Premier League review – August 2019

Premier League
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp refused to be downbeat after watching his side lose 2-1 against Sevilla at Fenway Park on Sunday.

It is unclear when or if the 2019-20 Premier League season will reach a conclusion, so we have begun a month-by-month review of the campaign to date.

The season began on Friday August 9 with Liverpool, still smarting from narrowly missing out on the title the previous season, taking on Championship winners Norwich at Anfield, with the Reds offering a glimpse of what was to come with a comprehensive 4-1 victory.

However, Jurgen Klopp’s side ended the opening weekend in third place, with champions Manchester City having thrashed West Ham 5-0 at the London Stadium, while Manchester United poured cold water on Frank Lampard’s first game in charge of Chelsea, although the 4-0 scoreline certainly flattered the Red Devils.

Steve Bruce was another new manager that made a losing start, with Newcastle’s 1-0 home defeat to Arsenal adding to the unrest at St James’ Park following the departure of previous boss Rafael Benitez.

Graham Potter did enjoy a winning start to life at Brighton though, as the Seagulls claimed a 3-0 victory at Watford – a result that certainly gave the Hornets more than one reason to feel concerned.

There were also wins for Burnley and Tottenham on the opening weekend, although they were the only victories either of those sides picked up during August.

Indeed, Liverpool were the only team to end the month with a 100 per cent record, after they followed up victory over Norwich with further triumphs against Southampton, Arsenal and Burnley.

Man City were two points behind the Reds after they twice threw away a lead to draw with Spurs at the Etihad Satdium, while Leicester had also made an unbeaten start, picking up two wins and two draws from their four games.

However, the rest of the big hitters, Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea and Spurs, were all languishing in mid-table after slow starts, United particularly coming under scrutiny after they concluded the month with a home defeat to fourth-placed Crystal Palace and an away draw at Southampton.

Watford ended the month at the bottom of the table after picking up just one point from their opening four games, with the 1-1 draw at Newcastle on August 31 proving the final straw for the club’s hierarchy as, soon after, Javi Gracia became the first managerial casualty of the season, just over three months after leading the Hornets out at the FA Cup final.

Norwich and Aston Villa made up the rest of the bottom three, while Wolves sat just outside the relegation zone after they failed to register a win during the month, with the suggestion being Nuno Espirito Santo’s side were struggling to juggle both domestic and European commitments.

In terms of individual accolades, it was unsurprising to see Liverpool boss Klopp named manager of the month, but the player of the month accolade was perhaps a bit less predictable, with striker Teemu Pukki becoming the first Norwich player to scoop the prize after he netted five times during the month, including a hat-trick in the Canaries 3-1 victory over Newcastle.

The goal of the month award went to Leicester’s Harvey Barnes, whose fine strike at Sheffield United inflicted the only defeat of the month on the newly-promoted Blades.