Soccer returned with a bang last weekend. The opening Premier League fixtures produced 23 goals across eight games with Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester and Newcastle United starting their respective 2020/21 campaigns with big wins.
Leeds United pushed Liverpool right to the wire in a seven goal thriller at Anfield in the pick of the gameweek 1 fixtures. Jurgen Klopp’s side just clinched a 4-3 victory at the death to kick-start their Premier League title defence.
It was a gameweek to forget for newcomers Fulham and West Brom who both fell to 3-0 defeats, while West Ham and Tottenham will also want to put the opening weekend behind them after losing.
A full fixture list is on the horizon this weekend with Manchester United, Manchester City, Burnley and Aston Villa back in action after extended pre-seasons. Below is your gameweek two fixture list with kick-off dates and times to ensure you can catch all the action this weekend.
The first potential title clash takes place on Sunday as Chelsea host reigning champions Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. The Blues comfortably beat Brighton 3-1 in their opening game despite a lacklustre display all round as a host of new players found their feet at the club. Liverpool scraped three points from a plucky Leeds United thanks to a late Mohammed Salah penalty. This is a huge game and either side could make an early statement for the title with a win, but both sides will need to improve from last week’s performances.
Leeds United v Fulham on Saturday afternoon will be an interesting match up as both sides face each other in the top-flight since their respective promotions from the Championship last season. These Premier League new boys will be fully aware how three points could prove critical in the battle to remain in the Premier League by the end of the season.
The Manchester teams also return to action this weekend following their extended pre-season break due to their European commitments last season.
Manchester City, who finished second and 18 points behind Liverpool last season, will be looking to improve on their disappointing 2019/20 campaign. But they will need to be at their best to get any points from Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves who cruised past Sheffield United last week and beat Pep Guardiola’s side twice in the Premier League last season.
Manchester United host Crystal Palace at Old Trafford. United were superb towards the end of last season and remain unbeaten in 13 Premier League games – a run stretching back to January. Palace were just one of two teams to snatch all three points from United at Old Trafford last season. The Red Devils will need to be cautious against Roy Hodgson’s side in gameweek 2.
Players to Watch
- Mohammed Salah
Liverpool’s Egyptian King got off to a flyer in the 4-3 victory over Leeds. Salah bagged a hat-trick against the Premier League newbies, firing in a penalty and a brilliantly taken second in the first half. The striker completed his hat-trick with a low, driving penalty with just two-minutes remaining to seal all three points for the Reds. 28-year-old Salah is an expert finisher and he was the Premier League’s top scorer in 2017/18 with 32 goals and shared the honours with teammate Sadio Mane and Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in 2018/19 with 22 goals. He scored 19 last season and started emphatically last weekend to kick-off his Premier League campaign.
- Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne (or KDB) is a player of supreme class – an artist with the ball. The graceful Belgian can produce moments of magic and is Manchester City’s main creator, which was reflected last season as he produced the most assists in the league (20), seven more than second placed Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold (13). De Bruyne also won the PFA Player of the Year last year, which is voted for by fellow players. The achievement was testament to the level of quality De Bruyne showed week in week out and the attacking midfielder will be determined to help his Man City team to improve on their second placed finish last season.
- Jamie Vardy
He’s at it again! Veteran striker Jamie Vardy was amongst the goals in gameweek 1 as he confidently scored two penalties in Leicester’s comprehensive 3-0 win over West Brom. Vardy finished last season as the Premier League’s top goal scorer with 23 goals in 36 appearances and has been amongst the top five scorers in the league in four out of the past five seasons. At 33-years-old, the former England international is showing no let up in his performance as he won and scored Leicester’s first penalty against West Brom and lashed home their second spot kick late in the second half. Never write off this expert finisher in any game this season.
Don’t Shoot the Messenger!!
Now for the best part! Making bold predictions about the first full week of fixtures. Alex is on predicting duties this week and the often pessimistic Crystal Palace fan has selected his results for gameweek two (side note: He did have the Man United Palace result the other way round, but reality kicked in before confirming his predictions).
With the excitement of the first week of Premier League soccer out of the way, settle in from now to what is bound to be another competitive, captivating season. Be sure to follow the actions as the season progresses and as title challengers, relegation candidates and European hopefuls begin to emerge in the coming gameweeks.