The Premier League has made it through the first weekend since the restart. With some rust expected, there are plenty of storylines from around the league.
Leicester City vs Watford
The 1-1 draw seemed to be poetic justice for both sides in this matchup. Ismaïla Sarr (Watford) and Ben Chilwell (Leicester) each had their moments against each other, which made for a compelling 90 minutes of action. Sarr used his agility and speed to his advantage and was the main attacking threat on the Leicester goal. While Chilwell had to work hard on defense, he had a massive impact on the Leicester attack. He found himself on the edge of the Watford box and delivered a curling shot that beat Ben Foster in the 90th minute. Watford’s Craig Dawson quickly equalized after a fortunate bounce in what would be his first goal as a Watford player.
Arsenal vs Brighton
Since the restart, the injuries keep racking up for Arsenal. Right before halftime, Bernd Leno jumped up to claim a loose ball, butwas contested by Neal Maupay. Once he landed, there was a scream of agony from the German international and looks of concern. Emiliano Martinez was subbed on once play was restarted.
Nicolas Pépé (Arsenal) curled in a beauty around the fully-extended Matthew Ryan to take the lead in the second half. It would not last long. In scrappy fashion, Brighton forced the ball into the goal through Lewis Dunk with 15 minutes to go before stealing the victory in the final minute of added time through Maupay. The 2-1 victory does wonders for Brighton as it now sits five points clear of the relegation line.
Wolves vs West Ham
Wolves’ substitutes dominated the final 30 minutes of the match with style in its 2-0 victory against West Ham manager David Moyes’ side. The Wanderers had struggled to create chances before Adama Traore and Pedro Neto subbed in and brought energy. It worked.
Traore slowed down on the right side of the box before accelerating past the unsuspecting West Ham back line to create the first goal. Then the broken defense stiffened up, with 11 men behind the ball when Wolves had possession. It was not enough to keep Neto out. Matthew Doherty chipped a cross over the entire defense, who could only watch as Neto volleyed the cross into the roof of the net.
West Ham sits 17th in the table. They are avoiding relegation by goal difference.
Crystal Palace vs Bournemouth
Unlike the three games above, Crystal Palace took care of business early. Luka Milivojevic opened the scoring with a free kick in the 12th minute, and Jordan Ayew doubled the lead in the 23rd minute. The loss keeps Bournemouth in the relegation zone (tied with West Ham) while moving Crystal Palace into ninth and level on points with Tottenham.
To make matters worse for Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, injuries also were a concern. Bournemouth striker Joshua King hurt his ankle and was subbed for Dominic Solanke. Survival doesn’t get easier with Wolves, Manchester United, Tottenham, Leicester City and Manchester City upcoming in Bournemouth’s next six matches.
Chelsea vs Aston Villa
A 2-1 victory for Chelsea didn’t summarize how dominant the Blues were. Aston Villa played on the counter (26% possession) and managed to score first against the run of play. When Chelsea manager Frank Lampard made changes, they were impactful. USMNT talent Christian Pulisic entered the match after halftime and scored the equalizer in the 60th minute. Olivier Giroud followed closely behind with a good touch and turn before shooting through a Villa defenders’ challenge for the second goal two minutes later.
Sheffield United vs Newcastle
A second yellow card sent off Sheffield United center back John Egan in the 50th minute and had instant consequences for the Champions League pursuing side. After holding Newcastle to an uncreative first half, 10-man Sheffield fell apart in the 3-0 defeat. Enda Stevens missed a clearance in the 55th minute, leading to Allan Saint-Maximin thumping home the cross from close range to open the scoring. Matt Ritchie scored a screamer from outside the box in the 69th minute, and Joelinton tapped in a simple third in the 78th minute to eliminate any doubt.
Since the restart, Sheffield United has not found the good form they were hoping for. They have had two shots on target in 180 minutes and have dropped five points to beatable opponents in the past week.
Liverpool vs Everton
The highly-anticipated Merseyside Derby didn’t produce any goals on this occasion, but it did show the best parts of the rivalry. Liverpool controlled the possession and passed with purpose, despite the staunch Everton defense holding strong. The best chance for the Reds came when Liverpool had a free kick at the edge of the Everton box, despite the foul decision being debatable. Trent Alexander-Arnold’s attempt ricocheted off an Everton defenders’ head before sailing over the bar.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison each had chances for Everton, but were kept out by Liverpool keeper Alisson. The result was a successful performance to earn a point, and a bonus of delaying Liverpool’s title for a few days.