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5 Things We Learned From the Premier League’s Opening Weekend

The Premier League season officially kicked off on Friday evening with Arsenal’s 4-3 victory over Leicester City and we have already been given an insight into what the 2017/18 campaign could bring.

Hare five things we learned from the season’s opening weekend …

Top teams have leaky defences

If last season was anything to go by, we knew there would be plenty of goals to celebrate in 2017/18 and after spending millions on new attackers, the top clubs were expected to be scoring them.

However, while moves for Alvaro Morata, Alexandre Lacazette, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah have all sparked excitement, they have coincided with club’s lack of spending in defence.

Liverpool in particular came under huge criticism last season for their defensive displays but they have only brought in reserve left-back Andy Robertson in the transfer window so far.

It was no surprise then that, like Arsenal, they conceded three goals in their opening match and it cost them two points on the road. The Gunners managed to salvage a victory at the Emirates, thanks to super-sub Olivier Giroud, but Arsene Wenger has had plenty to answer for his side’s poor defensive display.

Chelsea, a usually solid unit, got themselves in some bother early-on when centre-back Gary Cahill received a red card and it subsequently led to their defeat against Burnley and the shipping of three goals at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester United were the only team in the top six who didn’t seem too threatened at the back as Manchester City were given a few scares when they took on Premier League newcomers Brighton at the Amex Stadium.

Pep Guardiola’s side took 70 minutes to break the deadlock but after Sergio Aguero scored, City were comfortable on their way to a 2-0 victory. Their rivals in red kept a clean sheet too and so did Tottenham.

Overall, there were mixed reviews from the league’s top teams but for Arsenal and Liverpool, there were huge concerns.

Attacking debutants were firing

It didn’t go to plan for defenders on the opening weekend but the Premier League’s attackers were in top form and the debutants came out firing.

Lacazette headed the Gunners ahead 94 seconds into his top-flight debut, only for Shinji Okazaki to nod in an equaliser just two minutes later.

It was just his second touch of the game (his first was the kick-off) and he made the most of his first shot on target as a Premier League player.

The last player to score a goal faster on their Premier League debut was Thievy Bifouma for West Brom after just 36 seconds in a 3-1 defeat at Crystal Palace in February 2014.

The Arsenal striker is only the seventh player to score on his Premier League debut for the Gunners; Emmanuel Adebayor, Samir Nasri and Thomas Vermaelen were the most recent.

There were also goals for Salah and Morata as Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal all struggled but there were successful days for Everton and Manchester United stars Wayne Rooney and Romelu Lukaku who switched clubs this summer.

Rooney marked his second Everton debut with a header against Stoke City and it proved to be the winner in a lack-lustre contest.

Lukaku was in sensational form for United and his brace led the way as Jose Mourinho’s side produced a comfortable display to see out West Ham.

There was a also a victorious debut for striker Ahmed Hegazi as his goal helped West Brom beat Bournemouth at The Hawthorns.

The pick of the bunch was Steve Mounie’s brace for Huddersfield Town as he scored with his first two shots on target in English football in 3-0 win over Crystal Palace – sending the new boys to the top of the table prior to United’s win on Sunday.

Promoted clubs could be a threat

Mounie’s performance capped off a fairy tale start for Huddersfield and they looked full of confidence, threat and poise as they picked up their first points in the Premier League.

With nothing to lose and everything to play for, Huddersfield could be a team which has the ability to excite this season.

They may be favourites to get the drop, but under David Wagner, they’re bursting with potential and they could cause a few upsets this season.

Brighton are equally as exciting and they have a few players capable of ripping up the Premier League’s big teams. Anthony Knockaert is one to look out for and he saw lots of the ball in Brighton’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester City on Saturday.

The seaside club held firm for 70 minutes against Pep Guardiola’s side and it took a little bit of magic from Sergio Aguero to unlock their defence.

While Huddersfield and Brighton impressed, Newcastle – the Championship’s favourites – had a day to forget.

Jonjo Shelvey’s sending off put Newcastle on the back foot and it was no surprise to see them feeling deflated after a defeat against Tottenham.

However, with Rafa Benitez at the helm and a number of players in the squad with Premier League experience, Newcastle have the quality to stay up this season.

Champions League qualification will be open

Judging by the performances from the top sides this weekend, there could be a few scraps for a place in the Champions League as there were few stand-out displays.

Manchester United produced the most encouraging and they, alongside Manchester City, will be favourites to challenge for the title this year.

However, shaky starts from Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea has paved the way for a seven-club battle for a place in the final top four.

Top managers are already under pressure

It might only be the first weekend, but there are already a number of managers who are under pressure this season.

Jurgen Klopp must fight to keep hold of star midfielder Phil Coutinho and he’s facing heavy criticism from fans for his lack of spending this summer.

Wenger’s side performed poorly in the first half of their 4-3 victory over Leicester and while three points were received gratefully, fans won’t have forgotten just how easily Arsenal were carved open in defence.

Chelsea allowed Nemanja Matic to leave this summer and Antonio Conte’s side could have done with him in their starting XI on Saturday as they suffered a defeat against Burnley.

Matic was instrumental for Manchester United and while Conte claims to have nothing to do with his sale, there will undoubtedly be question marks over why it was allowed to happen.

Guardiola will be expected to deliver the Premier League this season and will face pressure after an unconvincing first game from Manchester City.

However, at the other end of the table, Rafa Benitez continues to battle with club owners over available funds as he looks to strengthen in the remaining two weeks of the transfer window.

Emma Sanders
Emma Sandershttp://Emma-sanders.blogspot.com
Currently studying Journalism at Media City UK, I specialise in Sports Journalism and news writing. My favourite sports include football, tennis, hockey and cricket. This is reflected in my writing.
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