Have we seen the Premier League title winner yet?

Have we seen the Premier League title winner yet?

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga greets manager Frank Lampard after the final whistle of their  Premier League match at the AMEX Stadium, Brighton.  Arrizabalaga performances remain a concern for Lampard. Picture: Richard Heathcote/NMC Pool/PA Wire

WITH the first round of games still to be completed, with neither Man City nor Man United after kicking a ball, the speculation on how the 2020/21 season will pan-out has hilariously already commenced.

In this early part of the season, a lot of interest has and will be devoted to sides rebuilding or in transition. Monday night's match between Brighton and Chelsea had a lot tuning-in to see how Chelsea's new marquee-signings would perform. And while the result, in the end, went Frank Lampard's way, most would agree that the new players will take some time to bed in before they are the finished deal.

The new Pensioners struggled at times to be on the same wavelength as their new team-mates but there were flashes of brilliance, most notably from Timo Werner, that will encourage fans at the Bridge that if things click, then they are in for a successful run. Still, as Brighton showed in their equalising goal, Chelsea continue to have concerns in defence and with their goalkeepers in particular. Kepa Arrizabalaga won his place back at No 1 only to let another goal squirm in through his arms, while both defenders and goalie flapped at any cross above shoulder-height.

Lampard will be hoping that his new boys will settle down and start returning goals before his defence costs him too much. Nevertheless, they got the three points which was a far better return than against Man United on opening day last season.

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (centre) celebrates with his team-mates after scoring his side's third goal of the game during the Premier League match against Fulham  at Craven Cottage, London. 	Picture: Clive Rose/NMC Pool/PA Wire
Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (centre) celebrates with his team-mates after scoring his side's third goal of the game during the Premier League match against Fulham  at Craven Cottage, London. Picture: Clive Rose/NMC Pool/PA Wire

The other side still under construction is Mikel Arteta's Arsenal, who won the early first match of the new season with a convincing 3-0 win over Fulham at the Cottage. Alexandre Lacazette and Aubamryang looked hungry in front of goal but it was new-signing Willian that showed his value, providing two assists as he immediately started to repay his inflated wage bill.

And while the win was never in doubt, the Gunners did take their time finishing off Fulham, raising the questions of just how good are Arsenal and just how bad are Fulham?

As I referred in my preview of the season last week, I fear that Fulham will be one of the sides to go down come May. Unless manager Scott Parker can pull something out of the hat before transfer deadline then there is little hope for their survival.

The other struggler on opening Saturday was West Ham, who looked a tired outfit against a Newcastle side with plenty worries of their own. Goals from new boys Callum Wilson and most notably by Ireland's Jeff Hendrick wrapped up the result for the Toon in the second half at London Stadium.

The Hammers' performance is further proof to the many punters that made David Moyes the favourite for first manager to get the sack.

Somehow surprising and yet predictable is the fact that many believe that Jose Mourinho may just beat Moyes to the exit after Spurs lacklustre effort against Everton at the new stadium in London.

Already, Mourinho is laying into his players, describing them as lazy and having a bad attitude.

The worrying thing for the Spurs manager is that the very next day, Ben Davies was happy to be quoted all over the newspapers that he thought the squad had given their best against Everton on Sunday.

One or the other must be wrong, that there isn't a consensus among the club's manager and players on what's fundamentally wrong is probably more worrying to Spurs fans than the performance itself.

The similarity to Mourinho's time at Old Trafford is stark and likely to end the same way if it continues.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (centre) congratulates Mohamed Salah on his hat-trick at the end of the Premier League match against Leeds at Anfield. 	Picture: Shaun Botterill/NMC Pool/PA Wire
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (centre) congratulates Mohamed Salah on his hat-trick at the end of the Premier League match against Leeds at Anfield. Picture: Shaun Botterill/NMC Pool/PA Wire

The match of the weekend, of course, was the opening day's clash between the Premier League and Championship champions and by the end of the game, one would find it difficult identifying which was which.

One may have feared a turgid battle of tactics between the sides but what transpired was an insane yet truly enjoyable display of attacking football.

In the end, Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds side came up short against the Premier League champions but left Anfield with their reputation enhanced.

If they can maintain a high percentage of what they displayed in Liverpool last Saturday then their Premier League future will be assured.

Liverpool, despite coming away from the game with full points, will not be feeling as good about themselves. Three times Liverpool were in a position to kill the game off but it took a late penalty in the end for the champions to close it out.

Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp have not freshened things up in the transfer window yet and now have kept just one clean sheet in nine games since they won the Premier League title.

One Twitter wit felt Liverpool's attack looked like Klopp's team while the defence looked like Brendan Rodger's team. Uncharacteristic errors by Trent Alexander-Arnold, and most surprising of all by Virgil van Dijk, reminded us of those old days when Liverpool played devil make care attacking football while leaving the back door open back at the ranch.

Only for Mo Salah and his hat-trick, this could have been an embarrassing opener for the Reds. With a tough run of fixtures ahead, including Chelsea and Man City, Klopp will quickly need to get his stars' minds and performance back in the game.

If Thiago Alcântara should arrive it may provide the impetus for the lads at Anfield to up their game again.

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