Manchester United beat Wolves 1-0 of their first recreation since saying they’d reached an settlement to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo.
Arsenal’s poor begin continued with a 5-0 defeat at Manchester Metropolis, whereas Liverpool and Chelsea drew 1-1 at Anfield.
Everton made it seven factors out of 9 with a 2-0 win at Brighton and Leicester additionally secured their second win of the season – 2-1 at Norwich.
Brentford’s encouraging begin to life within the high flight continued with a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa, whereas Newcastle drew 2-2 at house to Southampton, and Crystal Palace twice combating again to safe an analogous outcome at West Ham.
Try my workforce of the week after which make your individual choices in direction of the underside of the article.
Goalkeeper: David de Gea (Man Utd)
David de Gea: With 12 minutes to go within the recreation between Wolves and Manchester United, Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy was pencilled in after his efficiency in opposition to Liverpool.
The Senegalese goalkeeper held his nerve in a hostile environment and was in glowing kind. He needed to be. Chelsea battled brilliantly with a purpose to safe a well-earned level with 10 males in opposition to a Liverpool aspect who regarded within the temper – and an Anfield crowd baying for blood.
However that was earlier than United’s De Gea made probably the most extraordinary point-blank double save from Wolves defender Romain Saiss. I have not seen a efficiency like this from De Gea for no less than two years.
Do you know? De Gea made 5 saves in opposition to Wolves to assist his aspect to a 1-0 win. It was his 123rd Premier League clear sheet, 11 greater than every other Manchester United goalkeeper.
Defenders: Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
Antonio Rudiger: The crimson card given to Chelsea’s Reece James in opposition to Liverpool ought to have been a turning level, but it surely wasn’t. Blues supervisor Thomas Tuchel summed it up when he stated his workforce confirmed nice resilience and spirit – no-one extra so than Rudiger.
I’ve been saying for a while now this participant is Chelsea’s biggest defensive asset.
When he was booked within the first half I believed he was odds on to obtain a second yellow, however Rudiger proved to be far too sensible for that. Beneath Tuchel, the German centre-back has obtained higher.
Do you know? Rudiger made three tackles, three clearances and gained possession six instances in opposition to Liverpool.
Virgil van Dijk: If the shot that had Mendy frantically scrambling throughout his goal-line was something to go by, then it seems to be like Van Dijk’s proper knee has absolutely recovered from the harm he sustained in opposition to Everton final season.
The Netherlands worldwide is slowly however certainly coming again to the boil. Not solely is he commanding his personal penalty space once more, he’s venturing ahead extra and changing into a menace within the opposition field. Defenders like Van Dijk come round as soon as in a era.
Do you know? Van Dijk regained possession extra instances in opposition to Chelsea than every other Liverpool participant (17), whereas additionally finishing 91% of his passes.
Cesar Azpilicueta: For the second consecutive week, Azpilicueta makes my line-up. The best way he dealt with raids from Andy Robertson and the fixed menace from Sadio Mane was excellent.
We have been fairly entitled to suppose Chelsea may need capitulated by dropping James, however nothing may have been farther from the reality. As for the sending-off, why do the foundations insist a participant must be punished twice for one offence?
I’ve no drawback with the penalty being awarded, however to dismiss the participant as properly, when it was clear the ball got here off his knee and the handball was a response and never premeditated, pressured Azpilicueta to vehemently problem the referee’s resolution. It is a poor rule.
Do you know? No Chelsea participant made extra tackles (6) and clearances (9) in opposition to Liverpool than Azpilicueta.
Midfielders: Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace), Paul Pogba (Man Utd), Ilkay Gundogan (Man Metropolis), Andros Townsend (Everton)
Conor Gallagher: I believed he did extraordinarily properly to squeeze his first objective previous Lukasz Fabianski, however the second was a sensational end. Gallagher seems to be very snug within the Crystal Palace set-up.
I noticed him play for West Brom whereas on mortgage final season and wrestle in a poor aspect. Nevertheless, the Chelsea participant, who is ready to exit on mortgage wherever he can to get useful taking part in time, is beginning to reap the rewards.
I used to be starting to get slightly frightened for Patrick Vieira at Palace, however two targets and his first level on the board away in opposition to West Ham is an encouraging signal.
Do you know? Gallagher is barely the second participant in Premier League historical past to attain 2+ targets throughout his first two video games within the competitors for the Eagles, after Bakary Sako (two in August 2015).
Paul Pogba: This wasn’t Manchester United’s best hour at Wolves, however they obtained the outcome, partly on account of De Gea’s brilliance and Pogba’s dedication. The speaking level on this fixture was Pogba’s deal with on Ruben Neves earlier than Mason Greenwood’s objective.
To start with, the France worldwide gained a ball he wasn’t entitled to win. However he did, courtesy of Mike Dean. Had Neves gone down initially, as an alternative of trying on the referee after the ball had been retained by United, then he would have gotten the free-kick.
However to go to floor after you’ve got taken two steps following the deal with, circled and regarded on the referee having misplaced the ball was a cheek.
Do you know? Pogba tried (75) and accomplished (65) extra passes in opposition to Wolves than every other United participant, whereas additionally making three interceptions.
Ilkay Gundogan: He was excellent for Metropolis final season and appears like he has one other vital position to play to make sure his workforce not solely retain the title, however elevate the elusive Champions League.
Arsenal alternatively don’t have any targets and no factors after three video games and sit on the foot of the desk for the primary time of their Premier League historical past. I take no satisfaction in seeing one of many best golf equipment within the nation diminished to a shadow of its former self.
Fairly what Granit Xhaka thinks he was doing tackling an opponent that, even when he gained the ball, was in an space of little consequence, completely epitomised the participant’s lack of thought or self-discipline. Exactly the place Arsenal go from right here is anybody’s guess.
Do you know? Gundogan has scored 12 Premier League targets in 2021, a haul solely Harry Kane can higher (14) this calendar yr to this point.
Andros Townsend: This was an excellent efficiency at Brighton by Everton, whereas the model of soccer they’re taking part in underneath Rafael Benitez is pretty much as good because it was underneath Carlo Ancelotti.
Benitez has made two impressed signings in Demarai Grey and Townsend. Each tormented Brighton, however what happened when Everton have been awarded a penalty was most fascinating.
Richarlison was decided to take the penalty and held onto the ball. Nevertheless, it was Townsend that nicked the ball from underneath the arm of Richarlison, which allowed Dominic Calvert-Lewin to take the spot-kick. Does that go down as an help for Townsend?
Do you know? Townsend gained extra fouls (4) than every other Everton participant in opposition to Brighton and made 4 tackles.
Forwards: Gabriel Jesus (Man Metropolis), Michail Antonio (West Ham), Ferran Torres (Man Metropolis)
Gabriel Jesus: The Brazillan provides one other objective and help in opposition to Arsenal to his early-season tally whereas attempting to persuade Pep Guardiola he must be the person main the road for Manchester Metropolis after the departure of Sergio Aguero.
Whereas taking part in Norwich or a dishevelled Arsenal, they’ll get away with it. Nevertheless, in opposition to extra organised groups when video games might be significantly tighter, they are going to discover scoring targets as troublesome because it’s all the time been.
Guardiola should cease messing real proficient goalscorers round with a purpose to present a mode of soccer that could be adequate to win the Premier League, however has not proved so profitable in profitable Metropolis the Champions League.
Do you know? Jesus hasn’t misplaced any of the 43 Premier League video games he has scored in, a report solely James Milner (54) and Darius Vassell (46) can higher.
Michail Antonio: I’ve by no means thought this lad was notably gifted, however I do not suppose I’ve seen many gamers together with his enthusiasm for the sport or want. Antonio is taking part in the soccer of his life.
He was spectacular in opposition to Newcastle, sensible in opposition to Leicester and even higher in opposition to Crystal Palace. The composure he confirmed with a purpose to lay on Pablo Fornals’ objective was sheer class.
Antonio scored what can solely be described as a typical Michail Antonio objective, however the help for Fornals required thought and a willingness to place the workforce first. Now that is a bit particular.
Do you know? Antonio is the primary participant to hit 50 top-flight targets for West Ham since Tony Cottee within the 1985-86 marketing campaign.
Ferran Torres: Scored two targets in opposition to Arsenal with out breaking sweat, however what did the Gunners count on with a again three of Sead Kolasinac, Rob Holding and Calum Chambers?
This was the workforce that, underneath George Graham and Arsene Wenger, would go to locations like Metropolis and arrange for a battle with correct defenders within the aspect like Martin Keown, Tony Adams, Sol Campbell and Lee Dixon or Ashley Cole, Lauren and Kolo Toure. You all the time knew you have been in a recreation.
What we noticed in opposition to Manchester Metropolis have been defenders who could not defend, led by a supervisor, Mikel Arteta, who’s trying an increasing number of out of his depth by the minute. I’ve heard of One Path, however this lot had no route.
Do you know? Torres each scored and assisted (2 targets, 1 help) in a top-flight league recreation for under the second time, and the primary since scoring one and helping one for Valencia in opposition to Levante in December 2019 in La Liga.
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The Crooks of the Matter
Fifa president Gianni Infantino has requested Prime Minister Boris Johnson for exemptions so Premier League golf equipment will launch gamers for World Cup qualifiers in red-list nations. In the meantime, it appears nations are being added to the record by the hour, however the Fifa president suggests it is a “matter of nice urgency and significance” that gamers are launched.
What – to play soccer?
Whereas vacation spot weddings all around the world are being cancelled and worldwide conferences placed on maintain, Infantino insists World Cup qualifiers ought to proceed regardless. He stated, “a present of solidarity from each member affiliation, each league, and each membership, to do what’s each proper and truthful for the worldwide recreation”.
How about what is correct for the nation’s public well being? The Division for Tradition, Media and Sport made it clear that there is no such thing as a want to alter present coverage and permit gamers to journey to nations on the crimson record – and fairly rightly.
Spain are additionally in help of the UK authorities’s place and I’ve little doubt different nations will observe. Even the Premier League, in a uncommon present of solidarity, voted unanimously in opposition to Infantino’s request.
His remaining remark completely captures Fifa’s business pursuits by claiming the integrity of the qualifiers are at stake. However the actuality is Fifa’s controversial 2022 World Cup in Qatar is already engulfed in criticism because the hosts try to conduct matches in blistering temperatures and synthetic circumstances.
The very last thing the competitors can afford is for the most effective groups, who invariably have the most effective gamers, to not qualify for the World Cup finals on account of some quirk of destiny.
That will be a business catastrophe for Fifa as half of the soccer world are against the match being held in Qatar – and the opposite half in search of a motive to not go.