The marquee match of the Premier League’s second Saturday is the late one: Chelsea vs. Arsenal. But the early slate was plenty eventful. Five games brought multiple red cards, multiple penalties – one of which was missed in the 96th minute – wins for Tottenham, Leicester City, Everton and Bournemouth, and …
A HARRY KANE AUGUST GOAL! FINALLY!
Kane’s strike was his first in a Premier League opening month, ever. He had played 15 August games and over 1,000 August minutes. He had never scored – until he took an Erik Lamela pass on the right side of the penalty box, chopped the ball inside onto his right foot, and slid it into the far corner.
Kane’s goal sealed a Spurs win over Fulham that leads our rundown of five takeaways from the Prem’s early slate:
1. Spurs wobbled, but got a deserved win over Fulham
For a solid 10 minutes early in the second half, Fulham was level with Tottenham … and it was better than Tottenham. Aleksandr Mitrovic had equalized:
And the away side was flowing forward in numbers, and in style, in search of a second. Spurs looked leggy and lethargic.
Then Kieran Trippier recreated his World Cup magic:
Minutes later, Kane got his goal. He had bumbled around the field for 70 minutes before it, exacerbating concerns that something wasn’t right. He looked clumsy and off the pace.
But he’s off the mark, and all is well at Tottenham – for now.
2. Everton’s exquisite set piece
The Marco Silva era is off to a pretty darn good start at Everton: Four points from two games despite playing more than half of one a man down. Three of those points came Saturday against Southampton, and in part because of a beautiful set piece routine:
And in part because of what seemed at the time like a suspect summer signing …
3. Richarlison scores again
Everton’s purchase of Richarlison was widely considered an overpay. He had scored a grand total of zero goals from his final 53 shots at Watford last season.
No he’s scored three from his first three as a Toffee, and almost looks like a bargain. His third was Everton’s second in a 2-1 victory over the Saints:
Sustainable? No, of course not. But by the same token, Richarlison is a much better player than he showed over the second half of last season at Watford. He’s looked like a well-rounded attacker in his first two competitive matches for the Toffees, and is a big reason Everton looks like an early favorite for seventh place.
4. No need to panic about Wolves, Fulham
Wolves remains winless after a 2-0 loss to Leicester City. Fulham remains point-less after the defeat at Wembley. But both will be fine. Both had chances to go ahead on their respective games. Both hit the post and missed other decent chances from close range. Fulham, in particular, showed glimpses of the potent attacking unit it can become.
Plus, neither has fully integrated its raft of summer signings. Fulham looked shaky at the back. But its entire back five – four defenders and goalkeeper – were new to the club. They’ll improve with chemistry, and with the returns/debuts of Alfie Mawson, Tim Ream and Sergio Rico.
5. Kenedy’s no good, very bad day
Kenedy’s performance against Cardiff in a dreadful 0-0 draw might have been one of the worst by an individual in Premier League history. First, there was this …
0 – Kenedy failed to complete a single pass in the first half against Cardiff City – he is the first outfield Premier League player to fail to complete a single pass in 45+ minutes of play since Nikola Kalinic against Birmingham City in March 2010. Passenger. pic.twitter.com/6EZbhRNI9B
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 18, 2018
His second half wasn’t much better. He also should have been sent off after 32 minutes:
Then he missed a 96th-minute penalty that would have given 10-man Newcastle a massive victory:
Now he’ll likely be suspended for the violent conduct – a three-game ban can be handed out retrospectively upon review.
The Brazilian is a talented player. But he’s extremely inconsistent. Saturday’s awful display highlighted that.
Elsewhere, Bournemouth came back to beat West Ham 2-1, in part thanks to a special goal from Callum Wilson:
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) August 18, 2018
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