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Premier League Roundup 2020/21: Gameweek 2

Premier League Roundup 2020/21: Gameweek 2

The second weekend of the Premier League featured the Manchester clubs playing their first game of the season. While it was a winning start for the men in blue, the Red Devils suffered a shocking three-one loss to Crystal Palace at home. Arsenal made it two wins in a row after another clash with local rivals, West Ham.

FootTheBall dives deep into a few big matches from gameweek two of the .

 

Chelsea 0 – 2 Liverpool

The most awaited fixture of gameweek two of the Premier League, Chelsea hosted Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. While this had to be a “new-look” Chelsea going head-to-head against the reigning champions, only two of the new signings made their home debut. Timo Werner and Kai Havertz were involved in the attacking triumvirate alongside Mason Mount. Mateo Kovacic returned form a suspension. Frank Lampard mirrored Liverpool’s 4-3-3 formation.

Jurgen Klopp placed Fabinho in the defensive backline. The Brazilian came in place of an injured Joe Gomez to pair up with Virgin Van Dijk. Joel Matip was also out with an injury. Thiago Alcantara, procured from , made it to the bench as he debuted in a “different” shade of red during the second half.

It was Liverpool’s game to lose right from the beginning of the match. The visitors took the game to Chelsea’s half as they enjoyed a lion’s share of possession. It was a masterstroke from Klopp to let his side keep possession and use his high-flying wingers. This effectively nullified Timo Werner’s counterattacking threat as the German had to pull back for denying a 2v1 on Marcos Alonso. Even when Werner got a clear opportunity to make inroads behind Liverpool’s high defensive line, Fabinho performed his duties as a centre-half with aplomb. This was particularly prominent in the 19th minute. Kovacic gained control of the ball after Liverpool’s attempt to attack had failed. He carried the ball from his box and released Werner in the left half-space, at the halfway line. However, the speedster failed to beat Fabinho who got his toe in to win possession.

Had Gomez been there, the result might have been different. With Thiago now a part of Liverpool’s squad, it is an exciting prospect to see Fabinho partnering Van Dijk in defense. This could be a similar move to how Pep Guardiola deployed Fernandinho in City’s backline.

The closing ten minutes of the first half saw each of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Andrew Robertson having a go at the goal. The score, nonetheless, remained nil-nil.

Andreas Christensen’s sending-off was already a burden for Chelsea. Liverpool took full advantage in the second half. Liverpool broke the deadlock six minutes after the break. A series of 13 passes outside Chelsea’s box, with Thiago at the fulcrum, saw Mane connecting to Roberto Firmino’s cross as the Senegalese attacker scored his first of the night.

Mane completed his brace, four minutes after his first goal. This time a howler from Kepa Arrizabalaga gifted the ball to Mane at the face of the goal and he could just not afford to miss this chance.

Premier League Roundup 2020/21: Gameweek 2

Alisson denies Jorginho from converting his penalty (Image courtesy: Twitter/@premierleague)

Chelsea, however, encountered a big moment to get themselves back into the game. With around 15 minutes left on the clock, the Blues earned a penalty. After a controlled passing maneuver to progress the ball through Liverpool’s pressing, Werner received a long pass down the left flank. He dribbled past Fabinho from the left channel to find a perfect angle for pulling the trigger only to be tripped by Thiago.

Jorginho stepped up to redeem Chelsea from the spot. His soft effort was no challenge for Alisson as Chelsea blanked in their first home game of the season.

 

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 – 3

Manchester City returned to Premier League action for the first time this season. Wolves welcomed the Cityzens at the Molineux Stadium, where Pep Guardiola was defeated by Nuno Espirito Santo last season.

Ilkay Gundogan missed his trip after testing positive for the novel coronavirus. Aymeric Laporte and Riyad Mahrez were also the victims of Covid-19 but they reportedly trained in the previous week. Guardiola picked his usual 4-3-3 setup. Nathan Ake debuted in the heart of defense alongside John Stones.

The hosts, on the other hand, were looking to repeat their feat from the previous season having won their first game against Sheffield United last weekend. Wolves made a single change from their previous game. Ruben Neves was introduced in the midfield. Raul Jimenez and Daniel Podence led the attack upfront.

As expected, City launched the game in an attacking mode from the onset. Guardiola had his tactics pre-installed for this game. Manchester City were constantly dipping long passes, trying to find attackers making a run in behind Wolves’ defense. City came close to opening their account in the 11th minute. Kevin De Bruyne forced a save from Rui Patricio following a free-kick, 25 odd yards out from the goal.

Seven minutes later, however, the Belgian got his first goal of the season. He received a through-ball from Phil Foden as he made a run inside the box from the right-half space. De Bruyne was brought down by Romain Saiss whose erroneous challenge made the referee point straight to the spot. The PFA Player of the Year picked the right corner of the goal to put City in the lead.

City made it two after playing a third of the game. Adama Traore’s pass for Jimenez was intercepted by Ake. City optimized their positional play to progress the ball forward. It was Raheem Sterling who dodged Patricio and pulled back a pass from De Bruyne’s through-ball. Phil Foden was in the right place at the right moment as the English youngster fired in an empty net. While Wolves looked a bit sharp in the penultimate minutes of the first half, City managed to keep a clean sheet before the break.

Wolves kept their momentum going in the second half. Daniel Podence almost scored for his side in the 54th minute. He received a pass from Traore from the right-hand side. It was a breathtaking effort from Podence as he pivoted after collecting the ball to align his position with the goal and blasted the ball. Unfortunately, his attempt brushed the side netting of the goal.

With 12 minutes remaining for the full-time whistle, Podence did the unthinkable. The Portuguese nutmegged De Bruyne as he dribbled inside from the left flank to curl a pin-point cross. Jimenez was on the receiving end as he headed the ball past Ederson at the near post.

While Wolves seemed adamant to earn a point in their own backyard, City had other plans. Gabriel Jesus restored the two-goal lead for the visitors in the last minute of the stoppage time.

 

Southampton 2 – 5

Having lost the first game in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho was furious this weekend. He was determined to make a point and had even dropped underperforming Dele Alli from the squad.

Spurs used a 4-3-3 formation where Harry Kane, Heung-min Son, and Lucas Moura played upfront. The attacking partnership of Kane and Son turned the tables for Spurs.

Spurs almost got an early goal through Harry Kane which was ruled out for an offside. However, it was none other than the FPL favourite, Danny Ings who scored the first goal of the game to give Southampton the lead in the 32nd minute. Son reverted at the close of the first half to make it one-each on the scoresheet.

After halftime, the visitors came out stronger. Within two minutes after the break, Son scored the second goal for Spurs which was followed by his third to complete his hattrick in the 64th minute. Ten minutes later, the South Korean winger added another to his kitty.

Having created four goals for Son, Kane finally got his name on the scoresheet with only eight minutes left for the game to conclude. Spurs were running a riot as they were leading by five goals to one.

With time ticking and Southampton seemingly lost three points, Ings reduced the deficit in the final minute of the game from a penalty kick.

It was a startling match indeed. This was a performance Tottenham fans had been longing for. With Gareth Bale and Sergio Reguilon added in Spurs’ ranks, the results should follow an upward trajectory for Mourinho.

 

A sneak peek into other results from the Premier League..

 

(Featured Image: Twitter/@premierleague)

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