Gameweek 1 would see the beginning of another Premier League season, which meant a moment of truth for FPL managers, who had spent weeks putting together the best side possible. The season kicked off with newly-promoted Norwich City travelling to Anfield to face Liverpool, before West Ham hosted Manchester City, Sheffield United faced Bournemouth and Brighton travelled to Watford. The clash of the weekend, however, would come at Old Trafford where Chelsea travelled to face Manchester United. Anyway, here’s the FPL Updates gameweek 1 review…
David De Gea – It’s fair to say that Manchester United stopper David De Gea had endured somewhat of a difficult season last time out, with the usually reliable Spaniard making more than his fair share of errors. However, he appeared back to his best as he made several decent stops to deny Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday and ensure that United began the season with a clean sheet in a comprehensive win. There were few chances for Chelsea, especially after Tammy Abraham drilled against the post just minutes in.
Erik Pieters – Burnley are famed for being a strong home side, and in recent seasons have became known as a tough nut to crack at Turf Moor. They proved this yet again as they romped to a 3-0 win against a Southampton side who had chances. However, Sean Dyche’s men held firm and found a cutting edge to force three past the Saints, who were unable to find the net. Dyche admitted there’s more to come from Burnley, and the Clarets faithful will be encouraged by an excellent win on the opening day.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – Arsenal knew that in order to force their way back into the top four they would need to address their horrific away form of the past couple of seasons, and went some way to doing so as they recorded a 1-0 away win against Newcastle on Sunday afternoon. After a couple of chances for the home side, Arsenal broke the deadlock in the second half when Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ run and cross found Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who poked past Martin Dubravka to score the winner.
Lewis Dunk – One of the results of the week came at Vicarage Road where Watford were on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline against a Brighton side tipped to struggle by many. Now under the management of Graham Potter, the Seagulls came out positively, and struck when Abdoulaye Doucouré put through his own net. Florin Andone doubled the lead just second after coming off the bench, before Neal Maupay made it a debut to remember rounding Foster and slotting home to stun the home fans.
Chris Mepham – AFC Bournemouth started as favourites against newly-promoted Sheffield United on Saturday afternoon. In what was a competitive affair, the deadlock was broken when Chris Mepham smashed home past Dean Henderson after a scramble in the box. As the minutes ticked down the Cherries may have thought they were set to open the season with a win. However, with just a minute of normal time remaining substitute Billy Sharp turned home to spark wild scenes in the away end. It’s a great point for Chris Wilder’s side.
Raheem Sterling & Riyad Mahrez – Pep Guardiola criticised Manchester City’s performance away at West Ham United on Saturday. You wouldn’t have guessed they had run out 5-0 winners at the London Stadium. The star of the show was undoubtedly England international Raheem Sterling, who netted a hat-trick on the day, as well as having another ruled out by VAR. Gabriel Jesus netted his side’s other two goals. City look like they mean business as they hunt a third consecutive Premier League title.
Mo Salah – Norwich City had the unenviable task of facing Liverpool at Anfield on Friday night, and found themselves 4-0 down at half time. A horror own-goal by Grant Hanley had seen the Canaries off to the worst possible start, before goals from Virgil Van Dijk, Divock Origi and Mo Salah made the score ugly at the interval for the newly-promoted side. However, they turned in a much better showing in the second period and will be encouraged as Teemu Pukki netted his first Premier League goal, slotting past substitute ‘keeper Adrian.
Ashley Barnes – Burnley are often accused of lacking going forwards; however, Ashley Barnes would beg to differ, and he netted a brace against Southampton at Turf Moor. The former Brighton man broke the deadlock when he slammed the ball through Angus Gunn in the Saints net, before getting on the end of a cross to double his tally. Johann Berg Gudmundsson added a third as he brilliantly curled a powerful effort into the far post. Clarets fans have every reason to be excited ahead of the coming season.
Marcus Rashford – One player who thrives on confidence is Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, and he has every reason to be confident after netting an opening day brace against Chelsea at Old Trafford. He opened the scoring from the spot, before Anthony Martial doubled United’s lead in the second half. Mere seconds later Paul Pogba played through Rashford who coolly dispatched past Kepa to spark wild celebrations, before a special moment on his Manchester United debut for Dan James saw him drill home a fourth.
Harry Kane – Spurs were massive favourites to beat Aston Villa on Saturday evening, but were left stunned when John McGinn powered through their backline and drilled home to give the Villans the lead. It was all getting a bit nervy for the home side in North London, until new signing Tanguy Ndombele curled home brilliantly from range. Spurs had their tails up, and when the ball fell to Harry Kane twelve yards out with just minutes remaining, he made no mistake. Kane even found time for another as he curled into the bottom corner in the last minute.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)