England—After another frenetic transfer window where EPL teams’ spending topped a billion pounds again, Liverpool and Everton headed the big spenders, whilst Spurs were notable as the only team not to enter the market. All clubs will be hoping that their new recruits settle in quickly and that they start the season with positive momentum. However, it is yet to be seen whether there are any adverse reactions due to the exertions of players in the World Cup, and the limited amount of pre-season activity for late returnees.
In Friday’s EPL season opener, Manchester United ended with a 2-1 victory over Leicester City at Old Trafford, courtesy of an early penalty kick from Paul Pogba, and Luke Shaw’s first premier League goal, before Jamie Vardy pulled a goal back for the visitors late in the game.
In Saturday’s early game, Newcastle United entertained Spurs at St James’ Park, and the visitors prevailed 2-1 with Jan Vertongen opening the scoring before Joselu equalised for the hosts, and Dele Alli then sealing the win for Spurs with a header.
In the 3pm kick offs, Bournemouth hosted Cardiff at the Vitality Stadium, and won 2-nil thanks to a strike from Ryan Fraser and a second from Callum Wilson after his earlier penalty kick was saved. Fulham hosted Crystal Palace at Craven Cottage, with the visitors taking the plaudits with a 2-nil result courtesy of Jeffrey Schlupp, and Wilfried Zaha, after earlier having had a goal disallowed from Patrick Van Aanholt. Huddersfield hosted Chelsea at the John Smith Stadium, where the visitors claimed a comfortable 3-nil win with goals from Ngolo Kante, new signing Jorginho from a penalty kick, and a late third from Pedro; and Watford entertained Brighton at Vicarage Road, winning 2-nil through a brace from Roberto Pereyra.
In the 5.30pm kick off, Wolves hosted Everton at Molineux, the game ended in a 2-all draw, with Everton taking the lead through Richarlison’s brace, which was countered by Ruben Neves’ free kick in the first half, and by Jiminez in the second half, though Everton acquitting themselves well after Phil Jabielka’s early red card.
In Sunday’s matches, Liverpool posted an emphatic 4-nil victory against West Ham at Anfield, courtesy of Mohamed Salah’s opener, a brace from Sadio Mane, and a 4th from substitute Daniel Sturridge. Southampton drew nil-nil against Burnley at St Mary’s Stadium, whilst Champions Manchester City, won 2-nil against Arsenal, with goals from Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva.
Although early days yet, the champions league positions seemed destined to be contested by the usual top 6, whilst Cardiff, Huddersfield, Brighton and a few others can expect a battle at the other end of the table.
Allan Jackson has been involved in soccer for more than 40 years as a player, referee, administrator and freelance writer.