The Barclays Premier League is back and its first weekend definitely threw plenty of surprise results our way.
As the 11 week break came to an end and we welcomed our favourite sport back the Premier League saw Arsenal lose 2-0 at home to West Ham at the Emirates and Swansea drawing 2-2 with the champions Chelsea. My highlight of the weekend was indeed the 4-2 drubbing of Sunderland, tactically masterminded by Claudio Ranieri.
Go back to February when Sunderland and Leicester both looked like relegation favourites and playing football not considered exciting. You’d be excused to think that the game would give very few goals and a boring draw but Leicester showed their fans that this season they meant business. Ranieri’s return to Premier League football brought a winning start.
The early title favourites and reigning champions Chelsea started the season at home to last seasons surprise package Swansea who had certainly bought smart in the transfer market with Andre Ayew and Eder. Despite Chelsea looking favourites to win after being 1-0 and 2-1 up Swansea fought back and drew 2-2. Chelsea ‘keeper Thibaut Courtouis was sent off in the 52nd giving an early debut to new signing Asmir Begovic who failed to save Bafetimbi Gomis’ effort from the spot and at 2-2 with just under 40 minutes the game was tied and it stayed that way.
Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace visited newly promoted Norwich City and started the season in style with a 3-1 win. New Eagle Yohan Cabaye scored on his debut to round off the win after Damien Delaney and Wilfried Zaha scored early on. Norwich did manage 1 goal but could have had two after Cameron Jerome’s acrobatic effort was disallowed for a high foot which splits opinions.
Manchester United spent big in the summer with the signings of German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin and Dutch winger Memphis. They came up against the inconsistent outfit of Tottenham Hotpsur at the Theatre of Dreams and came out winners as for the first time in Premier League history an own goal was the first goal of the season as Kyle Walker unfortunately slotted the ball past Michel Vorm into his own net.
New boys Watford travelled to Goodison Park to play their first Premier League game for over 3,000 days. They made a somewhat successful return with a 2-2 draw against an experienced Everton side. Ighalo and Layun scored Watfords Premier League comeback goals and got them their first point.
Championship winners AFC Bournemouth started their first ever season in the Premier League with a 1-0 defeat at home to Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa. As Bournemouth made a surprise appearance in the Premier League they couldn’t get off to a winning start as new Villa boy Rudy Gestede headed the only goal of the game.
Sunday brought an upset with West Ham United beating Arsenal 2-0 in the Gunners back yard. Mauro Karate and Kouyate scored the Hammers goals and undoubtedly filled the West Ham fans with confidence for the new season ahead with new manager and Slaven Bilic. Another highlight of the game for the West Ham faithful was 16 year old Reece Oxford making his first senior appearance and keeping Arsenal star man Mesut Ozil very quiet.
Liverpool returned to the Britannia Stadium looking to avenge the 6-1 defeat they suffered in the last game of the season. The game took destined for a 0-0 draw and would be a deserved result for both sides but the Brazilian magician that is Philipe Coutinho scored what can only be described as a world class goal to send the Liverpool fans into a craze as they took all three points from the Potters.
Tony Pulis’ West Brom had the visit of Manchester City to deal with in the final game of the first weekend of the new season and were easily swept aside by the experienced Manchester City side as City looked to start the season well and set themselves in good stead for the season ahead in their hunt for the title. Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany set City up well to enter the title race as the final score finished 3-0 to the triumphant City.
How did your team do?