Happy with Leeds, less so with Chelsea and Man Utd.
That pretty much sums up the second round of matches in the Premier League last weekend. Well done to all those teams who took the three points, including a good win for Villa against Sheffield United on Monday. That was important for them - if not the Blades!
But I’m kicking off with the boys from Elland Road.
I told you they’d be no pushovers - and that was the case against Liverpool. They gave the Reds more to think about than Chelsea did in many ways - and then followed up with a humdinger of a win against Fulham. It was a great watch.
There’s more to come, of course. They only just edged out Fulham in the end, but these are two promoted sides who know each other well, so there was always a chance they'd cancelled each other out. Not quite, but encouraging for Bielsa and Scott Parker I’d say.
Moving forward, the defence might be an issue for Leeds. Ben White staying at Brighton was a blow - he’s a star and Graham Potter is doing great things down on the coast with the Seagulls. White and young Tariq Lamptey are different class. What Leeds would do have those lads at the back - actually they’d get in most teams I reckon! But Bielsa will be making more signings before the transfer window closes and reports that chairman Andrea Radrizzani has £50m to spend is music to his ears!
Liverpool beating Chelsea wasn’t a huge surprise, even though I fancied the Blues to win. We’re taking about the champions here, one of the great Premier League winners, but didn’t Chelsea make it easy for them?
If anything, Liverpool had looked ring-rusty against Leeds. They weren’t at their best post-lockdown, but had enough in hand to seal the title, but Leeds put them under pressure big-time - and you’d have thought a team like Chelsea would do the same.
But they didn’t.
They sat back and let Liverpool play football - and the rest of the league won’t thank them for that! It meant Liverpool could get back into the groove and play themselves into form - plus were able to give Thiago Alcantara an easy run-out.
He looks a great signing from Bayern Munich and is a class act clearly, but the Blues paved the way for that. Bad move I reckon - he’ll be up and running sooner now and makes Liverpool stronger in their bid for back-to-backs.
In Chelsea’s defence, they played with ten men for the second half, but Christensen’s challenge on Mane was clumsy and he had to go, but why sit back in the first place with the team they’ve got?
Timo Werner was all on his own up top, running around and doing well generally. But he had no support - and he can’t do that for the whole season, he’ll burn out. No, Frank now has the players to be more ambitious. They’ve got to believe.
Man Utd is even more complex. Don’t get me wrong, Crystal Palace have a knack at making the best sides poor on their day - but even so the Old Trafford faithful watching at home didn’t have much to cheer. Defensively they looked shaky.
Given their early problems, Man Utd did great to finish third last season and conceded fewer goals than all their rivals, bar Liverpool and City. On the weekend’s evidence, that will be more difficult this term and Ole has a job on his hands.
And I still think Pep has plenty to do, even though Manchester City are off and running after beating Wolves. Their centre-back pairings could be a real case of musical chairs, although Nathan Ake looks a solid buy and is a kid who gets better with every season.
So to this week and the Carabao Cup in midweek could see a few of the bigger teams give youth a chance - or try to play themselves into form.
As for the weekend’s matches, expect goals in the lunchtime kickoff at The Amex. Brighton scored a few at Newcastle and United are best going forward - I’m just edging towards Ole’s boys to get back on track after Palace with a high-scoring win by the seaside.
Chelsea look another away team ready to pull themselves back together. They’re up against West Brom who, after a promising start against Everton, capitulated really - although might it be that Carlo and Everton are going to be a force this time?
I expect the Blues to bounce back. They’ll make a few changes - I might even get a call to make a comeback in goal! - and roll over WBA. That confidence will be crucial.
I’m going with Leeds to beat Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. Expect some real Yorkshire grit from Chris Wilder’s side, who’ve had a tough start, but Leeds should have too much for them. I’m fond of both sides - I played for both - and hope they have good seasons.
The Bale factor was surely one of the reasons why Spurs rolled over Southampton and that momentum can be kept up against the Geordies, while Wolves’s decent show again City means they have to be the bet against a struggling West Ham.
Liverpool versus Arsenal is the Monday night highlight. Klopp was undone by Arteta in the Community Shield, but the Reds were undercooked then and the Chelsea romp now makes them good things against the Gunners, who only just edged out West Ham remember.
From football to golf - and well done to Bryson DeChambeau for an incredible US Open golf win.
I reckon we should rename him Bison DeChambeau. I’ve just looked it up - the bison, the heaviest land animal, is a formidable beast who used to roam North American in vast herds. That’s Bryson when it comes to golf surely? He’s ripping up golf courses!
To be fair, it wasn't just brawn that saw him win at Winged Foot. If that was the case Big Dustin Johnson and Bigger Jon Rahm would have won - and they were well beaten. No, technically Bryson was superb - and his nine holes on Sunday? Wow.
So to this week and Vinnie’s Three Of The Tee heads back to the European Tour with the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Galgorm Castle Golf Club in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, an absolutely beautiful part of the world.
Jon Rahm won it last year, but only Shane Lowry of the world’s very best players will be there this week - and he’s a worthy favourite.
However, let’s go for some value with Marcus Kinhult, Jordan Smith and Callum Shinkwin - I’m liking the look of these lads at fair prices for a decent show each-way at this parkland course, not a links as you might expect.
Keep safe everyone and obey the rule of six. We’ll get through this - and elite sport will help us. It’s massive, so cheer on your team - or player - from afar and keep the faith.
All the best,
Vinnie’s best bets
Golf - Dubai Duty Free Irish Open
Brighton v Manchester United: MAN UTD WIN
Crystal Palace v Everton: DRAW
West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea: CHELSEA WIN
Burnley v Southampton: DRAW
Sheffield United v Leeds United: LEEDS WIN
Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United: SPURS WIN
Manchester City v Leicester City: MAN CITY WIN
West Ham United v Wolverhampton Wanderers: WOLVES WIN
Fulham v Aston Villa: DRAW
Liverpool v Arsenal: LIVERPOOL WIN
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