Antonio Conte needs seven points from three games. To start Saturday’s games, Spurs beat Wolves 1-0. Later, Premier League matches were full of last-minute lead changes. Crystal Palace beat Aston Villa, putting pressure on Steven Gerrard. Fulham beat Brentford, and Jordan Pickford helped Everton salvage a point.
Takeaways from the Premier League
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Arsenal stays atop the Premier League
Mikel Arteta is undefeated after three matches. Gabriel Jesus had one assist but could’ve had four if not for the offside flag and his selflessness. When Martin Odegaard scored twice in the first 11 minutes against Bournemouth, Arsenal was already sure to win.
Gabriel Jesus was involved in both goals as he set up Gabriel Martinelli before Odegaard scored from an upswing after Mark Travers’ save on the first. Odegaard got his second from a direct Jesus assist as Arsenal swarmed forward. Even though they were already ahead, they made more passes than Bournemouth, but not before William Saliba scored a thunderous goal.
Saliba’s ability to do this will make it difficult for Ben White to regain a starting position at center back if his role as a makeshift right back ends. Arteta’s perfect start bodes well before Europa League play begins and the schedule gets busier. Next week, Arsenal face Fulham in a London derby, but it’s hard not to expect them to roll again after scoring at least two goals in every match and allowing only three. With a strong start, it’s hard to say they won’t make the Champions League.
Tottenham overcome slow first half
Harry Kane scored his 185th goal to pass Serio Aguero as the Premier League’s all-time leading scorer for a single club. Antonio Conte dreams of goals like this from set pieces. Three points were secured.
Only Conte and the Spurs will know if the goal was a designed play, but a new set play coach, Gianni Vio, was added during the summer. Son’s short corner was flicked on by Perisic, and Kane scored the game-winning goal.
Kane’s goal and milestone may be the main talking points of the match, but Spurs only had one shot in the first half while Bruno Lage’s side had 12. The Spurs improved in the second half after halftime adjustments to Emerson Royal and Dejan Kulusevski’s positions. They deserved the three points they earned, but it wasn’t easy.
Rayan Ait-Nouri and Goncalo Guedes started at right wing-back in place of an injured Cristian Romero to cover for Rayan Ait-Nouri. Royal’s pressure led to Sanchez’s five clearances and two blocked shots. This kept the Spurs’ defence from breaking. Wolves had 20 shots but only.62 xG compared to Spurs’ 1.62, boosted by Kane’s header worth 0.70 xG. Spurs will take this result, but Conte will want to find his best rotation before the Champions League.
Lage’s Wolves could finish the weekend in the relegation zone. Matheus, Nunes, and Guedes weren’t enough to help Wolves after three matches. The Wolves enjoyed getting into space but couldn’t finish. Some of that was Conte’s building Spurs into a unit that defends well when the side isn’t at its best, but it’s also been a problem for Wolves under Lage. In the next match, Daniel Podence will be replaced by a healthy Raul Jimenez, but Raul only scored six goals in 34 appearances last season, so Lage’s scoring woes loom. A long losing streak could prompt the board to change coaches.
Wilfred Zaha challenges for the Golden Boot
Crystal Palace won their first game of the season against Aston Villa after Patrick Vieira faced Arsenal and Liverpool. Ollie Watkins opened the scoring for Villa, but Wilfred Zaha equalised for Palace two minutes later. Their second goal came from Lucas Digne’s handball on a Marc Guéhi header. Zaha’s penalty was saved by Emi Martinez, but the rebound led to his third goal of the season.
Zaha is among the top scorers despite missing a big chance against Liverpool. Crystal Palace’s defence helps him thrive. Palace took 17 shots against Villa without Diego Carlos. Next up is Manchester City, but Vieira’s side is ready for anyone in the league.
Leicester’s defense needs to improve
Leicester City lost 2-1 to Southampton while the Wesly Fofana transfer saga continues. Kasper Schmeichel moved to Nice for £1 million plus add-ons, leaving a hole in the net. Danny Ward has failed to fill his shoes, allowing eight goals in three games. Brenden Rodgers said Ward and Daniel Iversen would battle it out, but Ward’s Welsh national team experience gave him the edge. Rodgers must see what he has in Iversen before the transfer window closes, especially if Fofana and Youri Tielemans leave.
Things are souring for a team that was close to qualifying for the Champions League a few seasons ago, and this feels like a critical transfer window for the Foxes. Losing more players without replacing them could send the team into a tailspin.
Promoted teams pick up points
Fulham’s Mitrovic scored late to beat Brentford, while Nottingham Forest and Everton drew 1-1.
Bobby Reid scored 44 seconds into the match to punish Brentford’s post-Manchester United hangover. Joao Palhinha’s 20th-minute header put them up 2-0 before Thomas Frank’s adjustments brought Brentford back. Brentford’s hopes were dashed after Toney’s equaliser.
Fulham are undefeated through three Premier League matches after struggling last season.
Nottingham Forest will feel hard done by Jordan Pickford’s assist in their draw at Everton, but it’s a marked improvement from their opening day loss to Newcastle United.
Frank Lampard is trying to keep Everton ahead of the competition until Dominic Regional High School returns from injury. Everton face a tall task to avoid relegation, so small victories like limiting Tricky Trees’ attack are cause for celebration. The Toffees had 19 shots and could’ve won with a forward, but it’s an important point for both teams as Everton moves out of the relegation zone.