Premier League Week One Storylines
Another season has started in the always entertaining, rarely predictable, often wacky Premier League. The College Tailgate will be here every step of the way to guide you through the twists and turns of English football and keep you updated on the never-ending list of stories it provides. Here we go with week one.
New Managers at Big Clubs Start Strong
The three richest clubs in England all entered the season with new managers, fueling big dreams for each fanbase. Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte each made their debuts as managers of clubs this weekend, and they took home maximum points. Each member of this trio has a stellar resume with accolades from a variety of leagues and competitions across Europe, but there’s only one winner at the end of the season. All three expect to win the league, and they’ve all started the right way.
Defending Champs Slow Out of the Gate
2016 Premier League Champions Leicester City (it’s still hard to believe that happened) opened their title defense with a discouraging loss to relegation favorites Hull City. This season will be a tricky one for the Foxes. For starters, they sold their star midfielder N’Golo Kante to title rivals Chelsea. It was Kante who shielded a sometimes-shaky backline and quickly turned defense into offense for the Premier League’s most lethal counter attack. Riyad Mahrez was the 2016 Player of the Year, but you could make a case that Kante was Leicester’s most valuable player. A week one loss means little in the long run, but manager Claudio Ranieri will need to right the ship quickly.
Dream Start for Coutinho
There may not have been a player more excited about Liverpool’s appointment of Jurgen Klopp as manager last fall than Philippe Coutinho. The talented Brazilian had seen plenty of success at Anfield, but it was clear he had potential for more during Brendan Rodgers’ tenure. Then out went Rodgers and in came Klopp, who has an impressive history with players cut from Coutinho’s cloth. Mario Gotze, Shinji Kagawa, Marco Reus, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Robert Lewandowski, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ilkay Gundogan all played most of their best football under Klopp’s reign at Dortmund. It’s safe to say that the lovable German knows what he’s doing with attacking midfield talent. Perhaps Coutinho’s two tallies in Sunday’s 4-3 win over Arsenal are a mark that he’s taking to Klopp’s tutelage the way that so many have before him.