EPL Week 1: Five Things We Learned

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Starring role: Fernandinho.

The first weekend of the Premier League season is over and supporters have been watching closely to see what we can learn even at this early stage about the campaign ahead.

Sport360 picks out five of the week’s most interesting talking points.

Fernandinho set for central role

Pep Guardiola loves to enhance players’ roles beyond what they’re traditionally used to. Against Sunderland, Fernandinho was ostensibly a deep-lying midfielder but often operated as a third centre-back. No player had more touches (112) or made more passes (97). Expect him to have a huge season.

Rooney and Ibrahimovic too slow and steady

Jose Mourinho’s United are playing at a far quicker tempo than under Louis van Gaal yet too many moves against Bournemouth broke down, or slowed significantly, when the ball landed at Rooney or Ibrahimovic’s feet, due to their obvious lack of pace. If Mourinho wants to foster a faster brand of football, something will soon have to give.

Andy King is not N’Golo Kante

Leicester had a number of issues at Hull, not least the speed at which they transitioned from defence to attack. An overlooked part of N’Golo Kante’s game was how quickly he moved the ball forward. Andy King showed little against the Tigers to imply he can fill that void but Nampalys Mendy’s biggest strength is his passing.

Idrissa Gueye gives Everton much-needed muscle

In a similar thread to the previous point, Everton may have found themselves their own version of Kante as Idrissa Gueye was simply everywhere against Spurs.

His passing unfussy but accurate, his tackling well-timed and there were some notable bursts forward as well. At £9m he could end up proving the steal of the season.

Salomon Rondon an under-the-radar striking star

Maybe it’s because of the club he plays for but Salomon Rondon’s strong physique, aerial presence and determined attitude makes him perfect as a Premier League targetman. There are some rough edges around the West Brom striker but against Palace he scored his third goal in his last three league games.

Most popular

Premier League Sunday round-up

Sport360 staff 14/08/2016
Sunday's Premier League action

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored as Manchester United defeated Bournemouth 3-1 in Jose Mourinho’s first Premier League game as manager on Sunday, while Liverpool edged Arsenal in a 4-3 thriller.

Juan Mata and captain Wayne Rooney were also on target at Bournemouth as United recorded a straightforward win that left them top of the table after the season’s opening weekend.

Philippe Coutinho scored twice as Liverpool recovered from falling behind to Theo Walcott’s goal at the Emirates Stadium, with Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane also on target for Jurgen Klopp’s men.

MOURINHO STARTS WITH A WIN

“Eric Cantona was here at the best moment in his career. This guy is more than a player,” Mourinho said of Ibrahimovic, who opened his United account with a low drive from 25 yards.

Ibrahimovic, a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain, has now scored on his debuts in the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1 and the Champions League.

“For the next two seasons I think he can be phenomenal for the team and the Premier League,” Mourinho added. “It’s incredible how Zlatan has never won the Golden Ball, but he wants to win the Premier League, not the Golden Ball.”

Ibrahimovic, 34, said: “It’s important to start good. Being new to the league is not easy. Everything is new for me: my team-mates, the clubs, the environment. I just play my game.”

The charismatic Swedish star was handed a competitive full debut at Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium along with fellow new signing Eric Bailly. United’s record signing Paul Pogba was unavailable due to suspension.

Mata, controversially brought on and then taken off by Mourinho during the 2-1 Community Shield win over Leicester City last weekend, started on the right flank in place of Jesse Lingard.

United’s starting XI bristled with attacking menace, but it took a calamitous blunder by home defender Simon Francis for the visitors to take the lead in the 40th minute.

His woefully under-hit back-pass gave Mata free run on goal and although Artur Boruc saved the Spaniard’s shot, the ball rebounded off Francis and into Mata’s pass, giving him an easy tap-in.

Rooney made it 2-0 just before the hour, heading home Anthony Martial’s mishit volley from six yards.

Ibrahimovic opened his Premier League account in style five minutes later, steering a shot into the bottom-left corner from range.

On the touchline Mourinho celebrated effusively and Bournemouth’s consolation, a rasping shot into the top-right corner by Adam Smith, could not take the smile off his face.

“We dominated the early stages, but you can’t gift Manchester United goals, which we did,” said Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe.

EMITATES GOAL-FEST

Spectators at the Emirates Stadium were treated to a goal-fest as Arsene Wenger’s injury-depleted Arsenal were beaten at home in their opening league fixture for the third time in four years.

Injuries to Per Mertesacker and Gabriel, plus Laurent Koscielny’s lack of match fitness, obliged Wenger to deploy Calum Chambers and new signing Rob Holding in an inexperienced centre-back pairing.

Having seen a penalty pushed away by Simon Mignolet, Walcott atoned by drilling Arsenal into a 31st-minute lead.

But Coutinho equalised with a glorious free-kick in first-half stoppage time before making it 3-1 with a neat volley after Georginio Wijnaldum had teed up Lallana to put Liverpool ahead.

Mane, a close-season signing from Southampton, added a fourth for Liverpool with a slaloming run down the right followed by an emphatic left-foot finish.

Boos rained down from the Emirates stands and despite substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Chambers replying for the hosts, Liverpool closed out their first away win over Arsenal since 2011.

Most popular

Lineker hosts MOTD in underwear

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

When everyone started talk about the possibility of a Leicester City miracle last season, Gary Lineker wasn’t entertaining the idea.

In December last year, he was so adamant that The Foxes would not win the Premier League that he vowed to host BBC’s Match of the Day in his underwear if they actually pulled it off.

It was a safe bet in truth. The odds were 5000/1 but the football world was stunned when Claudio Ranieri and his men lifted the trophy in May.

Being a man of his word, Lineker followed through and hosted the new season’s first Match of the Day in his underwear with Alan Shearer and Ian Wright cracking up in the studio.










Gary Lineker, a Leicester City fan himself, has for months been posting photos from the gym on social media in a bid to get in shape for Saturday’s show.


Twitter naturally lapped it up at the former England striker’s expense.





















Most popular