The English Premier League returned with a bang this weekend, with plenty of high-scoring and surprising results kicking off the 2017-2018 season in the country's top flight.
The English Premier League returned with a bang this weekend, with plenty of high-scoring and surprising results kicking off the 2017-2018 season in the country's top flight.
Arsenal and Leicester City made quite the statement with a thrilling 4–3 win for the Gunners, while Watford followed that with a late equalizer of their own against Coutinho-less Liverpool side. Burnley continued the run of upsets with a 3–2 win over defending champion Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, while Huddersfield Town made the most of their first impression in the EPL with a 3–0 win over Crystal Palace.
Read up on all the action below.
Burnley produced the first shock result of the Premier League season, beating champions Chelsea with a remarkable performance at Stamford Bridge.
The sending off of Blues captain Gary Cahill set the hosts spiralling out of control, as a Sam Vokes brace either side of a superbly struck Stephen Ward effort put Burnley 3-0 up at the break.
Chelsea very nearly completed a dramatic comeback in the second half, with goals from substitute Alvaro Morata and David Luiz, but a red card for Cesc Fabregas meant that their attempt to recover was carried out with nine men, and Burnley were resolute enough to secure the win.
A relatively uneventful opening to the game was brought swiftly to life when Cahill, stretching for a lose ball, lunged in on Steven Defour and was given a straight red card.
It was a start that seemed to typify the mood around Chelsea prior to kick-off, and in turn invigorated the visitors.
And with 23 minutes played, a well guided volley from Vokes put Burnley in front with what was the first real opportunity of the game.
Chelsea offered little in immediate response against a compact and organised Burnley side, who were growing increasingly comfortable with the advantage of an extra man.
That confidence was demonstrated even further when Ward, chesting the ball just inside the box, hit a superb, emphatically struck half volley from a tight angle past Thibaut Courtois to double his side's lead.
It wasn't to be the end of the first half scoring. Stamford Bridge was left stunned minutes later when Vokes was picked out in the box and powered a header to score his second and, almost unbelievably, Burnley's third.
Having left the pitch to boos, Chelsea required a quick improvement on their return for the second half. They offered an element of pressure on the Burnley goal, but clear chances continued to prove elusive and there was a distinct lack of creativity from those in a blue shirt.
An increasingly frustrated and vitriolic home support attempted to instigate the beginnings of a Chelsea turnaround, raising the noise levels as Chelsea searched for a goal back.
And with just over 20 minutes remaining, Premier League debutant Morata - who had replaced the inauspicious Michy Batshuayi - met an excellent Willian cross and guided a header into the far corner.
The Spanish forward thought he had another minutes later, but his close range finish was ruled out for offside.
Chelsea appeared to be gathering some momentum, until Fabregas lunged into a challenge and picked up a second yellow card, leaving the hosts with nine men for the final ten minutes.
With two extra men, and a two goal lead intact, Burnley looked set to hold on. But Chelsea weren't finished. Luiz pulled another goal back for the home side, two minutes from time, with a left-footed finish past Tom Heaton, and a tense end to the game ensued.
Robbie Brady struck the Chelsea post with a late free-kick as Burnley looked to hold on, and despite the home side's desperate attempts to find an equaliser, it proved to be the final chance.
Miguel Britos scored a late, late equaliser to deny Jurgen Klopp as Watford and Liverpool played out a spectacular 3-3 draw at Vicarage Road on Saturday. The Uruguayan snatched an unlikely equaliser in the fourth minute of injury time as he bundled home with the Reds looking destined for the three points.
Watford had led 1-0 and 2-1, but found themselves 3-2 down after they collapsed during a five minute spell in the second-half. Roberto Firmino (pen) and a debut goal from Mohamed Salah looked to have given Liverpool a second successive opening day victory.
Stefano Okaka gave Marco Silva's side an early lead after some questionable Liverpool defending from a corner exposed them. Saido Mane scored a cool equaliser to make it 1-1, but Watford restored order when Abdoulaye Doucoure tapped home just two minutes later.
Klopp's side upped the ante in the second period and Salah won a penalty which was scored by Firmino with considerable ease. The former Chelsea man then got the goal his play deserved, but in the end it wasn't enough with both sides taking a point a piece.
Silva handed a debut to just one of his seven new summer signings, Nathaniel Chalobah started in midfield after he made a permanent move away from Chelsea. Newest acquisition Andre Gray was on the bench. Meanwhile Salah made his first start for Jurgen Klopp's side, lining up on the right of a three pronged attack with Mane and Firmino.
The opening exchanges were fairly cagey, but the first goal on eight minutes brought the game into life. Okaka held off two challenges and played in Roberto Pereyra who's shot initially forced a corner, with the former was soon celebrating.
Jose Holebas whipped in a dangerous in-swinger and Okaka meet the ball at the near post and headed home with nobody around him. Even a hand from Simon Mignolet wasn't enough in what was some shocking defending.
Klopp tried to inspire and kick-start his team into action, but Liverpool looked very flat after going one down, Tom Cleverley causing more discomfort when he sent over a looping cross that Mignolet just about dealt with.
After the home side's strong start, they were about to be undone by a goal against the run of play on 29 minutes. The Reds' Player of the Year for last season, Mane was slipped in after a superb passage of play which saw Emre Can split the Hornets defence and the 25-year-old finished with aplomb.
For all of Liverpool's relief, they were to be right back to where they were a few minutes previous as Doucoure put Silva's men 2-1 ahead on 32 minutes. Cleverley found himself in acres of space on the right-hand side of the box and after Trent Alexander-Arnold failed to clear his low cross, the Frenchman finished from close-range.
The Merseysiders' frustrations were clear to see when Mane was booked for a late tackle on Doucoure, but Salah almost opened his account when he toe-poked over from close range. The half-time whistle gave Klopp the chance to re-rejuvenate his troops as the home side went in the much happier of the two.
Whatever the German gaffer said at the interval it clearly had an effect. Salah got through on goal and was hauled down by Heurelho Gomes with the referee awarding the Reds a penalty. Firmino stepped up and sent Gomes the wrong way with Liverpool equalising for the second time of the afternoon.
Then, that man Salah was involved again in a mad few minutes which saw the capture from Roma put Klopp's side into a 3-2 lead. Dejan Lovren chipped a delightful ball through and Firmino latched onto it and steered his attempt goalwards. The ball looked to be looping wide, but Salah came charging in and knocked it in from almost the goal line.
The Hornets really lost their sting after they fell behind for the first time during the game. Gray was brought on in their third and final switch, but it was Joel Matip who almost increased Liverpool's lead but his header hit the bar.
Other chances of note came from Lovren and Salah as the Reds tried desperately to put the game out of reach. Divock Origi and James Milner were introduced late on, the latter replacing Salah who had looked superb throughout the second-half.
Then, right at the death, Britos headed home after the ball bounced back up from the crossbar after Richarlison's effort. Mignolet parried it onto the underside of the bar and Britos headed in from a yard out to send Vicarage Road into raptures.
Wayne Rooney's romantic Everton return is complete after the striker bagged the only goal in the Blues' 1-0 opening day victory over Stoke City.
On his second league bow for his boyhood club, Rooney rose to meet Dominic Calvert-Lewin's inviting cross and send a bullet header into the net to cap a scintillating Toffees break - his first goal for the club for a Premier League record 4,869 days.
Stoke proved a tough nut for the Blues to crack and had their fair share of chances to nick something from the contest, but it was to be Rooney's day in the sun.
Everton struggled to gain a foothold in the game in the early stages, and it was the purposeful Potters who found their rhythm sooner as they probed with intent.
It was the away side who, through a Mame Biram Diouf burst down the right, that almost carved out the match's first chance, but Jordan Pickford was alert to turn the auxiliary wing-back's cross behind for a corner.
The first half-chance for the Toffees, meanwhile, came through debutant Sandro Ramirez. The striker collected Rooney's lay off but, after darting infield, dragged his right foot shot wide of the target.
Idrissa Gana Gueye drew a fine stop from Jack Butland after a storming run into Stoke's half, and the midfielder pinged another effort wide from the Blues' first corner just shy of 25 minutes.
A Stoke counter brought Bojan into play down the inside left flank, but the Spaniard fired his left foot drive over the bar as Michael Keane bore down on him.
Rooney's moment, from the match's first genuine passage of play, brought about the game's first goal on the stroke of half-time. Rooney played a one-two with Gueye, and immediately fed Sandro down the inside right channel.
The Spaniard turned and fed Calvert-Lewin out wide, and his first time cross was met by the head of the on-rushing Rooney who guided a superb header past Butland to send Goodison into raptures.
Stoke wasted no time in trying to level proceedings at the start of the second half - Berahino's curling shot, however, flew wide of the goal.
Kurt Zouma's expertly-timed tackle on Calvert-Lewin prevented the young forward from potentially making it 2-0 from Rooney's through ball soon after.
Rooney was certainly pulling the strings now, and his perfectly weighted ball found Baines in acres down the left. The veteran full-back's cut back, however, was only scuffed into the arms of Butland by Davy Klaassen.
A scrappy phase of play was finished off by Darren Fletcher just shy of the hour mark, but the Stoke debutant's fierce low drive whistled past the post, before Calvert-Lewin flashed a header wide of the mark from substitute Cuco Martina's cross at the other end.
Kurt Zouma's slip allowed Calvert-Lewin to bear down on goal to try and wrap up the points, but Butland was equal to his shot as he turned it around his near post.
A late flurry of activity from Stoke - and in particular the towering figure of Peter Crouch - caused a nervy end to the game, and Pickford produced an outstanding one handed save from Xherdan Shaqiri's ferocious strike in the final moments to hand Everton all points.
Many pundits' pick for the Premier League title welcomed Brighton and Hove Albion to the Premier League in Saturday's late kick-off, as the raucous AmEx Arena hosted its first top flight game.
David Silva has also shaved his head and it's really weird.
As was to be expected with City's enormously bolstered forward line, Pep Guardiola's side flew out of the traps against their hosts, with only some dogged Seagulls defending keeping them from falling behind within the first five minutes, with Gabriel Jesus looking sharper than one of his manager's suits.
Guardiola's Citizens quickly exerted something resembling a stranglehold on proceedings, camped in Brighton's third, with very little offered, even on the break, for the bedraggled Seagulls, whose backs were basically stapled to the wall at points.
Things went from bad to worse for Hughton's side after 23 minutes, when young, promising, Chelsea loanee (imagine that) Izzy Brown had to be withdrawn through injury, to be replaced by Jamie Murphy.
City had the ball in the net after 26 minutes through Jesus, but the goal was ruled out due to an accidental ricochet onto the Brazilian prodigy's arm on it's way into the net. It was a shame, as Kevin De Bruyne's assist was nothing short of staggering.
Stranger still was the fact that Jesus effectively got booked for being both really brave (Brighton keeper Mathew Ryan totally wiped him out), and really unlucky.
Gabriel Jesus died and got a yellow card on the same play— Taylor Sturm (@TSturm13) August 12, 2017
Ryan thwarted Jesus even further less than ten minutes later, with a fine, point-blank save from a close range header, with the rebound crashing off the post too.
Brighton were able to hold firm, and received a roar of approval from their home fans when the half time whistle sounded.
The second half continued in much the same vein; City even had a glorious move and goal denied by the linesman's flag once again.
Brighton's endeavour was nearly undone shortly after when Shane Duffy gave possession away in the cheapest possible fashion, only for Sergio Aguero to blaze wide under an uncharacteristic amount of pressure.
Jesus and Aguero have both missed extremely good chances now. Wasters. Iheanacho would've scored those.— Paddy Power (@paddypower) August 12, 2017
Brighton's first attempt at a counter then saw new signing Davy Propper head over Ederson's goal, but City looked nervy for the first time, especially when Duffy missed narrowly from the ensuing corner.
Every time the Seagulls took a corner, there was utter bedlam in the City box, with Ederson largely at fault for haplessly missing the ball from the deliveries, and causing loads of stress for his teammates.
Everything was just a few yards/seconds/touches away from properly clicking for Pep's side, but Brighton's discipline and concentration was certainly impressive, particularly considering their inexperience in the Premier League, and the pedigree of their opposition
Brighton's back line was finally breached after some superb work from De Bruyne, as he pressed excellently, and started another flowing move, which saw Aguero played in by David Silva, to give City their long-deserved lead.
With the best part of 20 minutes still on the clock, everything started to go right for Pep's men, and soon after they were 2-0 up, with Gabriel Jesus yet again denied, as the headed finish went down as a Lewis Dunk own goal; exceedingly harsh on both men, who were very impressive all game.
Pep then started showing off by bringing on the likes of Leroy Sane, and Bernardo Silva, just because, y'know, he can. City proceeded to see out a victory, with a scoreline that didn't do justice for how hard they had to work for it.
Despite the defeat, Brighton can hold their heads high; they defended ably (better than Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool, in fact), and held off the best attack in the league for a long period of the game, and going forward look an interesting proposition on the counter.
For City, however, it looks like the first of many victories this season.
The 2017-18 Premier League season could not have gotten off to a more thrilling start.
Late goals by Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud turned a Leicester City win into a 4-3 Arsenal triumph over the Foxes in a seven-goal stunner at the Emirates, with the Gunners taking all three points to start the campaign. Jamie Vardy scored twice for Leicester, who twice blew leads after conceding a second-minute opener to new Arsenal signing Alexandre Lacazette.
Arsenal is coping with missing out on the Champions League for the first time in two decades, while Leicester City endured a rocky defense to its improbable 2015-16 title but managed to stay up under managerial replacement Craig Shakespeare and is hoping for a more sane season going forward. The two sides have both figured in the transfer market as well, with Arsenal signing Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac while holding onto Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez (thus far, anyhow), while Leicester has brought in Kelechi Iheanacho from Manchester City and is widely expected to be dealing Riyad Mahrez prior to the Aug. 31 deadline.
For Arsenal, some positive momentum had already been achieved after beating Chelsea to win the Community Shield, and it continued early Friday, as Lacazette announced his arrival immediately with an unmarked yet difficult and instinctive header off Mohamed Elneny's chipped-forward assist to give Arsenal a 1-0 lead.
Mahrez nearly equalized less than two minutes later in sensational fashion, with his volleyed attempt off a set piece going tantalizingly wide of Petr Cech's goal.
The equalizer did come soon after, though, with new signing Harry Maguire heading a ball by the far post to the goal mouth, where Shinji Okazaki finished with a header of his own.
Arsenal pressured after the equalizer and nearly scored through Kolasinac, but a needless turnover on the other end between Elneny and Granit Xhaka allowed Leicester to take its first lead of the match.
Marc Albrighton served in a perfect ball from the left, curling a cross for Vardy, who capped the sequence against the run of play with his first goal of the season. Vardy had the opportunity to join Arsenal after Leicester's title-winning campaign, but he remained and made Arsenal pay with his textbook one-time finish in the 29th minute.
Arsenal appeared to have a reasonable gripe over not being given a penalty call in the 43rd minute, when it looked like Wilfried Ndidi handled Kolasinac's ball in the box, but referee Mike Dean saw things another way, allowing play to go on.
Arsenal found its equalizer on the stroke of halftime, though, with Lacazette squeezing a ball through tight space to Kolasinac, who laid it off for Danny Welbeck to beat Kasper Schmeichel from close range, making it 2-2 entering the break.
Leicester took the lead right back just before the hour mark, scoring off another set piece. It was the familiar championship-winning connection that did it, with Vardy heading home Mahrez's corner kick to beat Arsenal's zonal defensive approach and make it 3-2 to the Foxes in the 56th minute.
Arsenal fought back again, though, with Ramsey coming off the bench to score an equalizer in the 83rd minute, netting from close range and a right-sided angle to make it 3-3.
Two minutes later, Lacazette nearly scored the go-ahead goal, showing patience deep in Leicester's box only to force a tough save by Schmeichel, who tipped it over the bar.
On the ensuing corner, the go-ahead strike came, and it came off the head of Giroud. Despite being held in the box, Giroud got up and powered a header just over the bar, unleashing a roar at the Emirates from fans who were expecting the worst as Leicester's lead carried on into the match.
The match was far from perfect for Arsenal, who during the second half resorted to a back line that featured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at right back, a pair of fullbacks in the center (Nacho Monreal, Kolasinac) and Hector Bellerin playing on the left. The Gunners gave the ball away far to easily in dangerous places and were susceptible to Leicester's crossing without Laurent Koscielny in the center to win aerial battles. But three points are three points, and Arsene Wenger will surely be happy to take them into next Saturday's match at Stoke City.
The rest of the Premier League teams will open up their campaigns over the next two days, but it's unlikely they'll match the entertainment value provided by Friday's opener in London.
Huddersfield Town secured their first three points in the Premier League with an opening day away victory at Selhurst Park. Huddersfield's first Premier League goal will go down as a Joel Ward own goal, whilst the first Huddersfield player to score in the Premier League was club record signing Steve Mounie, who bagged himself a brace.
Crystal Palace struggled to deal with Huddersfield's intensity throughout the encounter and David Wagner will be hoping his side can build on this excellent start to the season in the Terriers upcoming fixtures.
Whilst Palace manager Frank de Boer will now have to consider whether to stick with a three-man defence or switch to four at the back for his side's trip to Anfield next weekend.
Huddersfield had an early chance to take the lead but Tom Ince side-footed Elias Kachunga's cross straight at Wayne Hennessey in the third minute of the match, however, Huddersfield did take the lead in the 23rd minute.
Following a corner to the front post, Schindler flicked the ball on to Zanka at the back post, Zanka diverted the ball back across goal where Joel Ward could do nothing as the ball ricocheted into the net.
It didn't take long for Huddersfield to double their advantage. Aaron Mooy whipped in a fantastic cross where record-signing Steve Mounie leaped highest before powering a bullet header past Wayne Hennessey.
Steve Mounie grabbed his second goal of the game during a Huddersfield counter attack in the 78th minute, calmly slotting Quaner's pass into the back of the net.
Wilfried Zaha looked lively and kept Huddersfield's Lossl busy throughout the encounter. The Danish Goalkeeper made a number of good saves during the 90 minutes, including a brilliant stop from Benteke's powerful header during the second half, to keep the score 2-0.
Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Riedewald, Van Aanholt, Puncheon, Milivojevic, Loftus-Cheek, Fosu-Mensah, Benteke, Zaha.
Subs: Speroni, Tomkins, Townsend, Lee, Schlupp, Lokilo, Ladapo.
Huddersfield Town: Lossl, Smith, Zanka, Schindler, Lowe, Mooy, Billing, Kachunga, Palmer, Ince, Mounie.
Subs: Malone, Coleman, van La Parra, Daniel Williams, Depoitre, Quaner, Hefele.
West Brom vs Bournemouth. Hardly a game set to follow in the footsteps of the opening two games in the new Premier League season, that saw 13 goals scored in 180 minutes, West Brom ran out victors in an exciting game that saw set pieces be decisive once again at the Hawthorns.
Early chances for new signing Jay Rodriguez showed promising signs for West Brom, despite Eddie Howe's side dominating possession. Asmir Begovic did well on two occasions to match the Baggies forward, keeping the game goalless inside the opening 15 minutes.
Rodriguez continued to cause problems for Bournemouth down the left-hand side and he came close to opening his Baggies account halfway into the opening 45 minutes, curling a stunning effort narrowly wide with Begovic beaten in between the sticks.
Egyptian defender Ahmed Hegazy became an instant hero for West Brom on 30 minutes when he headed the Baggies in front. Giving away a poor free kick, the Bournemouth defence fell asleep at the back post allowing Hegazy to wander in and nod the ball past a helpless Begovic.
Claudio Yacob had an incredible chance to double West Brom's advantage just before half time, however, the Argentine midfielder somehow guided his shot wide of the post.
Bournemouth made one change at half time, introducing former Liverpool star Jordon Ibe, replacing Marc Pugh, in an attempt to turn their possession into goals. Jermain Defoe also came onto the pitch, for his second Bournemouth debut, later in the second half, replacing ex-Arsenal striker Benik Afobe.
Early stages of the second half were very similar to the first 45 minutes. Bournemouth generally dominated possession, however, the Cherries looked vulnerable on the counter attack and gave away a number of set pieces as a result.
Bournemouth's Nathan Ake was vital at keeping the score at 1-0, even managing a late header towards the Baggies goal in search of an equaliser, his performances making him a clear contender for man of the match throughout.
Despite an additional five minutes being played at the end of the game, the Cherries were unable to draw level late on. Salomón Rondón, a second half substitute, tested Begovic late and although no further goals were scored, Tony Pulis secured an opening day victory just days after signing a new contract at the Hawthorns.
Southampton failed to take advantage of their dominance in their season opening game against Swansea and were forced to settle with a point after a 0-0 draw.
Despite having 28 attempts, the Saints only hit the target twice and continued their poor form at St. Mary's.
The first chance of the game came in the first 90 seconds when Manolo Gabbiadini got on the end of a Ryan Bertrand corner but could only manage clip the top of the crossbar with his header.
Swansea were very lucky to be on level terms in the third minute as Ryan Bertrand continued to cause massive problems for Swansea, this time making a great overlapping run and delivering a superb driven cross that found Dusan Tadic in the six yard box, but the Serbian couldn't capitalise on the opportunity and missed the target.
Swansea's first chance came in the 9th minute and fell to Tammy Abraham. The Swansea forward was picked out by Wayne Routledge but the 21 year old Chelsea Loanee headed his chance just wide of the Fraser Forster's near post.
The 19th minute saw Southampton create yet another big chance, with Tadic and Nathan Redmond linking up brilliantly on the left wing and Redmond cutting the ball back for James Ward-Prowse, but Swansea Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski managed to turn the deflected effort over the bar.
The Saints had a claim for a penalty soon after, when a rash looking challenge from Swansea defender Federico Fernandez took Tadic off his feet, but referee Mike Jones didn't see anything wrong and waved play on.
The teams were level going into the half time break, but the home team would have been frustrated that they had not converted one of their chances.
The first chance of the second half came just a minute after the restart, when Tammy Abraham's brilliant turn in the Southampton box gave him time to get a shot off, but his effort was blocked by Saints right back Cedric.
Southampton dominated for the next 15 minutes, but still could not break the deadlock, with a half chance for Gabbiadini being the closest that the home team had been to scoring. The Italian striker found space in the box, but could not find the right amount of curl to find the back of the net, and his effort drifted wide of the far post.
The best chance of the game fell to to Southampton centre back Maya Yoshida in the 79th minute. The Japanese international got onto the end of an Oriol Romeu flick on, but couldn't hit the target from four yards out with a free header.
Southampton continued to pile on the pressure but could not find the back of the net and even with the introductions of Charlie Austin and Sofiane Boufal, Swansea managed to hold on and earn a precious away point that could be valuable when it comes to the end of the season.