It wasn’t just the weather that was red hot across England this week as the Premier League returned for matchday two.
There was thrilling action, controversy and tension by the bucketload as some of the biggest clubs in the division clashed.
Nottingham Forest claimed their first top-flight win since 1999 as they downed West Ham 1-0, while there were victories for Aston Villa and Liverpool.
Elsewhere, Southampton fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Leeds, though Brighton failed to break down visiting Newcastle as the pair drew 0-0 at the Amex Stadium. Chelsea and Tottenham played out a very different kind of draw as a feisty London derby finished two apiece.
Brentford, Arsenal and Manchester City all hit four at the expense of Manchester United, Leicester and Bournemouth respectively as the second Premier League matchday saw 29 goals struck in total.
After Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic won our MVP award and Brighton’s Moises Caicedo took the Under-21 prize on matchday one, this week we have two new faces to take the plaudits.
MVP: Gabriel Jesus
It couldn’t have been anyone other than Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus this weekend, could it?
On his home debut for the Gunners not only did the Brazilian net a brace but he also twice turned provider as the north London outfit ran out 4-2 winners against a poor Leicester City.
In the process, he also became the first Arsenal player ever to score more than once in his home Premier League debut.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 14, 2022
The fun started in the 23rd minute as Jesus picked up the ball in the penalty area, used the defender in front of him to bend the ball superbly into the far top corner and ran off to perform his trademark celebration.
A little over 10 minutes later and it was two for Arsenal and two for Jesus, nodding in at the back post to bag his first Premier League brace for the club in just his second competitive appearance.
In the first half he attempted five shots and had three on target as a disorganised Leicester defence struggled to contain him.
The second half proved similarly fruitful for the Arsenal attacker as he recorded two assists to help Mikel Arteta’s men make it two wins from two to start their 2022/23 Premier League campaign. That’s just the fourth time in the past four seasons that a player has notched two or more goals and assists in a top-flight match.
Alongside his goal contributions, Jesus registered 15 touches in the opposition’s penalty area — the most of any Premier League player on matchday two — and also won eight duels and completed three dribbles, both match-high statistics.
Speaking to ESPN Brazil after Saturday’s match Jesus said: “Now I have a different mind, I believe in myself a lot more. I’m back to smiling, to having confidence playing and that’s why things are working out. For a long time I thought like that, but I’ve returned, the usual Gabriel”.
If this is the Gabriel Jesus that turns up for the majority of this season then Arsenal might have made the signing of the season.
Under-21 MVP: Neco Williams
Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Dean Henderson may have taken all the plaudits in his side’s 1-0 victory over West Ham after saving Declan Rice’s penalty, but the club’s Welsh wing-back Neco Williams gets our nod as Premier League Under21 MVP on the week.
Explosive from the off against the Hammers, Williams topped the charts as Forest claimed their first top-flight victory since May 1999.
YOU REDSSSS❤️🏹🏹🏹 pic.twitter.com/qgDzEnCmoH
— Neco Williams (@necowilliams01) August 14, 2022
In an attacking sense, Williams threatened throughout, registering four shots and two on target. Both of those ended up being match-high figures despite his defensive positioning. He also created two chances and his three successful crosses and 12 passes into the opposition penalty area were the most of any player on the field.
That doesn’t mean that the 21-year-old shied away from his defensive duties as he largely marked Pablo Fornals out of the game. The Wales international won a match-high nine duels, including three successful tackles. He also recorded four clearances and won possession back seven times.
Such was his influence throughout that Williams also finished the victory with 74 touches, the most of any player as he demonstrated to Forest fans why Steve Cooper saw fit to lay out £17million for his services.