The wait is over, the Premier League is back in business, a plethora of excitement, dramas and oomph right from the opening day. At times, the beautiful game is just unpredictable, that’s why we adore it so much. The first goal of the season was an own goal, whereas the first dismissal was a goalkeeper who is one of the best performers for the club. Remarkable goals, skintight battles till the final whistle and greeting new stars to the Premier League, it was a scorching Saturday! Nevertheless, it’s just the beginning….
Louis Van Gaal was handed a valuable gift on his 64th birthday, surprisingly from a player from the challenger’s team. Kyle Walker’s own goal in the first half at Old Trafford gave the Red Devils all three points in the opening day. Assembled with marquee signings, United were noticeably the better side. In the entire match, the former Bayern Munich boss enjoyed the comfort of the dugout where his new recruits showed positive signs, sensibly gelling up with the squad. Conversely, the attackers upfront looked off colours, registering only one shot on target throughout the game, coming midway through the second half.
Undeniably, the victory was sealed by the resilient defense. Starting with Romero between the posts was a statement of intent by Louis Van Gaal. Last season’s hero David De Gea is somewhat under dourness to leave the club for Spanish giants Real Madrid. The Argentinian shot-stopper restored the manager’s faith with crucial stops, especially towards the end of the match. Chris Smalling was the pillar of the beamish back-line. The England international was able to neutralize the Kane’s threats with his decisive interventions and clearances. Matteo Darmian wasn’t the most hyped recruits compared to Bastian Schweinsteiger as well as Memphis Depay, yet he took the match by storm. He was comfortable with both foot and crafted attacking opportunities from the back. A brilliant coup, start him in your dream team! For Mauricio Pochettino side, the zeal and zest of the first and final 10 minutes should have been executed all the way the 90 minutes.
Next, the Premier League holders started their new campaign with a sizzling 2-2 draw with Swansea City at Stamford Bridge. Jose Mourinho came into the match with blend of emotions, losing the FA Charity Shield to Arsene Wenger and signing a contract extension with the Blues till 2019. The squad was similar to last term. There wasn’t really a need to change a team who won the league with the highest points earlier. The visitors on the other side had Andre Ayew leading the attack, alongside Gomis and Montero. Brazilian midfielder Oscar broke the deadlock with a cheeky free-kick. The Swans never gave up, Ayew netted a brilliant goal after a fine passage of play from the team in white. The Blues took the lead once again with a huge slice of luck, Willian’s intended cross, flicking off the boot of Federico Fernández. The biggest drama of the afternoon was Thibaut Courtois’s pointless kick on Gomis that earned himself a red card as well as a deserving penalty for Swansea City which was finished casually by the big Frenchman, earning his side a valuable point. Mourinho checkmated with a cumbersome decision by a goal guardian he picked over Peter Cech.
Bournemouth was welcomed to the Premier League with a spirit-sapping opening game where they lost 1-0 to new-look Aston Villa at home. The home side dominated the first half with string of chances where Wilson and King failed to find the back of the net. Despite holding higher possession, the Cherries were dashed in the second half from a towering header of super-sub Rudy Gestede.
At Carrow Road, Norwich City stifled a 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace despite registering 62% possession, having a clear-cut goal disallowed and a big penalty call turned down. The visitors capitalized with their inspiring firepower, where record signing Yohan Cabaye placing his name in the score sheet. Similar to fellow newcomers Bournemouth, they ran out of luck in the final third.
Vociferous boos were circulating around Goodison Park at the end of the first half where a combative Watford led the half 1-0. It was a mouth-watering encounter in the following half, where both teams flourished offensively and the match ended 2-2. Ross Barkley was undeniably the man of the match, scored a sensational goal and looked the most perilous player on the pitch.
Former Chelsea boss, Claudio Ranieri returned to the Premier League with sublime style as the Foxes thrashed Sunderland 4-2 at home. The Black Cats looked like fish out of water defensively plus was very much fortunate as Leicester City had plenty of chances brushing off the goalpost. Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez netted a brace and Costel Pantilimon was the busier one of both goalkeepers. Dick Advocaat needs to sort of his side’s defensive chaos, else he would be the frontrunner in the sacking league of the new season.