Wow. Three weeks in, three weeks of sizzling football and endless drama. To me, this was the best week of the season so far. Huge storylines in every match, surprising results, VAR drama, and late game back blows. As a result, the table is a hot mess, with the likes of the Manchester squads sitting in 13th and 14th, and Aston Villa in a Champions League spot. Four winless teams, four unbeaten teams, and chaos in the middle. Here is the table as it stands:

This week again, goals were in abundance. Only four teams were held goalless, (Fulham, Sheffield, Wolverhampton, and Burnley.) 36 goals scored across the ten matches, 3.6/game. For the year, 103 goals have been scored across the 28 matches that have been played. That means so far this season, any given game is producing 3.7 goals per game. That number is well ahead of the goals/game stat from last season. In total, there were 1034 goals over 380 matches last year for 2.7 a game. Is this a post covid trend? Or is this just teams being shaky defensively to open the season? This is certainly worth keeping an eye on. To football purists, this may not be a welcoming trend. To me however, as an American football aficionado who wants the game to grow here Stateside, it’s perfect. Many Americans claim to not watch ‘soccer’ because there is no scoring. As my guy Samuel Army says, “Soccer. So Boring. No Scoring. Soccer.” Well, the haters are indeed being proved wrong.

Brighton 2 Manchester United 3

The weekend certainly started with some early morning drama. This was a thrilling match, and Brighton certainly deserved points from this one. However, this is a cruel game. What’s more cruel than hitting both posts and the crossbar? THEN equalizing in the 95′, hearing the final whistle, only to have a handball (that was not visible to the naked eye), and finally losing on a spot kick in the 100′? Nothing, dare I say. Brighton controlled this game. They had a majority of possession, as well as more shots (18 to 7) and shots on target (5 to 3). Yet the only number that matters is goals. United had one more, and to me it was a gift from God.

A few notes of irony in this game as well. First, the penalty United conceded was conceded by Bruno Fernandes, who has scored 5 of his 9 goals for the club from the spot. The second hint of irony came from the celebration from Neal Maupay after he scored his penalty.

THEN his hand was the deciding factor in the match, as it was he who was called for handball in the dying moments to concede the penalty to seal their fate. Also, I just want to mention how much I hated everything about that call for Brighton. They played so well, and to lose points because of a handball the referee didn’t see, and for it to happen after the final whistle? Devastating. I understand that this is the law of the game, and Maupay shouldn’t have had his arms raised so high. However, when you are frantically trying to contest a shot, sometimes it’s easy to lose control of your extremities. Poor Neal.

Match highlights:

Crystal Palace 1 Everton 2

The second match of the day featured the first of two showdowns of unbeatens. It also featured more VAR/handball controversy. Palace were the victim to the new law this time, conceding a penalty thanks to an iffy call from VAR. In addition they were also not awarded a penalty in the 71′ when a ball struck Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s hand in the box. So far to me, the biggest issue is the lack of consistency. How could one of these instances be handball, and the other was not? Absolutely upsetting and infuriating if you’re a Palace fan, and sweet relief if your a Toffee.

Other than this, the match was pretty straight forward, and to me, the better side won. Two things here: Dominic Calvert-Lewin is one FIRE. Five goals, and at least one in each match thus far. He and Jamie Vardy share the Golden Boot as it stands. Excellent company for the 23 year old Englishmen to be in. Worth noting, he did miss an opportunity to put in a third for Everton in the 51′. It was a chance that you’d expect him to convert considering his scoring record so far. Alas, it did not cost Everton, but it certainly would have taken away from the controversy of the match. Secondly, James Rodriguez has been the signing of the year so far in the Premier League. He has had a substantial impact to this Everton side, and makes their front 3 one of the best in the league.

Match highlights:

West Brom 3 Chelsea 3

There are two ways to look at this match if you’re a West Brom fan. You can be thrilled that you got a point playing Chelsea, or you can be devastated that your side squandered a 3-0 halftime lead. My thinking is that most fans are feeling that latter. Three HUGE mistakes made by Chelsea defensive players, three chances converted is excellent execution. However, they stopped looking for chances in the second half. Once Chelsea got one goal back, you just had a feeling that the other two were not far out of reach. If West Brom are to avoid relegation this season, they have to win these types of matches. No room for error whatsoever. On the bright side, they finally have a point. On the downside. they still sit at 17th in the table. A win wouldn’t have likely moved them up in the table due to goal difference, but it would have given them the opportunity to do so this coming weekend with another strong result.

From a Chelsea perspective, you have to admire the heart that was on display in the second half. They did not back down from the challenge of being down 3-0, a challenge indeed. One thing of note was that defender Marcos Alonso, who was subbed off at halftime, did not come back out to watch the second half with his team. Instead, he showered and watch the remainder of the match on the bus. Chelsea players have reported that Manager Frank Lampard gave Alonso quite an earful for his actions. some noting that they doubt to see him play again for quite some time. Certainly something to keep an eye on. I think this sets a good example for all of his young players, which are numerous. Alonso, 29, should certainly know better than this. Perhaps he was upset with himself, as it was an error by him that led to a goal for West Brom in the first half. Regardless, this just isn’t acceptable for any player, let alone a seasoned Premier League veteran of his status.

Match Highlights:

Burnley 0 Southampton 1

Danny Ings scored the lone goal of the match in the 5′ of action to give Southampton a lead they would not let go of. This was a game in which both sides were absolutely desperate to get a positive result, as they were both winless heading into Saturday. Sadly for Burnley,(the only team to take points at Anfield last season) they remain winless, and without any points. Burnley have something to keep their heads up, and that is the fact that they aren’t conceding a ton of goals, only five so far this year. The issue seemingly, is they can’t score.

In truth, the same could be said for Southampton. In a season where the goals are rampant thus far, they only have six themselves. In fact, they have conceded more goals than Burnley so far. However, they take the points, and move out of relegation-for now.

match highlights:

Sheffield United 0 Leeds United 1

Leeds are off to a fantastic start in their return to Premier League football. They sit 7th in the table after three weeks of play, and had they not had to displeasure of playing the Champs in week 1, they very well may be undefeated. Sheffield unfortunately cannot say the same. The Blades are 0 for 3 in their first 3 prem matches, after finishing last season in a very promising 9th place. Their defense has been relatively sound, as they’ve only given up four goals. They just happen to be the only team without a goal in the first three weeks of the season. Kinda tough to get results when you don’t score. This match was no different, a complete deadlock until Patrick Bamford put Leeds in the scoring column in the 88′. By most every metric, Leeds deserved to win. They committed significantly less fouls, controlled possession, and put more than double the amount of shots on target as their opponents. This isn’t to say that The Shields had no chances, in fact they had a remarkable opportunity to take the lead in the 29′. Ben Osborn played in a driven cross from the left hand side, where David McGoldrick played a lovely lay off for John Lundstram right in front of the face of the goal. Had he placed his shot well, they certainly would have had their first goal of the season, and a lead to protect. Instead Lundstram fired the shot right at keeper Illan Meslier. The shot had a lot of pace, so still credit to Meslier for the save, but that was a golden opportunity, one that will haunt Sheffield all week long.

Match highlights:

Tottenham 1 Newcastle 1

The Arsenal supporter in me wants to laugh until I physically cannot anymore, but my softer side is feeling sorry for the Spurs. Tottenham absolutely dominated this game, from start to finish. They saw 66% possession of the ball, and put 12 of their 23 shots on target, forcing an astonishing 11 save from Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow. Yet this came came down to controversy. The controversy you ask? Why VAR and the new handball rule of course. In the third minute of five extra minutes of the final half, Newcastle took a free kick from about 35 yards out, on the left side of the goal. The cross comes into the right side of the box where it was headed into the outstretched arm of Eric Dier. Why is this controversial? Well, it hit him from behind. There was absolutely no way he could have foreseen this ball hitting his arm. He was making a ball on the ball in the air. Play continued on for thirty seconds or so, before VAR gave it a look. They awarded Newcastle in the dying seconds of the match, which his slotted home by Callum Wilson to bring the match level. As I write this today- Tuesday the 29th of September, the FA have allowed for referees to be more subjective in allowing penalty’s in this situation. Under the new guidelines, this would more than likely not be a penalty. Too bad for Tottenham this change didn’t occur a week sooner. Had that been the case, they would be 4th in the table today rather than 7th. For Newcastle it is unbelievable good fortune, which gave them a big point to bring them to 10th.

Full match highlights:

Manchester City 2 Leicester City 5

Alright, this to some is the shock of the week. Maybe not the fact that Leicester won the match, but the scoreline certainly is an eye-popper. You can believe me if you want, but I actually picked Leicester to win this match when going through the fixtures and betting odds on Friday afternoon. Leicester were +800 to win outright (via Bovada). Really wish I would have put my money on this one. A $100 wager on Leicester would have won me $800. Sigh.

Jamie Vardy netted his first hattrick of the season, two coming from penalties.

City took the lead early off a wonderful right footed strike from Riyad Mahrez, then had a chance to go up 2-0 when Kevin De Bruyne placed a beautiful free kick perfectly in the box, and Ferdinand was able to get a free header on the ball. However it went straight to Leicester goalkeeper Schmeichel. Ten minutes later, Man City found themselves with another free kick in a similar area. This time Rodri headed it home, but was ruled offside. Just a minute later Leicester pushed into Man City’s box where Kyle Walker brought down Jamie Vardy to give Leicester their first penalty of the game. This changed the tide in favor of the Foxes.

Ten minutes into the second half, the score level, Leicester linked together a string of passes that ended with a wonderful through ball from Youri Tielemans to Timothy Castagne. Castagne played a ball square to Jamie Vardy at the near post and Jamie Vardy then proceeded to do what Jamie Vardy does, find ways to put the ball in the back of the net. 2-1 Leicester. In the 57′ Leicester again on the attack, and again Jamie Vardy draws a penalty. You know the rest. His hattrick complete. 3-1 Leicester.

Minute 77 saw what may be the goal of the week from James Madison, From just outside the box on the left side, he cocked back and let one fly into the top left of the goal. Ederson had no chance. 4-1 Leicester.

In the 84′ Nathan Ake scored his first goal as a Cityzen, but just two minutes later, Mendy conceded yet another penalty to give the Foxes their fifth goal.

Leicester are off to a dream start in the league and sit atop the table. City have to feel bad for their performance over the weekend, but something tells me they’ll be just fine.

Full match highlights:

West Ham 4 Wolverhampton 0

This was easily the biggest shock of the weekend for me. I’m very high on the Wanderers. Especially after the second half of their match against City on Monday of last week. Maybe they overlooked West Ham, who had yet to win a match coming into the weekend? Tough to say. I didn’t actually get to watch this one so it’s hard to say what went wrong, other than conceding 4 goals and not scoring themselves. Just a tough day at the office for Wolves. Kudos to West Ham for being the best London team this weekend.

Full match highlights:

Fulham 0 Aston Villa 3

Villa are off to a fantastic start after barely avoiding relegation last season. Two matches played, two wins. They secured the lead early and never looked back. Captain Jack Grealish gave them the lead in the 4′, then Conor Hourihane doubled the lead in the 15′. The third goal came from Tyrone Mings in the 48′, as Villa walked away with all three points soundly secured.

Fulham have plenty of work cut out for them. Only West Brom have given up more goals, and they are winless and sitting uncomfortably in 20th.

Full match highlights:

Arsenal 1 Liverpool 3

Probably the most fun match of the week took place at Anfield on Monday night. Liverpool pressed and counter pressed seemingly persistently, while Arsenal continued their efforts to play out from the back to draw Liverpool out into dangerous positions. It worked perfectly in the 25′ when Arsenal took the lead on a bizarre Alexandre Lacazette goal. However, the lead was short lived. Sadio Mane tapped in to equalize just two minutes later. Fast forward slightly to minute 34, eight Arsenal players ignored the backside run of Andy Robertson, a deadly sin when playing the Reds. Alexander-Arnold found that run, and put a pinpoint cross directly in his bath, leaving Robertson with little effort to find a goal. 2-1 Reds.

Liverpool dominated possession, which was certainly part of Mikel Arteta’s plan for this game. The task at hand for his side was simply to tame Liverpool ,ad not give them easy goals as Chelsea did last week. It almost doesn’t matter at this point. Liverpool are just too good. Late in the match Diogo Jota made his debut for Liverpool and kept finding himself in goal scoring opportunities. After a few missed opportunities, he scored as a debutant, and his entire squad came to embrace and congratulate him. Pretty cool site to see.

Liverpool just need to keep doing what they do, force the action and make opponents adjust to what they want to do. They seem unstoppable still. I cannot wait for when the face Leicester in late November.

For Arsenal, this loss stings. They played the way the boss wanted them to, and missed a few chances to get an extra goal. But losing to the reigning champions is certainly nothing to hang your head about. They actually played pretty well, and were very much in the match until Jota made it 3-1.

Full match highlights:

So another week in the books, and things are starting to shape up. We are seeing who has the wherewithal to give the Reds a proper title race, and who is looking likely for relegation. There are still 35 weeks to go, so a lot can change over the next few months. Catch the blog tomorrow for my top goals of the week. Here is a look at this weekend’s fixtures. Thanks for reading. Peace!

Published by Footy Foster

26 years young. Located in San Diego. I coach high school soccer, sell solar panels, podcast, and blog. My interest and hobbies include listening to music - hip-hop, alternative, and classic rock, - playing and watching soccer, and skiing. I aspire to travel and live a truly free life. These will more often than not be the subject matter of my blogs, as well as an attempt at humor. We'll see about that last part. Enjoy.

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