Ups and downs from the Premier League’s opening fixtures


Ups and downs from the Premier League’s opening fixtures

by Ryan Conway

All EPL Season Previews

The first weekend of the Premier League has breezed by. Now begins a 38-game marathon of unpredictability and memorable moments. Prost International looks at who had moments to remember and ones to forget on the opening weekend.

Going up:

Luke Shaw

Luke Shaw scored his first senior goal against Leicester City (photo credit: Reuters)

The Manchester United left-back looked set to be out in the cold for Jose Mourinho. Their relationship has been reportedly rocky for some time now, but the 23-year-old scored his first senior goal during United’s 2-1 win against Leicester City.

Shaw turned in an all-action performance in the opening match of the season, constantly offering support on the left and defending diligently. His manager even singled him out for praise in his post-match interview.

Hopefully this sparks the start of a revival in Shaw’s United career. The England defender arrived in Manchester from Southampton talked up as their first-choice left-back for the next decade. So far things have not panned out, but his critical season got off to the perfect start at Old Trafford.

Benjamin Mendy

Fresh off a World Cup victory with France, Mendy will want to make up for lost time in his second season with Man City. The defender’s campaign was cut short after he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament against Crystal Palace in September.

Guardiola restored Mendy to the line-up for their convincing 2-0 victory over Arsenal on Sunday. The former Monaco man provided both assists and looked to be back at full fitness as he raided down the left. It was the sort of performance that persuaded the champions to stump up the £52 million for his services.

City were brilliant without their first choice left-back. With the 23-year-old back in the fold they threatened to be even more dynamic. His powerful runs down the flank gave Arsenal a host of problems they were unable to deal with. If Mendy continues to get strong as the league progresses he will feel like a new signing for Guardiola.


Richarlison scored on his debut for Everton. (Photo credit: Reuters)

A perfect way to kick off your new career at a new club. Richarlison scored a brace on his competitive debut for Everton as they drew 2-2 with Wolves at Molineux. The Brazilian showed flashes of his obvious potential while with the Hortnets but failed to produce on a consistent basis.

This time, he, and his new manager Marco Silva, will be hoping his red-hot start keeps up for much of the campaign. The daunting prospect of being branded a big-money flop awaited Richarlison had he turned in a subpar performance, but his drive, balance and instincts squashed that fear – for now at least.

His goals will go a long way to fill the goal-getting boots of Romelu Lukaku, Everton now have another attacking option to go with January arrivals Theo Walcott and Cenk Tosun. The 21-year-old operated on the left of an attacking three behind Tosun. He had his defenders on their heels with his direct style of play and matched them on a physical level.

Going down:

Matteo Guendouzi

Guendouzi flashed ability but had some unsure moments on his Arsenal debut (photo credit: Sky Sports).

Perhaps a bit harsh on the 19-year-old Arsenal new boy, but at times he did look out of his depth. A few too many stray passes and miscommunications put the Gunners in sticky situations. He was fortunate that Man City weren’t as ruthless as they can be.

The former Lorient teenager will no doubt improve as he settles into the club and did always make himself available to receive a pass. However, his tender years sometimes showed, including a mistimed attempted tackle just as Raheem Sterling let fly from just outside of the box to give City the advantage, leading to questions being asked about Lucas Torreira’s presence on the bench.

There was always going to be a magnifying glass put over Arsenal’s first competitive game in the post-Arsene Wenger era. Unai Emery’s decision to include Guendouzi was being described as naïve before the game and his entire team selection was being quizzed afterwards. 

Ryan Fredericks

Ryan Fredericks signed for West Ham from Fulham. (photo credit:

There were few positives for West Ham across the board following their 4-0 thrashing against Liverpool. Fredericks was one of the Hammers’ new recruits at right-back and he had a tough debut for the London team.

Fredricks will not be the last defender to be tormented by Jurgen Klopp’s front three but his lack of experience dealing with players of such quality showed. Mohamed Salah and Saido Mane were constantly allowed to affect the game from his flank.

The former Fulham defender’s performance was not all his own doing. New manager Manuel Pellegrini insisted his back four play a high line and thus invited the Reds’ dynamic attacking talent to take advantage of the spaces left in behind.

West Ham were so deeply penned in that the 25-year-old didn’t get to showcase his own talents when going forward, instead asked to concentrate for large periods of time while under heavy fire, it was not the ideal debut for the former Tottenham Hotspur academy product.


Kenedy is back at Newcastle for his second loan spell (photo credit: Newcastle United).

If Newcastle are to punch above their weight again this term they will need their more skilful players to be at their optimum. Kenedy was far from that as the Magpies suffered a 2-1 defeat on the opening weekend against Tottenham.

The Brazilian winger had Newcastle’s best chances of the game but spurned them with poor finishing and a substandard first touch. Against the top six Rafa Benitez’s squad may have to pick and choose their moments to get forward, being efficient with their chances.

The glaring chance which he will want to forget is when he was one-on-one with Hugo Lloris and could not get the ball under control.

On loan from Chelsea, the 22-year-old did demonstrate all the reasons that he was brought back to Tyneside on a second loan stint. His overall contribution was not bad, but in the critical moments he wasted opportunities which have earned his side a point, which could be vital come May.


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