MANCHESTER, England — Manchester United started its Premier League campaign with a morale-boosting 4-0 win over old rival Chelsea with the world’s most expensive defender Harry Maguire impressing on his debut for the hosts.
Maguire, who completed his 80 million pound ($97 million) transfer from Leicester a week ago, played from the start and ended his first home game at Old Trafford as man of the match on Sunday.
"He did exactly what we signed him for," said United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. "His presence in both boxes, his calmness and composure on the ball and he’s a leader."
Solskjaer’s side had looked second-best for long periods as Chelsea twice hit the post and had 18 efforts on goal compared to the home side’s 11, but Maguire — helped by fellow debutant Aaron Wan-Bissaka — rarely looked troubled and even had a hand in United’s important second goal.
With Chelsea pushing hard to cancel Marcus Rashford’s early penalty, Maguire won the ball from Tammy Abraham and it was quickly worked forward for Anthony Martial to convert from close range in the 65th.
Chelsea was still recovering when Paul Pogba floated the ball over for Rashford to score his second in the 67th for 3-0. There was still time for substitute Daniel James to complete a dream debut with United’s fourth in the 81st.
"First half we hung in there to be fair. Two off the post, so we can count ourselves a little bit lucky to go in at halftime 1-0 up, but we settled down and played well in the second half," said Solskjaer.
AUBAMEYANG RESCUES ARSENAL
Big spending Arsenal was grateful to last season’s top-scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in a 1-0 win at Newcastle.
Club record signing Nicolas Pepe watched as Aubameyang finally broke the deadlock in the 58th minute when he controlled Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ cross with his first touch and dinked it past Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka with his next.
Pepe, who joined from French side Lille for 72 million pounds ($87 million) on Aug. 1, was given a warm welcome from Arsenal fans when he made his debut in the 71st.
Newcastle made the better start in Steve Bruce’s first Premier League game in charge of his hometown club, albeit without creating a glut of goal chances. Club record signing Joelinton went closest for the home side and there was a buzz of excitement around St. James’ Park when Allan Saint-Maximin came on for his Newcastle debut.
VAR UPSETS WOLVES
Wolverhampton Wanderers had to settle for a 0-0 draw at Leicester after VAR intervened to disallow Leander Dendoncker’s strike.
The visitors thought they’d taken the lead six minutes into the second half but video replays showed Dendoncker’s initial header struck teammate Willy Boly’s arm before coming back to the Belgian.