After a period of time that didn’t quite equate to the usual summer’s wait, the new English Premier League season began over the weekend. There were a variety of new signings on show, as well as a number of new-look squads being put to the test for the first time. So who impressed? Which sides disappointed the most? And were there any signs as to who will struggle over the coming season?
Best team performance- Everton
This would probably be the choice for the majority of football fans, and it’s not hard to see why. Everton have completely revamped their midfield during the transfer window and they looked like a completely new side, outclassing Tottenham from start to finish. Spurs managed to fashion a few chances, but overall Everton looked very comfortable.
The pull of working under Carlo Ancelotti has acted like a magnet for a number of signings, and this has worked in Everton’s favour. It won’t be one bit of a surprise if, by the end of the season, they are challenging with the likes of Wolves and Leciester to break into the top six – and that’s exactly where a club like Everton belongs.
The Toffees finally look like they’re back on the right track, and their new-look midfield three proved to be the catalyst for that on Sunday. Allan’s man of the match performance, coupled with some brilliance on the ball from ex-Real Madrid man James Rodriguez, propelled them to an excellent three points to kick-start their campaign.
Worst team performance- Tottenham
We can hail Everton all we want, but that doesn’t give Tottenham a ‘get out of jail free card’. The simple fact is that they were absolutely dreadful, and if I were to use one word to sum up their performance it would be “lethargic”. This doesn’t come as a shock, either; it’s been clear to see for over a year that their players don’t look up to it.
Now, I’ve always hated criticising Jose Mourinho; he is probably my favourite manager of all time, but even I need to admit now that he looks outdated. His Spurs team don’t look as though they’re going anywhere, but at least in the past he would look like challenging for a trophy or two. Right now, that is certainly not the case. With this team’s mentality, and his old-fashioned tactics, it looks like things are going to get worse at Spurs before they get better. They need to find a way to fix the shortcomings seen in their opening-day defeat, and fast.
Best player performance- Conor Coady
Wolves, as has come to be the norm, looked very solid against Sheffield United. Not only did they score from a set piece against a side who only conceded six from such scenarios last season, they also went to a very tough away ground and brought the three points home with them. The star man in that performance, for me, was defender Conor Coady.
Shortly after an England call-up, he once again showed his ability with a commanding performance at the back. Against a very direct Sheffield United side, he dealt with everything that was thrown his way and made some vital clearances when his team were under pressure. If he continues this vein of form, Wolves will be a force to be reckoned with.
Worst player performance- Kai Havertz
Now, don’t get me wrong- Kai Havertz was not individually the worst player over the opening weekend of the Premier League. However, with the hype surrounding his transfer and the fact that Frank Lampard handed him an immediate starting place, it can safely be said that we should have expected a little more from the young German.
Aside from his shocking pass straight out of play that has already become a meme, Havertz was very quiet. He didn’t really produce anything of note, and his average position map highlighted the fact that he wasn’t able to make an impact higher up the pitch- his was deeper than N’Golo Kante’s. We can afford to give him the benefit of the doubt at this stage; he is a young player, after all, and he’ll get time to adapt to the Premier League. Hopefully, however, his next few showings are more riveting that his opening one.