It’s back. The most exhilarating and exciting football league in the world has made its return, and it’s fair to say that it didn’t disappoint. Here are five of the most intriguing thoughts from a pulsating weekend of Premier League action.
Leicester’s honeymoon period ends swiftly
Let’s face it, no one expected the Foxes to repeat their frankly ludicrous feat of last season. But losing to everyone’s tip for the drop, Hull City? You’ve got to say that’s disappointing. Whilst it’s true the Tigers had nothing to lose and Leicester had all the pressure on them, fans of Claudio Ranieri’s side could be forgiven for being deflated. You could argue that they were unlucky in the 2-1 defeat, but the stats show it was a pretty even contest.
The problem for Leicester is that I don’t see things improving vastly beyond this. Now, just to be clear, I don’t think they’ll be flirting with relegation come April, but the reality is that they just can’t play like they did last season and expect to win. Last year, the Foxes played a thrilling, counter-attacking brand of football. Crucially, though, it was a brand that relied on teams attacking them in the first place. As champions, Leicester must get used to teams sitting back and waiting for them to attack, and winning in that climate is a very different skill indeed.
— Andy Withers (@witho68) August 14, 2016
Trouble at Arsenal?
Conceding four goals at home is bad by anyone’s standards, but on the opening day of the season, when your fans are hoping that this year will be different? Disastrous. A 4-3 loss to Liverpool was a deplorable way for Arsenal to start their 2016-17 campaign.
The problem with Arsenal is Arsene Wenger. There, I said it. The Frenchman’s steadfast refusal to invest properly is the reason why the Gunners haven’t won the title for over a decade. And nothing seems to change.
Arsenal do not have a good enough defence to win the league. Heck, one might wonder whether it’s even good enough to finish in the top four this season. Time will tell.
— The Sun Football (@TheSunFootball) August 14, 2016
United look good…
It may be early days – and it may only have been Bournemouth – but it’s fair to say that Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United are looking pretty impressive so far. When Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined the Red Devils I was one of the first to question whether he would be able to have the impact at Premier League level, and so far it seems I was wrong. His second goal in as many matches for United, as a properly line-leading centre forward, lifted the high-profile side to a 3-1 win. History tells us that when Mourinho gets himself one of these sorts of players, he usually wins something big.
1 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic has now scored on his PL, Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1 and Champions League debut. Glorious. pic.twitter.com/fI1l4FfDCI
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 14, 2016
Joe Hart needs to find a new club
Right, this might seem dramatic, but Pep Guardiola clearly doesn’t fancy Joe Hart, does he? To leave the Manchester City number one on the bench during the first game of the season is highly significant, no matter what the Spaniard says. If Hart is serious about his career, he’d be better off looking elsewhere.
— Sports Writers Guild (@WSWPGuild) August 14, 2016
Could this be their year?
Okay, so you hear this from Liverpool fans every single season, but could this year actually be theirs?
The win over Arsenal was a promising way to get off the mark.
They look sumptuous in attack, Klopp has been allowed to spend big on new players AND they don’t have any European football, enabling them to concentrate wholeheartedly on the league. The last time that happened, they got within a Gerrard slip of the title. Maybe they’ll go one better this time around.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 14, 2016