[dropcap size=small bg_color=”#16431f”]T[/dropcap]he Premier League kicked off with a bang this weekend with plenty of controversial decisions, title contender upsets as well as the first dismissal of the season. Here are 5 things that we have learned from round one:
José Mourinho would rather turn on his own staff than the ref
It wouldn’t be the Premier League without a good old Mourinho rant, would it? This weekend the Chelsea manager was seen raging when his medical team went onto the pitch to treat Eden Hazard in the dying minutes of their 2-2 draw with Swansea. That left the reigning champions with only 8 on-field players for a time (with Oscar sacrificed following a red card to keeper Thibaut Courtois and Cesc Fàbregas virtually absent throughout the entire match). However, he refused to comment in interviews on the debatable red card decision or a denied Diego Costa penalty appeal. Are we seeing a transformation in the Portuguese manager? In seasons gone by he would have relished the opportunity to unleash his views on such incidents…
Leicester show attacking intent in their bid to survive the drop
The pick of the matches this weekend saw a threatening Leicester side defeat Sunderland 4-2, in a fixture that was already viewed as a must-win between two relegation candidates. Leicester’s midfield had a highly impressive match, with Marc Albrighton (goal and two assists) and Riyad Mahrez (two goals) in particular linking up to great effect – albeit against a woeful Sunderland side that seemed utterly disinterested in defending any attack they were faced with. Many doubted incoming manager Claudio Ranieri’s credentials to help Leicester survive the drop, particularly with the departure of club talisman Esteban Cambiasso last summer, early indications are that the Foxes are looking to continue right where they left off last year and stage another comfortable mid-table finish.
Out with the old and in with the new…
In a season where many are tipping Arsenal to mount their first serious title challenge in a long time, eyes were firmly locked on new acquisition Petr Čech to deliver that final piece of the puzzle. However it was more of a disaster debut for the 33-year-old Czech goalkeeper, who was found lacking in a 2-0 home defeat to West Ham, as he was at fault for both goals conceded. Instead it was the 16-year-old Hammers midfielder Reece Oxford who stole the headlines for all the right reasons, completing the highest percentage of passes out of anybody on the pitch as well as dominating World Cup winner Mesut Özil at every turn. It just goes to show that, right from the opening weekend, the Premier League can still be filled with surprises and potential rising stars.
… but permanent class has shown itself yet again
In a weekend which saw title challengers Chelsea and Arsenal drop points as well as an unconvincing win from Manchester United, it was up to Manchester City to demonstrate their credentials against West Brom on Monday night. City responded with a comfortable 3-0 win. It was the old stalwarts who ran the show, as David Silva and Vincent Kompany looked sharp and Yaya Toure carved out a long-distance goal, the sort of which he has become renowned for over the years. The only negative to be seen was that Raheem Sterling was unable to put away a clear chance to score on his debut, but other than that it is certainly advantage City in this early stage of the season.
BT Sport are really clutching at straws
It seems like a good time to be a BT Sport customer, with the broadcasting newcomers securing the rights to show Champions League football for this season as well as more Premier League fixtures than ever before. However, their attempts to outdo main rivals Sky Sports during the season’s opening match between Manchester United and Tottenham bordered on the ridiculous at times. Among the incessant plugs for their new Ultra HD channel (an ever so slightly sharper definition could be yours for just £15 extra a month!), BT decided to implement a new feature in which former referee Howard Webb would give his monotonous appraisal of the match officials every 15 minutes – the first of these consisting simply of a thorough analysis in “They’ve had a fine game so far”. Cutting-edge coverage at its finest.
Phil Smith – Sports team
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