Much to the delight of football fans all over the world, the new Premier League season returned on August 5th — and there were plenty of thrills and spills in the first round of fixtures, with a number of favourites in the sports betting put to the sword by lesser favoured opposition while some managers might already be feeling the pressure after just one gameweek.
So, with plenty to dissect from the opening 10 matches of the season, let’s take a look at some of the biggest talking points from the weekend. Read on to find out more.
Haaland off the mark for Manchester City
After facing so much criticism for his performance in the Community Shield loss to Liverpool, missing several big chances as Manchester City fell 2-1 to the Reds at the King Power Stadium, it was inevitable that summer signing Erling Haaland would silence his critics against West Ham United on the opening weekend of the Premier League.
The Hammers couldn’t contain the promising Norwegian at the London Stadium as he won himself a penalty in the first half, converting brilliantly from the spot, before coolly slotting home from Kevin De Bruyne’s through ball in the second 45 minutes — opening up his body to slide the ball past substitute keeper Alphonse Areola in a finish reminiscent of the great Thierry Henry.
Nightmare start to the Erik ten Hag era
On the red side of Manchester, there was real optimism ahead of the season as Erik ten Hag became the fifth permanent to take the Old Trafford hotseat post Sir Alex Ferguson. But the positivity in the Theatre of Dreams’ iconic stand quickly turned sour as the Manchester United of old started to reappear.
Brighton & Hove Albion made it a first game to forget for the former Ajax manager, as Pascal Groß’s quickfire double gave Graham Potter’s side a 2-0 lead at break. A clumsy own goal from Alexis Mac Allister gave the Red Devils a lifeline in the second half but they couldn’t capitalise.
Liverpool held by Fulham at Craven Cottage
The age-old ritual of never back the early kick-off was once again evident in Saturday’s 12:30 game, as Premier League title hopefuls Liverpool suffered a setback against the newly promoted Fulham at Craven Cottage in west London.
Another striker shrugging off any lingering doubts about his ability to produce in the top flight of English football, Aleksandar Mitrović scored twice for Marco Silva’s side prove a thorn in the Reds’ side. Mohamed Salah and summer signing Darwin Núñez ensured Liverpool didn’t leave the capital empty handed though — both scoring in the 2-2 draw.
Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard feeling hot under the collar
Former Liverpool allies and Scottish football rivals during their time in the dugouts at Rangers and Celtic, Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard will be feeling the pressure after their respective teams’ poor start to the campaign.
Rodgers underperformed at Leicester City last season and a 2-2 draw at home against Brentford after taking a two-goal lead was not the start he would have wanted, while Gerrard’s Aston Villa lost 2-0 away to new boys Bournemouth — leaving him with a 35%-win rate since leaving Ibrox for the Midlands. Neither will want to be the first to be sacked this season.
Wins for the big London clubs
Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur all got off to perfect starts with wins over Everton, Crystal Palace and Southampton, respectively.
For the second season in a row the Gunners kicked the season off with a London rivalry on Friday Night Football, but they picked up the three points this time with a comfortable 2-0 win over Patrick Viera’s Palace.
Chelsea, also facing a former player-turned-manager in Frank Lampard, won 1-0 at Goodison Park thanks to a Jorginho penalty on the stroke of half-time. Spurs were perhaps the most convincing however, coming from a goal down to cruise to a 4-1 victory against the Saints at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.