What a start we had to the English Premiership season when full-house crowds showed us just what we missed last season, writes Gary Lemke.
Last season saw games played behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic and what it did was create an atmosphere where home ground support was nullified. Also, scorelines were high with the goals flying in, while VAR had a field day in either ruling out what would this season be legitimate goals, or awarding dubious penalties.
Last week’s opening round of the 2021/22 season saw no shortage of goals either – in fact, 34 were scored across the 10 games, with the return of the crowds meaning that 7 of the 10 matches were won by the HOME team!
Last season on the opening day there had been 7 out of 10 AWAY wins!
Another comparison with last season … the first 25 matches saw a winning result, with the first draw of the season coming in the 26th game, between Tottenham and Newcastle. Admittedly the draws came thick and fast after that, but last weekend there were no draws, so those who are betting on that deadlocked result might find themselves in business this weekend. We have 10 gams without a draw, and counting.
We didn’t learn as much in the first round last week apart from the fact that the home crowds have made a decided difference. Players love and audience and the big grounds – as we saw last week at Man United, Tottenham, Chelsea and Everton – provide an extra man for their players. We also saw it at Brentford when they shocked Arsenal.
So, take that home ground advantage into consideration this week, while also perhaps making the allowance for an “upset” draw and here a depleted Arsenal hosting Chelsea might fall into that category. However, Chelsea do look a formidable force and it might well be that Romelu Lukaku, the near £98-million buy, gets his first run in the No9 Chelsea shirt.
However, the home bankers would appear to be: Liverpool and Manchester City and both could run up big scorelines. For the rest it starts to become a big tricky and this week looks tougher than the opening day.
Liverpool 3 Burnley 0
Aston Villa 2 Newcastle 1
Crystal Palace 1 Brentford 1
Leeds United 1 Everton 2
Man City 5 Norwich 0
Brighton 1 Watford 1
Southampton 1 Man United 3
Wolves 1 Tottenham 2
Arsenal 1 Chelsea 2
West Ham 1 Leicester 1
Suggested 5/1 double: Chelsea and Everton to win
Suggested 11.29/1 all to come (wins): Man United, Man City, Liverpool, Everton, Chelsea