The opening weekend of the Premier League was full of good performances, some results that could have been seen coming, and some shock results no one could have expected. Manchester United started with a nervy win, Chelsea were lucky to come away with a draw, and Arsenal lost a stunner at home along with a bevy of other results that kicked off a new season of English football.
In the first match of the weekend in the Premier League, a new look Manchester United defeated Tottenham 1-0 with a nicely placed own goal from Kyle Walker. Wayne Rooney had a great opening in front of goal, but he waited too long on the ball to get a shot off, and Walker came to try and poke it away but that poke went right into the corner of his own net. Tottenham looked to be the aggressors for about the first 20 or 25 minutes until the goal really swayed the game in favor of United.
It was not an amazing performance from Louis Van Gaal’s squad, but it was one they can build on knowing that there is still time in the transfer window to add more talent. Another top team that may still be looking to add more to their squad in the transfer window, especially after their opening weekend performance, is Arsenal. The Gunners fell 2-0 to London-rivals West Ham at home in a performance that is to be forgotten.
New signing, Petr Cech, was at fault for one, if not both, of the goals on the day for the Hammers on his Arsenal Premier League debut. The first goal came from a free-kick, and Cech was too hesitant to charge out and punch the cross leaving an opening for Cheikhou Kouyate to find the net with his head. Cech was not so much at fault for the second goal, which came on a long-range effort from Mauro Zarate, but he could have done better to get a shot from so far out.
Another one of Arsenal’s London-rivals, Chelsea, also had a shock result in the form of a home draw to Swansea. The Welsh side was really better throughout the match and may have been unlucky to not get all three points, especially after Chelsea keeper Thibault Courtois was sent off early in the second half. A long ball perfectly sent in to Batefembi Gomis saw him with an open shot until Courtois got caught out and had no choice but to put a foot out and take down Gomis. It resulted in a red card, a converted penalty from Gomis, and an increasingly tough spot for the reigning champs who could not find the net for the rest of the day. They could only come away with one point.
Chelsea and Swansea were not the only clubs that played out entertaining 2-2 draws. Newcastle was also lucky to get out against Southampton with a point, and Everton had to claw back against Watford to end with a 2-2 draw. Aston Villa got a win over newly promoted Bournemouth while Leicester and Crystal palace also started the season on the right track with wins over Sunderland and Norwich respectively.
A new look Liverpool got a much-needed victory over Stoke to kick off their campaign, as they look to break back into the top four and get back into Champions League qualification. The match was largely equal until the 86th minute when Coutinho made an excellent turn on the ball and put a stunner into the top of the net from 25 yards out to seal a slim 1-0 victory.
The weekend of Premier League matches is not completely over with Manchester City still to host West Brom. A good star will be crucial for City, especially considering the stuttering starts that two of their main Premier League title rivals – Arsenal and Chelsea – have suffered. Liverpool and Manchester United have set themselves up for a good start, but a lot will still change, as the transfer window is still open until the end of August. Many teams will still be looking to add strength and depth to their squads to make a run at the coveted Premier League trophy.
Commentary By Max Petkevicius
Photo Courtesy of: Gordon Ednie’s Flickr Page
ESPN: Arsenal v West Ham
Goal: Stoke City 0-1 Liverpool
Daily Mail: Premier League Match Zone