Premier League Recap – Week 1

The most watched and loved soccer league in the world is back! The season started on Friday when Liverpool hosted the newly promoted Norwich City at Anfield.

The opening weekend gave us 22 goals, 29 yellows, 17 VAR referrals (plus all goals scored have to be reviewed by the video referees) and had Morgan Schneiderlin seeing red.

 

Friday

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Liverpool v Norwich City

4-1

Liverpool scored four first-half goals to get the season underway with a blistering performance, demolishing the newly-promoted Norwich at Anfield.

The Canaries captain Grant Hanley scored the opening goal of the 2019/20 season when he sliced Divock Origi‘s cross into his own net before Mo Salah scored his first of the campaign.

Reds keeper Alisson was forced into a fine saved by Norwich’s German midfielder Marco Stipermann, before an unmarked Virgil van Dijk headed home the hosts’ third from Salah‘s corner. Origi completed the scoring by nodding in a stunning pass by Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The Canaries’ deficit was reduced thanks to a composed finish by Teemu Pukki after Liverpool lost Alisson to injury. The Brazilian keeper was replaced by new signing Adrian after slipping whilst taking a goal-kick in the first half.

The atmosphere around Anfield Saturday afternoon has been descried as carnival-like, with it being their first home game since becoming Champions League champions.

 

Up Next:

UEFA Super Cup

Liverpool v Chelsea – Wednesday, August 14 (3pm)

Premier League

Southampton v Liverpool – Saturday, August 17 (10am)

Norwich v Newcastle – Saturday, August 17 (10am)

 

Saturday

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West Ham United v Manchester City

0-5

Raheem Sterling was City’s hat-trick hero as they got their title defense off to a winning start with a thrashing victory over West Ham in a game that saw VAR play a significant role.

The technology is making its debut in the English top flight this season and, after Friday night’s opener went off without incident, it took center-stage Saturday.

It was first called upon when Gabriel Jesus appeared to have put the champions 3-0 up midway through the second half, only for Sterling to be ruled a fraction offside.

After Sterling added City’s third, also reviewed for possible offside, the system awarded the visitors a penalty retake after Sergio Aguero‘s tame effort was saved by Lukas Fabianski, but defender Declan Rice was deemed to have encroached into the area. Aguero didn’t make the same mistake twice, and scored the retaken penalty.

Despite the VAR fiasco, it was a dominant and well deserved victory for Pep Guardiola‘s side, who laid down the marker for the season ahead.

 

Up Next:

Brighton v West Ham – Saturday, August 17 (10am)

City v Spurs – Saturday, August 17 (12:30pm)

 

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Bournemouth v Sheffield United 

1-1

Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp had only been on the pitch for six minutes when he bundled the ball home from close range for a late equalizer, something he said “he had dreamed of”, scoring in the Premier League. It was the Blades’ first top-flight match since 2007.

Chris Mepham‘s first Premier League goal came when he smashed in a rebound after Callum Wilson‘s shot had been blocked by Sheffield keeper Dean Henderson. Heading into the latter stages it looked enough to have given the Cherries all three points.

Sharp, 33, who has played twice in the league before – both at the start of the 2012/13 season for Southampton – started on the bench, despite being their top goalscorer last season. He couldn’t wait to “get on the pitch and help the football club out.”

After his equalizer saw the points shared he told media, “It was what I dreamed of last night and it was a proud moment for me and the family.”

 

Up Next:

Villa v Bournemouth – Saturday, August 17 (10am)

Sheffield v Palace – Sunday, August 18 (9am)

 

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Burnley v Southampton

3-0

Burnley manager Sean Dyche said his side came back with “a real edge” as the Clarets made a winning start to the new season with a 3-0 victory over Southampton at Turf Moor.

The victory is their biggest recorded on opening day in the league since 1966 with three goals in 12 impressive second half minutes.

Ashley Barnes scored twice, the first coming after 63 minutes with the hosts’ first shot on target as he scored from summer signing Erik Pieters‘ cross. The duo linked up again as Barnes found the corner, before Johann Berg Gudmundsson added a third from a tight angle.

The Saints started the game brightly with £15m summer signing Che Adams narrowly missing the target in the opening minutes. Nathan Redmond also came close for the visitors with a powerful, rising shot before the break.

VAR was called upon once more, upholding an offside called that ruled out Burnley striker Chris Wood‘s effort after 16 minutes – and was later used to review two potential first half red cards. Adams arrived high and late on Ben Mee, whilst Gudmundsson crunched Ryan Bertrand – neither was shown a card.

 

Up Next:

Arsenal v Burnley – Saturday, August 17 (7:30am)

Southampton v Liverpool – Saturday, August 17 (10am)

 

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Crystal Palace v Everton

0-0

Jordan Pickford made two crucial saves as 10-man Everton held on to secure a possibly crucial point at a very windy Selhurst Park.

The England keeper, who endured a mixed 2018/19 campaign, blocked shots from Jordan Ayew and Max Meyer as Palace put their visitors under pressure in the second half.

Meyer also went close in the first but saw his goalbound effort deflected behind off the foot of Seamus Coleman.

Marco Silvas’ Toffees dominated much of the first period with Gylfi Sigurdsson firing wide before Coleman smashed his shot into the body of home goalie Vincente Guaita.

Sigurdsson produced another effort that was blocked on the line, whilst Richarlison curled his shot narrowly wide.

Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, who handed in a transfer request over the summer, and who was the subject of an array of denied bids, came off the bench in the 65th minute to warm applause.

He failed to affect the scoreline, just like the 76th minute sending off of Morgan Schneiderlin, who picked up a second yellow for a foul on Luka Milivojevic.

 

Up Next:

Sheffield v Palace – Sunday, August 18 (9am)

Everton v Watford – Saturday, August 17 (10am)

 

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Watford v Brighton & Hove Albion

0-3

Graham Potter, Brighton’s new manager, said his side’s winning start to the season was a “dream” as his Seagulls put three past a stunned Watford.

The visitors narrowly avoided relegation last year under Chris Hughton but, with Potter now at the helm, they put that misery behind them after Abdoulaye Doucoure‘s own goal gave them a first half lead.

Substitute Florin Andone came off the bench and scored with virtually his first touch of the game to double the score. Just minutes later Neal Maupay, who signed for Brighton on Monday (Aug 5), justified his £20m price tag with a debut goal, calmly finishing around keeper Ben Foster.

The Hornets, who finished 11th last season and reached the FA Cup Final, made the more promising start but slumped late on.

Brighton hadn’t won their opening match of a season since they were in the Championship back in 2015/16.

 

Up Next:

Everton v Watford – Saturday, August 17 (10am)

Brighton v West Ham – Saturday, August 17 (10am)

 

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Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa 

3-1

Harry Kane came to Spurs’ rescue one again, scoring twice in the final four minutes to secure all three points against the newly promoted Aston Villa.

The hosts were on course for a surprise defeat at home, before scoring three times in the last 17 minutes to win 3-1.

Spurs were sluggish for long periods of time, looking nothing like last season’s Champions League runners-up, until Christian Eriksen came off the bench and injected some much needed speed and creativity into the team.

New record signing Tanguy Ndombele opened the scoring for Spurs in the 73rd minute, cancelling out John McGinn‘s goal for Villa, before Kane netted his double.

 

Up Next:

City v Spurs – Saturday, August 17 (12:30pm)

Villa v Bournemouth – Saturday, August 17 (10am)

 

Sunday

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Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers

0-0

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo believes VAR is affecting “the spirit of the game” after his side had a goal ruled out in a goalless draw at Leicester.

Joao Moutinho‘s corner was headed home by Leander Dendoncker, but only after hitting the arm of teammate Willy Boly at close range. After an almost two minute deliberation the goal was disallowed by Andre Marriner, sparking cheers from the home crowd when it was announced via the stadium’s big screens.

Nuno‘s concerned that the technology could ruin the game and the atmosphere at matches because fans come to “celebrate a goal, not to celebrate a no goal.”

Leicester’s Jamie Vardy failed to attempt a single shot in a home Premier League game in which he started for just the seventh time, the last was also against Wolves in August of 2018.

 

Up Next:

Europa League 

Wolves v Pyunik (4-0 agg) – Thursday, August 15 (2:45pm)

Premier League

Chelsea v Leicester – Sunday, August 18 (11:30am)

Wolves v Man United – Monday, August 19 (3pm)

 

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Newcastle United v Arsenal

0-1

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang punished a sleepy Newcastle defense to give the Gunners victory at a rain-drenched St James’ Park.

Unai Emery watched as his Arsenal side struggle to cut through their opponents in the first half, but that all changed on the hour mark when Aubameyang was left unmarked on the edge of the box, collecting Ainsley Maitland-Niles‘ cross and firing past Martin Dubravka.

Emery gave £72m club-record signing Nicolas Pepe and midfielder Dani Ceballos their debuts from the bench, but both failed to make much of an impressions.

As for Steve Bruce, his Newcastle managerial debut became one of what could have been. Record signing Joelinton went close but his shot was blocked by Bernd Leno, whilst JonJo Shelvey saw his effort hit the woodwork. The Magpies were flat for much of the second half.

The Gunners won and kept a clean sheet in their opening game of a Premier League season for the first time since 2008/09, whilst Newcastle haven’t won their opening game in any of their last six top-flight campaigns, with Bruce suffering defeat in his first game at a new club for the first time since December 2001, when he began his Birmingham City reign with a 2-1 defeat to Wolves in the second tier.

 

Up Next:

Norwich v Newcastle – Saturday, August 17 (10am)

Arsenal v Burnley – Saturday, August 17 (7:30am)

 

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Manchester United v Chelsea

4-0

Manchester United recorded their biggest win over Chelsea at Old Trafford since 1965, condemning Frank Lampard to a miserable start as a Premier League manager.

Marcus Rashford scored twice, either side of a close-range effort from Anthony Martial, who has been given the number nine shirt back after the sale of Romelu Luakaku to Inter Milan of Serie A.

Daniel James completed the scoring after coming off the bench for his debut, his goal came nine minutes from time sparking wild celebrations from both fans and players.

Harry Maguire showed why he’s worth his £80m price tag throughout the game. The defender was happy to keep it simple in possession and pushed the ball on to Paul Pogba when he could. The Englishman also had the awareness to spot team-mates in trouble.

The game was still in the balance when Maguire stepped up to challenge Tammy Abraham on the edge of the United box. He calmly took possession, leaving the Blues striker on the floor in the process, strode away and set in motion a counter attack that ended with Martial‘s goal.

The scoreline was slightly harsh on the visitors, who were the better side in the first half, with Abraham and Emerson hitting the woodwork. It was however their worst ever opening-day defeat in 104 league seasons and the the heaviest defeat by a Chelsea manager in his first match in charge since Danny Blanchflower lost 7-2 to Middlesbrough in December 1978.

The victory left home supporters in ecstasy as the negativity of a difficult summer was swept away by their best result against the Blues since beating them by the same score in the 1994 FA Cup Final.

In a rare occurrence, an opening weekend defeat sees Chelsea in the relegation-zone for the first time since September 30, 2000.

 

Up Next:

UEFA Super Cup

Liverpool v Chelsea – Wednesday, August 14 (3pm)

Premier League

Wolves v United – Monday, August 19 (3pm)

Chelsea v Leicester – Sunday, August 18 (11:30am)

 

ALL TIMES U.S. EASTERN

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