The Premier League returned with a bang over the weekend with some stunning goals, thrilling games and shock results – the most anticipated season in history certainly lived-up to the billing.
Liverpool stun Arsenal in seven goal thriller at The Emirates
Arsenal v Liverpool was an absolutely brilliant advertisement for the Premier League. Liverpool won 4-3 away at the Emirates and it was a magnificent performance.
Not many gave the Merseysiders much of a chance after an injury troubled up and down pre-season but they hadn’t read the script. Arsenal’s Theo Walcott fired in the opener for the Gunners in the 31st minute after first missing a penalty.
Then it was all Liverpool. Philippe Coutinho equalised with a brilliant free-kick before Adam Lallana fired in after the break. Coutinho picked up a second and Sadio Mane delivered a debut hit, a solo goal of stunning quality.
Your @carlsberg Man of the Match?
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 14, 2016
However, a shocked Arsenal fought for their reputation. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain weaved through and then Calum Chambers headed in. But they couldn’t quite pull it back.
Some of the goals were exceptional – a 19-pass move finished off by Coutinho and that Mane beauty being the pick of the bunch. Arsenal will get better – it is not the first time they have lost the first game of the season at home but the booing has already started.
Both sides in recent times have been inconsistent, great one day and a shadow of themselves the next.
The Mourinho revolution begins with three-points away at Bournemouth
Manchester United went to Bournemouth and won 3-1 as they should. But it was all a bit underwhelming. Were you a critic, and being particularly cruel, you would have said it was two flukes and a trundler. Were you a United fan it was a commanding start to the new Premier League season.
Juan Mata, who had been a substitute substituted after coming on in the Community Shield victory, opened the scoring with a tap-in after a dodgem car error. Wayne Rooney fortuitously headed the second before Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked his United league debut with a precise one from 25 yards.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 14, 2016
For Bournemouth, Adam Smith scored the best goal of the match to put this first Jose Mourinho ‘triumph’ in some kind of perspective.
Pep Guardiola has work do to bit Manchester City start with a win
The big, bad wolf that is Manchester City huffed and puffed but eventually blew down a defiant Sunderland’s straw house 2-1 at the Etihad. It was a strange game and Pep Guardiola would have been relieved to get three points.
City, whose oil money so often allows them to ‘buy’ the Premier League, an abomination to ‘real’ fans, had endless possession but David Moyes’ Sunderland set themselves up as hard to beat. To the irritation of the City support, the Wearsiders had three former Manchester United players making their debut.
Donald Love had an excellent game at right back, loan signing Adnan Januzaj came on as a substitute and set up Jermaine Defoe’s equaliser, but agony for Paddy McNair whose unfortunate own goal was ultimately the difference.
Sergio Aguero’s penalty, after Raheem Sterling was fouled by Patrick van Aanholt, had given City an early lead.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 14, 2016
Some things to ponder for Guardiola.
New signing from Everton, John Stones, looked excellent but kept up his reputation for making crucial mistakes by getting himself out of position for the visitor’s strike.
And a big call to leave Joe Hart out of the starting XI.
The rumours that Guardiola didn’t fancy Hart started soon after he was announced as forthcoming manager towards the end of last season, with speculation that the England keeper might be shown the exit door, with Liverpool supposedly interested.
Champions Leicester City start with defeat at newly promoted Hull
We shall see. But, for certain, both managers have loads to do to get their sides fully firing. An opening shock was Hull’s 2-1 defeat of champions Leicester City.
Under caretaker boss Mike Phelan, in charge following Steve Bruce’s departure, Hull, one of the relegation favourites, took the lead when Adama Diomande and Abel Hernandez combined, with the former awarded the goal.
Riyad Mahrez replied from the penalty spot at the start of the second half after Demarai Gray had been fouled. But Robert Snodgrass earned the Tigers a surprise victory.
Elsewhere it was a nervy affair with three 1-1 draws – Everton v Tottenham Hotspur, Middlesborough and Stoke, and Southampton-Watford, with two 0-1 away wins, Burnley against Swansea and Crystal Palace at home to West Brom.
The gulf between the best and the rest is already evident.
Premier League Football Corporate Hospitality Packages 2016/17