Premier League: 10 things we learned, analysis, video
What did we learn in week 2 of the 2021-22 Premier League?
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Here’s a look at 10 things that stood out, as our writers Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Nicholas Mendola (NM) and Andy Edwards (AE) share their observations on the last Premier League games.
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1. The Lukaku effect is very real (Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea): Fact: There isn’t an attacker in the world who possesses the terrifying combination of size, strength and mobility of Lukaku. Another fact: there aren’t many (read: maybe a handful) of attackers in the world who possess Lukaku’s spatial awareness and intelligent movement – the way he uses his gravity to pull defenders out of the world. ‘space and create gaps for others. Arsenal are sorely lacking in physical center-backs as well as, apparently, reliable players of the game as Lukaku dominated the first half on Sunday with 13 touches (just two inside the penalty area). Not only did he score the goal no. 1, but he dragged Arsenal’s defense into no man’s land to set up the second – a successful second start, all within 45 minutes. (AE)
2. Clinical Jota deserves to start (Liverpool 2-0 Burnley): 14 goals in 31 Premier League games is a great comeback for Jota over the past 12 months and it just gives them frankness and sharpness in attack. Roberto Firmino is probably still the main man in Liverpool’s central role, but Jota pushes him to the end. With two goals in two games to start the season, he looks very clinical. (JPW)
3. Remove a light spot again (Wolves 0-1 Tottenham): Nuno’s arrival has breathed new life into Alli, and he seems determined to make the most of it. The 25-year-old midfielder was a concentrate of energy, pace of work and pressure in the season opener against Manchester City, and on Sunday he saw the penalty winning from start to finish for reward his new manager with three more points. (AE)
4. Kante has returned to the fold, to start (Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea): “The rich get richer” comes to mind when you consider that Chelsea won their first two games of the season by a combined score of 5-0, and the world-class midfielder – arguably the player on most important of the Blues – played it all for 18 minutes. The reigning European champions are actually the Premier League title contenders they looked on paper ahead of the season. (AE)
5. Pogba shows his class (Southampton 1-1 Manchester United): He brought United back in this game and that’s why they scored a point. His balance on the ball was excellent, he equalized for Greenwood and was a constant threat. This is the Paul Pogba we all know and love. No matter what happens with his contract situation, let’s take advantage of Pogba in the Premier League while we can. (JPW)
6. Man City message sent (Manchester City 5-0 Norwich): Five goals. Twice the visitor passes completed. Just under 80 percent of aerial duels won. Off target shot conceded. It was domination. (NM)
7. Villa claim their first victory after Grealish (Aston Villa 2-0 Newcastle): This story will go on for a while, but is this team already under new management after the departure of nine-figure man Jack Grealish (who scored his first Man City goal on Saturday)? Danny Ings looks like the same lineman who pulled Southampton out of the crash last season and Burnley before that, while Tyrone Mings was an absolute force with the armband. It’ll be all about Ings and Mings, with a bit of McGinn (s?). (NM)
8. Good start for Rafa (Leeds 2-2 Everton): Many Everton fans are starting to change their minds about Rafael Benitez. The Spanish coach is unbeaten in his first two games of the season, already getting four points on the table, and Everton look dangerous going forward. They need to clean things up a bit defensively, but Benitez is a master at it. Positive signs from the start for Rafa. (JPW)
9. Brighton can do this (Brighton 2-0 Watford): The Seagulls are advanced stats cherished for a few seasons under Graham Potter but have not had the rub of the green. Given that the finish is looking for five goals in two games, don’t be surprised if you see these birds popping up in the Europa League picture, be it in the Premier League or in the Cup. (NM)
10. The bees are always buzzing (Crystal Palace 0-0 Brentford): If a team were to win, it was Brentford. Four points from their first two games is a great comeback and if they had been a little more specific in the final third they would have won. Mbuemo and Toney are a handful and when they collect the high ball the whole team comes to life. What a start to life at PL for Brentford. (JPW)