Daniel Storey looks back at the opening weekend of Premier League action.


PL Review: Those who expected Mourinho to lambast foes on live TV were always going to be disappointed

Daniel Storey looks back at the opening weekend of Premier League action.

PL Review: Those who expected Mourinho to lambast foes on live TV were always going to be disappointed

Daniel Storey looks back at the opening weekend of Premier League action.

Chelsea collapse should concern Lampard

Frank Lampard, pictured, always knew his job at Chelsea would take patience and long-term commitment, but every project needs signs of progress even in the short-term.

Losing Eden Hazard was always going to make Chelsea worse, but Hazard didn’t play at centre-back.

Chelsea were better than Manchester United in the opening 30 minutes, but their second-half collapse was dismal. A team with serious designs on the top four must be capable of showing resilience in adversity.

Yesterday, Chelsea had all the fight of wet cardboard.

There are questions of selection, too. Ross Barkley, Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic is not a midfield three capable of protecting a defence, and Olivier Giroud would surely have been a better option than Tammy Abraham.

Giroud should at least have been brought on earlier.

Freezing out David Luiz for £8m also raises questions when you witness Kurt Zouma’s performance at Old Trafford. Antonio Rudiger cannot come back quickly enough.

Klopp will insist upon defensive improvements

It might strike some as an uncharitable conclusion from a 4-1 win on the opening night of the season, but the principal thought after Liverpool’s victory over Norwich was just how insecure Jurgen Klopp’s side looked at the back.

Norwich conceded four times and were occasionally shambolic in their own third, but Daniel Farke’s side created far more chances than anyone expected and had presentable opportunities to score at 0-0 and 0-1.

Given that Alisson suffered a muscle injury that is likely to keep him out for several weeks, Klopp would be permitted to be a little concerned. Liverpool attack with great gusto, but Norwich were able to cause problems on the counter with both Liverpool full-backs forward and often midfielders pushed up too.

Klopp’s team must not allow the urge to pour forward and score goals to risk upsetting the balance of the team.

Mourinho wastes no time in making his points

After a busy end to the transfer window, one more signing.

Sky Sports’ announcement that Jose Mourinho would join as a pundit watered the mouths of armchair spectators. He would pass judgement on two former clubs on the opening weekend.

Those who expected Mourinho to lambast his foes on live TV were always going to be disappointed; passive aggression has always been more Jose’s style.

His suggestion that Manchester City’s ‘B’ team were one of the best four in the league was done deliberately to point out his own second-placed finish behind them.

But the most amusing of all was his suggestion that Frank Lampard was picking a team for the future rather than present to send a message about Chelsea’s options.

This from the man who picked Scott McTominay as a central defender to unsubtly suggest he needed a new signing. Keep an eye on him this season - it will be fun.

Sterling will have grand designs on the Golden Boot

Manchester City sweeping teams aside while seemingly playing in second gear; City’s attack creating overlaps, getting to the byline and pulling the back for an easy chance close to goal; Raheem Sterling being in the right place at the right time; it’s like the Premier League has never been away.

Pep Guardiola is a manager constantly striving for perfection, but there is little to improve upon in the final third.

The last two seasons have proven that if City can click with their strategy of creating chances in the six-yard box, very few teams will stop them scoring in threes and fours.

For plenty of teams, the punishment will be worse still.

Bruce’s Newcastle a mess in their opening defeat

There is no shame in losing to Arsenal, but Newcastle had such a good opportunity to start the campaign.

Unai Emery will not pick a weaker starting XI all season than the one he was forced to select at St James’ Park.

And still Newcastle ceded all goodwill.

The worry for supporters is that unpopular new manager Steve Bruce had a hand in their downfall. With no central midfielders on the bench, Bruce took off a central midfielder and brought on left-back Jetro Willems for his debut.

Willems looked clueless as to where he should be playing, something Bruce explained as a communication error after the game. At this level, that’s not good enough.

Potter begins Premier League life in the perfect way

There can be no definitive conclusion on Graham Potter’s aptitude as a Premier League manager in August, but the first few weeks of Brighton’s season will be used to hunt for evidence.

When managers compete in the Premier League for the first time - even those who have enjoyed vastly experienced coaching careers - some will sink and some will swim. That’s particularly true when they are replacing universally liked coaches.

Even the most optimistic Brighton supporter must have rubbed their eyes at full-time at Vicarage Road and stood agog at what they had just witnessed.

In his first ever match as a Premier League manager, Potter had equalled Brighton’s highest ever top-flight away win.

This was no fluke. Brighton’s players adapted brilliantly to Potter’s new 3-4-2-1 formation and the new manager’s urge for more aggression when the opposition had the ball.

Both of Potter’s first two substitutions came off the bench to score, and travelling fans will have noted the ambition to increase their lead rather than sit back and protect it.

For all Chris Hughton’s values, it was his safety-first approach that accelerated his downfall.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox

Execution Time: 0.228 s