A round up of week one of Premier League action including a defeat for the champions, and wins for both Manchester clubs and Spurs.
The new season kicked off with a game that said everything about the Premier League when Arsenal and Leicester played out a seven goal thriller at The Emirates.
Arsenal was a big favourite heading into this game owning an unbeaten run against the Foxes that extends to 21 Premier League games, winning 14 of those, including their previous ten home games, and they cemented that superiority when Alexandre Lacazette headed the Gunners into the lead after less than two minutes.
It was the perfect start for the Frenchman, who broke the record for the fastest goal scored by a Premier League debutant after his club record £46.5m move from Lyon.
But the Gunners didn’t hold that lead for long. A long ball into the box found Harry Maguire at the back post. The former Hull centre half headed it back into the danger zone, and Shinji Okazaki nodded home the equaliser within three-minutes of the restart.
Leicester looked like their Premier League winning best and went ahead after Marc Albrighton’s inch perfect cross fell into the stride of the former Arsenal target Jamie Vardy. The England international finished with ease, and Leicester was in charge.
It was important that Leicester made the half time interval with their lead intact, but Danny Welbeck put the ball away after some penalty box pinball deep into first half injury time to take the two teams into the break on even terms.
The second half was just as exciting as the first.
Vardy got on the end of a corner, ten minutes into the second half to head home his second of the game, and with seven minutes of the game left it looked like Leicester was going to end that terrible run.
Arsenal super subs step forward and take a bow.
The first was Aaron Ramsey, brought on to replace Mohamed Elneny. The Welshman got on the end of a Grant Zhaka through ball to level the game at 3-3, and with five minutes remaining super sub, Olivier Giroud, rose highest to head home the winner; only the second time Arsenal have won an opening league game in the past six seasons.
Chelsea 2 v 3 Burnley
There has been a lot of natter about Chelsea’s inability to strengthen their squad in the summer, but Antonio Conte’s men should be putting away Burnley with ease.
Nobody had beaten Chelsea on the opening day of the season since 1998, and last year, Burnley only managed seven away points. Add the fact that the only Premier League Champions to ever lose their opening return game was Leicester, last season; and this was a home win for sure.
The critical incident happened as early as the 14th minute when Gary Cahill, began his role as the new club captain by getting a straight red card for an over the top challenge on Steven Defour. Ten minutes later, and Burnley made the man difference count when Sam Vokes volleyed home a cross from the right.
If that goal silenced a few Chelsea fans, the second quieted the entire stadium, when Stephen Ward burst into the box, chested the ball down, and drove a Hotshot Hamish style shot into the back of the net.
And Burnley wasn’t finished.
Two minutes before half time, a cute Burnley free kick gave Vokes space in the box to score his second of the game, giving Burnley a three goal lead heading into the half time interval.
The second half was all Chelsea as Burnley burrowed in to protect their lead. Alvaro Morata pulled one back with a diving header in the 69th minute, but the fight back looked dead, when Cesc Fabregas received his marching orders for a second bookable offence, leaving the Blues to play the last ten-minutes with nine men.
But Chelsea never gave up, and Morata flicked on a long ball to David Luiz who volleyed home a second for the Champions, to give Burnley manager Sean Dyche something to worry about in the final few minutes.
Burnley held on, and if they can learn to pick points up on the road, and continue to make Turfmoor a fortress, then it could be a great season for them. There is no rest bite for the champions, next up is Spurs.
Brighton 0 v 2 Man City
Last year, the bookie’s favourites were Man City, and they began the season by winning their first ten games. Ultimately, the season petered out into nothingness, but the formula they started the season with worked, so why change?
This year, Man City is once again the bookies favourite for the Premier League title, and once again they have begun with an opening day victory. On paper, new boys Brighton never looked likely to cause City too much upset, and that proved to be the case as City booked a comfortable three points.
Gabriel Jesus is going to be an important player for City, and the officials twice denied the Brazilian an opening salvo, once rightly, the other wrongly. But they didn’t bemoan their bad luck – Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, and who else but Sergio Aguero was knitting things together to give City the lead on the 70-minute mark. Jesus nearly got his goal, five minutes later, but Brighton defender Lewis Dunk reached the ball before the Brazilian to head it into the back of the Brighton net.
Man Utd 4 v 0 West Ham
My pick for the title, Man Utd, also started the new season with a comfortable win, at home to West Ham. United new boy, Romelu Lukaku, bagged a brace either side of half time to quiet any early season Old Trafford nerves. The French pairing of Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba poured more misery on the crown of Slaven Bilic turning the eventual scoreline into a mauling.
The Best of the Rest
Miguel Britos scored only his second goal in two years to snatch a last minute point for Watford in a six goal thriller against Liverpool. Stefan Okaka opened the scoring for Watford with a header in the 8th minute, before a moment of brilliance from Sadio Mane saw the teams level in the 29th minute. Abdoulaye Doucoure scored from close range to put Watford ahead for the second time, but a foul on Mohamed Salah by Heurelho Gomes allowed Firmino to equalise from the spot. Two minutes later and the Liverpool debutant, Salah put Liverpool ahead after some great work from Firmino, but Britos salvaged a point in the dying embers of the game.
Neutrals will be interested to see how Everton do this season. Ronald Koeman spent big in the summer, but it was a man who cost them nothing that won the game for them in a tense match against Stoke. Wayne Rooney, so often booed by the Everton faithful, was on the end of a lot of cheering after his pinpoint header gave Everton all three points.
West Brom did what West Brom do best, beating Bournemouth by an Ahmed Hegazi goal to nil, Spurs beat ten-men Newcastle by two goals to nil. Dele Alli and Ben Davies scoring for Spurs after Jonjo Shelvey was sent off for a stamp on Alli. And Huddersfield is top of the league after thrashing Crystal Palace by three goals to nil at Selhurst Park. Steve Mounie scored twice after a Joel Ward own goal started the madness in the 23rd minute.
Premier League Results
Arsenal 4 v 3 Leicester
Watford 3 v 3 Liverpool
Everton 1 v 0 Stoke
Crystal Palace 0 v 3 Huddersfield
Southampton 0 v 0 Swansea
West Brom 1 v 0 Bournemouth
Chelsea 2 v 3 Burnley
Brighton 0 v 2 Man City
Newcastle 0 v 2 Spurs
Man Utd v West Ham