First Manager Casualty Just Four Weeks In
The new Premier League season may only be four weeks old but it already has its first managerial casualty.
The top-flight has been a cemetery for managers in recent years but Frank de Boer will feel slightly unfortunate to be sacked by Crystal Palace after just four games.
It seems the reasons for the Dutchman’s departure were more based on off-field issues, with players reportedly unhappy with the former Ajax man’s methods. However, losing all four games without scoring a goal – a feat last achieved 93 years ago – will also be a huge factor. The Eagles were beaten by a single goal at Burnley on Sunday, courtesy of Chris Wood who latched onto a poor Chung-yong Lee back pass to score.
Slaven Bilic is another manager under pressure, with obvious divisions between the board and himself stemmed from a poor transfer window. However, the Croatian earned a lifeline with West Ham United‘s two-nil victory over Huddersfield Town. Late goals from Pedro Obiang and Andre Ayew handed the Hammers their first win of the season, while the Terriers succumbed to their first ever Premier League defeat.
Meanwhile, with August over, Tottenham Hotspur forward Harry Kane is back among the goals. Spurs showed glimpses of last season’s form in their three-nil success over Everton on Saturday, with the England striker scoring his first two goals of the campaign. Kane’s goals – an intended cross that found the far corner and a smart finish – came either side of a tap-in from Christian Eriksen.
The highest-scoring game of the weekend came at the Etihad Stadium where Manchester City thrashed ten-man Liverpool by five goals to nil. Sergio Aguero opened the scoring for the Citizens after being put through on goal by Kevin de Bruyne’s wonderful pass, although the game’s most controversial moment came soon after when Sadio Mane was sent off. The Liverpool forward chased down a loose ball which was met first by the head of the onrushing goalkeeper, Ederson, but Mane followed through and caught the ‘keeper on the side of the head. Jon Moss produced a red card which was almost certainly the correct decision. Thereafter, Pep Guardiola’s side dominated. Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane each netted braces as City went level on points with first-placed Manchester United.
Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United side dropped points for the first time this season away at Stoke City. Maxim Choupo-Moting opened the scoring for the Potters with his first goal for the club before Marcus Rashford levelled just before half-time. Romelu Lukaku put the Red Devils into the lead for the first time in the game, following up and finishing high into an empty net after Jack Butland kept out his original effort. However, the hosts earned a point when Choupo-Moting scored his second of the game, heading in at the back post from a corner.
Arsenal earned their first victory since the opening weekend thanks to a comprehensive three-nil success at home against Bournemouth. Danny Welbeck scored either side of an Alexandre Lacazette goal to hand the Gunners the three points against the point-less Cherries. Alexis Sanchez made his first appearance for the North Londoners since his reported deadline day interest from Manchester City and received a mixed reception during his brief cameo.
There was a first Premier League victory for Brighton and Hove Albion, who surprisingly defeated West Bromwich Albion by three goals to one. Summer signing Pascal Gross scored the Seagulls’ first goal of the season before half-time, before adding his second soon after the break. Tomer Hemed scored a third soon after but they were unable to keep a clean sheet as James Morrison netted a consolation for Tony Pulis’ side.
Leicester City have now lost three of their opening four games after their latest defeat against Chelsea. The Foxes fell behind in the first half courtesy of Alvaro Morata’s goal before former player N’Golo Kante found the net from long range. Jamie Vardy halved the deficit with a penalty but a host of missed chances late on saw Craig Shakespeare’s side miss out on a point.
Watford’s steady start to the season under new boss Marco Silva continues as they defeated struggling Southampton two-nil. Two long-range efforts in each half from Abdoulaye Doucoure and Daryl Janmaat secured the victory for the Hornets, who find themselves in fourth.
Finally, Newcastle United lacked Rafa Benitez in the dugout with the manager instead undergoing an operation, but that didn’t prevent them from beating Swansea City. Jamaal Lascelles headed home the only goal of the game but the major talking point was a high foot by Matt Ritchie – akin to the Mane incident – which only earned the Magpies midfielder a yellow card.