5 Things We Learned from Week 2 in the EPL (2021)
Two weeks have been completed in the 2021 Premier League. Every club has been able to play in front of its own fans now – with some enjoying the experience more than others.
We are already able to see problems emerging for a few head coaches and have also been able to check out how some of the big signings of the summer are getting on.
Here are five more things we learned from the games over the weekend in week two of the 2021 EPL season.
Lukaku is Back
Romelu Lukaku had stated that he was happy in Italy and was looking forward to winning more trophies with Inter after picking up the Serie A title last season. But the lure of the EPL was too strong for the Belgium international.
Chelsea has virtually played without an out and out striker since the days of Didier Drogba, so Lukaku’s arrival has forced Thomas Tuchel into a tactical switch.
Lukaku scored the first in the 2-0 win at Arsenal, finishing off a flowing attacking move by tapping the ball into the empty net. His strength is just one facet of his play and he has already begun to link up expertly with the likes of Havertz and Mount in the middle.
Many pundits had Chelsea down as a possible title winner this season after it lifted the Champions League trophy last year. Tuchel consistently got the better of Guardiola in their tactical duels.
The addition of Lukaku adds yet another edge to the side. Now the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool will definitely be worried about how far this Chelsea team can go.
Danny Ings Scores Goals Wherever He Plays
An injury ravaged period at Liverpool, where he only scored three goals in 14 appearances, is the only blot on a successful goal scoring career for Danny Ings – and even that wasn’t a bad record given the circumstances.
Ings scored a consolation penalty in the disappointing opening day loss for Aston Villa at Watford. But he scored an absolute beauty in the win over Newcastle on Saturday.
Using a well-worked long throw set piece, Villa had the Magpies in trouble. And, Ings finished with a spectacular scissor kick volley just before halftime to give his side the lead.
It is something of a surprise to learn that Ings is still in his late 20s, as he has been starring – and scoring – for top-flight clubs for quite a while now.
Villa fans were crestfallen when they accepted that Grealish would be departing in the summer. But now Danny Ings has shown them that they will definitely have something to celebrate this season.
The only question will be, is how Dean Smith can fit Ollie Watkins into the team once he is fully fit.
Leeds Will Be Entertaining This Season
Leeds endured a humiliating 5-1 thrashing away to one of its biggest rivals on the opening day of the season. But there was no way that anyone thought that this side wouldn’t bounce back.
Head coach Marcelo Bielsa has introduced an excellent work ethic into the club and accepts that there will sometimes be negative results with the way he sends his players out to play.
After the dramatics at Old Trafford the week before, Leeds fans were once again entertained by two sets of players performing to the height of their abilities.
Elland Road was treated to a fine display of soccer and it is a shame that both Leeds and Everton were only allowed to come away with a solitary point.
Even though that result kept Leeds nearer the bottom of the table than the top, there is very little to worry about for the club this season.
Conceding too many goals may make it difficult for Leeds to break into the European places again, but the fans will enjoy another season in the EPL after being away for so long.
Brighton Impresses and Remains Unbeaten
Brighton started its EPL season by conceding a goal to Burnley after just two minutes, suggesting that the Seagulls would struggle once again.
But, after two games of the campaign, Brighton sits happily in fourth and is one of just five clubs with a 100% record so far.
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Head coach Graham Potter is well respected within the game but was criticized by some fans last season, as his side struggled at the wrong end of the table.
Brighton is never going to compete for Champions League places, but a mid table position should be attainable. Now his decision to bring defender Shane Duffy back into the starting eleven has worked wonders. The Irish defender scored the opening goal in the win against Watford on Saturday.
Even Brighton fans were unsure about Duffy’s inclusion after a disappointing season out on loan at Celtic last season. But he has looked solid at the back with Dunk – and helped the Seagulls forget that they must deal with the departure of Ben White to Arsenal, leaving a hole at the back.
An injury to Maupay at the weekend is a worry for Potter, but his Brighton side is doing its part at the moment.
West Ham Has Picked Up Where They Left Off Last Season
West Ham has been out to prove that last season’s Europa League finish was not a fluke. After two games of the season, the happy Hammers sit at the very top of the Premier League having scored eight goals in the process. Thrashing Leicester on Monday, was a sign that the club could do well this year.
Keeping Rice in the summer was a huge achievement for David Moyes. And, his control in front of the back line enables a rejuvenated Benrahma to forge attacking movements.
The Algerian midfielder is recapturing some of the form that brought him the move to West Ham from Brentford. He looks as though he will enjoy a very good campaign.
Up front, the goals and talent of Antonio have put West Ham at the very summit. He scored another two to round off the destruction of Leicester in the final EPL game of the weekend.
There is a worry that the extra European games will test the squad. There seems to be a lack of back up for Antonio if he gets injured – but, for now, West Ham is sitting pretty and enjoying the new season immensely.
Still a Long Way to Go in the 2021 Premier League
With only two games of the season played, there is obviously a long way to go and we shouldn’t be getting too carried away by the way the likes of West Ham and Brighton have started their campaigns.
But it has been exciting – and the return of the fans to the stadiums has made a huge difference.
Look out for my round up of the weekend’s EPL action again next week, as the clubs get ready to take a rest for the first international break.