Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Premier League Results Match Week 2: Chelsea Outguns Arsenal; Devils and Saints in Standoff: Spurs Win in Nuno Return; Manchester City Crushes Canaries; Ings Sparkler Leads Villa; Foxes Hammered

Romelu Lukaku scored in the fifteenth minute of his return to Chelsea as the Blues proved too much for an undermanned and tactically outmatched Arsenal squad in a 5-0 Chelsea win at the Emirates. Arsenal center back Ben White was yet another COVID casualty as the Arsenal defense, already without injured center back Gabriel, was overrun in the first half. Gunner defenders Pablo Mari and Rob Holding were no match for Lukaku’s physicality in the center of the defense.

Arsenal left back Kieran Tierney, meanwhile, managed not a single tackle during the match as Chelsea’s right wing back Reece James took advantage to assist on Lukaku’s goal before scoring on his own. Fortune would later smile on Reece when he escaped a penalty call when tangling with Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka. Cursed with injuries to his squad, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is also under fire for tactical decisions and man management issues as the Gunners are off to their worst start in the history of the club.

Southampton delivered the surprise result of the weekend, sharing points with Manchester United in a 1-1 draw at St. Mary’s. Manchester United equaled a Premier League record by avoiding defeat for a 27th consecutive away match but Red Devil fans were nonetheless hot over dropping points to lightly regarded Southampton. The Saints were blessed with an early own goal by Manchester United midfielder Fred who scored for a second consecutive match, his goal on Sunday unfortunately finding the wrong net. A Mason Greenwood goal, enabled by Paul Pogba’s fifth assist of the young season, allowed United to escape with the point. Southampton, which conceded nine goals to Manchester United in their last meeting, appeared improved on defense with the additions of center back Mohammed Salisu and 18-year-old right back Valentino Livramento.

Spurs maintained a perfect record and Harry Kane made an appearance as Nuno Espirito Santo won at his former club in a 1-0 defeat of Wolves. Dele Alli scored the first half winner, drawing and converting a penalty kick for the match’s lone score. Alli, playing in a deeper position this season, has been a key performer for his new manager.

Twenty year-old Spurs defender Oliver Skipp, who helped Norwich win the Championship while he was on loan there last season, has also factored in the two victories, combining with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to form a solid defensive midfield. Harry Kane made a second half experience for Spurs and went close with an opportunity. Kane, if he were to stay in north London,  would substantially upgrade the attack for a defensively sound side which has won its two matches by the same 1-0 score. Wolves have lost their two matches by the same 1-0 score despite impressing over large stretches of both their matches. The Wolves have proven toothless in front of net with the dynamic Adama Traore at once both exciting the crowd and exasperating fans with his lack of marksmanship.

Manchester City rebounded from an opening weekend loss by rolling over struggling Norwich in a 5-0 win at the Etihad. The Canaries, registering a second consecutive poor outing, have conceded eight goals without scoring this season and managed just one off-target shot in Saturday’s match against Manchester City. Gabriel Jesus factored prominently in the Manchester City attack as his cross was deflected into net by Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul in the seventh minute before Jesus added two later assists.

Jack Grealish, assisted by a Jesus cross, scored his first goal for Manchester City in the romp. Danny Ings delivered the Premier League goal of the season to date in a 2-0 Aston Villa win over visiting Newcastle. Ings’s bicycle kick in first half stoppage time resulted in a goal on the first shot on target by either side. The wonder goal occurred off a long throw-in by Matty Cash which was flicked on by Tyrone Mings to the acrobatic Ings.

A second half penalty kick by Anwar El Ghazi provided the insurance as the Villains won their first match since the departure of Jack Grealish. Newcastle remains searching for its first point of the season. The Magpies had a chance to take an early first half lead, but Callum Wilson missed a breakaway opportunity. The Newcastle striker would later be denied a penalty kick opportunity by VAR.

Liverpool notched a second consecutive victory with a 2-0 defeat of Burnley at Anfield. Diogo Jota scored for a second consecutive week before Sadio Mane clinched the match with his first goal of the season and 50th in a Liverpool shirt. Jota’s goal was his 14th in his last 31 Premier League games. 18-year-old Harvey Elliot made his first Premier League start for Liverpool which also saw captain Jordan Henderson return to the starting line-up. The Reds registered a second consecutive clean sheet while Burnley has yet to score this season. Liverpool left back Konstantinos Tsimikas, who assisted on Jota’s opening goal, has ably filled in for the injured Andy Robertson.

Leeds came from behind twice to gain a point at home in a 2-2 final with Everton as a 69th minute strike by Rafinha secured the tie for the home Whites at Elland Road. Rafinha has now scored in each of his three matches versus Everton. Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored for a second consecutive week for Everton, drawing and then converting a first half penalty for the Toffees. In an interesting clash of style, Leeds controlled 70% of possession but managed just four shots on target versus the eight placed on net by the Toffees who threatened Leeds with their pace in counterattack.

Crystal Palace snatched a first point of the season with a home draw versus Brentford. Conor Gallagher was a welcome addition to the Palace midfield, providing all-out effort throughout the match. Forward Wilfried Zaha, in comparison, seemed more focused on arguing with officials as the Ivory Coast international is not receiving the foul calls he has been accustomed to in past seasons. Palace remains seriously deficient in attack where Christian Benteke and Jordan Ayew provide little production. Brentford, meanwhile, remains undefeated after two Premier League matches in their maiden season.

The Seagulls’ swarming defense smothered Watford in Brighton’s 2-0 win as the Hornets managed just one weak attempt on target for the match. Brighton’s second win in as many weeks extended their winning streak dating to last season to six matches. Neal Maupay scored in a second consecutive match for the Seagulls but worryingly left the match with a shoulder injury. Watford have now split their two matches in their Premier League return.

Leicester was sloppy and West Ham was relentless in a 4-1 win by the Hammers at London Stadium. A Jamie Vardy giveaway in midfield led to an opening Hammers’ goal by Pablo Fornals. After Leicester went down to ten men following an Ayoze Perez red card, the Foxes committed further clumsiness. Defender Caglar Soyuncu’s sloppy back pass was intercepted by West Ham’s Michail Antonio who crossed to Said Benrahma for a two goal Hammer lead at halftime. After Leicester’s Youri Tielemans provided momentary hope for the Foxes with a 69th minute goal, Michail Antoino sealed the match with two late goals. Antonio’s first of his two scores made him West Ham’s all-time leading Premier League goal scorer, his 48th goal breaking a tie with club legend Paolo di Canio. The Hammers finished Week Two atop the Premier League table for only the second time. 

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