Manchester City vs Wolves
Quite an evenly contested game this one between newly promoted City and last season’s 7th place finishers, which shows how bunched together the league is becoming. The game was pretty cagey, City’s pressing game prevented Wolves from building a lot through the middle, but at the same time City’s midfield was fairly cautious in terms of going forward, lacking the added impetus needed to break down a solid Wolves side. This game was 0-0 deep into the second half before things finally livened up, Ozil adding a bigger threat in terms of picking up pockets within the City midfield, and Golovin providing more of a drive to open Wolves up. Unfortunately for the fans though this still wasn’t enough to get a goal, but both teams came away with a hard earned point.
Manchester City 0-0 Wolves
MOTM: Alex Witsel
Hull City vs Birmingham City
A very interesting game tactically as Welshy looked to replicate the great Ajax team. There were certainly a lot of positives in this style, he movement of the midfield and the front 3 helped to create free flowing football and plenty of chances, particularly with the driving runs of the midfielders opening up space for Forsberg and Thauvin. Birmingham do have an energetic midfield though so they weren’t completely over run and this did force Hulls CMs to over commit at times. This lead to problems out wide for Hull, with Kluivert and Under constant and willing runners. Hulls back 3 struggled a lot with this as Caleta-Car and Baumgartl ended up defending the wide areas more than anticipated. In the end the quality of changes from Birmingham helped them snatch a solid opening win. Hull will have a lot to build on, and perhaps are just lacking a solution for direct counter attacking threats out wide.
Hull City 2-3 Birmingham City
Hull scorers: Forsberg (Ziyech) 26, Thauvin (Philipp) 59
Birmingham City scorers: Higuain (Under) 41, Higuain (Kluivert) 49, Robben (87)
MOTM: Florian Thauvin
Chelsea vs Portsmouth
Two title contenders going head to head in the first game of the season will always be a tasty proposition. Chelsea came out looking to play their high tempo style and play to the strengths of their front line, Portsmouth looking to nullify this. They did it well too, sitting deep with 5 at the back forced Chelsea’s forwards into deeper positions, particularly nullifying Mbappe and Aubameyang. Neymar and Griezmann still caused problems but started to get in each others way the more Neymar was forced to drift infield to get on the ball. Going the other way Portsmouth lacked the speed to really get out and consistently test Chelsea, they couldn’t get the best out of Jorginho a role he’s previously struggled in, and De Bruyne was often forced too deep to make an impact, Fabinho and Tolisso cutting out the forward passes well. Chelsea did take the lead from a set piece, Varane with a towering header. Portsmouth’s changes turned the game though, their more direct approach and the speed of Mertens and Dembele started to hurt Chelsea’s FBs and they salvaged a late equaliser, Dembele’s ball in turned home by Jesus.
Chelsea 1-1 Portsmouth
Chelsea scorers: Varane (Neymar) 59
Portsmouth scorers: Jesus (Dembele) 90
MOTM: Javi Martinez
Leicester City v Aston Villa
Both teams going with 3 at the back and similar systems. Villa came more possession orientated, looking to use the zip of their midfield and Leicester looked to break forward. Aston Villa’s midfield managed to create some good chances, particularly for Icardi and Max, but Vardy struggled, with Leicester sitting deep and keeping him well marshalled. At the other end Leicester looked a constant threat on the break, Coutinho and Hazard had too much pace for the Villa midfield and they looked to be a good route to goal. With both teams creating good chances the deciding factor came in a battle between Luiz and Costa, both trying to wind each other up. In this game of wits there was only ever one winner, Costa. Luiz ended up with his marching orders. From the resulting free kick Coutinho whipped a peach of a shot into the top corner, and that was all that it took to get Leicester an opening day win.
Leicester City 1-0 Aston Villa
Leicester City scorer: Philippe Coutinho (FK) 73
Red Card: David Luiz 72
MOTM: Diego Costa
LSTD league season 11 GW 1 results
Manchester City vs Wolves