Who was top of the class and who needs to do better after the weekend’s Premier League action?
Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Watford and Fulham were among the teams to pick up wins while Brighton, Newcastle, West Ham and Burnley were beaten.
Here’s how we graded each side this weekend…
Man Utd vs Tottenham
August 27, 2018, 7:00pm
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Fulham – A
It was a great performance from Fulham, who seems to be clicking into gear now with their new signings. Jean Michael Seri and Andre Schurrle found the net, Luciano Vietto was superb in attack and Aleksandar Mitrovic is continuing his fine form from last season, much to the delight of the fans.
Perhaps the one question mark will be over the defending with two goals conceded, but little will take the shine off the first Premier League win of the season for Fulham. (Charlotte Marsh)
2:37 Fulham 4-2 Burnley
Liverpool – B+
It wasn’t a vintage Liverpool display by any means but Jurgen Klopp’s men managed to get the job done against a stubborn Brighton side. It was an ugly win and that is certainly a positive sign for the Reds, who moved to the top of the league.
In seasons gone by this would have been a game they could have slipped up in but Liverpool held on for their third victory in as many games thanks to Mohamed Salah’s winner and a smart last-gasp save from Alisson to deny Pascal Gross. (Oliver Yew)
Watford – B+
Another impressive display by Javi Gracia’s side, who have now won the opening three games of the season for just the fourth time in the club’s history. Gracia’s side – helped by several fine saves from Ben Foster – wrestled back momentum after Crystal Palace’s bright start and showed commendable resilience to see out the contest after Wilfried Zaha struck late. (Richard Morgan)
2:58 Watford 2-1 Crystal Palace
Wolves – B+
The first side to cause Man City real problems this season, Wolves presented a small blueprint on how the rest of the Premier League can get in-behind Pep Guardiola’s side.
Yes, Willy Boly’s goal was extremely fortunate, and City did have a strong call for a penalty turned down, but Wolves’ first-half performance in particular was impressive. Their approach was refreshing, bold and a sign of things to come from Nuno Espirito Santo’s men. (Gerard Brand)
Chelsea – B
A difficult afternoon to analyse for Maurizio Sarri’s men, considering they dominated the ball and deserved to win at St James’ Park, but there will be slight concern over their inability to break Newcastle down until late in the second half.
The 81 per cent possession statistic does not deceive; Chelsea were completely on top, but could have moved the ball quicker in the final third to stretch a five-man Newcastle defence. David Luiz was stuck on his heels for Newcastle’s equaliser, and it was nearly a disaster for Sarri, but they came through to maintain a perfect start.
But overall, a strange encounter, and an opposition approach they may face several times this season. (Gerard Brand)
2:50 Newcastle 1-2 Chelsea
Leicester – B
An away victory after coming from behind would normally warrant a higher grade, but the fact that Leicester enjoyed more than a slice of good fortune in their win over Southampton means they are marked accordingly. Claude Puel’s men scored with only their second shot on target, after being presented with the opportunity by some lacklustre Southampton defending.
Then, Southampton were masters of their own downfall after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg got himself needlessly sent off, before Harry Maguire’s winning goal in the last minute came out of nowhere. Leicester played some good football at times, especially in the second half, but they will play better on many occasions this season. (Pete Hall)
2:59 Southampton 1-2 Leicester
Crystal Palace – B
Palace were unlucky not to take something from their clash at Vicarage Road, with the visitors’ display deserving more than a defeat. Roy Hodgson’s side paid for not making their early dominance count but will feel aggrieved that Etienne Capoue did not see red for his challenge on Wilfried Zaha. (Richard Morgan)
Bournemouth – B
Showed great spirit once again to come back from two goals down with only 15 minutes left on the clock and snatch a draw at the Vitality, as they maintained their unbeaten start to the season. Since the start of last term, Eddie Howe’s side have won 25 points from losing positions in the league- more than anyone else. (Richard Morgan)
2:54 Bournemouth 2-2 Everton
Everton – B
Another impressive display from Marco Silva’s side, who shrugged off the disappointment of seeing Richarlison sent off just before half-time to race into a two-goal lead thanks to some slick counter-attacking football. The mark would have been an ‘A’ had the visitors not then thrown away their advantage in the final 15 minutes on the south coast. (Richard Morgan)
Arsenal – B-
While Arsenal were victorious for the first time this season, it was far from a vintage performance. The defending for the first goal from Marko Arnautovic left little to be desired, and Hector Bellerin – while good going forward – struggled to contain Michail Antonio on the wing.
But it was not all doom and gloom, of course. There were three goals – although one was a slice of luck thanks to Issa Diop turning into his own net – but once they were ahead, the confidence was there for everyone to see. Hopefully, they can build on the win ahead of Sunday’s clash with Cardiff. (Charlotte Marsh)
2:47 Arsenal 3-1 West Ham
West Ham – B-
There was little to separate West Ham and Arsenal if we look at the performance. They were unlucky with the second Arsenal goal coming off their own defender Issa Diop – who did not know much about it – although both goals scored by the Gunners came from players who were unmarked in the area.
But West Ham did have the better chances during the game with Michail Antonio and Mark Arnautovic linking up well in attack. Felipe Anderson also did well, making some superb steals in midfield and driving towards the box, and his upturn in form could come at a crucial period for the Hammers. (Charlotte Marsh)
Brighton – B-
Anfield is never an easy place to go but Brighton acquitted themselves well during their 1-0 defeat to Liverpool. Chris Hughton’s side had an obvious game plan of keeping Jurgen Klopp’s side quiet and to a certain extent it worked as they defended well, keeping the attacking talents of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah relatively quiet.
In the end it proved to be an error from Yves Bissouma, who was caught in possession by James Milner, that allowed Salah to score the only goal of the game in the 23rd minute. Brighton did respond well in the second half and but for some wastefulness in front of goal they could have snatched a point. (Oliver Yew)
2:55 Liverpool 1-0 Brighton
Cardiff – B-
Cardiff struggled to get out of their own half in the opening 45 minutes but their defensive organisation was impressive as they restricted Huddersfield to hopeful shots from distance and limited their chances from open play. They showed far more attacking threat after the sending off and played some neat football without ever really looking like scoring, Sean Morrison’s glaring header from a corner aside. On the plus side, Cardiff kept another clean sheet. On the negative side, their failure to win against a side reduced to ten for half an hour will have frustrated Neil Warnock. (Oliver Young-Myles)
2:57 Huddersfield 0-0 Cardiff
Huddersfield – C
Huddersfield enjoyed greater possession in the first half yet their lack of creativity from open play was evident as they failed to have a single attempt on target. Jonathan Hogg’s sending off around the hour mark resulted in Huddersfield retreating deeper and deeper into their own half to defend the point and while they rode their luck at times, their determination to see the game out warranted praise. However, regardless of the circumstances, David Wagner will see a draw at home to a relegation rival as an opportunity missed. (Oliver Young-Myles)
Burnley – C
Burnley did show fight at Craven Cottage, scoring two goals quickly after Fulham had, but in the second half in particular, they looked to be a yard off the pace and allowed Fulham plenty of the play. Chris Wood has been ineffective so far this season, and it could be time for Sam Vokes or Ashley Barnes to have a starting berth.
Attentions will now turn to Thursday’s Europa League play-off second leg against Olympiakos, where Burnley will be hoping for a big performance. (Charlotte Marsh)
Newcastle – C-
They say old habits die young, but for 45 minutes against Chelsea, Newcastle looked to shaken off their early season woes with a gutsy performance. Unfortunately, as the game wore on, Rafa Benitez’s side slowly reverted to type, dropping deeper and deeper against a side that needed no invitation to come forward. Despite this, they were just seven minutes away from halting Chelsea’s perfect start to the season, but a cruel twist saw a point snatched from within their grasp as DeAndre Yedlin put through his own net. Instead of savouring a point after a battling draw, Newcastle were left to reflect on defeat, and worryingly low possession stats of just 19 per cent. (Jack Wilkinson)
Man City – C-
Not the greatest day at the office for some of Pep’s key men, but nearly coming away with a win having played badly is always a positive sign.
Wolves shell-shocked City in short spurts at Molineux, with the champions looking static in the early stages and the front line struggling to track back in the disciplined manner we’re so used to.
There were moments of quality, but nothing compared to the opening two victories of the season. A slight blip, but City fans won’t be too concerned. (Gerard Brand)
2:57 Wolves 1-1 Manchester City
Southampton – D
Saints just cannot score, especially on their own patch. Despite fielding a wealth of attacking options, Mark Hughes’ side rarely troubled Leicester at St Mary’s, with their defending leaving much to be desired, too.
It looks like another season of struggle is in the offing for Saints and, if they put in more showings like they did on Saturday too often this season, they will only have themselves to blame. Poor defending at crucial times cost them dear, and Hojbjerg’s senselessness was the last thing they needed. Improvement, in attack especially, is badly needed. (Pete Hall)
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