Richarlison and Roberto Pereyra each found the net twice to become unlikely top scorers following the first Saturday of the 2018/19 Premier League season.
Pereyra’s brace saw off Brighton & Hove Albion at Vicarage Road, while two goals weren’t enough for Richarlison and 10-man Everton to take three points off Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux.
There were more unfamiliar scorers as N’Golo Kante netted to help Chelsea beat Huddersfield Town 3-0 and go top. Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli scored as Tottenham Hotspur won 2-1 away to Newcastle United, but last season’s Golden Boot runner-up Harry Kane continued his curious struggles to score in August.
- Newcastle United 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
- Bournemouth 2-0 Cardiff City
- Fulham 0-2 Crystal Palace
- Huddersfield Town 0-3 Chelsea
- Watford 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-2 Everton
Watford boss Javi Gracia needs former Juventus ace Pereyra to stay off the treatment table after two seasons disrupted by injury. If he can, Pereyra has the guile and skill to help the Hornets overcome a lack of star power up front.
Pereyra has become more important since Richarlison swapped Vicarage Road for Goodison Park. The Brazilian’s debut with the Toffees showed he still saves his best for manager Marco Silva.
They worked wonders together at Watford in the early days of last season, and the prolific partnership resumed where it left off when Richarlison prodded in from close range on 17 minutes.
The Silva effect was in full force:
Richarlison’s second was even better, a wonderful solo goal featuring a powerful and mazy run before a deft finish into the bottom corner.
The goal was worthy of winning any game, but Raul Jimenez headed an equaliser for Wolves. Ruben Neves had earlier levelled Richarlison’s opener with a sweetly struck free-kick awarded after Everton defender Phil Jagielka was red-carded for a challenge on Diogo Jota.
Richarlison scored five times last season, but his form dropped off when Silva was let go by Watford. Expect him to become the fulcrum of a fluid Everton attack.
Dele Alli’s goal after just 18 minutes won the game for Spurs in Newcastle. It also continued a remarkable run for Tottenham whenever their attacking-midfield maestro finds the net:
Alli’s run is one Spurs fans will savour, but many will be left baffled by Kane’s continued inability to score in August:
Fortunately for Tottenham, history says Kane will rack up goals consistently once he gets going.
Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata doesn’t have the same knack, but the Blues overcame their misfiring No. 9 through goals from midfield at the John Smith’s Stadium.
N’Golo Kante opened the scoring before Jorginho added a second from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time. Pedro iced the game in the 80th minute to cap an impressive performance defined by pace and movement.
Similar qualities were on display when Wilfried Zaha tore through the Fulham defence on the break. The skilled Crystal Palace winger consistently exploited spaces between markers and sealed the victory after Jeffrey Schlupp’s opener to give the Eagles all three points. In the process, he matched some of his club’s most prolific players:
Ryan Fraser slotted home in the 24th minute at the Vitality Stadium for Bournemouth to continue his impressive contributions in attack:
Fraser had been teed up by Callum Wilson, who added the Cherries’ second in second-half injury time as Bournemouth showed Cardiff the difference in the pace and quality of the Premier League.
It’s a difference all three promoted sides found difficult to overcome, while Sarri showed he’s not wasting time getting Chelsea up to speed.