Premier League Winners and Losers After Saturday's Updated Week 1 EPL Table

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 10: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City celebrates scoring his teams third goal during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester City at London Stadium on August 10, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images )
Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

The first weekend of the 2019-20 Premier League season is not even over, but already the top of the table has a familiar look to it.

Defending champions Manchester City are top of the pile after their 5-0 away win over West Ham United on Saturday, and Liverpool, last season's runners-up, are second following a 4-1 victory over Norwich City on Friday.

Less familiar is the sight of Brighton & Hove Albion in third, but Graham Potter's side find themselves in dreamland after opening their campaign with a 3-0 away win at Watford.

Read on for a look at the winners and losers from the opening Saturday of the new season.


Winner: Raheem Sterling 

Sterling was one of the best players in the league last season, and he picked up where he left off at the London Stadium on Saturday by netting a second-half hat-trick to help demolish West Ham.

The 24-year-old used to be frustratingly profligate in front of goal, but he was brutally clinical against the Hammers. 

He opened his account for the season with a well-placed left-footed strike in the 51st minute, produced a lovely lob from six yards for his second 15 minutes from time and completed City's rout in stoppage time with a clever right-footed finish.

Per Squawka, netting a hat-trick on the opening weekend of the season puts Sterling in exalted company:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Raheem Sterling is the first player to score a hat-trick on the opening weekend of the Premier League since Didier Drogba in 2010-11 (vs. West Brom). He didn't even need that penalty. 🙃 https://t.co/MkwY0kw1HD

The former Liverpool star just gets better and better with every new season, and he is arguably now City's most important player.

On the basis of Saturday's performance, he could be even more impactful than ever in 2019-20, and if he remains fit and in form, a third consecutive Premier League title could be beckoning for Pep Guardiola's superlative side.


Winner: Graham Potter

WATFORD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 10: Graham Potter, Manager of Brighton and Hove Albion embraces Lewis Dunk of Brighton and Hove Albion following the Premier League match between Watford FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Vicarage Road on August 10, 2019 in Watfor
Warren Little/Getty Images

While Guardiola is well established among the world's best managers, Potter's profile is significantly more modest.

After impressive spells with Swedish side Ostersunds and Swansea City in the Championship, though, he has been given his chance in the Premier League with Brighton.

And he could not have made a better first impression in the top-flight dugout.

The Seagulls finished last season in free fall, failing to win any of their last nine league games of the campaign and scoring just three goals in that period. Chris Hughton lost his job as a result.

That decision was made to look like a masterstroke after Potter oversaw Saturday's 3-0 win at Watford:

Daniel Storey @danielstorey85

In his first competitive match in charge, Graham Potter has equalled the biggest top-flight away win in Brighton's history.

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

1 - Graham Potter has won as many @premierleague games as a manager as he did in eight appearances as a player in the competition; his only victory as a player was 6-3 against Man Utd with Southampton in 1996-97. Wizard. #WATBHA

Brighton's first goal of the season came via Hornets midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure in the 28th minute before second-half strikes from Florin Andone and Neal Maupay.

Given Watford finished last season in 11th, 14 points above 17th-placed Brighton, they would have gone into Saturday's match confident of picking up three points.

Potter, though, looks to have already made Brighton into a more entertaining, competitive side, and their fans could barely have asked for a more morale-boosting start to the season. 


Loser: VAR 

Fans at the London Stadium made their opinion about the introduction to the Premier League of the video assistant referee crystal clear during West Ham's defeat to City:

Sam Wallace @SamWallaceTel

'VAR IS F------ S---' sing the fans at London Stadium and it's only Day 2 of the Premier League's bright new future

VAR played a key role in the game, ruling out a Gabriel Jesus goal because of a marginal offside decision against Sterling and allowing Sergio Aguero a penalty retake late on after he was adjudged to have encroached into the area.

They were hardly decisions that would have affected the outcome of the game, and by the letter of the law, they were correct:

Jamie Carragher @Carra23

VAR gets two very tight offside decisions spot on. Re take of a penalty spot on because Rice encroaches & then clears the ball away. VAR will have problems at times this season, but to criticise it when it does its job is just nonsense.

But few were happy with the interventions of VAR in east London:

Oliver Kay @OliverKayTimes

I know there are some real VAR-lovers out there, but I have zero appetite for three-minute delays so that a goal can be disallowed because someone appears to be 3 millimetres offside. https://t.co/rIMI81EURp

Guy Mowbray @Guymowbray

Is all fair in love and VAR? I’ve got to be honest, On today’s evidence I’m not in love with it. Hopefully It’ll grow on me. It’s a changing game and world

Jonathan Smith @jonnysmiffy

Raheem Sterling gaining a clear advantage there by having his shoulder half a cm ahead. The wonderful world of VAR.

Attitudes may change as teething problems are ironed out and the process becomes more efficient. But for now, VAR is not popular among Premier League fans.


Loser: Tyrone Mings 

Aston Villa almost pulled off a classic snatch and grab away at Tottenham on Saturday on their return to the Premier League.

They took the lead through John McGinn with their first attack in the ninth minute and then defended superbly under huge pressure for more than an hour.

Had they held on until the final whistle to claim all three points, Tyrone Mings would surely have won the man-of-the-match award, as he provided the long ball which led to Villa's goal and then threw his body in front of numerous Spurs efforts to keep his side ahead:

Sam Dean @SamJDean

Tyrone Mings is blocking everything for #AVFC. He's got Harry Kane on lockdown at the moment.

Match of the Day @BBCMOTD

Tyrone Mings' first league assist since April 2015 set up Aston Villa's opener... What a time to come up with the goods 🅰️ #TOTAVL https://t.co/0R1J1Xax9z https://t.co/B49zW3tfxV

His efforts were in vain, though, as Tanguy Ndombele scored on debut in the 73rd minute before Harry Kane netted a late double to secure the hosts a comfortable win.

And despite his heroics beforehand, Mings could arguably have done better in preventing both Ndombele's curling 20-yard effort and Kane's first that put Spurs into the lead.

The 26-year-old can hardly be blamed for Villa's defeat given how Spurs dominated much of the match.

But to come away with nothing after working as hard as he did in north London will be a hard pill for Mings to swallow.