Six on the Pitch #1
Matchweek 1 has come and gone, and with that comes a new Premier League recap series. Six on the Pitch will be a focus on the top six of the Premier League giants, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur. We’ll dive into their matches during the Premier League season and point out highlights, story lines, and notable player performances. Of course we’ll rate which team gets the best spot in the list recap and go in order of importance just like the Top 5 series.
And away we go!
1. Old Trafford buzzing after United win
How about them Red Devils? There are SO many questions surrounding this club as the season gets underway. What’s going on with Paul Pogba? Why didn’t Ed Woodward buy more players? Did United go too high on Harry Maguire? Can Ole Gunnar Solskjaer win with this team? There’s probably more questions that need to be asked but after this game, Manchester United have, for now, silenced their critics.
United opened the season with a 4-0 win over Chelsea. It was the managerial debut for Frank Lampard as Chelsea boss in the PL and it couldn’t have gone more wrong. And then again, it could’ve been completely different. Returned loanee Tammy Abraham had a shot on target hit crossbar along with left back Emerson hitting the woodwork, of which at the minimum, Chelsea should’ve scored two. But a penalty converted by United forward Marcus Rashford kept Chelsea at bay till halftime at 1-0. The second half was dominated by United. New No. 9 Anthony Martial scored off a cross from Andreas Pereira to make it 2-0. Rashford would get his brace minutes later off a ball from Paul Pogba to make it 3-0. The highlight of the game was new United man Daniel James who scored his first PL goal for the club, in what was an emotional moment for the young winger.
Chelsea simply didn’t have the firepower or system to counter United’s counterattacks. Lampard tried to rally his troops after the first goal, but even his frustration at the lack of clinical finishing he needs from his young squad was apparent from the sidelines. Lampard has been under fire over the past hours and he will need to brace himself for criticism along this campaign. He has to show he can make this young team a successful team in all competitions. If results like this continue he won’t last till Christmas. It’s not his fault, with a two year transfer ban, it’s not easy to get results equivalent of a Top 4 club. Time will tell if Lampard is in way over his head.
As for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Manchester United, he’s gotten a performance out of this squad he will rely on to keep United in high competitive fashion to get back into Champions League, and bring more talent to the club.
2. Hammers hammered by Man City
It was business as usual for the defending Premier League champions. In what was a similar situation to their neighbors in red, City scored a goal off a cross from defender Kyle Walker, who turned the jets on to get to the ball, check that highlight, and City’s new No, 9 Gabriel Jesus scored to make it 1-0. It was kept that way until halftime, and in the second half, Raheem Sterling scored for City to make it 2-0. Sterling then converted a brace off of a flick into the goal to make it 3-0. It was also reviewed by VAR for offside, a new addition to PL officiating, along with an encroachment violation by West Ham defender Declan Rice. On the redo, Sergio Augero scored to make it 4-0. Sterling would complete his hat trick performance late in the second half to make it 5-0.
West Ham simply were victim to their own defensive mistakes and in depth officiating via VAR. What they’ll have to learn from this is making that extra step to reach the ball in time. They also need better facilitating of the ball towards the opponent’s net. There were not many memorable moments for the Hammers to score.
City are the favorites to win the Premier League once again, and wins like this prove why. But going beyond the pitch, the front office did their job in the transfer market to really make this team a powerhouse. It will be a wait of great anticipation when they face a Top 6 side to really test their grit.
3. Liverpool clip the Canaries, GK Allison out
Jurgen Klopp now leads a Champions League winning team into a new Premier League season, where there’s no doubt, the PL title is the primary prize. Kicking off against a newly promoted Norwich City, Liverpool wasted no time putting them down 4-0 in the first half. Divock Origi, Mo Salah, and Virgil Van Dijk scored the goals to bring the EFL Championship winners back to reality on their return to the PL. The first goal scored was an own goal by Norwich.
Now Liverpool’s win was marred by an injury to starting goalkeeper Allison Becker. Multiple reports say the Brazilian will be out at least a month. Now Liverpool did do their diligence in the transfer market and brought in former West Ham No. 1 keeper, Adrian, who will fill in primarily for Allison.
Liverpool still remain stout in the PL despite the loss, and they’re thankful it’s an injury Allison will return from in due time. They will be battling with Manchester City for the PL title. All the while, Champions League, F.A Cup, Carabao Cup competitions fill up their fixture count. It was clear, Man City are the deepest side of the two. Sky Sports analyst Jose Mourinho commented that City’s B-Team could challenge for the Premier League title. Liverpool will need to remain healthy to keep up.
As for Norwich, if they can harness their strengths in young full backs Jamal Lewis and Max Aarons, there could be a chance they recover from results like this during the season. But if they don’t, they’re favored side to get relegated.
4. Kane scores victory brace
For the Champions League runner ups, it’s just another grind to victory. Newly promoted Aston Villa came to North London and put on a performance despite the loss. Scoring a goal for 1-0 throughout the majority of the game from John McGinn, Villa kept the Spurs at bay. Now Tottenham pulled out the checkbook signing former Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele for a club record fee. He made his mark scoring a screamer off a Christian Eriksen corner attempt that went sour.
Now Harry Kane should’ve had four goals in this match. Before his 2-1 go ahead goal he had service from his teammates that in regular fashion should’ve seen the Spurs have a more comfortable lead. But despite the misfiring, Kane came through off a mistake from Villa captain Jack Grealish, and then scored a brace performing goal to give Spurs a 3-1 victory to start their PL campaign.
Villa have their work cut out for them, but out of the recently promoted sides, they are predicted to have the best results of the three. Their hold back against the Spurs really showed, and they will put together some good performances this year despite the loss to start.
As for Tottenham, it’s a question of whether they’re a title winning team or playing catch up for a Top 4 spot. Furthermore, controversy surrounds midfielder Christian Eriksen as he as wanted to leave the club for some time over the summer up until the deadline day as Manchester United and Real Madrid have great interest in the Danish international. If the Spurs can clap down on the issues, they have some sleeper/always present appeal to challenge for the Premier League title.
5. Arsenal underwhelming in victory
For the Gunners, it was an unusually high spending window which saw a club record fee broken for Lille forward Nicholas Pepe, along with Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos, and former Chelsea defender David Luiz who defected to the rivals. These highlight transfers were shadowed by the lineup given by manager Unai Emery. He went with more of his youthful assets in the first game of the season against Newcastle United. The game was 0-0 at halftime, with arguably Newcastle showing more bite than their opponents. But forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made sure Arsenal would get the victory scoring in the 57th minute. 1-0 is how the game would end.
For now, Arsenal look to be the weakest of the Top Six sides, but arguments can be passed around that despite winning results, Manchester United and Spurs showed enough defensive flaws that their results could’ve been much different. Despite that claim, still Arsenal should’ve walked the floor with Newcastle, but for only being the first game of the season, a win is a win.
As for Newcastle, what an off season! Rumors swirled that they would be invested in by new ownership that saw a predicted billion dollar rise in the club, a link to PSG forward Kylian Mbappe, and then it came crashing down. Rafa Benitez departed the club, leaving fans heartbroken at the club’s lack of want in keeping arguably the biggest steal in ultimate managerial-ship in Europe. They now have Steve Bruce as manager and more questions than answers. Even breaking the bank for Joelinton from Hoffenheim couldn’t sway the result. Newcastle are in trouble if moments of opportunity like this wash pass them.
You can follow Dillon for more Premier League content on the website, or go to his Twitter page @thedavistirado for more commentary.
Hailing from New York City from the borough of Brooklyn, Dillon is a die-hard New York sports fan. He currently resides in Upstate New York, where he studies at Wells College in Aurora, NY.
Follow him on Twitter @thedavistirado and the other MFST writers.
Stay tuned for more!