Premier League Opening Fixtures Round Up
Dream debuts? Giant killings? Questionable decisions? Missed opportunities? Wonder goals? Last minute drama? You know what this means right? The 2014/15 Barclays Premier League season is finally upon us! Let’s reflect on the opening weekend’s action, which can only be described as an eagerly anticipated, eventful spectacle.
We’ll start with the Red Devils, Manchester United have made some new signings, employed a brand new philosophy and system as well as new blood at the helm as ex Holland, Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager, Louis Van Gaal, is appointed as the teams new head coach. After an extremely disappointing season under David Moyes, a lot of fans were expecting an immediate turn around. However, the read Devils were slumped by an impressive Swansea side by 2 goals to 1, leaving much to be desired -especially for the opening game of the season. It was more like a nightmare, highlighting how little cover and quality we have at the heart of the defence, in my opinion. United need to sign at least two proven, class centre backs of great ability – something I’ve been saying since the middle of last season as we knew our star centre backs Vidic and Ferdinand were leaving us.
Next we’ll look at the team known for their consistent great passing and footballing philosophy, Arsenal. They began this season on a high. After lifting the FA Cup last season to bring an embarrassing 9 year run without a trophy to an end, the Gunners inflicted a crushing 3 nil defeat on a lacklustre weakened Manchester City side a week before the opening day of the season, bringing the Charity Shield back to the Emirates. The Gunners started their campaign in shaky fashion as they scraped past an impressive Crystal Palace side, with Aaron Ramsey scoring on the 90 minute mark. With all of the new and exciting arrivals at the Emirates, I’m sure the Arsenal fans were expecting more but will be content in knowing they got a victory, played well and did better than Man U (the bastards). I do feel they need a class striker if they want to go onto lift the trophy at the end of the season (unlikely) as highlighted by the fact their goals came from defence and midfield and were quite last minute.
Now, after an exciting and eventful transfer window so far, Liverpool aim to put the loss of their star man Luis Suarez behind them as they sign 3 of their opening day opponent’s key players and upwards of 8 new faces in total, while Southampton morn the loss of not only 3 of their star players, but another two with defenders Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers switching St Mary’s for Old Trafford and the Emirates respectively. Liverpool bossed the game early on and managed to squeeze a victory out of the game with the Saint’s putting up a good fight, creating amazing opportunities, equalising and coming very close to getting something out of the game as Daniel Sturridge restored Liverpool’s lead late on and Shane Long squandered a header opportunity, with the open goal gaping from 2 yards out, after an outstanding save by Liverpool’s keeper with 2 minutes left on the clock.
The Champions, Manchester City, (I hate saying that) opened their Premier League campaign with a comfortable 2 nil victory over a Newcastle side who offered little in terms of attacking prospects. The Magpies were opened up by an incredible long ball from former Barcelona star Yaya Toure and a breathtaking flick from Džeko with a clinical finish from Silva. There was a little flash in the pan as Ayoze Perez ran through on goal and saw his deflected effort go agonisingly wide of Joe Hart’s goal. Ultimately, the game was capped off late on as Aguero came on as a substitute to open his scoring account for the Blues.
Yesterday’s Monday Night football saw a Chelsea side who completed their transfer window dealings quite early on. They looked quite strong as they overpowered newly promoted outfit Burnley who surprisingly took the lead at Terf Moor, forcing Chelsea to strike back with a debut goal from Diego Costa and customary goals from Ivanovic and Schurrle as the Chelsea Blues ran out comfortable 3-1 victors, with inspired performances from new boys Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa. Chelsea and Manchester City are thought to be this year’s teams to beat as they both seemingly have the strongest squads, from their starting 11s to their bench.
Other mouthwatering Premier League action included Aston Villa’s clash with Stoke, from which they were victorious as they scraped a 1 nil victory away from home at the Britannia Stadium. The West Brom V Sunderland game was a four goal thriller at the Hawthorns where we saw a screamer from Sunderland’s Lee Cattermole early on, while West Bromwich Albion fought back to take the lead with two goals from Berahino. With a questionable penalty decision to get them back into the game, justice was restored when Sunderland equalised with 5 minutes left on the clock (though they were afforded enough chances to actually win the game).
Arsenal’s noisy neighbours, Tottenham, managed to steal a 1 nil victory over London rivals West Ham despite conceding a penalty and going a man down early on. The referee was extremely harsh throughout and sent off one of the Hammers’ players for a second yellow card soon after. As West Ham saw their one man advantage disappear, things went from bad to worse as Spurs took the lead via 20-year-old defender Eric Dier, scoring on his debut.
Upon Leicester’s return to the Premier league they came up against Roberto Martinez’s Toffees, who finished in the UEFA cup spot last season. Leicester were unlucky to only manage a draw from this encounter as they showed great promise and brought the game to Everton at the King Power Stadium. The final score was 2-2, with Everton’s Aiden McGeady opening the scoring with an emphatic finish- not bad for his first goal for the club. The enthralling encounter also saw Ulloa score an equaliser on his debut for Leicester.
QPR have completed the signing of Manchester United and England football legend Rio Ferdinand recently, but were unable to emulate their fellow promoted side Leicester City’s performance and were reduced to a 1 nil defeat to Hull City as they conceded from a corner without reply. Queens Park Rangers were questionably awarded a penalty during the second half, but justice was served as Charley Austin failed to convert what would have been his first Premier League goal.