AFTER European competition in midweek, English teams returned to domestic action with some intriguing fixtures. FocusM runs through the results and the talking points from each of the matches played last night.
Manchester City 2 v Nottingham Forest 0
Can anyone stop City? Still very early days yet but the signs are looking extremely ominous with the reigning champions maintaining their 100% start to the new campaign. Odds are that they may actually do the impossible and better last season’s treble haul with a clean sweep.
With Erling Haaland continuing to bang in the goals and the squad depth available at his disposal, Pep Guardialo has made light of injuries and the departures of key personnel. Similarly, Rodri’s impending suspension for a straight red following a headbutt in this game should be of little consequence to City.
Brentford 1 v Everton 3
Is this the start of a new chapter or yet another false dawn for Everton? After announcing the takeover of the club by 777 Partners Consortium, the Toffees sought to mark the new era with their first win of the season. A solid performance was capped off with fine goals from Abdoulaye Docoure, James Tarkowski and, finally, the returning Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
If Sean Dyche can coax similar performances from his team, then safety should be assured. More pertinently, if Calvert-Lewin can stay fit and form a functioning strike partnership with fellow forward Beto, Everton fans may even be dreaming of Europe.
Luton Town 1 v Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
Both sides really needed the three points to kick off their season, but they had to be content with a share of the spoils. The Hatters will probably rue the missed chance to pick up maximum points given the Wolves were reduced to ten men for most of the game.
However, it was the visitors who took the lead with a lightning-fast counterattack, finished off by Lomba Pedro Neto. It took a Carlton Morris penalty after a harsh handball call to give Luton their first point of the season.
Crystal Palace 0 v Fulham 0
Eagles’ boss, Roy Hodgson, was back on the touchline after illness kept him away for the last game. Having just turned 76 and the league’s most senior manager, Hodgson is revelling in the challenge of taking Crystal Palace beyond mid-table safety.
Having held on to some of their key players over the summer, Palace are confident they have the personnel to make the step up. Unfortunately, they were unable to break a stubborn Fulham defence brilliantly marshalled by goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who pulled off a series of fine saves to earn the Cottagers a hard-fought away point.
Burnley 0 v Manchester United 1
Manchester United skipper Bruno Fernandes gave his beleaguered manager some breathing space with a precious goal that gave the visitors a much-needed win. After successive losses to Brighton and Bayern Munich the previous week, Erik Ten Haag desperately needed a response from his misfiring superstars.
It came courtesy of a stunning volley from the Portugal playmaker on the stroke of halftime. The victory will be welcome relief but it can’t paper over the cracks that are appearing all over Manchester United’s expensively assembled squad. But it will have silenced the critics somewhat for now. – Sept 24, 2023