Brighton’s Brilliance and Moyes’ Magic: Premier League Week 2 Review
Premier League football was back for its second installment of the season this week. It certainly did not disappoint. 9 games were played with Luton’s game against Burnley postponed, and 27 goals were scored across the weekend.
With lots of hot topics from this round of games, let’s take a look at 5 things we learned.
1. Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton are SERIOUS
For the second week in a row, Brighton won with a scoreline of 4-1. Long gone are the days of Brighton under-performing their xG, with the Seagulls over-performing their xG of 2.22 (http://sofascore.com) against Wolves. Furthermore, they converted 50% of their shots on target, showing just how ruthless they are.
3 of the 4 players to be involved in 3 goals so far this season play for the Seagulls. These are Solly March, Pervis Estupinan and Kaoru Mitoma. March in particular looks impressive, and has clearly found a remarkable knack for goalscoring of late, with a much improved presence in the box. Additionally, Estupinan provides even greater output, marauding forward to allow Brighton to build up in a back three at times. This further facilitates De Zerbi’s box midfield, which provides such dominance in possession and attacking prowess.
However, one thing that should be pointed out is that Brighton were still open at the back. While Brighton will be praised for suffocating Wolves, they conceded just as many shots as they attempted. On another day, the scoreline could have been more in Wolves’ favour. Despite this, it is clear to see that Brighton fear no one, and will take this approach into almost every game. Keeping a clean sheet against the Seagulls already looks to be a tough task for most this season.
2. Brentford can survive without Toney
Brentford came out victorious from their second London derby this season. They beat Fulham 3-0 at Craven Cottage, proving doubters of their goalscoring abilities wrong. Their direct approach served them well yet again, able to get in behind Fulham on numerous occasions to create big goalscoring opportunities.
With the absence of Toney due to his ban, many questioned how capable Brentford would be of replicating the Englishman’s goals this season. Toney netted 20 goals last season, making up almost 35% of Brentford’s goals. Despite this, Yoanne Wissa and Bryan Mbuemo have shown they are clearly able to deputise while he is away. The two add a different dynamic to the Bees, with an even more direct approach due to their pace. Instead of using Toney as a springboard, Brentford have forwards able to bomb forward in transition to receive balls in behind the opposition, and they can evidently tuck the ball away. Wissa is taking his chance of regular football well, netting twice and forcing errors with his pressing.
Thomas Frank showed his flexibility, setting his team up in a 4-3-3. This is as opposed to his usual 5-3-2 with a low block to counter-attack. There is a clear idea to be as direct as possible in more “winnable” games, but still give tougher opponents a hard game. If they carry on this way, the Bees will do just fine this season.
3. Ange ball inspires Tottenham’s first win of the season
Manchester United came undone against Postecoglou’s high-pressing football at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Spurs took full advantage of United’s identity crisis in build-up, forcing errors in distribution and causing turnovers. With the high intensity and midfield display, it was a classic Postecoglou performance.
Yves Bissouma played excellently, and has looked much improved under the Australian. He anchors the midfield superbly, facilitating Sarr and Maddison to be the attacking outlets from midfield. Not only this, but he offers fantastic ball progression, with 3 progressive carries and passes respectively. Sarr also played well, making multiple arrivals into the box and getting shots away, reaping the rewards of this with his first goal for Spurs.
Although the seemingly kamikaze approach may ship chances, there seems to be enough firepower to get Spurs over the line in most games. For the first time in a long time, Spurs fans have football to be excited about.
4. Foden’s performances and role will be a relief for City
Following his injury against Burnley, Kevin De Bruyne has been ruled out for potentially 3-4 months. So far, Foden looks to be the one to fill the Belgian’s boots. He played a key role in City’s 1-0 win over Newcastle, often playing centrally as opposed to out wide. The Englishman played in a central zone with Alvarez and Haaland, and moved inside-out on the blindside of the defence to stretch the back line and create chances.
Foden picked up a deserved assist with his layoff to Alvarez, who dispatched an amazing shot into the top corner. Throughout the game, he combined well with the forwards, and could have had more assists on another day for Haaland. Overall, he accumulated an impressive 7 key passes, and was named the http://tntsports.co.uk Man of the Match.
With the absence of De Bruyne, Foden’s renaissance will be a big boost for City’s creativity, and service for Haaland.
5. No Rice? No problem!
Despite being reduced to 10 men, West Ham hammered Chelsea 3-1. Moyes’ Hammers proved once again that possession is not the hallmark of a good performance, picking up 3 points with just 24%.
Ward-Prowse’s debut will be exciting for the Irons, picking up 2 assists and winning 50% of his ground duels. He provides a different dynamic to that of Declan Rice, with set-piece expertise and experienced ability in buildup. This also enables Paqueta to advance further up the pitch instead of playing in the pivot. Paqueta was influential, with 2 key passes and smart play to win fouls in important areas, while dispatching his penalty in added time. Tomas Soucek also looks back to his best despite giving away a penalty, sniffing out danger consistently and preventing chances entering the box.
Their performance showed just how important Moyes’ squad building has been. A host of tall, physical players able to form a low-block, while also able to cut out crosses. This was Chelsea’s downfall, as they persisted with crosses into the box with very few finding their targets. West Ham’s more notably technical players compound their approach, able to hit teams in transition and cause problems with Bowen and Antonio. Despite big personnel losses, West Ham have the potential to frustrate a lot of teams this season.