Five things we learnt from the Premier League’s opening weekend

2 min read

With the first round of top-flight fixtures done and dusted, what exactly did we learn from Gameweek 1 in the Premier League?

  1. Significant improvement for Chelsea under Pochettino

Following their most disappointing campaign in recent history, Chelsea fans will have been encouraged with what they witnessed at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. You could argue that spending close to £1bn on reinforcements does probably warrant a significant upturn in performance however as we have seen before – especially where Chelsea are concerned – spending heavily off the pitch does not have a direct correlation with positive performances on it. 

In a thrilling encounter played out in west London sunshine, both Chelsea and Liverpool showed signs of improvement from two underwhelming seasons in 2022/23, and though the game ended one apiece, it was the hosts who probably edged things when all was said and done and new signing Nicolas Jackson looked particularly sharp. Of course, one game is far too soon to be making any sweeping assumptions, but under Pochettino the (extremely) early signs are that things could be looking up for the Blues.  

  1. Brighton will be just fine without Caicedo

Sticking with Chelsea, and their new record signing, the £115m Moises Caicedo who has joined from Brighton, will massively bolster what looks to be an already strong midfield (and at that eye-watering price, you’d hope so, too). It is the club he leaves who have captured the hearts of many during recent campaigns, however, and Brighton seemingly picked up exactly where they left off last season with a resounding 4-1 win over newcomers Luton in their curtain-raiser on Saturday. 

While far more stern challenges lie in wait for the Seagulls, their opening day rout over the Hatters was an impressive one and proved that even without their midfield talisman, there is more than enough talent in their squad to compete for another top-six or seven finish this time out. Goals from Solly March, new boy Joao Pedro, Simon Adingra and last week’s FPL pick Evan Ferguson rounded off the victory for Roberto De Zarbi’s men in Gameweek 1 and they will now travel to Wolves with plenty of optimism ahead of what should be another enjoyable campaign, albeit one without their Ecuadorian linchpin. 

  1. Still a lot of work to be done at Everton

Two consecutive dour seasons has plagued Everton fans with misery but this time around it was supposed to be different. Only for so long can a club with so many talented individual players perform so incoherently but after a 1-0 defeat at home to Fulham on Saturday, the early signs once again appear ominous for Sean Dyche’s side. 

It must be said that the game could have gone a lot differently and it was a tightly contested affair where the scoreline could’ve easily been reversed on another day, however the glaringly obvious issue is Everton’s inability to convincingly find the back of the net. 19 shots – nine of which were on target – and no goals is an inexcusable return for a top-flight club with aspirations of avoiding another relegation scrap this season. Things will have to improve in front of goal for the Toffees, and soon, if an early – and unfortunately all too familiar – dogfight is to be avoided.  

  1. Newcastle are more than one-season wonders 

Newcastle continue to improve under Eddie Howe, who has done a tremendous job of catapulting the north-east club back towards the upper echelons of the Premier League since arriving in November 2021 and after an impressive fourth-placed finish last term, the Magpies will have aspirations of solidifying their position in the Champions League again this season. 

They got off to the perfect start on Saturday with a convincing 5-1 victory over Aston Villa – another side tipped by many to endure a positive campaign – with new signing Sandro Tonali looking extremely sharp throughout and getting himself on the scoresheet. Although still early doors, Newcastle look primed for another successful return in 2023/24 and it certainly looks as though it will be difficult for any team to take points away from the fortress that has become St James’ Park. 

  1. We could have been too quick to write Wolves off   

Much of the talk around who will be relegated this season has surrounded Wolves, after the boys from the Black Country bid farewell to star midfielder Ruben Neves during the summer and Julen Lopetegui headed for the exit door just a week before the campaign started. 

Ex-Bournemouth boss Gary O’Neill took the reins at the 11th hour and the former Middlesbrough midfielder looks as though he could get a real tune out of his new side if last night’s performance at Old Trafford is anything to go by. 

Wolves dominated the game for large parts and had plenty of chances in front of goal before being denied a last-minute penalty by VAR under controversial circumstances. Matheus Cunha stole the show with several powerful bursting runs from midfield and the visitors deserved at least a point for their efforts in the north-west. If they can retain that level of performance, they’ll be closer to the top half of the division rather than the bottom-three come May.