We are two gameweeks into this Premier League campaign. Some clubs are elated, undefeated and popping goals in for fun. Other clubs are in dire straits.
After just a couple of games, a panic would be harsh (in most cases). Same applies for teams that may feel some sort of confidence in their chances to exceed expectation. Already, there is drama among those teams at the top of the table. Chelsea and Spurs played to a dramatic 2-2 draw. The drama did not even stop at the full-time whistle, as the two clubs’ managers had a testy exchange upon their handshake.
Elsewhere, some clubs are hemorrhaging, with one traditional giant in particular drawing all the headlines. Looking at those traditional sides, these are the over-the-top reactions to the start of this 2022/23 Premier League season.
Early reactions to the 2022/23 Premier League
1. Gabriel Jesus is a top-three striker in the Premier League
This may not be as hot of a topic as it was in years prior. The Brazilian never garnered the headlines at Manchester City. However, as seen in the reactions to the preseason, he is the key to Arsenal in the 2022/23 Premier League. His debut against Crystal Palace with the Gunners brought a fiery energy to the side, particularly in the attack.
With Erling Haaland and Darwin Núñez still adjusting to the Premier League, Harry Kane is perhaps alone at the top of the mountain. However, with Gabriel Jesus thriving early on in his Arsenal tenure, he could be one to keep an eye on in the golden boot race.
2. Chelsea look caught in limbo
In the opening game at Goodison Park, Chelsea won with a lone goal. Jorginho’s penalty secured all three points in first-half stoppage time. This past weekend, Chelsea could not quite hold off the offensive talents at Tottenham. Harry Kane drew level just before the final whistle. To be fair, that game had a load of drama and antics, and it felt way more fast paced than an average fixture.
Let’s be clear, Chelsea is still an elite team. They certainly outplayed Everton, and likely deserved more than just the penalty goal. They also outplayed Tottenham, at least on the statistic sheet. However, the inability to capitalize on chances is something that plagues Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea dating back to his takeover in 2021. Over his span, Chelsea plays to its opponent, often leaving it late to truly put an opponent away. That came back to haunt them against Spurs, will it haunt the Blues in its bid for a trophy?
3. Núñez, Liverpool now under a serious microscope
Two points in two games has Liverpool a quick four points behind Manchester City and Arsenal. Yet, the points are not the main concern. It is the fact that Liverpool had to come from behind against lowly opponents to get those draws. Fulham and Crystal Palace both had chances to steal all three points from their fixtures against the Reds. Although, to be fair, Liverpool also had chances to come away with a win.
The fact remains that Liverpool, simply put, looked poor in those two games. The red card from Darwin Núñez in his Anfield debut did not help, but that represents another struggle. The Uruguayan striker picked up a goal in the season debut against Fulham, but he still looks out of place. Surely he can begin to get more comfortable as the season progresses. However, if his headbutt in response to Joachim Andersen’s antics is any indication, he could have a long way to go. Not ideal given the departure of Sadio Mané in the summer.
4. Manchester City already has a hand on the EPL trophy
City’s pair of wins to start the season are par for their course. A 2-0 win in London against West Ham preceded a 4-0 thrashing of Bournemouth at the Etihad. Make no mistake, these teams are not European elites, much less England’s powerhouses. However, it is a Manchester City side doing what it needs to.
Erling Haaland seems to be adapting to the Premier League fairly well, even if he was quiet against Bournemouth. That midfield featuring Kevin de Bruyne, İlkay Gündoğan and Rodri remains one of the best middle three in the world, featuring on the scoresheet and assist sheet early on this season.
5. Five-alarm fire at Old Trafford
Murphy’s Law. If it can go wrong, it will wrong. Two games in for Manchester United, and that rings true. If it could have went wrong for Manchester United, it went wrong. Turmoil rages across the red side of Manchester. Erik ten Hag has not shown why he thrived at Ajax. Of course, the blame is not just his. He inherited a talent pool of players that failed under the previous regime. On top of that, most of his signings are yet to make any noticeable impact, with Lisandro Martínez taking a brunt of criticism from fans and pundits alike.
Is it time to blow things up? Perhaps, but only to a certain extent. For years, Manchester United carried around the same rag-tag and disappointing squad. Notable names abound, but not in the greatest way. Manchester United still has a bright academy, even if players like Marcus Rashford or Scott McTominay are part of the current struggles. Manchester United needs to build young. Take Liverpool and Arsenal as examples. Over the last decade, those two sides were grim. Now, they look set to compete at the top level, with Liverpool’s struggles well in the rear-view mirror at this point.
A little more investment into that academy and providing time for talents in the same way ten Hag did at Ajax could be fruitful for Manchester United in the coming years. For now, however, they need to take their medicine and move on to greener pastures.
6. The time is now for Tottenham to win a trophy
I’m not saying Tottenham should win the Premier League. While that is certainly the club’s goal, few can compete with the consistency and depth of Manchester City. However, Tottenham is in a position this year where it not only can win trophies. Tottenham should win trophies. Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min have not hit their brilliant best in the infantile stages of this season, despite Kane’s late equalizer at Stamford Bridge. They are due to provide goals and assists in any competition.
Antonio Conte proved at the end of last season that he can get the club to where it needs to be, he proves it everywhere he goes. A Scudetto at Inter, a Premier League title at Chelsea and more Serie A titles at Juventus are on his résumé. Tottenham has an impressive lineup, and it matched a hungry Chelsea side in a contentious early season matchup.
Tottenham is the only ‘big six’ side without a Premier League title, with Spurs’ last first division title coming back in the 1960/61 season. Could that change this year? If there were a time over the span of the Premier League to do it, perhaps this is the best chance.
PHOTO: Robin Jones/Getty Images
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