The Barclays Premier league was back with a bang this weekend, but what have we discovered about the 20 teams involved at this early stage?
We have to start at Old Trafford where the Van Gaal era was expected to start with a comfortable win for Manchester United. Someone clearly forgot to give Swansea a copy of the script, as they created history by walking away with all 3 points. For United it proved that their problems under Moyes very much still exist and more worrying was Van Gaal’s Plan B to hoof it to Fellaini, just like his predecessor’s Plan A!!!
Liverpool laboured to a 2-1 win against an impressive Southampton side who look like they may prove their doubters wrong this season. The Reds appeared to struggle adapting their game without the irreplaceable Luis Suarez, but Kopites will point to the fact their team lost this very same fixture last season. Raheem Sterling was the standout performer for Liverpool and at just 19, this kid is capable of being on of the very best.
Arsenal and Spurs both left it late to secure wins against two sides set to struggle this season in my opinion. Palace are running out of time to find a new manager, whilst West Ham are one of the favourites to be the next team looking for a new manager!!! I’ll be stunned if Big Sam makes it to January. As for the Gunners, although they weren’t at their best, the squad looks quality and they will have an exciting season ahead. Spurs will have to make do with battling for a Europa League spot.
Everton and Leicester played out an entertaining 2-2 draw which could prove to be a decent result for the Toffees as Leicester have an outstanding home record. The two other promoted sides were both defeated on the opening weekend, with Burnley falling 3-1 at home to an imposing Chelsea side. New signings Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas appear to have settled quickly and the Londoners have to be considered favourites for the title. Despite encouraging signs, Burnley lack the quality to survive this season. QPR will be disappointed to lose a winnable home game against Hull and they will have to improve dramatically if they want to remain in the top flight.
Elsewhere Aston Villa recorded a rare away win at Stoke, whilst relegation candidates West Brom and Sunderland slugged it out to a 2-2 draw. The reigning champions Man City won comfortably at Newcastle despite not being at their best, an ominous sign for the rest of the chasing pack.
For all of the great goals and action, the undoubted highlight of the weekend was the introduction of the vanishing foam. My guess is the refs haven’t had enough practice with it yet…….