And we’re off. After a long summer without much meaningful football the Premier League returned last weekend offering up fireworks in the form of 31 goals that included a seven goal thriller at the Emirates and Burnley putting three past the champions at Stamford Bridge. Oh how we missed it.
Pre-season friendlies offered up tantalising clues but finally here were some key reveals as to what 2017/18 might bring. The Cutter looks at five very early ‘conclusions’.
Same old Arsenal
Full of early season derring-do the Gunners look set to entertain going forward while being susceptible to being opened up at the back. Let’s not forget that they opened their 2016/17 account with a 4-3 reverse at home to Liverpool and if the spirit shown on this occasion reveals a core of self-belief that gets them over the line the fact that they required that spirit in the first place does not bode well for any title aspirations. Arsenal will be a joy to watch for neutrals in the months ahead who like to bet on EPL games but not necessarily for all of the right reasons.
The Hammers are set to struggle
Poor pre-season showing sadly seeped into the opening game of the season which, admittedly, couldn’t have been much more challenging than a trip to Old Trafford. As good as United were West ham were woeful and the optimism that accompanied the shrewd recruiting of Joe Hart and Hernandez has swiftly been replaced by a widely-held opinion that Slaven Bilic’s men are in for a campaign of toil. That’s if the Croatian is around to see it out.
Chelsea have already lost their fear factor
Granted they presently have injuries and a soap opera in Diego Costa that is proving to be a serious distraction but for the league champions to go into their opening game of the campaign with two debutants on the bench alongside four youngsters (who boast just four senior appearances between them) and a winger in Kenedy who is due to be loaned out only illustrates that the Blues have worrying issues with their squad depth.
Conte insists that he needs more players and fast. He has a point.
Everton haven’t yet caught fire
An array of impressive signings had many tipping the Blue half of Merseyside for a successful year and perhaps even challenge for a top four berth. Yet two uninspiring narrow victories over MFK Ruzomberok in their Europa League qualifying commitments and another workmanlike 1-0 win against Stoke on Saturday hint that the best is still to come for Ronald Koeman’s new-look side.
They will get there but right now it’s all a little flat.
The Terriers bite is as good as their bark
Every season sees an entirely unexpected side punch above their weight for the first couple of months before settling back into their natural habitat. It would be wonderful if this time out that was Huddersfield Town and going off their debut Premier League display at Selhurst Park that is not wholly unfeasible.