If game week one of the Premier League upped the ante, and game week two maintained the impression, then the third game week just blew off the roof. In an adrenaline-filled ten-game, the Premier League this week proved why it is the best football league in the world. Thirty-one goals, three red cards and eight decisive results threw open the league. There were heavy favourites who dropped points and some teams who nicked a victory just on grit and sheer determination.
The league’s competitiveness can be judged by the fact that only five teams are undefeated in the league after just three games. With the transfer window still open, we can expect the results of this game to heavily influence whether clubs sign additional players to the squad or not.
So, what did we learn from the game week three of the Premier League?
Darwin Nunez has finally arrived for Liverpool
Last season, Liverpool coughed up €75 million to sign stats darling Darwin Nunez from SL Benfica. However, his first season was far from amazing, with the Uruguayan scoring just 15 goals and providing four assists. There were questions about whether he could justify his price tag. Fifteen minutes against Newcastle United changed all that. With the team a goal and a man down after Virgil Van Dijk was sent off in the 28th minute, Nunez was sent in as a substitute in the 77th minute.
And just four minutes later, he was on goal after a mistake by Sven Botman. Nunez, though, didn’t make any mistake in producing the perfect finish in the bottom left corner from a tight angle. With the scores level, Liverpool didn’t hold back and went in search of the winning goal. In the injury time, that moment came when Nunez was found by a clinical pass by Mohamed Salah, who scored his second goal to win it for Liverpool. Earlier in the game, Alisson Becker made what could be the save of the season to keep the score 1-0, creating the perfect situation for the incredible comeback.
Manchester City march on
Pep Guardiola’s man kept their 100 per cent winning streak alive after a 2-1 win over Sheffield United with goals from Erling Haaland and Rodri. City had played a very tough game against Newcastle the previous week. This, combined with the absence of Guardiola due to back surgery, showed its effects as the club failed to have any kind of rhythm to their attack.
Erling Haaland was also far from his best, as he missed several chances to open the scoring. However, the goal did come after an hour when the Norwegian got on the end of a Jack Grealish cross. Sheffield, though spurred on by the home crowd, didn’t give up and found their equaliser in the 85th minute after a superb counterattack by the team, which resulted in Jayden Bogle scoring past a hapless Ederson.
Shocked by the goal, City went on the offensive, and it was an unlikely Rodri who unleashed a ferocious half-volley that went into the top right corner to win City all three points.
Newcastle 1-2 Liverpool: Stats Report 📊
▪️ Liverpool *somehow* maintain 14-game unbeaten run against Newcastle
▪️ Liverpool unbeaten in their last 7 games when they’ve got a red card
▪️ Opta match centre to do your own analysis
And a ton more ⬇️https://t.co/XbJpD6Y483
— Opta Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) August 27, 2023
Arsenal held by Fulham
If Liverpool won with ten men, then Arsenal dropped points against a team with a man down. It was a strange feeling for a team that had won with ten men just the previous week. Coming into the game against Fulham, Arsenal were feeling confident of their chances to grab all three points. However, Fulham had other ideas as they grabbed the lead in just 57 seconds after Andreas Pereira punched on an error by Bukayo Saka. The visitors kept on the pressure, leading the game going into half-time.
However, Mikel Arteta’s men found their rhythm in the second half, eventually winning a penalty to equalise the game. The Gunners kept on the pressure and ultimately found their second chance as Eddie Nketiah got on the end of a low pass by Martin Odegaard to score past Bernd Leno.
Things went from bad to worse for Fulham as Calvin Bassey was given his marching orders after receiving a second yellow card for a foul on Nketiah. However, just four minutes later, the Cottagers found their second goal, with Joao Palhinha scoring from a corner to share the spoils.
Manchester United show their best and worst in 90 minutes
In just three games, Manchester United have shown that they can be a serious title contender at their best and simultaneously resemble a relegation-fighting side at their worst. And the game against Nottingham Forest was a perfect example of that. United needed a strong start after their 2-0 loss against Tottenham. Still, they fell behind in just four minutes as the visitors scored from a rapid counterattack that started from a United corner. The Red Devils have shown a vulnerability to corners, and they were once again on the receiving end, going 2-0 down.
With their backs pressed against their wall, United came back fighting. Last week, Erik Ten Hag faced criticism for playing Marcus Rashford as a striker rather than his natural playing position of left winger. The manager complied, and Rashford started the comeback, providing an assist (his first goal contribution of the season) for Christian Eriksen. United kept the pressure in the second half with Casemior, who earlier missed one of the easiest chances, making amends to equalise the game.
Nottingham Forest, facing wave after wave of United attacks, finally crumbled as they conceded a penalty, which Bruno Fernandes duly converted to win all three points.
West Ham are an opponent no one will like to face
David Moyes’ men have bullied two teams to win six points in just two games. The team that is packed with physical specimens once again asserted their dominance on the pitch to beat in-form Brighton 1-3 on the road. The win helped West Ham climb up to second place. Like the previous match, they played a defined heavy formation using the little ball they had to start counterattacks.
This strategy worked to perfection for the second week in a row and helped them race to a 3-0 lead by the end of the first hour. Brighton pulled back a goal in the 81st minute through Pascal Groß, but it was too little too late for the Seagulls to stage a comeback.