It is Manchester United who top the table after the first round of games courtesy of their 4-0 win at home to West Ham. In a fixture which they may have laboured in last season United ran out comfortable winners in the end. It was two goals inside the final few minutes which have given them the top spot in the league as West Ham struggled to find a way into the game. The Hammers are bottom and face two more away trips, all be it to teams lower down the division than Man United before their first home game against Huddersfield in September. Up next for Man United is a trip to Swansea to test if they can continue the good start.
Chelsea’s title defence got off to the worst possible start following a 3-2 home defeat at home to Burnley. Previewed as a comfortable start to the season before the weekend the first half was anything but. At half time the home side were three goals and one man down. With 20 minutes to go they finally breached the Burnley defence and looked to set up and entertaining final quarter. With ten minutes remaining however Chelsea were reduced to nine men and although they pulled it back to 3-2, were unable to take anything from the game. With difficult fixtures to come it may prove to be an uneasy start for Chelsea fans. This could well be the highlight of Burnley’s season but their goal is survival and there is much work to be done yet.
Arsenal’s season got off to a good start start with them taking the lead inside three minutes but the game took a number of turns after. There were some poor moments defensively and it was Leicester which held the lead with seven minutes of the match remaining. Then two quick fire goals in the final minutes turned the game around and gave Arsenal the win. It was always going to be a difficult start for Leicester but this loss puts more pressure on their next game at home to Brighton. They need to pick some points up there ahead of games tough against Manchester United and Chelsea.
Huddersfield Town surprised a lot of people on the opening weekend with their 3-0 win away at Crystal Palace. Last seasons Championship playoff winners sit second in the table and with a relatively easy run of fixtures coming they may stay in the high places for the next few weeks. After battling against relegation for much of last season Palace will be unsettled by the poor start. Fans will be hoping they merely underestimated their opponents and can compete better against Liverpool next week.
Other Premier League debutants Brighton & Hove Albion did not fair quite as well as they were beaten at home by Manchester City. Given the difficulty of the opening fixture it likely won’t be a good marker for the rest of Brighton’s season and they will hope to pick up some points in the next round of games. For City it was a confident start to the season and they end the week where they ended last season, in third. Many have tipped them to take the title this year but last season started well and they fell away over the winter.
Tottenham round out the early top four following their 2-0 win away at Newcastle United. The home side had held out for the first half until they were reduced to ten men shortly after the break. Two second half goals in quick succession then gave Tottenham the advantage which they held until full time. Newcastle will not face the same high level of quality over the coming few fixtures so will be looking to start their season properly at Huddersfield next week.
Both sides in the game at Goodison Park will face a difficult start to the season but it was the home side which came out on top. Everton’s goal just before half time was enough to settle a close game and give them some breathing room ahead of bigger tests to come. Stoke could well struggle over the next seven games as they face four of the top six from last season.
Liverpool were denied a winning start to the season by an injury time goal in their game against Watford. Having twice gone behind to the home side, Liverpool took the lead before the hour mark. They held out with a 2-3 lead until the dying moments when Watford equalised following a corner. Both sides have plenty of to work on ahead of next weekends games following an entertaining match. Watford travel to Bournemouth while Liverpool start their home campaign against Crystal Palace.
West Brom started their season with a 1-0 win over Bournemouth at home. With both sides finishing close to each other last season this was always going to be a close game and was decided by a first half set piece. West Brom have some favourable fixtures to start the season and getting points in these will build momentum. Bournemouth have two games at home next and will look to put this defeat behind them and start a fresh.
The only goalless draw of the weekend took place at Saint Mary’s as Swansea City visited. Southampton ended last season strongly but were matched by the away side throughout. Swansea fans will likely be the more positive following the result after their struggles against relegation last season. Both sides are at home next week as Southampton look to improve against West Ham where as Swansea face Manchester United.
There were a number of positives to take away from the weekends result for United fans. Lukaku hitting the ground running and being the major difference in the game is one of them. The longer the game remained goalless the more chance of West Ham keeping United out all afternoon so his goals were vital. It is however early days and United need to keep up the momentum from pre-season as they hit more difficult parts of the campaign.