English Premier League season 2017/2018 Friday evening opener between Arsenal and Leicester City was filled with excitement, goals and nostalgic ending. It was a dramatic seven goal thriller that easily could pass for one of the most enjoyable football matches in the recent history of the league.
However, that game was just a foretaste of what to come during the weekend as Premier League champions, Chelsea hosted stubborn Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
That encounter; if wishes were horses will instantly be erased from the annals of history of the London club as Burnley came, saw and conquered at Stamford Bridge.
They left a bewildered, battered and confused Chelsea in their trail as influential captain Gary Cahill and midfield gem Cesc Fabregas were sent off in either half of a high tempo match.
Chelsea did try to come back though. But in the Premier League, nothing is to be taken for granted as the efforts of record signing Alvaro Morata and center back David Luis proved too little to overturn the goals from Sam Vokes and James Ward.
Antonio Conte will certainly be back deep in the trenches seeking answers. He must quickly find some as the next ties are as tough as they come.
Of the three-promoted teams to the Premier League, Huddersfield decided to upturn the applecart and send punditry on an errand of no return!
Playing their first game ever in the elite league, they faced Crystal Palace who only managed to escape the drop after some super human effort marshalled by departed Sam Alladyce the last term.
The faithful at Selhurst Park must have felt that the Eagles are more than a match for a newbie like Huddersfield. But three un-replied goals will certainly set nerves jiggling and raise queries that even the most ardent will find hard to address.
Newcastle, arguably thin to the bones managed to hold last season runners-up to barren first half at Tyneside. But Mauricio Pochettino undoubtedly talented brood have too much quality to be held bound for a total yard.
They handed Rafael Benitez a two-nil defeat and a bitter welcome back to the top flight!
Brighton and Holve Albion partied to the greatest strike force in the Premier League and the most expensively assemble team in the history of the game – Manchester City.
Boy, did they acquaint themselves properly. Tried as BHA did, the firepower and sheer brilliance of Pep Guardiola’s Citizens will take some stopping. The new boys do not have that – at least not yet.
Wayne Rooney is back with Everton at Merseyside doing what he knows how to do best – score breathtaking goals.
His strike against Stoke City at Goodison Park was the difference and Ronald Koeman will have no choice than to savour the great decision he made in bringing back the former Manchester United star to his boyhood club.
One thing can be banked; Rooney will score more goals for Everton.
Liverpool are it again! Never seeing off matches as expected and dropping the baton too tamely have been Jurgen Klopp’s appraisal for two seasons. It seems it will be same of same even as rumours of Philippe Coutinho’s exit to the warmer climes of Catalan keep sounding around Anfield.
A routine trip to Vicarage Road and expected three points in the bag turned sour at the death for the Reds after Miguel Britos snatched a late equalizer to leave Klopp wondering about what is left do to kill off games.
Agreed, Coutinho’s rumours are a distraction but the job is never done in the Premier League until it done indeed. Liverpool dropped two points on this one and they may well look back to bite their fingers.
Alexander Lacazette had scored in the 94th minute for Arsenal to announce his entry into the most exciting league in the world. Pressure and burden have been lightened.
Wayne Rooney did same for Everton and Alvaro Morata followed suit for Chelsea. While Rooney is a veteran of the league, he is back at a club he left as a teenager; it qualifies as a new start.
A big question was whether the man he was bought to replace, Romelu Lukaku will herald his career with Manchester United on a high or commence it in an understated and undesired fashion.
Manchester United faced West Ham in the last match of the opening weekend on Sunday at Old Trafford. Some mischievous folks had earlier highlighted that the team assembled by Jose Mourinho and being fielded against the Hammers was north of £300 million.
Lukaku’s staggering transfer fee of £75 million was overly highlighted. Never mind that another player set the Red Devils back by additional £14 million over that of their object of scrutiny.
Interestingly, the big Belgian didn’t take too long to answer his critics. Lukaka opened his account in style firstly by clipping his first goal off Joe Hart’s right post in the 33rd minute and powered a header in in the 52nd for his second.
United went on to score two more goals in a match they totally dominated and rendered Slaven Bilic clueless. The result sent Jose Mourinho top of the league and dropped West Ham right to the bottom of the league.
It is true that this is week one of the league season but the drama, results, surprises and performance of striking debutants have left no doubt that this will be a rewarding period for fans, neutrals and all lovers of the English Premier League.
Here we go again!