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The Takeaway: What We Learnt from the Premier League's Opening Weekend

After the first set of Premier League games, we look at the key points coming away from the games.


Number one: The new boys are going to have to step it up.

The three promoted sides had their first taste of Premier League action on Saturday. Wolves were able to pull out a 2–2 home draw against a ten-man Everton, but Cardiff and Fulham both suffered 2–0 defeats in their season openers.

Fulham showed some real ability against Palace at Craven Cottage, and, if not for a standout performance from the Eagles' keeper Wayne Hennessey, they might have been able to salvage a result.

Cardiff were less convincing in their 2–0 defeat away at Bournemouth. The home side was dominant for large periods of the match and exposed some flaws of the newly promoted Welsh side. I feel that if Cardiff wants to realise their recently attained Premier League status, they will have to emulate David Wagner's Huddersfield of last season or Shaun Dyche's Burnley the season before, making their stadium a fortress and grinding out the odd draw or win away.

Wolves were the most impressive of these three and were able to get a point against an Everton side with European aspirations—and talent to boot. However, even with the differing levels of squad, you would think a home game against a team that went down to ten men in the 40th minute would allow for a more dominant performance.

It's never nice to see the new boys struggle, so I hope that they can find their feet quickly. But if they don't, it could be a long season and a quick return to the Championship for these teams.

Number two: Jose gets results.

Manchester United hosted the season opener on Friday night, beating Leicester 2–1 thanks to a penalty in the 75th second of the game and Luke Shaw's first career senior goal.

It was the type of performance I feel that United fans might be getting used to this season. The team were efficient but not massively entertaining. They were able to keep Leicester at bay until the 92nd minute and then faced a tight-bottomed final few minutes as Leicester attempted to find a late equaliser.

Leicester in fact were the more entertaining of the two sides, with recent acquisition James Maddison looking fantastic in his Premier League debut. But the Manchester outfit were just a level above. A win is always a good way to start the season, but even then Mourinho didn't seem content with the result. He almost looked as if he was exhausted when facing the press after the game, unshaven, expressionless, and disheveled in his interview.

But United fans will take the win and hope that they can build on this opener to challenge their two rivals, Liverpool and City, for an early lead in the title race.

Number three: City vs. Liverpool could be a close-run affair.

Reigning champions Manchester City visited Arsenal in the final game of the weekend, claiming their first victory of the season against what will most likely be top-six opposition.

Liverpool won emphatically at home against a highly tipped West Ham side, scoring four and keeping a clean sheet.

Raheem Sterling has already shaken off his England hoodoo and returned to his excellent domestic form, scoring City's opener. Bernardo Silva later doubled City's lead, blasting a first time shot past Petr Cech. Silva was dispatched into City's midfield, as he had been in pre-season, and looks to be a revelation in his new position. Benjamin Mendy is back to full fitness and played fantastically both in defence and going forward. And it's hard to deny a team's quality if they're able to bring Leroy Sane, Kevin De Bruyne, and Gabriel Jesus off the bench.

Jurgen Kopp's outfit made a statement with their 4–0 victory at Anfield. Whilst West Ham struggled to pose a real threat, Liverpool demonstrated their attacking prowess that we've come to love over the last 12 months. The front three were as dangerous as ever, and midfield signing Naby Keita played fantastically. The Guinean midfielder linked up well with the rest of the side, looked dangerous with the ball at his feet, and provided defensive cover with his tireless running. Not to mention that substitute Daniel Sturridge scored with his first touch after coming on, and new boy Xherdan Shaqiri instantly posed a threat after coming on in the 82nd minute.

I feel that City are still easily favourites for the title, with such volumes of quality in their squad and one of the best managers in the world. But if Klopp's side can keep consistent, and capitalise on any mistakes the reigning champs make, there's always a chance. After all, this is football.

What did you take away from the first week of this season's Premier League? Feel free to tweet me @Sportswriterwill with your opinions.

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