Eight Things We Learnt From GW3 of the Premier League

Mixtape Madness Team

By Mixtape Madness Team

Mixtape Madness Team

23 Aug 2022

Upsets, Turnarounds, and a huge derby game to round off the weekend, the Premier League is hotting up nicely as we near the end of the first month of the season. We’ve rounded up some of our takeaways from the weekend’s action:

Leeds Tactical Execution Topples Tumultuous Chelsea

After watching United take the dubious honour of ‘first big team to get battered’ last week, Chelsea “the pride of London” FC wasted no time snatching the second place trophy over the weekend. Todd Boehly’s American revolution has been dealt its biggest blow so far, and in an ironic twist of fate it was at the hands of his fellow Americans in Yorkshire who tried their darnedest to do the good ole’ U S of A proud. 

While Boehly thrashes about in the water that is the European transfer market, a few others set a marker for how calculated, precise and intentional Americans in football can be. Coach Jesse Marsch cooked up the right combination of tactics, guiding a high energy performance executed by USMNT stars Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams, who joined by the rest of the Leeds United boys ran riot at Elland Road for their first win over the blues in 21 years. 

Their first goal was an emphatic example of that, with the whole team orchestrating a suffocating press led by Aaronson who eventually stripped Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy of the ball and finished off a 0.98 xG chance according to statisticians. 

The second goal all but confirmed a second bid for disillusioned Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana, as Reece James, playing as a makeshift CB was beaten in the air by top scorer Rodrigo, who’s header sent Elland road into raptures. Leeds look a team well organised and prepared. Don’t expect them to be quite as entrenched with the relegation pack this year as they were last. 

As for Chelsea they again look bereft of any attacking spark, the reoccurring criticism of Thomas Tuchel’s tenure as Blues boss. So while the season is still young and the window still open it’s safe to assume that Boehly will be getting busy. Jesse Williams

Newcastle Can Take On Anyone

It’s almost been a year since the Newcastle United takeover and this team has changed dramatically in that time. This is a side fuelled by passion and spirit, that Eddie Howe has orchestrated to play his way and that style is certainly the right way. Against this top-tier Manchester City side, they were not afraid and played their game, and they will be happy to take a point off the reigning champions.

Allan Saint-Maximin showed his true potential here making the City defenders look amateur, playing the ball into Miguel Almiron for the first goal, before gliding across the pitch and finding Callum Wilson who took a lovely touch to give him space to score the second. Kieran Trippier
grabbed the third with an exquisite free kick that no goalkeeper could have picked out the top corner.

Unfortunately, it was only a point for Newcastle, as some sloppy defending and Kevin De Bruyne magic saved City’s bacon. But this Newcastle team can be proud and will leave other teams fearful of their next trip to St. James Park. Tom Atkinson

United Must Capitalise On Momentum Shift

With both teams having started off the season poorly, one of the most anticipated games of the weekend in Manchester United vs Liverpool was brought to our screens last night. With Liverpool sat on two draws and United on two losses going into the game, this was a great opportunity for either club to make some noise – and the Red Devils took that opportunity perfectly.

Despite a supposed protest throughout the game against the Glazer family – the United crowd were out of their seats when Jadon Sancho put United 1-0 up in the 16th minute. The lead was doubled by Marcus Rashford early in the second half, and despite Mohamed Salah getting one back – Liverpool were flat and didn’t show any real signs of improvement from their previous two games. A debut handed to Tyrell Malacia at left back was taken perfectly – a very solid defensive performance from the 23 year old Dutchman that heavily contributed to the success of the United team last night.

The issue we have with both teams so far is consistency. Despite both teams showing short spells of promising attacking and defensive football, they can’t keep it up for 90 minutes. Liverpool look nothing close to the force they had last season, however United never seem to maintain form after a supposed ‘turning point’. The Red Devil’s however may have found the solution to their lack of defensive compact with the signing of defensive midfielder Casemiro from Real Madrid. It will be interesting to see how both teams perform next weekend – and it’s safe to say this season has started a lot more even than originally I had expected. Harvey Marwood

Idols Become Rivals At Craven Cottage

Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ivan Toney went toe to toe on Saturday, culminating in a thrilling finish at Craven Cottage that saw the home side take all three points.  Toney copied the Serbian striker’s celebration after equalising for Brentford, before Mitrovic said after the game that the mimicry was because he was Toney’s ‘idol’. With a lot of London derbies on the fixture list this season, it’s refreshing to have some new rivalries popping up in the Premier League.

Mitrovic continues to impress this season and is beating away the ‘too good for the Championship, not good enough for the Premier League’ allegations that have plagued the striker over the last few years. Toney managed to do the same last season and I expect Dom Solanke to make a significant impact on Bournemouth’s season when he returns to full fitness. Every one of these strikers scored over 30 goals in their last season before entering the Premier League, and this number looks as if it is the benchmark for top flight success.  If Mitrovic and Toney keep hitting the standards expected of them, both West London sides should feel confident about staying up. Joe Simpson

West Ham’s Time As One of The Big Teams Could Be Over

West Ham United have been regarded as the team nearest to the big 6 having qualified for Europe for the last two seasons, but just as Leicester faded away after challenging for the top 4 for a period, so it appears are the Hammers.

The West Ham of last season, made up of solid defending, a strong midfield, and the pace of Jarrod Bowen has been replaced by sloppy passing and a defence that is easily beaten. While the 3-1 win over Viborg in mid-week may have given fans hope, they are still yet to score in the Premier League. Brighton were everything West Ham were not: Dominant in the midfield, strong and stable in defence, and most crucially able to finish their chances. Leandro Trossard stole the show with his finish on the second goal and his run and top-notch through ball to win the penalty. In goal, Robert Sanchez proved why he’s one of the best in the business with some acrobatic saves.

West Ham are really in trouble here and if David Moyes and co don’t act soon, this could be a season of decline for this once-fabled club. Tom Atkinson

Tottenham Flatter To Deceive As They Rely On Big Hitters

Antonio Conte’s Spurs side have had quite the summer. Managing to keep key players Dejan Kulusevski and Cristian Romero, they’ve also splashed the cash, buttressing the squad with the talent of Yves Bissouma, Richarlison, and Ivan Perisic. You would be well within your rights to expect them to be flourishing. While the results might be keeping up the appearance of a team with steely determination and a knack for getting the job done, the performances have an all too familiar lack of star dust. 

Wolves would have found themselves more than content at the break having pacified Tottenham to just the solitary attempt on goal in the first half. New boys Matheus Nunes and Gonçalo Guedes looked very much at home offering real quality in possession and a counter attacking punch that almost paid off, but such are the fine margins of Premier League football. This is amplified when you play against Spurs, as failure to take your chances can have dire consequences. 

Tottenham without a doubt are still heavily reliant on their talismanic duo to make ish happen. With the ghost of Heung-Min Son continuing to deputise for the real thing on the pitch, Harry Kane has had to carry that talismanic banner all on his own so far this season. 

After a likely rollicking from their passionate Italian coach at half time the ante was certainly upped by the home team. Wolves immediately began to show cracks while Spurs started to crack Jose Sa’s woodwork. A 6 yard shot from Son and a foreboding header from Kane rattled the post and bar respectively. The warning signs flashed and it was Harry Kane who brushed off his marker, heading home his 250th Tottenham goal that made that all important breakthrough. 

Many pundits tipped the Lilywhites as favourites to break up the duopoly of City and Liverpool but if their early season efforts persist that endeavour would prove to be a fool’s errand. Tottenham will never have to play “well” as long as they maintain that elite level of firepower.  Jesse Williams

Arsenal Frontline Continue To Excel

It’s Arsenal again that take a lot of the headlines this weekend – the only team to have won their opening three games so far. A 3-0 win at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday evening saw the Gunners heavily dominate the Cherries – and with a squad that seems to be brimming with chemistry, what Arteta has been building on over the past couple of seasons is really starting to show. Although both manager and players have been heavily criticised in the past, it seems that the long term project is starting to come along. So far, so good.

With Martin Odegaard stepping up to the plate to bag two goals, and William Saliba scoring an absolute peach into the top right corner – it would be silly not to mention the impact yet again of Gabriel Jesus. With a new found freedom he has been given as the main striker at Arsenal, the confidence levels are evidently through the roof. Even without bagging one himself due to a controversial offside ruling, the Brazilian’s link up play and ability to take on defenders with such ease is making Arsenal’s approach and attacking play a lot quicker – something they have lacked in previous seasons. Bournemouth struggled to make it out the blocks and couldn’t seem to cope with Arsenal’s fast progressive football – however going into the game – it was always going to be a tough one for them.

It’s still early days, but the signs so far are good – it’s an exciting time to be an Arsenal fan. Harvey Marwood

Iwobi Impresses For Lampard’s Lacklustre Everton

Alex Iwobi was a shining light for Everton in what has been a characteristically slow start for the Toffees. Frank Lampard’s team demonstrated their home advantage and team spirit at the back end of last season to stay in the division, but this momentum has not carried into the opening fixtures and the blue club on Merseyside found themselves a goal down to newly promoted Nottingham Forest.

However, On his 100th game for Everton, Iwobi bossed the midfield and showed flashes of the player who was tipped for stardom at Arsenal. He was instrumental in Everton’s comeback which saw Demarai Gray equalise late on. In Lampard’s first transfer window as Everton manager he looked to Dele and Donny Van de Beek to bring goals and a driving force from midfield, but it seems that Frank can look closer to home if Iwobi is able to find some consistency. The Nigerian international will also be crucial in integrating new signing Amadou Onana into the spine of the team, as Everton will be looking to put the mediocrity of the last few seasons behind them.

Forest will be relatively happy with a point on the road, and Steve Cooper has done a terrific job of getting his new players to gel so quickly. With such a great crop of young English managers currently in the Premier League, it feels as if Lampard (and Steven Gerrard at Villa) can only live off their playing auras for so long before heads start to roll. Joe Simpson