So, it’s back. After the briefest of breaks, the Premier League season is back for the shortest campaign in its history.
Not everything is back to normal though. There are still no fans, substitutes are spread around the stand behind the dugout and we will be looking to squeeze the league in amongst domestic and European competitions. This Premier League season couple be equally as bizarre as the last.
We haven’t even had the traditional start, with the two Manchester clubs both having an extra week off due to their European exploits at the end of last season. That left us with just the eight games in GW1 of the Premier League.
Arsenal got the season underway in fine form, dispatching newly-promoted Fulham 3-0 at Craven Cottage. The same couldn’t be said for their North London neighbours Tottenham Hotspur, who put in a rather lifeless display in their 1-0 defeat to a new-look Everton side.
The Premier League champions got things going with a win, albeit in dramatic style, against Leeds United, who made their long-awaited return to the Premier League. The away side pulled level on three occasions, but a late Mo Salah penalty earned Liverpool all three points in the 4-3 win.
West Ham’s pre-season worries carried on into the opening game of the season as they were beaten at home by Newcastle, who appear to have strengthened well over the summer. A much-changed Chelsea got their season off to a winning start too, beating Brighton 3-1 at the Amex Stadium.
With those in mind, here is the Premier League Team of the Week for GW1.
Vicente Guaita (Crystal Palace)
At times it feels like Vicente Guaita doesn’t get the credit that he deserves in the Crystal Palace goal. He has always been a solid, consistent performer, and was at it again against Southampton.
He may not make special saves on a regular basis, but he does the basics as well as anyone and will be incredibly important to anything Palace achieve in the Premier League this season.
Timothy Castagne (Leicester City)
It was a pretty impressive performance across the board for debutants this weekend. Timothy Castagne comes with a lot of responsibility, taking over from the recently departed Ben Chilwell, and he made a fine start to his Leicester career.
He put in a strong defensive display and capped it with the opening goal, stealing in at the back post to head home.
Michael Keane (Everton)
It feels like Michael Keane has been on the cusp of being a top-quality centre back for a while now, and maybe having Carlo Ancelotti as his manager will help him make that next step.
He did an excellent job against a pretty lacklustre Tottenham Hotspur side, allowing Harry Kane no room in the areas that matter and starting the Premier League season with a clean sheet.
Gabriel Magalhaes (Arsenal)
Another debutant performing a starring role. Arsenal have struggled to find consistency in the back line over the last few seasons and it was a bit of an Achilles’ heel for them last term.
Gabriel may be the solution to those problems though, as he put in an imperious display against Fulham, as well as netting on his debut, albeit fortuitously.
Lucas Digne (Everton)
One of Everton’s best players over the last couple of years and now he’s started the Premier League season well too.
Lucas Moura got nothing out of him all day and he played his part in the goal too, bending an excellent free kick onto the head of Dominic Calvert-Lewin midway through the second half.
Probably the finest performance by a debutant all weekend. The Brazilian added some real steel to the Everton midfield and ran the show against Tottenham.
His ability to win the ball back and transition into attack was impressive and he is sure to be a crucial player for Carlo Ancelotti this season.
Jeff Hendrick (Newcastle United)
Yet another debutant, Newcastle started with three on Saturday. Jamal Lewis, Jeff Hendrick and Callum Wilson all of them impressed.
Hendrick was the star though, constantly coming in off the right side to get into the game, before brilliantly firing home the second to seal the game for his new side.
A new face for Arsenal, but not for the Premier League and it showed.
The former Chelsea man had no problems settling in at his new club as he provided two assists as Arsenal cruised to victory over Fulham. He may be 32, but he’s got a lot of Premier League football left in him yet.
Mo Salah (Liverpool)
The game of the weekend came at Anfield, where Liverpool and Leeds United shared seven goals. Three of them went to Mo Salah, who was twice clinical from the penalty spot, as well as smashing a superb volley past Illan Meslier.
If Liverpool are going to defend their Premier League title this season, Salah will have to keep up this sort of form.
Raul Jimenez (Wolves)
There were rumours linking Jimenez with Juventus and Premier League rivals Manchester United over the summer, but Wolves were never going to let him go and it’s easy to see why.
His finish was special, but it was the way he led the line that was so impressive against Sheffield United. His ability to hold the ball up and bring others into play was a joy to behold.
Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)
New season, same old Jamie Vardy. Last season’s Premier League Golden Boot winner almost has a personal rivalry with West Brom. He was back doing what he did best at the Hawthorns on Sunday.
He may have been a little quiet during the first half, but he delivered when it mattered most. His two brilliantly-dispatched penalties sealed the three points for the Foxes as they hope to kick off another strong Premier League campaign.Published 15 Sep 2020, 07:38 IST