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EPL Season Review Episode 1 – 10 Things To Discuss

Premier League Museum

Season 2019/2020 – Round 1 Fixtures

 

In this blog, we are going to provide you with 10 things  which are worth discussion for premier league fans.

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Summary

Liverpool 4 – 1 Norwich City

West Ham 0-5 Manchester City

Bournemouth 1-1 Sheffield United

Burnley 3-0 Southampton

Crystal Palace 0-0 Everton

Watford 0-3 Brighton

Spurs 3-1 Aston Villa

Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal

Leicester City 0-0 Wolves

Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea

#1 – Will Manchester City and Liverpool have a cat and dog fight again this season ?

2018/2019 premier league season will be remembered for competitive nature at the top of the table. Top 2 teams – Manchester City and Liverpool had the highest combined points tally for any premier league season since inception. Premier League fans would think this was an extraordinary season and won’t happen again.

Opening weekend did not suggest this.  Both teams continued playing with attacking tenacity and slaughtered the opponents like men vs boys. Few factors will play out this season specifically VAR for Manchester City as 2 goals were disallowed and one goal was manufactured as West Ham’s player were found infringing penalty box. Similarly for Liverpool, this wasn’t a performance of a mean defense parked in opponents half. Norwich City had good chances to beat Liverpool’s defense and Allison’s injury may just test Klopp’s belief of squad not requiring transfer reinforcements.

#2 – Will teams like Norwich City, Southampton survive relegation, playing attacking football ?

Daniel Farke was striker in his player days and currently manages Norwich City. Along with Southampton’s manager Ralph Hasenhüttl , both coaches are well known for their attacking football with lesser focus on defense and counter attacking football. Both teams were punished heavily by their opponents in opening round so will they learn lessons and  change their tactics for next round or teams where they need to show more respect by playing compact defensive football.

#3 – Blueprint implemented by Ole works fine but does it have a plan B ?

Manchester United had a disappointing transfer window ( covered in our youtube podcast ). Scoreline of 4-0 against Chelsea flatters  the team and tactics that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had played.  Chelsea had hit woodwork ( goal) three times,  with one of them  coming in opening minutes. Could Ole’s team have recovered had the shots gone into the net. Opening weekend does not give us the answers and concerns will continue to prolong for the club, team and Solskjaer’s tactics on whether they will produce a plan B when the team goes behind or gets outrun by opponents.

#4 – How many times will  Harry Kane save  Tottenham’s season ?

Aston Villa led 1-0 comfortably against Tottenham until 70 minutes in spurs home ground. Aston Villa is a team which played last 3 seasons in championship and went through rebuilding. On opening weekend they were being compared to Fulham’s expensively assembled/relegated team as 13 new signings joined the club in summer transfer market.

Opening weekend showed Aston Villa team had grits as they held on lead with grit and things may not have started going their way until Eriksen joined at the pitch and Ndombele scored. The match was largely in Tottenham’s control after that but still went until 86th minute to produce an outcome. Harry Kane scored 2 brilliant goals in last 5 minutes and opening weekend is going to take conversation forward about how many times will Harry Kane score the winning goals for Tottenham and win them crucial points.

#5 – Will Arsenal’s away form improve this season ?

Newcastle came into opening round fixtures with no chance to give a solid performance as departure of Rafa Benitez continued to make headlines. What was forgotten however was how bad Arsenal’s away form had been in 2018/2019 season and whether new season will bring a different form for the Gunners.

Opening weekend suggested that Arsenal’s woes away from Emirates stadium will continue at least until their next few away fixtures are dealt comprehensively by the team. Despite a weak attacking Newcastle side, the toon army was largely in the game with only Aubameyang’s strike proving difference between the two sides.

#6 – Will Marco Silva have a breakthrough season with Everton finally ?

Everton is a club which has long lost it’s top 5 club status which existed before new English Premier League started in 1992. While they are credited with being instrumental in breakaway from original football league, club’s own ambitions have not matched their status and reasons for breaking away. It changed in 2016 with Farhad Moshri buying stake in the club and bringing investment into the club. Marco Silva who has been termed as “Mini Mourinho” for his tactical abilities was brought from Watford in a bitter dispute which threatened to go to legal proceedings.

So far the club’s romance with Marco Silva has been patient and like every honeymoon, there is a hope that offsprings of success will come soon. Opening weekend has not yet answered that question yet and scrutiny will remain on Marco Silva to make Everton club great again ..

#7 – Is Roy Hodgson a slow starter in English Premier League ?

From the beginning of the opening round fixture vs Everton, Roy Hodgson had organized Crystal Palace to invite Everton to defend and  let Everton play to the flanks. He setup team to try and explore Everton’s high positioning with offensive transitions. The result could have been worser than a draw and Crystal Palace were lucky to survive despite playing with extra men for most of the second half. Opening round brings memories of  2018/2019 season with only 2 wins in first 13 rounds for Roy Hodgson’s men. Worser statistics existed in 2018/2019 with 2 wins in opening 16 matches which point premier league fans to question Roy Hodgson as the turtle in premier league season.

#8 – Why England needs to close it’s transfer window early  ?

When voting to decide English transfer window shut down was done, 14 clubs had decided in favor of early shut down and 5 had voted against ( 1 was absentee ). Out of the 5 clubs deciding against , 2 of them were Manchester clubs who had won Premier League trophy 16 out of 27 times. These clubs had expressed their concerns about poaching nature of European clubs and effect after domestic window got shut making them short of replacements. Those in favor of early shutdown were carrying domestic concerns largely as their players could be bought by another club in Premier league and playing for opponents as the season became underway.

Opening weekend has suggested that premier league and club owner should review their decision as removing domestic club threats has largely been replaced by European clubs still able to weaken the squad as windows outside England still continue until August/31st. Transfer saga around players like Paul Pogba and Erikson continues to be in the news and we would not know until the European transfer window ends whether premier league season 2019/2020 will continue to see their talent or not.

#9 – Is Chelsea job too hard to be successful for Frank Lampard  ?

When Frank Lampard became the chosen one by Abramovich, it was done under the backdrop of a transfer ban on Chelsea for 2 windows by FIFA . Worse was yet to come as their best player in last many seasons – Eden Hazard was lost to Real Madrid and money could only be invested in players who were technically bought in earlier windows – Christian Pulisic and Kovacic . In Lampard’s favor, it is his home coming as he joins a club where fans treat him in same or better way than Ole wheels at Manchester United. Also, Lampard comes with a unique skill set to blend youth talent of Chelsea which has been good for anyone so far but the club Chelsea which nurtured them

Opening weekend mauling against Manchester United was not a shame for Lampard or Chelsea but indicated how tough the job at Stamford Bridge is for club hero. He will be analyzed every round for his tactics and ability to play with youth which hasn’t been seen at Chelsea since they discovered glory with Mourinho.

#10 – How many match outcomes will VAR impact this season ?

After all the testing and two years of training everyone on VAR, opening weekend had hands full with VAR decisions and similar to champions league ( Minus the late drama ), goals were disallowed and allowed based on video analysis team sitting at Stockley Par. So far ,three overturned decisions  and one of them leading to outcome of the match.

Opening weekend has suggested that premier league museum should add another statistic to its portal called VAR impact which should list the matches impacted by VA,  2019/2020 season onwards.

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English Premier League fan since 1992. Travel enthusiast, sports buff and blog writer with deep interest in watching sports - English premier league, American Football, Basketball, Tennis, Cricket.. you name it.. Firm believer in giving back to the community which gives you happiness and identity. My inspiration - “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

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