Matchweek 4 of the Premier League was filled with unexpected blowouts and dominant performances across England. Previously unbeaten Leicester City was shocked 3-0 at home by West Ham United, Manchester United was wrecked 6-1 at home by Tottenham Hotspur and most shockingly, Liverpool was trounced 7-2 by Aston Villa. After a tumultuous week in the Premier League, here are my three takeaways from this past weekend.
- Ross Barkley was the X-factor in Aston Villa’s 7-2 win over Liverpool
Last season, Aston Villa only survived relegation as they were able to steal a 1-0 win over Arsenal in the second-to-last match of “Project Restart.” Villa finished 17th place and needed to upgrade their squad to move up the table. Two loanees have been huge in Villa’s undefeated start to the Premier League season in goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and midfielder Ross Barkley.
I have touched on Martinez before in my Matchweek 2 takeaways but against Liverpool, he was huge tallying six saves. However, when breaking down the match, the player who stood out the most was former Chelsea and Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, who made his debut for Villa on Sunday. He scored an incredible curler, set himself up with several great chances, and set up multiple goals for his teammates in Villa’s 7-2 win over the defending champions. With Chelsea, Barkley eliminated Liverpool from the FA Cup tournament with a huge solo goal back in February. Once again, he torched Liverpool in a historic win, as it was the first time since 1963 Liverpool conceded seven goals in a match, and the first time in over 70 years the defending Premier League champions conceded seven goals.
With Martinez and Barkley to aid the production of former Brentford star Ollie Watkins and captain Jack Grealish, Villa looks to avoid relegation with ease and possibly shoot for a European spot.
2. Ben Chilwell is one of the Premier League’s most valuable players
Left-back Ben Chilwell was a huge factor in Leicester City’s ascension to the top four for the vast majority of the 2019-20 Premier League campaign. His impact in setting up the attack and providing a solid option in defending made his presence irreplaceable among the squad. This came to prove true after he suffered a heel injury, forcing him to miss the final five matches of “Project Restart.”
Leicester lost three matches in the five-match span and drew another to Arsenal. Leicester lost their chance to qualify for the Champions League on Championship Sunday as they lost the top four to Manchester United and Cheslea.
Chilwell left for Chelsea and was still recovering from his injury as he missed Chelsea’s first three matches. These matches included a tie against West Bromwich Albion after trailing 3-0 at halftime and a 2-0 loss to Liverpool. In his debut this weekend against Crystal Palace, who won 3-1 at Man U on Matchweek 2, he notched a goal, an assist and a clean sheet in Chelsea’s 4-0 win. This result shows how valuable Chilwell is for Chelsea as they played their most complete match of the season so far and his health should be a top priority for the club going forward.
3. Callum Wilson was a huge pickup for Newcastle United
Ever since a strong 2011-12 season, which saw Newcastle United finish fifth place, Newcastle has been a club stuck in the mid-table with the exception of their one season in the EFL Championship. Stars such as Demba Ba, Alan Shearer and Andy Cole are long gone and the club is stuck in mediocrity. After the Saudi Arabian ownership-group takeover fell through, the club’s hopes from rising above the mid-table took a devastating blow. They have nice pieces such as winger Miguel Almiron but scoring has been a problem, finishing with the four-fewest goals scored in 2019-20 as no one on the squad scored double-digit goals.
Enter former Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson. He signed a four-year contract with Newcastle on Sept. 7 and has immediately made an impact. He scored in his debut as Newcastle defeated West Ham 2-0 and scored to draw against Tottenham. This past weekend, he scored a brace in Newcastle’s 3-1 win over Burnley. Newcastle sits ninth in the Premier League table as they finally have found a legit striker for the first time in years.