Here’s what happened on the opening weekend of 2018-19 Premier League season, in case you missed it…
READ ALL ABOUT IT
• Saturday: Spurs blank Newcastle, Sarri wins Chelsea debut and more
• Sunday: Salah off the mark, Man City blanking Arsenal and more
• Sportsnet at Anfield: Liverpool sends Man City a message
WATCH MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
Manchester United 2, Leicester City 1 || Newcastle United 1, Tottenham 2 || Bournemouth 2, Cardiff City 0 || Fulham 0, Crystal Palace 2 || Huddersfield Town 0, Chelsea 3 || Watford 2, Brighton & Hove Albion 0 || Wolves 2, Everton 2 || Liverpool 4, West Ham United 0 || Southampton 0, Burnley 0 || Arsenal 0, Manchester City 2
WHAT STOOD OUT
Liverpool smashes West Ham United
The best team performance from the opening weekend in the Premier League took place at Anfield where Liverpool rolled to an easy 4-0 victory over West Ham United on the strength of Sadio Mane’s brace. Mohamed Salah was also off the mark for the Reds, with the Egyptian taking only 19 minutes to score his first goal of the campaign.
The home side impressively swarmed the Hammers right from the opening kickoff and never let up, with Daniel Sturridge completing the rout by scoring in the 88th minute, literally seconds after entering the match as a substitute.
Liverpool’s win was made all the more impressive by the fact that an injury prevented Fabinho from starting in midfield, while Sturridge and newcomer Xherdan Shaqiri were used off the bench. If Sunday’s performance is anything to go by, Manchester City won’t be running away with the title like they did last season. Buoyed by a busy summer transfer period and the addition of several newcomers, Liverpool appears to be a legitimate contender.
Chelsea hits the ground running under Sarri
Chelsea showed no signs of hesitation under Maurizio Sarri, as the Blues quite easily disposed of Huddersfield Town in the Italian manager’s Premier League debut.
New era begins at Arsenal
For the first time since 1996, someone other than Arsene Wenger was in the manger’s technical area for Arsenal this weekend. Sunday marked the beginning of the Unai Emery era, as he took charge of the Gunners for the first time in the Premier League.
It didn’t go smoothly for the Spaniard. Arsenal was thoroughly outplayed and outclassed in a 2-0 home loss to reigning champions Manchester City. The gap in class between the two sides was clearly evident, and Emery has a massive job ahead of him in turning Arsenal back into a top-four team. Patience will be required – it’s not going to happen overnight.
“We need to continue working. But I am happy with the players because they run and they fight, and also we need [to] continue working tactically,” Emery told reporters after the game.
No goals for Harry Kane
The August jinx continues for Harry Kane. The English forward failed to score in Tottenham’s 2-1 win away to Newcastle United, but that should hardly come as a surprise. Kane has never scored a Premier League goal in 14 appearances during the month of August.
Kane is coming off a World Cup campaign in Russia this summer where he finished as the tournament’s top scorer with six goals. The belief was that he would carry that momentum over into the start of the Premier League season, but he drew blank against Newcastle. He still has two more games to try to finally score his first goal in August: against Fulham and Manchester United.
The best piece of individual skill on the weekend came from Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, who danced through Arsenal’s defence before scoring from distance:
Ruben Neves used his precision to draw Wolves level against Everton with this amazing free kick:
“If we want to win something, if we want to challenge for big things, we all need to put our minds, energy and quality into the collective. If that is not there, you are going to be out of the team. All the players who want to stay at Tottenham have to show their commitment.” – Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino
Wolves and Everton battled back and forth in an open game that produced four goals and plenty of attacking play:
THE GAME WITHIN THE GAME
Jorginho made his Premier League debut on Saturday, and the Italian international adapted quickly to the pace and physical nature of the English game. The former Napoli man was a central figure in Chelsea’s opening day win away to Huddersfield Town, and put in a solid shift of work both on the offensive and defensive side.
Jorginho's Premier League debut by numbers:
93.9% pass accuracy
2 tackles won
Tidy display. pic.twitter.com/oXVcaLNTnD
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 11, 2018
THE BIG QUESTION
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SIX PACK OF STATS
• Tottenham has never lost a Premier League game in which Dele Alli has scored, with 27 wins and six draws.
• On Saturday, Ben Foster made his first Premier League appearance for Watford since May 13, 2007 (4,108 days ago). It’s the second-longest gap between two games for a single team in the Premier League after Wayne Rooney for Everton (4,837 days).
• Chelsea’s Jorginho is just the eighth player to score a penalty in his Premier League debut, after Brian Deane, Alan Thompson, Fabrizio Ravanelli, Peter Kennedy, Adam Le Fondre, Roberto Soldado and Alexandre Pato.
• Roberto Pereyra has been directly involved in each of Watford’s last six goals in the Premier League, scoring five and assisting on the other one.
• Sadio Mane is the first Liverpool player to score in three consecutive opening top-flight games since John Barnes between 1989-90 and 1991-92.
• Bernardo Silva has scored five goals in his last seven Premier League starts for Manchester City after failing to score in his first nine.
Stats courtesy of Opta
1) Sadio Mane, Liverpool: Scored two goals in the Reds’ rampant win over West Ham United at Anfield.
2) Roberto Pereyra, Watford: The Argentine bagged a brace to guide the Hornets to an opening-day win over Brighton & Hove Albion.
3) Jorginho, Chelsea: Scored in his Premier League debut, and was a driving force in Chelsea’s attack against Huddersfield Town.