion, the goal was a real quality as Rodriguez was able to get his shot away from outside the box with four West Brom players in close attention, the ball traveled a delightful path before hitting the back of the net.
It was a masterclass from Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin as the English forward bagged his first senior hat-trick against the Baggies. However, it was West Brom who took an early lead when West Ham academy graduate Grady Diangana’s shot passed the helpless Jordan Pickford, scoring his first goal for his new club.
Everton later equalized midway through the first half as Calvert-Lewin cleverly backheeled the ball into the net for his second goal in as many games. Rodriguez then marked his home debut with a clinical finish on the stroke of half-time, sweeping a low effort into the far corner from Richarlison’s pass. Despite that double setback, West Brom pulled level straight after the restart when Matheu Pereira curled in a stunning free-kick, but parity was short-lived as Michael Keane tapped in a loose ball after West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone parried Richarlison’s header. Calvert-Lewin then got his second when he slid in from close range after good work by Rodriguez and Richarlison and completed his hat-trick by heading in Rodriguez’s corner.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s hat-trick is the first Everton player to score a top-flight hat-trick since Wayne Rooney against West Ham back in 2017, and the youngest Englishman to do so for the Toffees (23 years and 187 days) since Tony Cottee (23 years and 47 days) against Newcastle in August 1988.
Huge warning sign
When West Ham United sold Diangana to West Brom this summer during the transfer window, it prompted an unexpected and angry message on social media from the Hammers’ captain Mark Noble, who said he was “gutted, angry and sad” that the club had decided to sell the youngster. Diangana’s goal against Everton showed just why Noble rated Diangana so highly and justified West Brom’s decision to spend 18 million euros of their budget on the England youth international.
Diangana’s talent coupled with Matheus Pereira’s creativity – who with 17 assists is second only to Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne as a top creator of goals in English football since the start of last season – means that the Baggies have the attacking flair that could serve them well in this season.
However, West Bromwich Albion has conceded eight goals in the first two opening-games after the Baggies were promoted to the top flight of English football. It was their first time to concede five goals in a Premier League game since a 5-5 draw on the final day of 2012-2013 season against Manchester United, the last game of the legendary Sir. Alex Ferguson’s 26 years tenure. Obviously, the Baggies would need defensive development if they are to avoid an immediate return to the Championship.
MAN OF THE MATCH: DOMINIC CALVERT-LEWIN
Leeds United 4-3 Fulham
Leeds United came out on top in a seven-goal thriller against Fulham in their first Premier League home game for 16 years. Leeds’ opening two Premier League games this season have seen 14 goals, the most in a top-flight side’s opening two matches since Wolves in 1962-63. After losing 4-3 at Liverpool on the opening weekend, this was the second week running that Marcelo Bielsa’s side were involved in a frenetic end-to-end affair.
Helder Costa’s fifth-minute goal for the hosts sparked the contest into life, with his powerful close-range effort going in off the underside of the crossbar. However, Aleksandar Mitrovic leveled the scores with a penalty after Robin Koch had fouled Joe Bryan. Leeds were soon back in front though, with Poland midfielder Mateusz Klich stroking in a penalty after Bryan had fouled Patrick Bamford. Bamford’s placed effort just after the interval put Leeds firmly in charge and they looked to have sealed the win when Costa added a fourth from Bamford’s cross. But Bobby Decordova-Reid’s low drive and Mitrovic’s second goal of the day for the Cottagers set up a dramatic finale.
Shaky Defence All-Around
While Fulham boss Scott Parker has already conceded his team is likely to lose more games than they win this term he will have been disappointed by the way they gifted Leeds their opening goal. For the second week in succession, his team conceded from a corner and were punished for a lapse in concentration and poor organization. Bryan’s push on Bamford will also go down as a moment that was easily avoidable with the full-back and central defender Denis Odoi both caught out of position. However, unlike their home defeat by Arsenal, Fulham did at least show the character to respond against a side that had beaten them 3-0 in the corresponding fixture last term.
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa’s sleight of foot and drive in midfield helped to kick-start the comeback, as he brushed off recently capped England midfielder Kalvin Phillips to play in Decordova-Reid. Former Lyon Dutch defender Kenny Tete also marked an impressive Premier League debut with a fine cross, from which Mitrovic scored his second of the game.
MAN OF THE MATCH: HÉLDER COSTA
Manchester United 1-3 Crystal Palace
Zaha haunts his former employer
Wilfred Zaha’s scored twice against his former club as Crystal Palace condemned Manchester United to a miserable start to their Premier League campaign with a win at Old Trafford.
After Andros Townsend squeezed a seventh-minute shot into the far corner from Jeffrey Schlupp’s cross, the hosts struggled badly but the game slipped away from them thanks to Zaha’s controversial 74th-minute penalty. Referee Martin Atkinson used the VAR TV monitor to decide Victor Lindelof had handled inside his own box. But, after David de Gea saved Jordan Ayew’s spot-kick, Atkinson ordered a retake because the Spain international had moved off his line. Zaha took responsibility for the second attempt and made no mistake. Zaha, later got his second goal of the game, receiving the ball from the flank as he turned away from the Swedish centre-back Victor Lindelof to place a well-struck strike past the helpless David De Gea.
Where now for United?
In his programme notes, United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward spoke about the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on football’s finances. This argument is wearing a little thin with United supporters, who have seen rivals sign players for big money while United hit a brick wall in their attempt to sign Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund. None of those criticisms will be silenced by this dismal fare. Despite being given an extra week off because of their European exploits United were flat. The spark that player of the year Bruno Fernandes brought to the United side in January was missing. Frenchman Paul Pogba was poor and guilty of too many unforced errors.
United’s defence struggled badly, with Maguire and Lindelof out of position far too often, and they have now conceded first in four successive home league games. their best chance until Van de Beek’s goal was a far-post Mason Greenwood header which the striker sent disappointingly wide. On this evidence, it is hard to see United matching last season’s third-place finish without further additions to Solskjaer’s squad.
Veteran manager, youthful team
The three-one win at Old Trafford against Manchester United was the eagles’ biggest ever win at the Theatre of Dreams, the first time they have beaten United away from home in successive seasons and means Palace have won their opening two games of a top-flight season for the first time in their history.
Crystal Palace’s 73-year-old boss Roy Hodgson is just five years younger than Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary Manchester United manager, who watched this game from the directors’ box. Ferguson must have been impressed with the youthful exuberance of the Palace side. Despite conceding possession, they were by far the most inventive and gave central defensive pair Harry Maguire and Lindelof a torrid time. Lindelof was shrugged away far too easily by Schlupp in the build-up to Townsend’s goal and Ayew would have had a second for Palace before the break had it not been for De Gea’s brilliant one-handed save. That it should be Zaha whose contribution eventually proved decisive was a further painful memory for United.
Zaha was Ferguson’s last signing as United boss. But the Ivory Coast international never settled at Old Trafford and was sold back to Palace in 2015. After ending last season with a whimper, Palace could not have done better over the past fortnight and face an intriguing meeting with Everton, who have also won their opening two games, at Selhurst Park next weekend.
MAN OF THE MATCH: WILFRED ZAHA
Arsenal 2-1 West Ham United
You get one, I get one
The Hammers were unrecognizable from the side that succumbed to Newcastle on the opening day, producing a display packed full of endeavor and energy to stifle the Gunners for large parts. Arsenal took the lead against the run of play on 25 minutes when the gunners’ forward Alexandre Lacazette powerfully headed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s cross home, but it was canceled out on the stroke of half-time by Michail Antonio. The Hammers looked set to go on to win the game in a dominant second-half display, with Antonio crashing a header against the crossbar, but Nketiah struck with five minutes remaining to make it two wins from two for the Gunners and leave West Ham pointless.
How Arsenal found a way past West Ham
West Ham were markedly improved from their abject opening-day defeat to Newcastle, as a disciplined defensive display and potent counter-attacking threat frustrated the flat Gunners early on. But a moment of magic from talisman Aubameyang unpicked the Hammers on 25 minutes as his inch-perfect cross was forcefully dispatched by strike partner Lacazette for his 50th goal in all competitions for the club.
West Ham were unhappy Aubameyang was not found offside in the build-up by VAR, and the Hammers’ frustrations deepened soon after when Gabriel Magalhaes avoided punishment when a cross struck his arm in the area. But just when it seemed Arsenal had reached the interval with the lead, West Ham hit back as Antonio applied the finishing touch to Ryan Fredericks’ cross at the end of a sweeping counter on the stroke of half-time. Gabriel’s crucial intervention prevented Antonio from bundling West Ham into the lead on 53 minutes, as Bernd Leno kept the ball out on the Arsenal goal line.
Antonio managed to get an effort past Leno on 67 minutes, only to see his header cannon off the frame of the goal, and a cruel twist came with five minutes remaining as Arsenal restored their lead. Bukayo Saka’s clever through pass saw Dani Ceballos evade the offside trap and the Spaniard squared for substitute Nketiah, who stroked the winner into the West Ham net eight minutes after coming on as Mikel Arteta’s side survived the sternest of tests.
MAN OF THE MATCH: DANI CEBALLOS
Southampton 2-5 Tottenham Hotspur
Son bags 4!
It was an extremely impressive performance from Tottenham’s Korean winger, Heung-Min Son. He scored 4 of their 5 goals, clearly in mid-season form. His Portuguese manager must be thrilled knowing that he can rely on Son to bring in the goals.
Danny Ings right where he left off
After a very productive season last year, scoring 22 goals, Danny Ings was at the double today, showing that the English forward is still operating at peak performance. Despite Southampton’s lacklustre performance, he was a shining light in a squad that was hoping to compete for an upper-mid table position by the end of this year’s Premier League season.
Good all-around from Spurs
Son was not the only star for Tottenham today. Unlike Southampton, they had many players’ talent shine through. One was Harry Kane, who scored once in the 82nd minute, along with assisting all of Son’s goals. Hojbjerg and Ndombele in midfield, both contributing to the attack and defense.
MAN OF THE MATCH: SON HEUNG MIN
Newcastle United 0-3 Brighton & Hove Albion
Neal Maupay masterclass
Neal Maupay scored twice as Brighton cruised to a comfortable Premier League victory over an under-par Newcastle at St James’ Park. It was a superb all-round showing from the Seagulls and the perfect response to losing their opening game to Chelsea. French forward Maupay was the early beneficiary as Graham Potter’s side took control, scoring twice in the opening seven minutes, with his first goal coming via a penalty after the impressive Tariq Lamptey was tripped by Allan Saint-Maximin.
His second, which was checked by the video assistant referee for offside, was a close-range finish to the bottom left corner at the end of a move down the right involving Lamptey and Leandro Trossard.
Tariq Lamptey sparkle for Brighton
While Potter was taking positives in defeat on Monday, he will have been delighted to see the industry and creativity of his side fully rewarded six days later. A lightning start and some typically slick football saw his team slice through Newcastle on several occasions to gain a two-goal cushion they rarely looked like relinquishing. Just as pleasing is the form of 19-year-old Lamptey, who was outstanding for the second successive week.
The recently capped England Under-21 international turned down a new contract at Chelsea last season in favor of a move to Brighton and on this evidence he appears to be making the most of playing regular first-team football. Lamptey impressed when starting in seven of the Seagulls’ nine Premier League matches when football resumed in June and he has picked up where he left off. An early break down the right served notice of his pace and awareness and moments later he drew a clumsy foul from Saint-Maximin to help set Brighton on their way.
Lamptey’s energy and quality were a feature throughout the first half. After contributing to Brighton’s second, he twice almost added the third goal himself, with one break across the length of the pitch following a Newcastle corner particularly catching the eye. His talent was not just restricted to going forward with one superbly timed challenge on Callum Wilson preventing the forward from having a clear run on goal. Despite being withdrawn after 58 minutes, Lamptey made more interceptions (four) and won more fouls (four) than any other player on the pitch.
While Newcastle made an assured start to their Premier League season at West Ham, this display was almost the exact opposite as they struggled against more energetic and fluent opponents. Too often they were left chasing shadows in the early stages and appeared to have few ideas of how to cope with Brighton’s 3-4-3 formation.
Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden appeared overworked and outmaneuvered in midfield and Andy Carroll and Wilson, who worked well together a week ago, were on the periphery. Aside from Saint-Maximin, who was substituted with a first-half injury, no player that started had fewer touches than Newcastle’s front two, who both managed 21 each. Manager Steve Bruce introduced three substitutes – Ryan Fraser, Miguel Almiron, and Joelinton – but there was little improvement, with Wilson heading over a difficult chance from Almiron’s cross. The only consolation for Bruce and Newcastle supporters was that the margin of their defeat was not even greater.
MAN OF THE MATCH: TARIQ LAMPTEY
Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool
Liverpool’s attack is flowing
While it was Mane with the only two goals of the game, the whole Liverpool attack looked to be operating at a high level. Firmino’s final touch in front of the goal wasn’t great, but he was certainly there in the build-up play. Salah was causing problems for defenders down the wing with his pace. And as for Mane, he was absolutely clinical with his finishes.
Chelsea pay for a cautious approach
This was a brutal reality check for Chelsea after a summer of big spending by manager Frank Lampard – and surely the final flawed contribution from error-ridden keeper Kepa. Chelsea’s game-plan appeared to be to sit back and attempt to catch Liverpool on the break with Werner’s pace but in the end, it was all too passive, the home team resembling a side that would have been happy with a point. Werner showed the odd flashes of what he will undoubtedly bring to Chelsea but he was feeding off scraps at best here and his struggles reflected a surprisingly conservative approach.
As for Kepa, the £71m keeper who has never lived up to his lavish price tag, this must surely be the final straw for Lampard, who dropped the goalkeeper last season and has now signed Rennes’ keeper Edouard Mendy in a £20m deal. Kepa had already had a couple of near misses before he cleared the ball straight to Mane, who induced panic in the keeper and scored the visitors’ second.
Lampard’s side will have better days and patience will be required with such an influx of new faces, the likes of Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell, and Hakim Ziyech yet to be involved, but this will have been a real disappointment and is a missed opportunity to make a statement of their own.
A super debut for Thiago
Liverpool’s major signing of the summer, Thiago Alcantara formerly of Bayern, got his debut and it was record-breaking to say the least. Klopp subbed him on during halftime and he recorded 75 completed passes during the final 45 minutes of the game. The previous record for completed passes in a half was 45. He put his passing range on display with numerous long balls as well as some precise close-range passes. He is certainly a player Liverpool fans can’t wait to see more of.
MAN OF THE MATCH: SADIO MANÉ
Leicester City 4-2 Burnley
The clarets at the foxes’ den
Brendan Rodgers says his Leicester team are “not even thinking about” about a sustained Premier League title challenge despite moving top for the first time since they were champions in 2015-16. Sunday’s victory over Burnley gave Rodgers his 100th win as a Premier League manager in his 210th game – Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Kenny Dalglish and Kevin Keegan the only British managers to have reached the landmark in fewer matches.
Leicester, who finished fifth last season, came from behind to maintain their 100% start against Burnley at the King Power Stadium. Chris Wood opened the scoring for Sean Dyche’s under-strength side, firing into the bottom left corner after outmuscling home defender James Justin at the far post. But the Foxes, who enjoyed the majority of possession, immediately responded with Harvey Barnes’ placed effort drawing them level.
Erik Pieters’ own goal put the hosts ahead after the break with Justin doubling their advantage. Top-flight debutant Jimmy Dunne raised hopes of a Burnley recovery when he headed in Dwight McNeil’s left-wing delivery, but Dennis Praet’s superb 20-yard strike into the top-right corner put the gloss on Leicester’s win.
Barnes impresses for hosts
While Burnley’s determination and desire were admirable, in the end, it proved no match for Leicester’s fluid attacking play and extra sharpness. The home side controlled the ball throughout with Barnes and Belgian midfielder Praet coming to the fore on the left of midfield. Whether it was going directly up against Burnley right-back Phil Bardsley or moving intelligently into infield positions, Barnes’ movement and the pace was a key ingredient of Leicester’s attacking play. His placed effort to equalize was a show of composure as Burnley defenders reacted to Castagne’s cut-back. And he forced a wonderful save from Pope at the end of a teasing run in off the left wing that Bardsley could do little to prevent.
The England U21 international had more shots (five) than any other Leicester player but his final contribution of the evening was significant one in another way, as he skipped away from three defenders to pick out Praet who did the rest with a sublime effort. “Harvey Barnes was outstanding tonight,” Rodgers added. “He keeps on getting into areas you want him to and is a big talent.”
Depleted Burnley fought to the end
Burnley manager Sean Dyche has repeatedly talked about the need for Burnley to add to their squad since top-flight football returned in June and conceded that they would be “stretched to the limit” for this fixture. And although he was disappointed by the outcome and the unfortunate manner in which they fell behind, Pieters inadvertently deflecting Timothy Castagne’s cross past Nick Pope, he said he “marveled at the spirit” of his depleted team.
Already without five first-choice players and at the physical disadvantage of having not played last weekend, the Clarets’ task was made harder when midfielder Robbie Brady went off with a rib injury during the first half. But there were plenty of positives, with Dyche’s side managing more efforts on goal than the hosts and threatening to set up a tense finale when Wood hit the post late on.
MAN OF THE MATCH: HARVEY BARNES
Aston Villa 1-0 Sheffield United
Hero from day 1
Aston Villa got off to a good start and within a minute right-back Matty Cash – making his debut – fired a dangerous ball into the box but John McGinn’s volley flew over the bar. Sheffield United also threatened in the early exchanges and Konsa had to slide in at the near post to prevent a low cross from the right being poked in by David McGoldrick.
But Villa were gifted the upper hand inside a quarter of an hour when Egan pulled back Watkins as he raced onto Mings’ long ball and referee Scott showed the red card. Despite their numerical disadvantage, Blades’ midfielder Lundstram could have given United the lead from the spot 20 minutes later but Martinez, who arrived from Arsenal for £17m earlier this month, dived to his right to deny the midfielder. Conor Hourihane’s deliveries were causing problems and although Villa were unable to capitalize initially, they deserved to take the lead through Konsa’s header after Jack Grealish and Watkins each went close.
It was Villa’s second victory in a week after they overcame League One side Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup second round.
Captain absence costs the Blades
After going two goals down in their Premier League opener to Wolves within six minutes last Monday, Wilder would have hoped for a smoother start at Villa Park. But again, a needless error from Egan made United’s task much harder and Wilder was forced to sacrifice striker McGoldrick before the break. New signing Ethan Ampadu’s introduction was a shrewd tactical decision – releasing Chris Basham into midfield and moving John Fleck across to deal with Cash.
The move paid off immediately with Basham making the forward run into the box to earn the penalty but Lundstram was unable to take advantage. Sheffield United kept their organization and steel at the back – pushing back every set-piece and squeezing out the space in which Villa tried to work for the next half an hour.
But Konsa’s header was the key blow and while United had glimpses of hope on the counter-attack, they never truly tested Villa from open play.
MAN OF THE MATCH: EMILIANO MARTINEZ
Wolves 1-3 Manchester City
Perfect start for the cityzens
Manchester City held off a second-half Wolves fightback to begin their quest to regain the Premier League title with a win at Molineux. City did the damage in a superb first half as Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year Kevin de Bruyne and Phil Foden, playing for the first time since being sent home from England duty in disgrace, both found the net. At that stage, it seemed a case of how many the visitors would get, with Foden and Raheem Sterling both going close and Wolves keeper Rui Patricio making two decent saves. However, City ran out of steam after the break.
Daniel Podence twice went close for the hosts and Kyle Walker hacked a scuffed Ruben Neves shot off the line, before Raul Jimenez, scorer of 27 goals last season, netted 12 minutes from time to give Wolves hope. However, they were unable to repeat last term’s exploits, when they came back from 2-0 down to win this fixture, and Gabriel Jesus’ injury-time effort sealed victory for Pep Guardiola’s side.
Slow start for Wolves
In signing his three-year contract extension, Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo has set himself the task of reshaping his team. Matt Doherty, who has gone to Tottenham, is yet to be replaced in the right wing-back role. Nelson Semedo is earmarked for that job but a £30m deal is still to be completed. In the meantime, Adama Traore is being asked to fill in. However, the Spaniard does not have a defender’s instinct and can fail to read opponents’ runs, and using him in that position blunts him as an attacking force.
On the other side, with Jonny on the long-term injured list, Nuno brought in Marcal from Lyon for £3m. Unfortunately for the hosts, the game was barely five minutes old when the Brazilian wandered over to his manager to tell him he had to come off. It weakened Wolves on both flanks and, in trying to cover, they were carved up down the middle. By half-time, they were in big trouble. Coming back from 2-0 down to win the corresponding fixture 3-2 was one of the Premier League highlights of last season. With no fans in the stadium on Monday, the hosts had to try to generate their own momentum.
They rallied after the break and Podence crashed an effort off the frame of the goal before Neves’ tame shot was turned away by City defender Walker. Podence’s attempt to chip Ederson when clean through ended up on the roof of the net and Jimenez sent a good chance wide before the Mexico striker did eventually find the net, heading in after Podence had cleverly nutmegged De Bruyne. But Wolves lost their way and City had the game under control before the Brazillian forward Gabriel Jesus administered the final blow.
City fan shares his thoughts
“Laporte wasn’t especially missed today, I thought both centre-halves were great. Jesus played well, linkup play was fantastic. Aguero is needed because we lack depth upfront if one player gets injured.” said one Manchester City fan in reaction to the win at Molineux.
“I think it all comes down to fitness. Our squad is looking a bit thin and Pep mentioned we were gonna play mostly academy players on Thursday. Despite that, we looked good at one of the toughest grounds to go to in the league, and I think we can rediscover our old form once we’re injury-free, probably around mid-October is my estimate. I think we can reclaim the league, but success this season really comes down to how we do in the Champions League this season.”
Manchester City will be challenging for the Champions League this year after successive unsuccessful attempts. The Cityzens were knocked out in the competition after losing to Olympique Lyonnais in a shocking fashion, demonstrating their defence vulnerability and lack of precision in front of goals. However, with the signing of Ferran Torres from Valencia and Nathan Ake from the relegated Bournemouth, Manchester City would certainly be challenging for the Premier League as they want to repeat their domestic success as was in 2018/2019.
MAN OF THE MATCH: KEVIN DE BRUYNE
Premier League table after matchday 2
Our Team of the Week
GK: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa) RB: Tariq Lamptey (Brighton & Hove Albion) CB: Mamadou Sakho (Crystal Palace) Ben White (Brighton & Hove Albion) LB: Tyrick Mitchell (Everton) CM: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) Phil Foden (Manchester City) RW: Son Heung Min (Tottenham Hotspur) ST: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) LW: Sadio Mané (Liverpool)