Chelsea have spent more on players since last summer than it cost to construct West Ham United’s home, the London Stadium. The 3-1 loss of the former at the latter today, even against 10 men for much of the second half, shows the Blues’ rebuild still has a long way to go.
It was a day of mixed fortunes. Hammers defender Nayef Aguerd went from opening goal hero to villain with his second yellow card, while Carney Chukwuemeka smashed a fine equaliser for the visitors before limping off.
Chelsea’s new British record £115m signing Moises Caicedo had a debut to forget, giving away a late penalty after coming on as a substitute, but James Ward-Prowse marked his Premier League bow for West Ham with two assists.
Some things endure, however, like Michail Antonio’s ability to barrel past defenders and lash past goalkeepers, as showcased for West Ham’s second goal, and fate’s way of ensuring Lucas Paqueta, in the news for the wrong reasons last week, had the final say from the spot.
Chelsea had 77 per cent possession yet still looked more vulnerable when a man up. Manager Mauricio Pochettino might have players coming out of his ears but solutions are so far harder to come by.
Aston Villa turn tables on Toffees
If last week’s 5-1 drubbing at Newcastle raised questions about Unai Emery’s chances of sustaining the success of his first season with Aston Villa, then normal service resumed on Sunday when Everton visited the Midlands and were promptly spanked 4-0.
John McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Leon Bailey and substitute Jhon Duran all made the net ripple as Villa climbed into the top half of the table, got out of negative goal difference and turned the harsh glare of the spotlight squarely onto Sean Dyche and the Toffees instead.
A lesson in not reading too much into the first round of fixtures if ever there was one.
Maddison takes up Kane mantle at Spurs
After selling Harry Kane on the eve of the new season, you would have got long odds on Tottenham Hotspur finishing above a Manchester United team who were resurgent last term under new broom Erik ten Hag.
That looks less fanciful now, after Spurs deservedly beat them 2-0 in North London on Saturday evening. As in last week’s draw at Brentford, James Maddison has effortlessly taken up Kane’s mantle as the main man, orchestrating Tottenham’s play from deep.
United, on the other hand, looked like a team that is still to grapple with its summer incomings and outgoings and showed that last week’s dismal display in a fortunate 1-0 win over Wolves was no freak occurrence.
Effortless City make light work of Newcastle
First European Super Cup? Done. Months-long injury to key man Kevin De Bruyne? No problem. Visit from freewheeling Premier League leaders? Brushed aside. Manchester City continue to overcome hurdles with unnerving ease.
Here, City made light work of neutralising a Magpies team who ran riot on opening weekend, restricting them to one shot on target in a 1-0 win. They also showed that even if Erling Haaland doesn’t score Julian Alvarez will pick up the slack and smash one into the top corner.
The Premier League champions face Sheffield United, Fulham, West Ham, Nottingham Forest and Wolves in their next five games. What price maximum points?
Sky’s the limit for Seagulls
Another week, another 4-1 win for Brighton, who are scoring even more frequently than they polish a rough diamond and flog him to Chelsea for an enormous profit.
Two of their latest finds, twinkle-toed Japan winger Kaoru Mitoma and Paraguay forward Julio Enciso, caught the eye with mesmerising solo goals and velvet assists respectively as the Seagulls did to Wolves what Seagulls tend to do.
Last season’s sixth place was Brighton’s best ever but manager Roberto De Zerbi reckons his improving side can go higher. On this evidence, no one will be arguing with the Italian.