The Premier League kicked off after what felt like an age, despite the World Cup. Many players faced a race to be fit ahead of the new season after a taxing tournament in Russia. England’s squad returned heroes after reaching the semi-final, while other Premier League stars return villains. Ahead of the new season fans were wondering if City could be the first side in recent memory to retain the title, or could Liverpool mount a serious challenge. The newly promoted sides had signalled their intent with some strong transfer dealings. All of it lead up to the opening weekend of the season.
Anyway, here’s the first FPL Updates gameweek 1 review of the new season…
Alex McCarthy – Southampton completed the signing of Angus Gunn from Manchester City for around £15 million in summer. Gunn, who has been in an England senior squad, impressed last season on loan at Norwich City, and you could have been forgiven for expecting him to start for the Saints this season. However, Mark Hughes kept faith with Alex McCarthy, and he turned in an excellent performance despite his side struggling to record a 0-0 draw at home to Burnley. However, Sean Dyche’s side are a tough nut to crack, so no doubt Hughes won’t be too concerned.
Benjamin Mendy – Manchester City travelled to Arsenal in the game of the weekend. Many were excited to see a new look Arsenal side; however, the Gunners were well beaten 2-0 by the Champions. They were opened up when Benjamin Mendy fed Raheem Sterling, who ducked past two men before firing home. Mendy would play creator once again when he raced down the line and pulled back to Bernardo Silva who finished past Petr Cech in goal. It looks like Pep Guardiola’s side are going to take some stopping this campaign.
Jose Holebas – Someone who doesn’t always have the best of relationships with the Watford faithful is Greek fullback Jose Holebas, who has struggled for form over the past season. However, he looked in confident mood as Watford and Javi Gracia kicked off the season in style with a strong 2-0 home win over Brighton and Hove Albion, who begin just their second ever Premier League campaign. Ben Foster was barely troubled upon his return to Vicarage Road after eleven years away, and Chris Hughton bemoaned his side’s poor performance after the match.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka & Jeffrey Schlupp – Newly-promoted Fulham were in confident mood after several high-profile signings during the summer transfer window. However, they were brought back down to earth as Crystal Palace recorded an excellent 2-0 at Craven Cottage. After a nice move Patrick van Aanholt found Jeffrey Schlupp to fire the Eagles in front. They would end the contest with ten minutes to play when Wilfried Zaha slotted under Fulham debutant Fabri. In the London derby it ended with victory for South over West.
Luke Shaw – Manchester United began the season as they faced Leicester City at Old Trafford on Friday night. A moment of madness from Daniel Amartey saw a penalty awarded, only for Paul Pogba to waltz up and dispatch the spot kick into the top right corner after an interesting run up. Despite Leicester having the odd chance, United doubled the lead in the second period as Luke Shaw stretched the slot home his first professional goal after a torrid couple of seasons with the Red Devils. Jamie Vardy netted a fortuitous consolation in injury time, however it wasn’t enough to take a point.
Roberto Pereyra – Former Juventus midfielder Roberto Pereyra was the star of the show as Watford secured a comfortable 2-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion at Vicarage road on Saturday. The Argentine, who struggled severely with injury last term, opened his and his side’s account for the season when he fired home a sweet volley ten minutes before the interval. Already a favourite among the Hornets fans he doubled his tally as he turned home Jose Holebas’ corner to make the points safe. It’s yet another promising start to the Premier League season for Watford.
Sadio Mané – The performance of the weekend comes from Anfield as Liverpool dismantled a West Ham United side that boasted a host of new and high-profile faces. Mo Salah picked up where he left of last season as he tapped in from Andrew Robertson’s cross. Sadio Mané doubled the lead when he converted from James Milner’s low cross. The Senegalese forward netted his second as he fired home on the turn shortly into the second period, despite West Ham’s fair complaints about an offside. Daniel Sturridge netted mere seconds after coming on to complete a dominant display from the Reds.
Richarlison – Lots has been made of Brazilian winger Richarlison’s move from Watford to Everton, which could end up costing approximately £45 million. However, he may have gone some way towards silencing his critics after an excellent display away at newly promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wolves twice came from behind to secure a draw, once after the Brazilian prodded home from close range. The second came after Richarlison had scored a delightful goal, shimmying inside before bending a superb effort into the corner past Rui Patricio.
Ruben Neves – One of the stars of the Championship last season, Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Ruben Neves showed the Premier League what he was about as he made his debut in the top flight. After Everton were reduced to ten shortly before half time, Neves stepped up to hammer a brilliant freekick into the top corner past Jordan Pickford. After Everton had retaken the lead Neves would be instrumental as he curled a cross onto the head of debutant Raul Jimenez, who headed home to take a point, to the delight of a rapturous home crowd at Molineux.
Callum Wilson – Bournemouth spoiled the party as Cardiff City and Neil Warnock made the journey to the South Coast. The Cherries took the lead when Ryan Fraser fired home in a dominant first half for the Englishmen. Callum Wilson would then miss the chance to double the advantage when Neil Etheridge denied the former Coventry man from the spot. However, Wilson would not be denied and in second half injury time he would seal the win when he finished after being set through by Simon Francis.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)