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Biggest EPL Winners and Losers from Matchday 3, 2020
It’s safe to say that Matchday 3 of the 2020/21 EPL season dished up plenty of drama. In total, 36 goals were scored across the ten games, and we still haven’t seen a goalless draw this term!
Leicester hammered Man City, Man Utd got extremely lucky against Brighton, and Chelsea recovered from a calamitous first-half performance to snatch a draw with West Brom.
There were also a number of eye-catching individual displays in the Premier League last weekend. Of course, Jamie Vardy’s hat-trick definitely deserves a mention. But there were some unlikely heroes, too.
In this post, I look at the winners and losers from Matchday 3 of the 2020/21 EPL season. I cover the top performers from the past weekend and also discuss which players and teams had a weekend to forget.
Winner: Dominic Calvert-Lewin
We may only be three games into the new season, but Dominic Calvert-Lewin already has five goals to his name.
After scoring the winner against Tottenham on opening day, the Everton striker netted a hat-trick against West Brom on Matchday 2, before bagging another goal in the Toffees’ 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday.
It feels like the 23-year-old has taken his game to another level under Carlo Ancelotti. Indeed, he has scored 13 goals in 23 EPL games since the Italian’s arrival last year.
Calvert-Lewin has always been known for his relentless work rate and positional awareness, but he is now adding goals to his game on a regular basis.
If he continues to thrive, he will surely be knocking on Gareth Southgate’s door for an England call-up.
Loser: Manchester United
Yes, Manchester United won at the weekend. And at the end of the day, picking up three points is the aim of the game, right?
The Red Devils came away from Brighton with the victory, but I’m not exaggerating when I say this has to be one of the most undeserved wins in Premier League history.
Let me explain.
Neal Maupay gave Brighton the lead, but a Lewis Dunk own goal saw the teams go into the break on level terms. Granted, Marcus Rashford put Man Utd ahead with a classy solo goal. But it was one-way traffic after that.
The Seagulls bombarded United’s goal for the entirety of the second half, with Leandro Trossard hitting the woodwork three times! Solly March eventually scored an injury-time equalizer, but there was still time for more drama.
Following a VAR review after the full-time whistle had been blown, Bruno Fernandes converted a 100th-minute penalty to steal the victory for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Sorry, Man Utd supporters, but your club is still a long way off challenging for the EPL title.
Winner: Patrick Bamford
I think everyone expected Leeds United to make some sort of impact on the Premier League this season. With Marcelo Bielsa at the helm of such a historic club, the Whites were always going to be a great addition to England’s top flight.
However, I’m not so sure that many people believed Patrick Bamford would be the star of the show.
Following goals against Liverpool and Fulham, Bamford scored for the third consecutive weekend to hand his side all three points against Sheffield United.
The hard-working forward put in a man-of-the-match performance at Bramall Lane, proving that he is ready to make the step up from the Championship to the EPL.
Leeds recently signed Rodrigo for a club-record fee, but Bamford is keeping the Spain international on the bench for now.
Loser: Chelsea’s Defense
Chelsea has made a number of high-profile additions during the summer transfer window. Kai Havertz (£72m), Timo Werner (£47m), and Hakim Ziyech (£36m) have all been brought in to give Frank Lampard options in attack.
But judging by Chelsea’s defensive performance against West Brom, Lampard’s backline is in serious need of a makeover.
The Blues found themselves 3-0 down against the Baggies with less than 30 minutes on the clock. Individual errors by Marcos Alonso and Thiago Silva gifted the newly promoted side their first two goals, while some shoddy marking handed West Brom a third from a corner.
Lampard’s men rallied in the second half and eventually managed to sneak a draw, but they can wave goodbye to a top-four finish if they perform like that for the rest of the season.
Roman Abramovich has been more than happy to spend big this year, and after seeing the display on Matchday 3, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Russian billionaire adds a world-class center-back to the squad before the transfer window closes.
Winner: West Ham
West Ham 4-0 Wolves. Where did that result come from!?
Having narrowly avoided relegation last term, the Hammers kicked off the new campaign with back-to-back defeats. It looks like the London club is going to endure another tough season, but Sunday’s thrashing will certainly fill Moyes’ men with plenty of confidence.
A Jarrod Bowen brace, along with goals from Raul Jimenez (OG) and Sebastien Haller, gave West Ham an unlikely victory. Of course, Wolves dominated possession. But the Hammers made the most of their opportunities and thoroughly deserved the win.
We all know that West Ham is a streaky team, and with upcoming fixtures against Leicester, Tottenham, Man City, and Liverpool, it wouldn’t be a shock if they failed to pick up a single point from their next four games.
The Hammers are far more likely to appear in the “loser” section of this post in the coming weeks. But as far as Matchday 3 is concerned, they are undoubtedly winners.
Loser: The New Handball Rule
I don’t want to dwell on this subject too much, because, quite frankly, it’s pretty boring!
If you want to learn more about the rule change, you can find the ins and outs of the new handball regulation here. But I think I speak for every soccer fan when I say that it is ruining the game.
So far this season, there have been 20 penalties in the Premier League, six of which have been for handball. On Matchday 3 alone, we saw Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) and Eric Dier (Tottenham) penalized for handling the ball, and it was obvious that both offenses were completely accidental.
There has already been talks of scrapping the new rule, and if unfair decisions continue to arise, I’m sure we’ll see a change to the law sooner rather than later.
Winner: Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy continued to prove that age is just a number as he scored a hat-trick against Man City on Sunday. The veteran striker caused City’s backline no end of problems with his clever movement and speedy runs.
Sure, two of his goals at the Etihad were penalties. But the 33-year-old earned both spot-kicks himself. And to prove that he is still as inventive as ever, he capped off his performance by flicking a trademark backheel over Ederson.
Vardy clinched the Golden Boot last season after racking up 23 goals in 35 appearances. The lethal forward already has five in three this term, so he is well on the way to retaining his crown in 2020/21.
Will Jamie Vardy win the Golden Boot again this season? ⚽— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 28, 2020
Loser: Manchester City
Unfortunately, Man City was on the receiving end of Vardy’s ruthless performance. Not only did the Cityzens give away three penalties, but they also offered very little going forward.
Riyad Mahrez gave City the lead after just four minutes, with Nathan Ake adding a consolation goal late on. But apart from that, Pep Guardiola’s side was completely outclassed. The team was weak in defense, lost in midfield, and toothless in attack
In fact, the Foxes’ 5-2 drubbing marked the first time in Guardiola’s managerial career that his team had conceded five goals.
Needless to say, the Spaniard has plenty of work to do if he wants his side to keep pace with Liverpool this season.
Admittedly, Aston Villa was unfortunate to miss out on my winners list this week. Dean Smith’s men made it two wins from two by seeing off Fulham on Monday, so they definitely deserve a mention.
Let’s not forget Diogo Joto, too. The Portuguese came off the bench to score on his Premier League debut for Liverpool, with the Reds picking up a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Arsenal.
I’ll be back to look at the EPL winners and losers from Matchday 4 next week. But until then, why not check out our soccer picks section? You can find betting previews for upcoming English Premier League games there, along with multiple leagues from around the world.