Premier League: Matchweek 3 Review
Ollie Jones - 28/8/23
We're only three weeks into the new season, yet it certainly hasn't lacked drama, and this weekend was arguably the best yet, with shocks results, comebacks and last-minute winners galore. Chelsea whetted our appetite on Friday night by kickstarting the weekend with a comfortable 3-0 win over struggling Luton, and we certainly weren't left hungry after this weekends' games. Joao Palhinha and Sasa Kalajdzic both scored on the 87th minute to earn Fulham a point in a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Emirates and Wolves a much needed win over Everton respectively. Old Trafford was stunned when Nottingham Forest were 2-0 up within 4 minutes, however it was United who prevailed, coming back to win 3-2. One of the biggest shock results of the weekend was West Ham's dominance over Brighton, where new man Ward-Prowse shone again, who featured in our Matchweek 2 'Team of the Week'. Sunday produced 3 incredible matches; Matty Cash was pivotal to Villa's win over Burnley, bagging 2 goals, Manchester City overcame a late scare when Jayden Bogle levelled the tie on 85 minutes to send Bramall Lane into raptures before Rodri fired a rocket past Foderingham to maintain City's 100% start. Then to round the weekend off, Darwin Nunez was the super-sub for 10 men Liverpool, scoring twice, the second in the 93rd minute to win 2-1 and stun Newcastle. In this article I will review all the action and will give my match, player and team of the week, as well as any other conclusions that can be drawn from this weekend's fixtures.
Chelsea 3 - 0 Luton Town
Bournemouth 0 -2 Tottenham
Arsenal 2 - 2 Fulham
Brentford 1 - 1 Crystal Palace
Everton 0 - 1 Wolves
Manchester United 3 - 2 Nottingham Forest
Brighton 1 - 3 West Ham
Burnley 1 - 3 Aston Villa
Sheffield United 1 - 2 Manchester City
Newcastle United 1 - 2 Liverpool
Ange at the wheel:
It seemed unlikely that given the torrid time Tottenham have endured for the past few years, under Mourinho and Conte, combined with the huge loss of star man Kane, that anticipation for this year would be high, however Spurs fans seem quietly optimistic. This can be attributed to the effect Postecoglou has had since joining from Celtic. Although to many fans he was an unknown quantity, to those who have followed Celtic, it came as no surprise to see the attacking and flowing football he has got Spurs playing after only a short period of time, a style of play that fans have craved for years since the departure of Pochettino.
Postecoglou has earnt his stripes to be managing in the Premier League, as he has been managing since 1996, where he started at South Melbourne, before rising through the Australian youth ranks and then around the A-League, before eventually earning the top job of the national side. He them moved to Japan to manage in the J-League where he won the title, and subsequently got headhunted for the Celtic job. His exciting brand of football led Celtic to the title and Ange to the Premier League. The path he has took to get to the top is inspiring and his acquisition looks a perfect fit, as he has enjoyed an unbeaten start to the season. Can he end the Tottenham trophy drought?
Rodri - Manchester City's most underrated player?
With an array of stars in City's ranks, it is easy to underappreciate the crucial role that the likes of Rodri, Stones, or Bernardo Silva play, as De Bruyne and Haaland grab the headlines. However the importance of Rodri is becoming evermore appreciated, as he earns a reputation as a big game player. His defensive output is key to his game, however he has started to add goals, and they defienelty don't dry up in key moments. Rodri completed the treble for City last year when he curled a delicious shot past Andre Onana in the Champions League final. He delivered once again when called upon, as Jayden Bogle riffled a shot into City's bottom-left corner with only minutes to spare, a goal that seemed to be the equaliser. However, Rodri then unleashed a rocket past the rooted Foderingham to secure the win. He is becoming a man that Pep and City can constantly rely on.
The Everton goal drought continues:
The struggles of the Toffees over the past few years are well documented, 2 consecutive relegation battles leave a giant club wondering where it all went wrong, a consequence of unacceptable mismanagement, as covered in Everton: The worst run club in the Premier League? Everton have lacked goals in recent seasons, and this season has started no differently, as although the signing of Chermiti looks promising for the future, he's not expected to ready as the Blues' starting striker, combined with the heartbreakingly unfortunate luck of Calvert-Lewin who suffered another injury, and the poor form of Maupay who doesn't fit the system Sean Dyche utilises, left Everton going into their first 3 games without a real goal-scoring threat. They are resultantly the only team in the Premier League yet to score a goal by Matchweek 3, despite having an xG of 4.7. The most damming stat being this is the first time in their history that they have lost their first 3 games without scoring a goal.
This looks finally solved with the exciting signing of Beto from Udinese, a profile of player Everton are desperate for. He should go straight into the team to face Sheffield United this Saturday, a crucial game so early in the season. Although the goals should now come, frustration still rightly remains within the Everton faithful as bad planning has left Everton possibly throwing away points that could be crucial come the end of the season, if the last 2 years are anything to go by. However Everton's new man looks a great addition that should be perfect for a Sean Dyche team.
Match of the week:
With drama everywhere, it was hard to decide the pick of the bunch, however the comeback of Liverpool against Newcastle just edged it to West Ham's rout at Brighton, the biggest upset before kick-off in my opinion. However after 45 minutes for Liverpool, anything other than defeat looked inevitable, making this a slightly larger upset. A poor defensive showing allowed Anthony Gordon to slot home his first Newcastle goal cooly passed Allison. This continued when Van Dijk saw red for a foul that was reckless. With time eating away in the second half, with no sign of a goal for Liverpool, their chances got slimmer. But the unlikely hero Núñez stunned the toon army in the dying embers to steal the 3 points, when Newcastle had dominated for so long, making the result an even tougher pill to swallow for the home support. The dramatic fashion in which the game was won sealed the decision for the title of 'Match of the week'.
Player of the week:
Darwin Núñez has endured a tough start to life at Liverpool, since his £80 million move from Benfica last summer. With the high price tag came high expectations, that he has yet to live up to, only scoring 17 times for the Reds across all competitions. However the valiant comeback by Liverpool at St James' Park, where Darwin Núñez grabbed the headlines, converting his 2 shots on target against Nick Pope in the 81st and 93rd minute to win the game 2-1, despite only coming on from the bench after 77 minutes, could be the moment he needed to kick on and cement his place in Liverpool's starting XI to start scoring consistently. Nevertheless, his goals against Newcastle will live long in the memory of those away fans who made the trip to Tyneside, and Geordies alike for contrasting reasons. For this, he wins the title of 'Player of the week'. However Villa's Matty Cash must be given an honourable mention, as he was instrumental to Villa's win, as the aptly named 'Polish Cafu' scored twice to win the game 3-1.
Team of the Week:
José Sá - Everton may be the only team yet to score, and as well as the reasons listed above, they have been unlucky to face 2 of the best goalkeeping performances this season, in Leno and now Sá. Sá made some incredible saves, including showing cat-like reflexes to keep out Doucoure. Sasa Kalajdzic may have scored the winner but José Sá won the match.
Malo Gusto - although a right-back, he had to be selected, as was too impressive to not be included. Only a second Premier League start for the frenchman was capped with 2 assists in a 3-0 win against Luton, an encouraging start for Gusto in James' absence
Jarrad Branthwaite - Jarrad may have been part of a defence that lost this weekend, however, he looked composed on his first appearance since returning from a stunning loan with PSV. He was dominant aerially and looked a rock at the back.
Joachim Andersen - this is a second appearance for Andersen in our TOTW this season, a defender going relatively under the radar so far, but has started well, scoring an important goal for Palace this weekend, an equaliser against Brentford to earn the Eagles a point.
Matty Cash - as stated earlier, he was incredible against Burnley, scoring 2 great goals from right wing-back
Rodri - Produced a moment of tremendous quality to score in the 88th minute, to win 2-1 and maintain City's 100% start. His passing was pivotal, as he achieved 98% accurate passes and 6 accurate long balls. Was great defensively too, making 3 tackles and 1 interception
Bruno Fernandes - was Manchester United's star man in their comeback against Forest, where they overturned a 2 goal deficit to win 3-2, with Fernandes contributing a goal and assist
James Maddison - Maddison's move from Leicester looks like one of the best deals of the summer, as he put in another great performance to earn another place in TOTW, this time getting his first goal for Spurs in a 2-0 win to take back 3 points to North London
Anthony Gordon - was Newcastle's best player against Liverpool, despite the result not favouring him, he scored a wonderful first goal for the club, as well as producing an excellently executed through pass to Isak, that allowed him to get goal-side of Van Dijk, which instigated the red card. His persistent running showed a real desire and effort too
Darwin Nunez - My 'Player of the Week'
Raheem Sterling - has shone at the start of this year and is showing the player we saw at Manchester City, producing another dominant performance on Friday night, scoring twice to give Chelsea their first win of the season
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