The Premier League kicked off in excellent fashion with a commanding 4-0 win for Manchester United against Chelsea.
Frank Lampard was hoping for a smooth start to his managerial career in the Premier League. However, a ruthless United wasn’t in the mood to take it easy on a youthful Chelsea side.
There were starts for Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham for the Blues. It was another player given a first-team opportunity that was guilty of making a mistake to allow the Red Devils the chance to take the lead.
Kurt Zouma was given a starting place following the departure of David Luiz, and he was clumsy when tackling Marcus Rashford. The Frenchman missed the ball and caught the forwards leg as he cut inside looking to unleash a trademark shot.
The referee had little doubt and pointed straight to the spot. Rashford stepped up to take the spot-kick, and he showed little nervousness before smashing the ball into the top left-hand corner of Kepa Arrizabalaga’s net.
Second half and three more goals
Chelsea was quick to take a stranglehold in the game after falling behind and were unfortunate not to head into the break on at least level terms. Abraham and Emerson both smashed David De Gea’s left-hand post, but that would be the closest that the Blues would come.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was continuously switching formations and personal, which made it difficult for Chelsea to pick up the vibrant attacking threat. They were made to pay for this when United doubled their lead after 65 minutes. Anthony Martial celebrated his new number 9 shirt with a trademark poachers’ goal.
The Frenchman finished off a sweeping counterattack from the Red Devils, as the final pass was delivered in between Martial and the goal by Andreas Pereira. Cesar Azpilicueta certainly didn’t cover himself in glory, and he may have still been thinking about this less than a minute later when Rashford ran clear of the Spaniard to extend the lead.
Chelsea lost the ball almost immediately after the kick-off. Once the ball was passed to Paul Pogba, he sent a trademark long pass directly into the path of Rashford, who ran past Azpilicueta before calmly slotting past Arrizabalaga.
A special goal for the debutant
The day would get even better for United when another counter-attack would result in another goal; this time for debutant Daniel James. A neat one-two between Martial and Pogba allowed the midfielder to run clear of the tired Blues players before acutely finding the angle for the Welsh winger.
James may have thought his chance had gone when Emerson appeared, but he kept his cool and got a little bit fortunate that the ball nestled in the bottom left-hand corner. It was a fitting debut for James, who looked emotional after his goal after his father, who was a life-long United fan, had passed away just weeks before he completed his big move.
James wasn’t the only debutant who had a day to remember, with both Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka making their Old Trafford bows.
The full-back was superb throughout and was voted as the man of the match by the fans, while Maguire was named as the man of the match by the Sky Sports punditry team of Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher.
Maguire was quick to show what United had been missing, as he dominated the Chelsea strikers throughout, and led the game in terms of interceptions, clearances, and aerial duels.
It was a solid start for the Red Devils. However, there are certainly improvements to be made, and it is still unknown if the lack of depth in front will hurt the team. Lukaku signed for Inter Milan and United might rely only on Rashford or Martial, or ultimately having to turn into the youth squad for options. Mason Greenwood might be the one to make a profit if he takes his chances properly.
Liverpool and City smash
If the big match of this opening weekend was at Old Trafford, there was still plenty of action elsewhere. The league actually started on Friday, with Liverpool scoring 4 in the first half, to secure a win against debutants Norwich City. The game ended up 4-1, with Grant Hanley opening the scoreline with an own goal at the 7th minute.
Salah, Van Dijk and Origi made the lead substantially high before the break. Norwich City consolation goal came from Finnish striker Teemu Puuki, but the Yellow Canaries will have better days to prove they are prepared for Premier League football.
If the runners up of last season started well, even better was the debut of the current champions. Manchester City completely ran over West Ham away at the London Stadium 5-0 with Raheem Sterling boosting a hat trick. Gabriel Jesus and Aguero from the penalty spot made it also into the score sheet.
Arsenal and Spurs grasp on tight wins
The Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspurs, who were 4th in the league last season, also started well. Despite conceding earlier against the newly promoted Aston Villa, with a goal of John McGinn, Spurs recovered in the second half with a great strike from Tanguy Ndombele.
The French midfielder had a perfect debut, and so had Harry Kane, who after missing last season’s final games due to injury, scored twice to complete Spurs comeback. The game finished 3-1 for the home side, with Sissoko also in a good plan, after assisting twice for Kane.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, at St. James Park, Arsenal needed a single moment of brilliance to take 3 points back to London. The Gunners defeated Newcastle 0-1, with a goal from (who else?) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
After being one of the most buzzed teams during Premier League deadline day, with the signings of Kieran Tierney and David Luiz, Arsenal gave the proper welcome also to Newcastle’s new manager Steve Bruce, on his return to Premier League.
Besides the result, three of the Gunners new signings made their debuts as substitutes during the game: Ceballos, Nicolas Pepe, and Gabriel Martinelli.
VAR, Barnes and a point for the Blades
To complete the Premier League, round up, it’s worth mentioning how VAR influenced the games during the opening weekend. In Leicester City versus Wolverhampton, one goal was rightfully disallowed, after the video referee noticed a handball of the Wolves player. Thus, the game ended 0-0.
Meanwhile, Burnley won 3×0 at home over Southampton, which included a brace of Ashley Barnes and Brighton who also scored 3 past Watford away. To complete the Premier League table, mentions to the draws of Crystal Palace and Everton (0-0) and Bournemouth and Sheffield United (1-1).
The Blades scored an 88-minute goal, to mark an auspicious return to the Premier League, after over 12 years of absence.
The Premier League schedule continues next week, with Manchester City x Tottenham (17th of August), being the match to look after. Do not forget to pay attention to Wednesday’s UEFA SuperCup match too, between Champions League winners Liverpool and Europa League winners Chelsea.