The Premier League returned for Week 1 of the 2023-24 season and delivered intensity with not a nil-nil to be found among nine games.
That’s right, there’s still one more beauty to come as Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United project continues Monday against Julen Lopetegui Gary O’Neil’s Wolverhampton Wanderers.
[ MORE: Premier League schedule, results, how to watch info ]
Reigning champions Manchester City fired off a salvo to the rest of the league on Friday and there were answers of varying strength from Arsenal, Newcastle United, Brighton, and Liverpool.
As always, ProSoccerTalk ran live updates during the games and posted the top reaction and highlights, but if you missed any of the games we’ve culled the top takeaways from each in one easily-digestible post.
Chelsea’s new maestro shines in midfield battle
Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool: Enzo Fernandez was downright magical at times as part of his 117-touch day, putting 17 passes into the final third and completing 10-of-11 long balls (stats from FBRef.com). The 22-year-old needs a running mate, though Conor Gallagher certainly had a good moment or two. Throw Fernandez’s stat line together with the man behind him, Thiago Silva, and you’ve got 244 touches spread amongst two men. Mauricio Pochettino drew it up like that, and if Chelsea continues to hold 65 percent possession, the Blues will be good money for the top four (or five). -Nicholas Mendola
Berated Haaland clinical but KDB injury looms for Pep’s classy champs
Burnley 0-3 Manchester City: Reigning Golden Boot winner Erling Haaland had two first-time finishes and both were sublime. He finished calmly just four minutes in and then curled home a stunner to put City in a commanding position. Haaland scored twice from his three shots in the first half but that wasn’t enough to stop him being berated by Pep Guardiola at the half time whistle. Another thing which will have annoyed Guardiola is the hamstring injury to Kevin de Bruyne. City’s skipper limped off midway through the first half as it looks like he has been rushed back from the injury he struggled with through the second half of last season, and forced him off in the Champions League final too, too soon. We all saw how important KDB was for City down the stretch last season and the Belgian wizard whipped in a great cross which led to City’s first goal of this game. Pep will be praying De Bruyne is only out for a short period of time. -Joe Prince-Wright
Mixed debuts for Arsenal’s new signings as usual suspects steal the show
Nottingham Forest 1-2 Arsenal: Arsenal’s three summer signings started and there were mixed fortunes for the trio. Declan Rice was superb in the engine room as he swept things up, got attacks going, and even saw a deflected effort hit the post. Kai Havertz was okay as he drifted around in the attacking third and had a 6.5 out of 10 performance. Jurrien Timber was also solid but only last 50 minutes as he limped off with an injury which will concern Mikel Arteta. -Joe Prince-Wright
Arteta: Arsenal had a ‘lack of concentration’
Mikel Arteta speaks to the media following Arsenal’s 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest to begin the 2023-24 Premier League season.
Magpies flex depth in impressive start to top-four defense
Newcastle 5-1 Aston Villa: Sandro Tonali and Moussa Diaby played a first half of “Which of our transfers could be more influential to our sides?” as Tonali played a role in both of Newcastle’s goals to prod a 2-1 lead at St. James’ Park. Diaby scored a goal and could’ve well had two. But the Magpies just cooked up dangerous chance after dangerous chance in the second half, showing off to the tune of nine “big chances” according to FBref.com.Yes the Newcastle project remains young and this is the first year back in the Champions League, but only so many conditional statements can be applied when a team leads 3-1 and brings two experienced Premier League forwards off the bench to add goals. Maybe a top-four return isn’t as crazy as it seems? -Nicholas Mendola
West Ham, Bournemouth get just desserts
Bournemouth 1-1 West Ham: David Moyes will be so frustrated with a 1-1 draw but he should be just as upset with himself as his defense-first performance with the lead is what led to Bournemouth finding an equalizer. And Andoni Iraola will likely be pretty happy with his men’s progression over 90 minutes. Bournemouth had the ball but little danger for the better part of an hour, but Philip Billing and Co. turned control into danger. Irons fans will feel that Moyes should’ve been more adventurous in seeking a second goal, but that’s not him is it? 1-1 is deserved and both teams will be seeing some good and some bad coming out of a Week 1 that leads into a tough Week 2 match-up. -Nicholas Mendola
Tottenham has reasons for optimism from 2-2 draw at Brentford
Brentford 2-2 Tottenham: Tottenham started a brand new center back in Micky van de Ven — he arrived within the last week — and a 20-year-old left back in Destiny Udogie in front of Premier League debutant goalkeeper Gugliemo Vicario. Oh, and it was also a PL debut for their boss, Ange Postecoglou, who was managing at far-and-away the most competitive level of his career. Yet Spurs really controlled this game against Brentford’s tricky press and will have learned a lot about their players under duress as Cristian Romero had to depart early and the club had to deal with blowing an early lead away from home. The post-Harry Kane era started with two goals and pretty good control. Ange will take it. -Nicholas Mendola
Extended Highlights: Brentford 2, Tottenham 2
Relive the four-goal thriller between Brentford and Tottenham during the opening weekend of the 2023-24 Premier League campaign.
Everton still a center forward away
Everton 0-1 Fulham: Small sample size and all other requisite disclaimers aside, Everton played fantastically well against Fulham. They pressed high initially (often winning the ball back) before retreating into a lower block more synonymous with Dyche-ball. The main difference on Saturday was how quickly they transitioned and got the ball into the opposition penalty area. To put it bluntly, they should have been two or three goals ahead themselves before Fulham broke the deadlock.
Maupay, who started up top for the Toffees, put all three of his shots on target straight at Bernd Leno. He needed to score at least one, if not two, of them. With Dominic Calvert-Lewin still working his way back to match fitness (and notoriously unreliable to stay fit and healthy), Everton probably need to target another goalscorer between now and the end of the transfer window. -Andy Edwards
No hiccups for De Zerbi’s new-look Brighton
Brighton 4-1 Luton Town: Brighton didn’t have Alexis Mac Allister (Liverpool) nor Moises Caicedo (who knows where) but that wasn’t nearly enough to slow them down against Luton Town. This could’ve been over early on a day that Joao Pedro and Danny Welbeck bring their finishing boots, but Pedro could only finish from the spot and Welbeck was a bit wayward. Mahmoud Dahoud looked plenty good in the middle of the park with Pascal Gross, as James Milner slid to right back next to Jan Paul van Hecke. There were no passengers and Evan Ferguson came off the bench to get his goal in an encouraging performance for the Seagulls. -Nicholas Mendola
Jefferson Lerma makes stellar start to Crystal Palace career
Sheffield United 0-1 Crystal Palace: Palace did one of the summer transfer window’s best pieces of business when it signed midfielder Jefferson Lerma on a free transfer from Bournemouth. Lerma made 100 PL appearances for the Cherries (plus another 76 in the Championship) and generally held his former side’s midfield entire team together out of sheer will and necessity. Lerma was equally impressive on his Crystal Palace debut, as he made three tackles, six clearances, an interception and blocked a shot defensively. The Eagles’ backline has been immensely improved from last season to this, without a single change or new signing of the starting four. -Andy Edwards
Liverpool’s Mac Allister deputizes well in the No. 6 role
Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool: Alexis Mac Allister played set back and out-of-position — his No. 10 shirt might not be super traditional but he’s far better with attacking freedom — and still barely put a foot wrong apart from two presumably planned fouls. His passing was on point and he found Dominik Szoboszlai, Mohamed Salah, and friends in dangerous position. Jurgen Klopp will love Mac Allister accepting the role with vigor and doing the job well, and here’s what he told NBC’s pitchside desk of Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Mustoe, Robbie Earle, and Tim Howard after the game.
“Macca in the 6 was not our problem today. Left and right of him, Dom and Cody both can play an 8. In modern football the times when a 10 doesn’t have to defend are long gone. We have to know that as a unit we can defend in all areas and then we will get the offensive benefit.” -Nicholas Mendola
Klopp: Liverpool ‘opened the door’ for Chelsea
Jurgen Klopp joins the desk to share his main takeaways from Liverpool’s 1-1 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.