Everton defeated Preston North End in Saturday’s friendly match | Nathan Stirk/Getty Images
Bad news – it’s international football week. Good news – pre-season friendlies are still a thing!
Even without their superstars, Premier League clubs are stringing together a set of lads and sticking them on a field to play some football. Whether we like to admit it or not, these exhibition matches do affect every supporter’s confidence going into a new season, and any signs of weakness tend to foreshadow the downfalls of the coming campaign.
Still, these matches really mean very little. But let’s not allow that to stop us from massively over-investing in eight friendly matches from Saturday afternoon then, all of which included at least one Premier League side.
‘How did they all do?’ I imagine you ask. Let’s have a look, shall we?
We’ll start with the English champions, Liverpool, who took on League One outfit Blackpool without a number of their key stars. The Reds were left blushing by the Tangerines, who took a shock 2-0 lead inside the opening 33 minutes, leaving Jurgen Klopp’s men reeling.
An instinctive ????? from Bobby ?
Watch all the highlights from our 7-2 win over Blackpool, now on @LFCTV GO ?
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 5, 2020
Luckily, the Merseysiders do have some goals (and goalscorers) in their team. Seven, in fact. Strikes from Joel Matip, Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino, Harvey Elliott, Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi and Sepp van den Berg saw the champions just about turn the match back in their favour, running out 7-2 winners. Crisis? What crisis?
Liverpool gave us a nine-goal thriller, but West Ham United could only manage the eight in their clash with Bournemouth. In fact, the Hammers only netted three of them, on another tough afternoon for the east Londoners. The Cherries followed in Blackpool’s footsteps by taking a 2-0 lead, and much like the Seasiders, they allowed their opponents to peg them back, with Jarrod Bowen bagging a brace.
Full-time at London [email protected] | #WHUBOU 3-5 (FT)
— West Ham United (@WestHam) September 5, 2020
However, Bournemouth then exploded into life, scoring three in ten minutes to open up a commanding lead and rock the Hammers. Felipe Anderson did pull a goal back for David Moyes’ men, but they eventually fell to a 5-3 defeat. Worrying. Or not. You decide.
Across London, Tottenham Hotspur were on the end of their own disappointing loss, too. José Mourinho’s side travelled to newly-relegated Watford and lost 2-1 – albeit without a number of important first-teamers. The Hornets took a 2-0 lead into the break, after Andre Gray’s penalty added to Domingos Quina’s opening goal.
79 – GOAL! Sonny scores from the spot after @ErikLamela was brought down in the box.
? #WatfordFC 2-1 #THFC ⚪️ pic.twitter.com/djDShDTwJr
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 5, 2020
Son Heung-min dispatched a spot-kick of his own to half the deficit with ten minutes to play, but it wasn’t enough for the north Londoners, who left Vicarage Road empty-handed.
Newcastle’s preparations for the new campaign took a hit at St James’ Park, where they lost 1-0 to Championship club Stoke City. The Potters took the lead midway through the first half, when Sam Clucas rounded off a nice move with a lovely header into the far corner. The Magpies failed to muster a response, as their worries in front of goal continue.
90 minutes? 2-0 win⚽️ Clean sheet✅? pic.twitter.com/TRVb6flVG6
— Lewis Gibson (@LewisGippa3) September 5, 2020
Everton found more success in their tie with Preston North End, running out 2-0 winners on Merseyside. The Toffees took the lead on seven minutes, when Jonjoe Kenny raced to a loose ball in the penalty area and squeezed a shot beyond the Lilywhites’ goalkeeper.
Carlo Ancelotti had to wait until the second half for his side to wrap up the game, as Dominic Calvert-Lewin rounded off a smart break away with a close range finish.
? @wilfriedzaha ?#CPFC | https://t.co/utMcYSDkhb pic.twitter.com/jcoI5aBQ9Y
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) September 5, 2020
Back in London, Crystal Palace were held to a 1-1 draw by Danish side Brondby, although Wilfried Zaha did find himself on the scoresheet once more for the Eagles. His super strike was cancelled out with 20 minutes to play by Jesper Lindstrom, and the two sides went on to share the spoils.
Leicester City also played out a 1-1 tie, although they took on Blackburn Rovers in their contest. Daniel Amartey handed the Foxes the advantage on 67 minutes, converting from a corner, but Derrick Williams pegged the Premier League club back with nine minutes left on the clock.
Wish the stream didn’t work at all now tbh
— Matthew Sowerby (@MJSowerby) September 5, 2020
Finally, Brighton & Hove Albion and West Bromwich Albion endured a 0-0 draw in the only all-Premier League battle of the afternoon. Fingers crossed that’s not a sign of things to come…
Brighton 0-0 West Brom
Crystal Palace 1-1 Brondby
Everton 2-0 Preston
Leicester City 1-1 Blackburn Rovers
Liverpool 7-2 Blackpool
Newcastle United 0-1 Stoke City
Watford 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
West Ham 3-5 Bournemouth