There’s nothing quite like Premier League soccer (or football, depending on where you’re from) to make your weekend afternoons enjoyable. There were some world class performances around the league this weekend. Five teams caught my eye, some for good reasons and others…not so much. I’ll be starting with the team in the highest position, then working my way down the league table. So, without further adieu, let’s get right into it.
- Manchester City
Week 3 Result: 3-1 win @ Sheffield United
What we have here is a vintage Manchester City win. Manger Pep Guardiola easily implemented his signature tiki-taka, quick passing style on the game which Sheffield United had no answer for. That being said, City’s dominance was shown more on the stats sheet rather than the final score. City ended the game having an outrageous 79.5% of possession, as well as 30 shots (9 on target) compared to Sheffield’s 6 shots (2 on target). Recent Player of the Year winner Elrling Haaland headed in the opening goal in the 63rd minute, but Sheffield were able to equalize late on, courtesy of a Jayden Bogle shot to the bottom left corner in the 85th minute. Star midfielder Rodri ended up scoring the winner in the 88th minute, a top left corner shot from the middle of the penalty box. While City only won by one goal, the result was never in doubt. Man City, defending champions and the only team to have won all their games so far, look as good as ever. They’ll look to keep their title defense alive Saturday as they welcome Fulham to Etihad Stadium, a game which should be more of the same.
- West Ham
Week 3 Result: 3-1 win @ Brighton & Hove Albion
The ever popular “Bowen’s on fire” chant could be heard echoing throughout Amex Stadium, and for good reason. The visitors, West Ham, jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after James Ward-Prowse converted a counter-attack opportunity from close range. This was a shock to many as Brighton were heavy favorites going into the match. Although West Ham were champions of Europe last season, winning the UEFA Conference League in a tightly contested final in which Jared Bowen scored the winner in extra time, no one expected them to be sitting in second place in the league after three weeks. They just sold their captain and best player, Declan Rice, to Arsenal this past transfer window for a hefty sum of $137.5 million. All the signs were pointing to a drop in form and a mid-table/bottom-half finish for the Irons, but so far they’ve exceeded expectations. In addition to being in second place, they also have the second best goal difference in the league (7 goals for, 3 goals against). I love a good underdog story, so the fact that West Ham (and Bowen) are on fire is certainly a joy to watch. Week four sees West Ham traveling to Luton to face newly promoted Luton Town in a match. West Ham will need to win in order to show if they truly mean business this season.
Week 3 Result: 3-0 win vs. Luton Town
After three weeks and almost $500 million spent, Chelsea finally got their first win of the season. After an embarrassing 3-1 loss at home last weekend to West Ham, the Blues bounced back and took care of business in front of their home crowd. Their big money signing Moisés Caicedo started this match after coming on as a sub vs. West Ham and having an absolute nightmare of a debut. However, this time around Caicedo seemed calm, cool, and collected delivering a 7/10 match rating. It was another case of a “Big Six” club beating up on some smaller competition in this one, with Chelsea cruising to a comfortable 3-0 win where veteran winger Raheem Sterling scored a brace in a Man of the Match performance. Chelsea players and fans will hope this result is the one they needed to jump start their team into the title race. Next week they’ll continue their streak of home games, welcoming Nottingham Forest to Stamford Bridge on Saturday in what should be a comfortable win for the Blues. I’m not 100% sold on Chelsea yet as they have a new manager and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new players at the club, but it’s a long season so we’ll see how they can crack on as a unit.
- Newcastle United
Week 3 Result: 2-1 loss vs. Liverpool
Newcastle surprised a lot of people, including myself, last season when they finished in fourth place and secured a UEFA Champions League spot just one season after they were purchased by a Saudi Arabian investment group led by the Public Investment Fund (PIF). With a significant increase in funds, the Magpies didn’t waste bringing in crucial first-team players like English defender Kieran Trippier and Swedish forward Alexander Isak. While week three’s result was a bit of a shock I don’t believe this is anywhere near the end for Newcastle. They blew a 1-0 lead at home to a Liverpool team that was down to 10 men. Darwin Núñez came on for Liverpool in the 77th minute and looked absolutely unstoppable, scoring both of Liverpool’s goals. That being said, manager Eddie Howe was in contention for Manager of the Year last season and, while young, has lots of Premier League experience under his belt. I’m not ready to give up on the Geordies just yet, and they can bounce back next week in a tough away game against Brighton. A win there would surely put Newcastle back on track.
Week 3 Result: 1-0 loss vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
In a game that nobody wanted to watch, two of the worst teams in the league squared off in a potential relegation battle. Everton have been fighting for survival the past few seasons so this is nothing new for them, and Wolves have been slowly getting lower and lower on the table since their promotion in 2018. Everton is the only team in the league who has zero wins, zero draws and three losses so far. It was a 0-0 snoozefest for most of the game, until Wolves broke the deadlock in the 87th minute with a Sasa Kalajdzic header off of a beautiful cross from Pedro Neto. Everton is a club with a devoted fan base and one of the best rivalries of all time: The Merseyside Derby vs. Liverpool. They’ve been in the top flight of English soccer for a record 119 straight seasons. While I know they get a lot of hate, something about seeing such a storied club get relegated after all this time is pretty sad to me. I’ll be rooting for Everton to stay up, but I don’t necessarily like their odds. They have a very winnable game next week as they travel to Sheffield to take on Sheffield United.