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  • Chris Sobey

Football


The new Premier League season kicked off on Friday night with the much publicised clash between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford. Firstly, the proposed move of Maguire to United never materialised and secondly Mourhino’s mind games proved to be working as well as ever, after seemingly righting his teams chances off before the season had even kicked off. However, all this pre match negativity was soon forgotten as United delivered an assured performance winning 2-1 with strikes from World Cup winner Pogba and the fit again Luke Shaw, which was his first ever goal for the club. Leicester city star man Vardy also got in on the goal mouth action, as is usually the case for him, with a consolation strike in injury time.

On Saturday Spurs and Newcastle United kicked off the action with the traditional lunchtime fixture. Spurs became the first club in Premier league history not to sign or loan any players in the summer transfer market but it had no negative affect as they were to good for Newcastle United at St James Park winning 2-1 with strikes from Vertonghen and Alli. There were no real surprises from the 3pm kick-offs but all the teams who could potentially be in the relegation scrap come the end of the season like Cardiff, Fulham, Brighton and Huddersfield all received stark reminders of the enormity of their task ahead. Cardiff were seen off comfortably by Bournemouth 2-0 at the Vitality stadium, Fraser and Wilson were the star men for the Cherries both scoring and proving a constant threat against a shaky Cardiff back four.

Fulham, who will have been in good spirits leading in to the match after splashing out a £100 million in the transfer market during the summer, had their first London derby of the season against Crystal Palace at Craven Cottage on Saturday. However, any air of confidence on Fulham’s behalf pre match was short lived as the more experienced and settled Palace dominated the game running out comfortable 2-0 winners, and it looks like Fulham manager Slaviša Jokanović is going to face a tough task getting his squad and team ready and up to Premier League standard.

Brighton continued their poor away form from last season going down 2-0 away at Watford and survival is going to be an even tougher struggle for the Seagulls this season, as most teams know more about them and how they play now, especially any weaknesses that can be exploited. Watford manager Javi Garcia looks to have got his squad and first choice team ready and in good shape and he could have unearthed a real and invaluable gem in the shape of Argentina midfielder Roberto Pereyra, who netted both goals for the Hornets in a composed and impressive fashion. Huddersfield’s lack of goal threat against the better teams was evident again on Saturday as they failed to trouble visitors Chelsea at the Kirklees Stadium and the Blues ran out comfortable 3-0 winners with strikes from Kante, new signing Brazilian Jorghino and Pedro. The final Premier league game on Saturday was the traditional tea-time kick off and, on this occasion, it was new boys Wolves and Everton who faced off at Molinuex. This was the game of the day from an entertainment factor as there were plenty of goals, drama and controversy.

The first half witnessed two goals and a sending off; new Everton star signing Richarlison from Watford was Everton’s hero on the day opening the scoring but things turned sour for the Toffees just before half time as experienced defender Jagielka was sent off and to rub salt in to the wound Wolves equalized on the stroke of half time through 21 year-old Portuguese wonderkid Neves. Richarlison restored the lead for the visitors with twenty five minutes remaining but Everton continued to look vulnerable due to being down to ten men, especially at the back, and with the writing on the wall it was only a matter of time before Wolves created a guilt edged chance to equalize and star man Neves was influential again, turning provider for the talented Mexican midfielder Raul Jimenez.

This was a promising start for Wolves, they look well prepared and organised, have added quality and goals in attacking areas and there biggest challenge will probably be in defence. Everton have got a cracking acquisition in Richarlison and if they can get the balance between defence, midfield and attack in sync for most of their games they will prove to be one of the toughest teams to beat this season.

Super Sunday’s Premier League action was a bumper fest of world class entertainment, talent and action headed by reigning champions Manchester City’s trip to the Etihad to face Arsenal, who are now managed by Unai Emery after Arsene Wengers long reign came to an end last season. There was no fairy-tale start for Emery however, and City cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win with goals from Sterling and Silva.

The other two matches were between Liverpool and West Ham at Anfield and Southampton and Burnley at St Mary’s. It wasn’t a good start for West Ham’s new boss Pellegrini as Liverpool continued where they left off last season playing there familiar brand of expansive, attacking, high pressing and tempo football. The Reds had the game sown up by half time with strikes from Salah and Mane, Mane added his second early in to the second half and it’s great to see a resurgent Sturridge getting some first team action and scoring again. The game between the Southampton and Burnley was a drabber affair compared to the other two games but both managers will be happy with not losing and picking up a point.

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