Premier League opening weekend: Three good, three bad

Who was good and who was bad on this opening weekend of the Premier League?

It’s back, it’s really back! After circa nine months of Love Island, we can all breathe a sigh of relief and shift our focus on to the next thirty seven intervals of Premier League football.  In a busy opening weekend of action, there were plenty of talking points, and as usual, plenty of individuals who experienced good and bad days at the office.

Good: Luke Shaw

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After four painful seasons at Old Trafford, the injury prone left back finally made some positive headlines. Shaw has been wobbling more times than anyone would have liked in their career at Manchester United. Often at odds with Mourinho, and almost a forgotten man for his country, Shaw has found the game to be quite a cruel mistress.

However, fluke or not, his goal was well taken against Leicester City and capped off an impressive display by the former Southampton man. Shaw operated with confidence and intelligence, overlapping when it was right to do so and operating as solidly at the back. He will sincerely hope that this is the start of a new beginning at for him at Manchester United.

Bad: Phil Jagielka

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Whether or not you think his lunge at Molineux was worthy of a straight red, you would certainly have expected a lot more nous from the veteran centre-half. With his team one nil up away from home, in his new manager’s first game, Jagielka flew in recklessly for a tackle on Diogo Jota.

He missed the ball and connected with the Portuguese’s ankle. Ultimately he gave the referee every excuse to brandish a red card and leave Everton facing a considerably more difficult game. The dismissal has split opinion, but whether there was intent or not, the tackle was reckless and unnecessary. No doubt the England international will be kicking himself as his side dropped points on their first outing of the season.

Good: Joe Gomez

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With an early season injury crisis afflicting Liverpool’s centre-halves, many Reds fans were finally given their wish of seeing young Joe Gomez played in the middle of the back four. Liverpool’s number two very much impressed on his first outing of the season in the four nil win against West Ham.

He will have sterner test, no doubt, but he went about his business in a perfectly poised and well drilled manner. His reading of the game was brilliant and he won several excellent headers to relieve what could have been a flash point for the visitors. He is a hugely talented and capable defender, and with three of Liverpool’s five senior centre-backs out, the hope will be, that he can continue to impress alongside Virgil Van Dijk.

Bad: Neil Warnock

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This one seems a little harsh and dismissive of the veteran manager who has just engineered yet another promotion with a Football League club, but has the Marmite Man been guilty of extreme naivety this summer?

The Cardiff boss has apparently said he wanted to avoid making too many major signings as he didn’t want to upset the cohesion of his squad. Sound logic in theory. But this is the Premier League in 2018 and if you don’t invest, you are going to have a hard time.

Cardiff were by no means humiliated by Bournemouth but the gulf in class between the two sides was evident.Warnock has had a long time to assess his squad and done little to add genuine Premier League quality. If The Blue Birds are to have any hope of staying up this season, they will need to try and scrap for points in these kinds of fixtures. On first showing, Warnock’s men look quite a bit off the pace for this league and will need to show a lot more quality in the coming months.

Good: Ruben Neves & Richarlison

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You can’t really argue with goals and assists on your Premier League debuts can you? At an eventful 2-2 draw in the Black Country, Neves and Richarlison looked as though they are going to be massive for their respective clubs this season. Neves scored a real beauty of a free kick and swung in a laser guided ball Jimenez for a well earned equalizer on eighty minutes. Every bit of real quality came through him on the day and he was crucial in his side forging a point. The Portuguese certainly looks like he could become hot property for Wolves this season.

Richarlison too was excellent on Saturday. His first goal was well taken, but his second was a real beauty, cutting in from the right and bending one past the keeper into the far corner with poise and skill. If that is just a glimpse of his quality, then Everton fans can rightfully be excited. His price tag was huge, but so too could be his impact for Silva’s Blues.

Bad: Pascal Gross

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One of the most enjoyable and underrated success stories of last season; Pascal Gross was a sensation in midfield for Brighton last season. The German was involved in fifteen goals for the Seagulls last season, almost half of their total league haul. His guile and creativity made him one of the most important signings of the season when you consider Brighton rarely looked in trouble at any stage in 17/18.

The hope for Houghton and all Brighton fans would be that he would hit the ground running again this season and be a real spark for the south coast club. Unfortunately he was just one of a few players who turned in a below par performance for Brighton in their toothless two nil defeat at Watford. He was eventually pulled off after sixty minutes as his manager tried in vain to turn things around at Vicarage Road. It will be a long campaign for them if their star man of last season proves to be a one hit wonder.

 

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