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Premier League Recap: August


The Premier League is back and truly underway. With three rounds of matches completed, fans have gotten a small indication of what to expect over the coming 8 months in the 2018/19 season.

HERE IS EADF’S AUGUST RECAP OF ALL 20 TEAMS IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE!

Written by Veer Badani


1. Liverpool – Heavy metal football from the Reds

Liverpool sit atop the Premier League table at the end of August, being one of four teams with three wins out of three. The Reds boast the highest goal difference so far with seven and are yet to concede a goal this campaign, with new Brazilian keeper Alisson claiming three consecutive clean sheets in his first Premier League campaign.

liverpool premier league
Sadio Mane has explained why Liverpool’s front trio are so devastating, praising his relationship with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. (via This Is Anfield)

Mohamed Salah has continued last season’s record-breaking form with two goals in August. His single goal proving the difference for Liverpool at Anfield against Brighton last time out. They have enough firepower in their armoury to realistically challenge Manchester City for Premier League crown. New signings Naby Keita and Alisson have already made a difference to the squad and manager Jürgen Klopp still has Fabinho, who is yet to play a part this season.

Title contenders this season? Perhaps, but regardless of where they finish an exciting campaign looks certain for Klopp’s gegenpressing army.

Liverpool play away at Leicester City on Saturday, September 1st. K/O is at 5 pm IST.

Read More | Liverpool’s Transfer Window – Is This Their Year? |

Liverpool’s Transfer Window – Is This Their Year?


2. Tottenham Hotspur – Homeward bound and a gold medal in Asia

Spurs have made a steady start to the season and after a stunning 3-0 away win at Old Trafford last Monday, they look like business once again this season under manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Star striker Harry Kane also broke his long-awaited goal drought in the month of August against Fulham at Wembley. The two-time Golden Boot winner had remarkably never scored a Premier League goal in August before.

 While their highly anticipated return to the new and improved White Hart Lane has been delayed until the middle of September at the moment, one Spurs player has been delayed for another reason entirely; one far more pressing. South Korean forward Heung-Min Son has reached the final of the Asian Games in Indonesia and a victory against Asian rivals Japan on Saturday will see Son and his teammates be exempted from 21 months of military service for South Korea.

Spurs have been a Top 4 contender for some time now and the expectation will be to convert that into a serious title challenge this season. While the atmosphere is good in the camp at the moment, it will be important to maintain consistency over the season.

Tottenham play away at Watford on Sunday, September 2nd. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.

Read More | Turning Spurs into Title Challengers |

Turning Spurs into Title Challengers


3. Chelsea – Blue smoke, cashing out, and a 4-3-3 formation

Chelsea look rejuvenated under new manager Maurizio Sarri. The Blues sit third on the table,  due to goal difference. The former Napoli manager brought with him his prized midfielder Jorginho who is settling in well and adapting to life at Chelsea.

Playing in his preferred traditional 4-3-3 formation, Jorginho has become the engine of a Chelsea side that sees World Cup winner N’Golo Kanté being given a free role across the top half of the pitch.

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Chelsea celebrate Hazard’s opener vs Newcastle. (Via Fox Sports)

Chelsea are expected to be a team in transition this season but are showing promise under Sarri who seems to have the players he needs to get the most out of his 4-3-3 formation that worked wonders last season in Serie A with Napoli, who finished second behind Juventus.

A home win against a misfiring Arsenal side, along with away wins at Huddersfield and Newcastle have given Chelsea the perfect start under the Italian. While life on the pitch is fine, there have been whispers that Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich may be looking to sell the London club. How such a change up at the top, if reported to be true, may affect the players is yet to be seen.

Chelsea will host AFC Bournemouth on Saturday, September 1st. K/O is at 7:30 pm IST.

Read More | It’s Time For Sarri-Ball At Chelsea |

It’s Time for Sarri-Ball at Chelsea


4. Watford – Why not eh?

The surprising entry to the Top 4 with a 100% record at the end of August is Watford. It’s too early to make any predictions but Watford have made a strong start and will look to build momentum going ahead.

Manager Javi Gracia led the Hornets to their first ever 100% start in the Premier League after three matches. While no one is expecting a ‘Leicester City’ from Watford just yet, a top half finish in the table would certainly be a step in the right direction.

Watford will host Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, September 2nd. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.


5. Manchester City – A Blue Moon dynasty?

After a record-breaking campaign last season that saw Pep Guardiola’s side win the club’s third Premier League title, the minimum expectation would be to retain the crown.

City began the campaign with a comfortable 2-0 win away to Arsenal, before smashing 6 past Huddersfield at the Etihad Stadium with Sergio Agüero bagging the match ball for his virtuoso performance.

A resilient Wolves side saw the Citizens held for a 1-1 draw in their final match of the month, leaving them fifth on the table. Guardiola will have to do without key midfielder Kevin De Bruyne for at least a few months after the Belgian sustained a knee injury in training.

Aymeric Laporte equalizing for the Citizens (via Evening Standard)

Squad depth at the blue half of Manchester, especially in midfield will likely make Guardiola’s selection headache a little easier. A run in September that includes matches against two out of the three newly promoted sides should help City jump up the table and stay amongst the leading pack

Manchester City host Newcastle United on Saturday, September 1st. K/O is at 10 pm IST.


6. AFC Bournemouth – A good start

Bournemouth have established themselves as a Premier League side and their start this season suggests that another exciting campaign in the league is on the cards for the league’s youngest active manager Eddie Howe.

The Cherries began the 2018/19 campaign with wins against newly-promoted Cardiff City and West Ham, before coming from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home to Everton last time out.

Bournemouth will face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, September 1st. K/O is at 7:30 pm IST.


7. Leicester City- They won the League you know!

Who would have thought that the glory and success of Leicester City’s unimaginable title-winning season would be a thing of the distant past? Football is a very fast-paced sport indeed.

Under manager Claude Puel, Leicester City will be hoping to finish in the top half of the table and push for continental qualification. The Foxes finished in 9th place last campaign.

Manager Claude Puel has said that City will take the game to Liverpool this weekend, (via Liverpool FC )

Keeping young defender Harry Maguire at the club after a summer of sustained pressure from Manchester United was in itself a huge victory for the club. The 25-year old had a brilliant World Cup with England and was rumoured to be signing for United.

Leicester City began the month with a loss away to Manchester United. However, they have made a strong recovery after securing wins against Wolves and Puel’s former club Southampton.

Leicester City will host league leaders Liverpool on Saturday, September 1st. K/O is at 5 pm IST.


8. Everton- Transfer window kings in Barcelona and a head-butting Brazilian

Everton had one of the best transfer windows of any Premier League club this summer. That being said, Evertonians will not get too carried away knowing how last season unfolded. The signings of Barcelona’s defending duo Yerry Mina and Lucas Digne were lauded as shroud deals.

The Toffees also secured a loan deal for another Barcelona player, André Gomes. Big things were expected of the talented Portuguese midfielder when he signed for Barca. However, for one reason or the other, he was not able to showcase his best to the Barca faithful. He will hope to recapture his form in the Everton blue.

Midfielder Bernard came in on a free transfer and Kurt Zouma joined on loan from Chelsea to cap off an impressive transfer window.

Everton boss Marco Silva’s reunion with former Watford winger Richarlison has been bittersweet, to say the least. The Brazilian was in red-hot form this month bagging two goals on his Everton debut against Wolves in a 2-2 draw, followed by a third against Southampton at Goodison Park.

However, things soon took a nasty turn, when Richarlison was handed a red card away at Bournemouth for an attempted headbutt. The player was quick to apologize on social media for his outburst. The absence of Richarlison, however, may open the door for former Arsenal striker Theo Walcott to shine in a more promising role after scoring twice in his last two matches.

Everton will be without Richarlison when they host Huddersfield on Saturday, September 1st. K/O is at 7:30 pm IST.


9. Arsenal – Good things come to those who wait. . . . right?

Arsenal’s new regime under Unai Emery got off to an underwhelming start, after a 2-0 home loss to defending champions Manchester City, followed by a 3-2 defeat away to London rivals Chelsea. However, one has to put the gravity of Unai Emery’s task at hand into perspective, before drawing hasty conclusions. The two opening games were never going to be the yardstick to judge how Arsenal might shape up this season.

There was a strong response from the Gunners the following week after they rallied to come back from a goal behind to register their first win of the campaign against West Ham.

A Europa League campaign this season will give Arsenal two chances at a swift return to the Champions League, after finishing a disappointing 6th last season in Arsene Wenger’s last year as manager at the Emirates.

Can the Gunners fire on all accounts this season? With the likes of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang eager to bang those goals in, there seems no reason to think another Top 6 finish is out of reach in Emery’s debut season at the club.

Arsenal will travel to Wales to face Cardiff City on Sunday, September 2nd. K/O is at 6 pm IST.


10. Crystal Palace – The Eagles are soaring

Their best bit of business done by The Eagles this summer transfer window was holding onto star striker Wilfried Zaha, who recently extended his contract with the club.

Palace began the campaign with a 2-0 win away at Fulham, before consecutive defeats to Liverpool and Watford rounding up a mixed bag of an August. Optimism is high at Selhurst Park, and a top half finish will be on the minds of all the Palace fans after narrowly missing out last season

Crystal Palace host Southampton on Saturday, September 1st. K/O is at 7:30 pm IST.


11. Fulham – High expectations at Craven Cottage

After becoming the first promoted club in Premier League history to spend over £100m, much is expected from Fulham this season.

A disappointing start to their campaign saw the Cottagers lose to London rivals Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur, before registering their first win back in the Premier League at home against Burnley 4-2.

Aleksander Mitrovic will be the key man up front for Fulham. He was in a rich vein of form in the Championship last season and everyone associated with the club will hope he is able to recreate his goalscoring form in the Premier League.

Read More| Fulham Season Preview |

Fulham Season Preview

Jean Michael Seri is one of the new signings to have made a good impression in the opening matches of the Premier League.  He has tremendous ability to pick a pass, can run well with the ball on his feet, has brilliant positional sense and can let the ball rip from a distance as we saw against Burney. A complete midfielder with a bright future ahead of him.

Fulham play away to Brighton on Saturday, September 1st. K/O is at 7:30 pm IST.


12. Brighton & Hove Albion – Survival down on the coast

Brighton will be looking to ensure back-to-back survival campaigns after joining the Premier League last season. A 15th place finish was a good end to a long and nervous first season under boss Chris Hughton.

A shock win over Manchester United got the Seagulls underway this campaign, followed by a respectable 1-0 defeat away to Liverpool.

Brighton host Fulham at the Amex Stadium on Saturday, September 1st. K/O is at 7:30 pm IST.


13. Manchester United – Response, response, response

Manchester United are in dangerous waters. A shock defeat away to Brighton followed by a 3-0 hiding at the hands of Tottenham in front of their own fans has left Jose Mourinho demanding respect from journalists and fans alike.

Old Trafford has seen darker days of course, but a response is what is needed now from Mourinho’s men.

Languishing down in 13th place at the end of August was hardly on Mourinho’s to-do list, and defensive frailties have highlighted how badly they needed a strong centre-back who could lead from the back.

Read More | The Curious Case Of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy |

The Curious Case of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

A lack of activity in the transfer market means a quick and comprehensive response will be essential if Manchester United are to finish in the Top 4, let alone challenge for the title with bitter cross-town rivals Manchester City.

Mourinho will have to ensure that the gap between the league leaders and United doesn’t widen. If United aren’t able to mount a sustained title challenge this season, Mourinho’s position as the club’s manager might come under scrutiny. Whispers of Jose Mourinho being replaced by former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane are growing louder in context.

The Red Devils need to pull up their socks and have a long hard look at themselves in the mirror because a sinking ship is no fun for fans and players involved. Disaster may still be a long way away for Manchester United, but the sharks start circling very quickly especially when the demands and aspirations of a club are set so high.

Manchester United will face Burnley away at Turf Moor on Sunday, September 2nd. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.


14. Wolverhampton Wanderers – The manager with the best beard in football

Wolves have a distinct Portuguese flavour about them this season, highlighted no greater than by the manager Nuno Espirito Santo.

They have made a decent start to their Premier League campaign, drawing 2-2 at home to Everton in their opening fixture, followed by a disappointing 2-0 defeat away to Leicester City. Their best result by far, perhaps even of the entire season was a 1-1 draw against Manchester City at the Molineux Stadium.

Last season’s Championship winners will be hoping to avoid a return to the second-tier of English football and star man Ruben Neves’ performance this season will have a huge impact on Wolves’ final position in the League table.

Wolves will play at West Ham on Saturday, September 1st. K/O is at 7:30 pm IST.


15. Cardiff City – Favourites for the drop

Cardiff City are favourites for a swift return to the Championship at the end of this season.

Such predictions are backed by August stats that show Cardiff are yet to register a win or indeed score a goal this season. Life in the Premier League may not be getting better anytime soon, as September sees the Bluebirds facing Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester City in their next three fixtures.

Their goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, the first player from the Philippines to play in the Premier League has given the Bluebirds something to cheer about. The stopper has bagged two clean sheets in his first three Premier League games and has received widespread praise from fans and media personnel.

Cardiff City will host Arsenal on Sunday, September 2nd. K/O is at 6:00 pm IST.


16. Newcastle United – Viva Rafa Benitez

Newcastle United and Rafael Benitez is still a better love story than Twilight. Lack of funds available in the transfer market has not deterred Rafa Benitez from keeping Newcastle in the Premier League.

After a loss at home to Tottenham, a goalless draw with Cardiff and another loss to Chelsea means it has been a shaky start to the season for Newcastle United. Newcastle will need all of Benitez’s experience to keep them up this season.

Read More | Back To The Future: Newcastle United Season Preview 2018-19 |

Back to the Future: Newcastle United Season Preview 2018-19

Known for using an ultra-defensive approach against the Top 6, Newcastle could be seen utilizing similar tactics in September with matches against Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United in October on the horizon.

Newcastle will host Manchester City on Saturday, September 1st. K/O is at 10 pm IST.


17. Southampton – Mark Hughes and Danny Ings to the rescue

Southampton resumed business with Liverpool this summer after securing the signature of striker Danny Ings joined on a season-long loan deal that will become permanent next year.

Manager Mark Hughes will hope Ings can form a partnership with Shane Long up-front that could help propel the South coast club away from any relegation fears this season.

After narrowly avoiding the drop last year with a 17th place finish, Southampton will hope to turn their fortunes around. A draw with Burnley at the St. Mary’s Stadium, followed by consecutive defeats to Everton and Leicester City leaves the club with just one point going into September.

Southampton will travel to London to face Crystal Palace on Saturday, September 1st. K/O is at 7:30 pm IST.


18. Burnley – A European hangover

A long and hard-fought play-off campaign for the upcoming UEFA Europa League season has ended for Burnley, after losing 2-4 on aggregate to Olympiakos.

Two consecutive defeats against Watford and Fulham saw the Clarets lose ground on their mid-table rivals. It would be easy to attribute this to their European commitments, but there is no point in pondering over the past. They go again on Sunday against a shaky United side and will look to make the most of this opportunity to kickstart their campaign.

Read MoreBurnley And The Power Of Synergy |

Burnley, A look back at 2017/2018

Burnley will host Manchester United on Sunday, September 2nd. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.


19. Huddersfield Town – Championship bound?

Manager David Wagner will hope to keep his side afloat in the Premier League once again, after avoiding the drop having spent much of the backend of last season in the relegation zone.

The Terriers had a tough string of fixtures in August, beginning with a 3-0 defeat at home to Chelsea, followed by a 6-1 demolition by champions Manchester City. A 0-0 draw against newly-promoted Cardiff City gave Huddersfield their one and only point of the campaign so far.

Another favourite for the drop this season, Wagner’s men will have to conjure up a miracle to remain in England’s top flight.

Huddersfield Town will travel to Merseyside to face Everton on Saturday, September 1st. K/O is at 7:30 pm IST.


20. West Ham United – 3 games played, 2 goals scored, 0 points won

West Ham United lie at the bottom of the table and are the only club yet to register a point this season. Three straight defeats against Liverpool, Bournemouth, and Arsenal have made Pellegrini’s return to the Premier League very challenging.

The move from their old Boleyn Ground, commonly known as Upton Park, to the Olympic Stadium in 2016 has not fared the way the club and fans would have hoped. The transition period seems to be lasting much longer than expected after they finished a disappointing 13th last season.

pellegrini west ham premier league

With a goal difference of minus seven already, West Ham could struggle to stay in the Premier League at the end of May, with many teams often surviving, or falling due to goal difference.

Games against Chelsea and Manchester United at the Olympic Stadium in September could further push West Ham down the table. However, a manager of Pellegrini’s pedigree will most definitely have a plan or two to overturn this slide. There is enough quality in that side, and we believe it will only be a matter of time before they hit the ground running.

West Ham United will host Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, September 1st. K/O is at 7:30 pm IST.


THE PREMIER LEAGUE IN EUROPE

Along with Premier League football in August, the UEFA Champions League and Europa League group-stage draws were held in Monaco this week.

In the Champions League, Tottenham Hotspur had been drawn with FC Barcelona, PSV Eindhoven, and FC Inter Milan in Group B.

Liverpool will face Paris Saint-Germain, SSC Napoli, and Red Star Belgrade in Group C.

Manchester City were drawn with Shakhtar Donetsk, Olympique Lyonnais, and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in Group F.

Manchester United are joined by Juventus, Valencia CF, and BSC Young Boys in Group H.

In the UEFA Europa League, Arsenal have been drawn with Sporting FC, Qarabag FK, and FC Vorskla in Group E.

Chelsea were joined by PAOK FC, FC Bate Borisov, and Vidi FC in Group L.

The UEFA Champions League group-stage Matchday 1 will begin from September 18. While the UEFA Europa League matches will begin from September 20.


 

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