EletiofeWhat Liverpool-Arsenal says about the bonkers start to this...

What Liverpool-Arsenal says about the bonkers start to this Premier League season

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Liverpool-Arsenal was rather a staid affair.” data-reactid=”16″ type=”text”>By the standards of this young but remarkable Premier League season, Liverpool-Arsenal was rather a staid affair.

All it really had was the world’s best defender, Virgil van Dijk, whiffing on a clearance while Andy Robertson, the world’s best left back, sent the ball looping over himself and into the path of Alexandre Lacazette, whose bungled, close-range finish skipped awkwardly over Alisson to give Arsenal a completely-against-the-grain lead. It also had Bernd Leno flapping at Mohamed Salah’s cross, allowing Sadio Mane to dink the equalizer into an empty net. It had two Arsenal defenders missing a routine header, allowing Robertson to score just the fifth goal of his Liverpool career and make amends. It had Diogo Jota scoring the third in his Reds debut on a volley that passed through a defender’s legs and pinged in off the post.

By the standards of a normal season, this would have been considered a bizarre game, decided largely by uncharacteristic mistakes, both defensively and in Lacazette’s atypically poor finishing. Much would have been made about Arsenal’s defensiveness, yet also about the fact that until late on, it probably had the better of the scoring chances despite going up against the world’s foremost line of forwards. But this season, it will be forgotten quickly. 

Because this is no normal season.

Jurgen Klopp was celebrating on Monday. Fans of bonkers Premier League soccer have been celebrating for weeks. (Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)

This Premier League has been bonkers. Through three rounds of play, this season has produced upsets and bad defending and endless goals. After this match, the average goals per game stands at a towering 3.68. To put that in context, last season it was 2.72, which was in line with the 2.82 posted in 2018-19, 2.68 in 2017-18 and 2.80 in 2016-17. Also: pretty much every season before it.” data-reactid=”36″ type=”text”>This Premier League has been bonkers. Through three rounds of play, this season has produced upsets and bad defending and endless goals. After this match, the average goals per game stands at a towering 3.68. To put that in context, last season it was 2.72, which was in line with the 2.82 posted in 2018-19, 2.68 in 2017-18 and 2.80 in 2016-17. Also: pretty much every season before it.

Liverpool and newly promoted Leeds United. Leeds then beat Fulham 4-3, and Everton smashed West Bromwich Albion 5-2, only for West Brom to eke out a 3-3 tie with Chelsea. Tottenham Hotspur beat Southampton 5-2, only to then spill two points to Newcastle by the vagaries of the new handball rule. Leicester City beat Burnley 4-2 and that turned out to only be a warm-up to smashing mighty Manchester City 5-2. Manchester United was pummeled 3-1 by Crystal Palace and barely beat Brighton & Hove Albion 3-2. ” data-reactid=”37″ type=”text”>The opening weekend gave us a topsy-turvy 4-3 between Liverpool and newly promoted Leeds United. Leeds then beat Fulham 4-3, and Everton smashed West Bromwich Albion 5-2, only for West Brom to eke out a 3-3 tie with Chelsea. Tottenham Hotspur beat Southampton 5-2, only to then spill two points to Newcastle by the vagaries of the new handball rule. Leicester City beat Burnley 4-2 and that turned out to only be a warm-up to smashing mighty Manchester City 5-2. Manchester United was pummeled 3-1 by Crystal Palace and barely beat Brighton & Hove Albion 3-2. 

Upsets. Bad defending. Goals. 

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. 

Champions League tournament in Portugal. It takes time to organize a defense. More time than what is required to get your forwards sharp.” data-reactid=”40″ type=”text”>There are a few different explanations. Or attempts at explanations, anyway. The preseason was short. Some teams barely got a break at all after returning from the Champions League tournament in Portugal. It takes time to organize a defense. More time than what is required to get your forwards sharp.

enormous TV contracts, which were mostly unaffected. Even Spain’s La Liga, widely regarded as the world’s second-biggest league, was reduced to an unfamiliar role as a selling league this summer. That’s how Valencia’s starting striker wound up signing with Leeds. Why the Portugal right back who made 42 appearances for Barcelona last season now plays for Wolverhampton Wanderers. How Real Madrid’s excess attacking midfielder wound up at Everton.” data-reactid=”43″ type=”text”>But it might be something bigger. It feels like a kind of super-parity has settled over the Premier League, one where everybody is rich. While all the other leagues were constrained by the losses incurred during the pandemic, the Premier League was somewhat insulated from the hurt — or better off at any rate, thanks to its enormous TV contracts, which were mostly unaffected. Even Spain’s La Liga, widely regarded as the world’s second-biggest league, was reduced to an unfamiliar role as a selling league this summer. That’s how Valencia’s starting striker wound up signing with Leeds. Why the Portugal right back who made 42 appearances for Barcelona last season now plays for Wolverhampton Wanderers. How Real Madrid’s excess attacking midfielder wound up at Everton.

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