8 Things We Learned From the Premier League's Opening Weekend

Sep 14, 2020, 12:00 PM GMT+1
Virgil van Dijk
Leeds and Liverpool played out a thriller | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
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After the shortest pre-season in history, the Premier League made it's not-so-long-awaited return this weekend, and us fans are already making early predictions for how the season is going to pan out.

Manchester United and Manchester City are still yet to get going, but we've already got a good idea of what we're expecting from almost everyone else in the league.

Let's have a look at what the opening weekend taught us.

1. James Rodríguez Can Still Hang

Martin Atkinson, James Rodriguez
Rodriguez enjoyed a great debut | Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Zinedine Zidane had us all fooled. He restricted James Rodríguez to just eight league appearances for Real Madrid last season and tried to make the Colombian look like he was finished.

Anyone who saw his Everton debut against Tottenham will know just how wrong that is.

Starting out on the wing, Rodríguez tormented Spurs all game long, creating five chances and becoming the first debutant to do so since Alexis Sánchez in 2014.

If he can stay fit, this could be a fun year.

2. This Could Be a Long Season for Spurs

Jose Mourinho
It was a rough day at the office for Mourinho | Pool/Getty Images

Rodríguez looked great, but Spurs did all they could to make him look like a Ballon d'Or winner. They were dire.

José Mourinho's side looked bereft of creativity and excitement - something which seems to be a common criticism of the boss these days.

Fans came into this year hoping for the best, but after just one game, a lot of that optimism has faded.

3. Virgil van Dijk Is Human

Patrick Bamford, Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk looked off against Leeds | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

We're not going to jump into the 'Virgil van Dijk is arrogant' boat, but there's no denying that he was not good enough in Liverpool's 4-3 win over Leeds United.

The man often described as the Premier League's greatest-ever centre-back on Twitter looked uneasy against newly-promoted Leeds, gifting Patrick Bamford a goal with a sloppy half clearance.

Since the start of the 2018/19, no outfield player has made more errors leading to goals than Van Dijk's three. Yikes.

4. Leeds Should Be Fine

FBL-ENG-PR-LIVERPOOL-LEEDS
Leeds look like they'll be a lot of fun | SHAUN BOTTERILL/Getty Images

By facing Liverpool on the opening day of the season, comparisons were made between Leeds and last season's punching bags, Norwich City. While the Canaries looked out of their depth, Leeds looked ready to impress in the top flight.

Sure, they conceded four goals, but better teams than Leeds will concede four against the Reds this season.

Marcelo Bielsa's men looked inspired every time they fell behind and brought real substance every time they went forward. They might not be title challengers, but they shouldn't be in a relegation battle.

5. Fulham & West Brom Are in Trouble

Slaven Bilic
West Brom could be in for a rough ride | Pool/Getty Images

However, two sides who already look to be in real trouble are Fulham and West Brom, neither of whom looked remotely good enough during the opening weekend.

Fulham were unceremoniously thrashed 3-0 by Arsenal before West Brom fell to the same scoreline against Leicester City, and you could hardly argue that either result wasn't fair.

With so little obvious Premier League quality in the two sides, both managers will be well aware of the relegation battle on the horizon.

6. Could Newcastle Have Struck Gold?

Callum Wilson, Andy Carroll
Wilson netted on his debut | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Finally. After years of trying to be smart and signing obscure players with no Premier League experience, Newcastle bit the bullet and made the choice to pursue Bournemouth's Callum Wilson.

Wilson looked dangerous all evening against West Ham and got the goal his performance deserved. I know, a Newcastle striker actually scored a goal! Wild!

Jeff Hendrick got in on the fun soon after as Newcastle looked about as comfortable as they have done in years. It's incredible what being smart in the transfer window can do for you.

7. West Ham's Problems Continue

Declan Rice
West Ham were dire against Newcastle | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

At this point, West Ham fans have probably forgotten the meaning of the world 'optimism'. Despite continued promises from the board that this will be their year, West Ham continue to underwhelm.

The sale of Grady Diangana left fans (and Mark Noble) questioning the direction of the club, and those concerns were validated as the Hammers slumped to a 2-0 defeat to Newcastle.

What's the plan to get out of this rut? Does anyone know?

8. We Miss Proper Fixture Schedules

When the only 3pm kickoff on the opening Saturday of the league season is Crystal Palace vs Southampton, you know that the fixture schedule is all sorts of messed up.

Now, we've got two games coming on a Monday evening? What is this dark magic?!

Take us back to the good old days, when Saturday afternoon was overflowing with action.

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!

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