Three things are certain in life: Death, Taxes and Arsenal losing (at home) their first league game of the season.
The Gunners lost at the Emirates Stadium on the opening weekend of the season for the third consecutive year and it feels like we’ve seen this movie over and again.
Liverpool were fantastic – especially in attack. And summer signing Saido Mane had a blast. Phillipe Coutinho took his goals well and overall, Klopp would be satisfied with the day’s work. However, it’s absolutely unforgivable that the German still had the error-prone Alberto Moreno as his first choice left back.
Comebacks don’t go smoothly than Jose Mourinho’s reintroduction to the EPL. Three points, Zlatan scoring on his debut, Baily got the Man of the Match award and Juan Mata and Rooney scoring to cap off a complete performance for Manchester United.
Welcome to the EPL Senor Pep – where no match is a given. Manchester City didn’t have a great performance and Pep would certainly understand the gravity of his work now more than ever. But on your first match at a new club, you just want to win and have something to build on.
The focus rightly was on the exclusion of Yaya from the matchday squad and dropping Hart to the bench. For the former, that shouldn’t be a surprise. Many people already knew the Ivorian would ( one of the casualties of the Guardiola era. But for Hart, it’s 50-50. Yes he’s a good shot-stopper but he misses one of the most important attributes the new manager wants in his GK – distribution. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and I’ve a feeling Hart will be back into the team – unless Pep signs a new GK and at that point, it will be the end of Hart at the Etihad.
Antonio Conte – not wanting to be left out on the winning start spree – also got off to a winning start with Chelsea against West Ham. Another difficult game for a new manager with a late winner. I’m sure the Italian has got the memo too and if he ever doubted the intensity and unpredictability of the EPL, then not anymore.
Hull City’s win over Champions Leicester was a shock and it shows what a tough league this is. You don’t earn anything unless you turn up and deliver on the day. Morgan, Drinkwater, Vardy didn’t have the best of games and it doesn’t get any easier for the Champions with a wounded Arsenal to come next week.
For Hull City, that was phenomenal, no manager, no summer signings, just 13 fit first team players to choose from, players played out of position and you go ahead to beat the Champions? That’s just phenomenal. The fans should savour that cos that might be as good as it gets.
Everton and Tottenham played out an entertaining draw. I liked Koeman’s 3-5-2 formation. It helped Everton stay on top in the first 45 mins, the pace at which they operated was frightening (and they should have scored more) but they tired in the second half. Credit to Pochettino for identifying the need for a second striker and making the substitution early in the second half. Tottenham looked the better team in the closing stages and should have won it but for a Stekelenbug reflex save.
Great free kick goal from Xendan Shaquri to pull Stoke level away at Middlesbrough.
Negredo got a goal and that must have done his confidence a great deal. Gaston Ramirez was equally great on the day.
New managers Claude Puel and Walter Mazzari settled for a draw at their teams battled to a 1-1 draw. I think the Saints definitely need a striker but Holberg looked a class act in midfield when he came on.
Swansea lost captain Ashley Williams, Andrew Ayew and Gomis and of course you won’t be totally wrong for predicting them to struggle this season. But off they went to Burnley and left with all three points.
Burnley were not poor on the day but the result was reminiscent of their last time in the top-flight when they didn’t have the end product to match their endeavour. Unless big investments are made, another long, arduous season is on the cards.
Vintage Tony Pulis, a 1-0 win away at Palace sets the ball rolling on their way to reaching 40 points. But the match lacked serious quality and both teams require investments before August 31.