It’s hard to live up to the anticipation of the opening weekend of Premier League football, particularly when the 20 clubs provided such top quality entertainment on our return to stadiums up and down the country.
Gameweek 2 had to deal with plenty of expectation then, but Saturday’s competitors didn’t disappoint.
We saw teams pick up their first points of the season, continue winning streaks and for some, fall to a second defeat in as many matches.
But what have we learned from the first six matches of the 2021/22 Premier League season’s second week of existence?
Diogo Jota has done brilliantly in replacing Roberto Firmino at centre-forward, while the right hand side movement and interplay between Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harvey Elliott and Mohamed Salah is a joy to behold.
Kostas Tsimikas has deputised admirably for Andy Robertson, while Naby Keita is benefitting from his chance in the first team. Two victories, two clean sheets and five goals scored (without key players), it’s been a confident start to the new campaign.
Don’t write them off just yet.
Did it come as a surprise to anyone that Manchester City took out all their frustrations from the defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on poor Norwich City?
The Canaries never had a prayer from the off, as Pep Guardiola’s rotated lineup tore them apart and put five goals past a helpless Tim Krul over the 90 minutes.
Gabriel Jesus shone by bagging a couple of assists, while Jack Grealish secured his first goal for his new club. Substitutes Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez got on the scoresheet, as Norwich crumbled against the deep, deep squad of the Cityzens.
Daniel Farke will be glad to have got such difficult matches out of the way already, but the pressure is on to start picking up points – or at least to look like picking up points.
People feared for Aston Villa after the opening day defeat to Watford, wondering if all this investment would end up biting them on the backside. Well, we shouldn’t worry too much, because Danny Ings will always score goals.
The 29-year-old kicked off the scoring in a 2-0 victory by firing a stunning overhead kick beyond Newcastle United goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, as Villa collected a much-needed three points.
There is a plan in place, but there were always going to be questions over whether they could win without Grealish. Time to move on from that debate.
As for Newcastle, it was another stinker. Only one shot on target over the 90 minutes, and pressure is already building on Steve Bruce’s shoulders.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the narrative and size of the occasion helped propel Brentford to victory over Arsenal, and all eyes were on how they’d cope in a more ‘typical’ Premier League outing.
Once again, they impressed. The Bees kept another clean sheet and looked the more likely team to break the deadlock, creating more chances than Crystal Palace over the 90 minutes.
Coach Thomas Frank will know how important every point will be at the end of the season, and as a general rule, any positive result on the road is a bonus for the clubs battling relegation.
Brentford are an ambitious club though, and after two matches in their new division, supporters may even be thinking they can do better than simply avoiding relegation.
However, both sides will feel they could have won the match, were it not for lapses of concentration or poor decision-making at the back. Leeds captain Liam Cooper was to blame for the hosts, pulling down Dominic Calvert-Lewin to concede a needless penalty.
And Michael Keane followed that up with another error of judgement to match his howler against Southampton, finding himself out of position and missing the interception for Mateusz Klich’s equaliser.
Both teams are dreaming of pushing up the table, but improvements need to be made in their own penalty areas if they are to really progress.
Brighton fans won’t thank us for saying this, and they’ll rightly point to the fact that after two games, they’re currently occupying second place in the Premier League – but…
Yves Bissouma is proving himself to be far too good for the Seagulls. He was effortlessly brilliant in the 2-0 win over Watford on Saturday, making more tackles and interceptions than any other player on the pitch.
He also contributed at the other end, snatching the ball deep in Hornets territory before supplying Neal Maupay’s clincher. Surely there’s a top-six club crying out for his skillset?
And to think, Arsenal went to Brighton with a £50m cheque, and ended up bringing Ben White back to north London instead of Bissouma…