The Big Kick-Off
The 2015/16 Premier League season commenced at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime as the Manchester United hosted Spurs.
A drab 1-0 win left Louis Van Gaal pondering his next move before the transfer window shuts on 1st September. Despite net expenditure of approximately £115m since the legendary Dutchman’s appointment, the Red Devils only threatened in brief spells while Spurs could consider themselves unlucky with Christian Eriksen going close on a couple of occasions.
Jose Mourinho was far from happy following a 2-2 home draw with Swansea. Surprisingly, referee Michael Oliver, was spared any vitriol. Instead, Mourinho’s own medical staff were under attack as The Special One lambasted Eva Carneiro, the team doctor, and Jon Fearn, the team’s physiotherapist, for stepping on to the pitch to treat Eden Hazard in stoppage time.
According to Mourinho the pair’s actions, which left Chelsea temporarily down to nine players (after Thibaut Courtois had been sent-off earlier on), was a result of them not “understanding the game” sufficiently. Speculation is rife that Carneiro will not continue her role on match days.
Yaya Toure back on form
With Sergio Aguero named on the bench, the Baggies may have fancied their chances on home soil against City — or perhaps for all of 10 minutes, as Yaya Toure breached their defence early doors at the Hawthorns. Toure and in particular David Silva were influential as City played with a swagger in the West Midlands.
By half-time, Manuel Pellegrini’s men had completed 417 passes — more than any team in the first half of a top-flight game last season. They face Mourinho’s Chelsea next weekend in the season’s first title six-pointer.
Newly Promoted Boys
Of the three new boys, Watford fared the best with an encouraging performance resulting in a two-all draw on Merseyside. The Hornets twice took the lead but Everton fought back on both occasions. Ross Barkley scored the pick of the bunch as he nailed the Toffees’ initial equaliser.
Fellow new boys Norwich suffered a 3-1 reverse at home against Crystal Palace while Bournemouth followed suit with a 1-0 defeat by Aston Villa.
Opening Day Misfortune Continues for Wenger
Despite ending his long wait for a win over nemesis Mourinho (victory in the Community Shield), Arsene Wenger suffered his second opening day loss (both at the Emirates) in three seasons after high profile summer signing Petr Cech endured a debut to forget inbetween the sticks. West Ham were the grateful beneficiaries as they ran out 2-0 winners in North London.
Passing the buck, by sacking his entire coaching staff during the summer, means Brendan Rodgers has little room for error this season. The post-Stevie G era commenced well as Philippe Coutinho added another 25-yard beauty to his repertoire handing the Reds all three points and jolly old journey back up the M6.
It was a poignant result since Rodgers endured a 6-1 mauling at the very same ground in May. Onwards and upwards.