Saturday, August 8, 2015

It Happened in England: Premier League Opening Day

Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham
Although they didn't score a goal on their own, Manchester United gets off to the winning start they never saw last year despite Tottenham's late advances. The Red Devils' goal came from Scott Walker beating his own keeper in the 22nd minute.  It wasn't the prettiest opening for Manchester, they allowed Tottenham a lot of space to attack in the second half. Their defense, however, was up to the task and was able to keep the clean sheet in support of their lackluster offense.

AFC Bournemouth 0-1 Aston Villa
I understand that Bournemouth is motivated to play inferring if they're boisterous views of 11,000 in the Premier League's smallest stadium, but I would have thought Aston Villa would have showed up a little more. The Cherries held the visiting Villains to all of one off target shot in the first half while holding a nearly 60-40 possession advantage. Despite the early struggles, they got a 72nd minute header from Rudy Gestede to take the lead and spoil the Bournemouth debut.

Norwich CIty 1-3 Crystal Palace
Palace takes care of business on the road to open what they hope to be another club record season. Wilfried Zaha started all the fun in the 39th minute for Palace. They went up 2-0 shortly after halftime courtesy of Damien Delaney. Norwich would open their Premier League account in the 69th minute. Nathan Redmond was the provider of their first goal back in the top flight. Norwich would try to earn a home point in this once, but they would concede one more at the death of the match. Club record transfer capture Yohan Cabaye scored his first ever goal for Palace four minutes into second half stoppage time.

Leicester CIty 4-2 Sunderland
It was a first half goal scoring party for the Foxes. Less than a half hour had passed before Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, and Mahrez again from the spot had Leicester City up 3-0. Jermain Defoe pulled one back for Sunderland in the second half, but Leicester went right back up by three with a goal from Marc Albrighton. Steven Fletcher added a secured for ghee Black Cats in the 71st to make it look like less of a slaughter. I think it's safe to say that this isn't how Dick Advocaat and his troops planned on starting off a season where they will be fighting relegation all year long.

Everton 2-2 Watford
What could have been a pretty embarrassing start for Everton turned in to a merely disappointing one. They took part in some absentee defending to allow Miguel Layun to score and put the new guys to get on the board 1-0. They took quite took a while to recover. Ross Barkley was the man leveling Everton in the 76th minute. Then the goals began to fly. Watford retook the lead in the 83rd minute with a goal by Odion Ighalo and Everton's Arouna Kone equalized three minutes later. Watford was the only one of the newly promoted sides to earn at least a point, and they did it on the road against a very established Premier League side.

Chelsea 2-2 Swansea City
It wasn't quite business as usual for the defending champions, as they only manage to get a point at home against a difficult Swansea team. Some may say they were even outplayed by the club from Wales. Oscar started the scoring in the 23rd minute with a well taken free kick. Swansea would level the score in the 29th. It was Andre Ayew netting his first goal in a Swansea shirt. Less than a minute late, though, Chelsea found themselves back in the lead after Federico Fernandez deflected a Willian cross into his own goal. Disaster then struck for the Blues at the stroke of 52 minutes. Bafetimbi Gomis was behind the Chelsea line with only Thibaut Courtois to beat when he was tripped by the keeper on the very edge of the box. It was a penalty and straight red, sending the champs down to ten men with the site levelled, which is how things would finish.

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