The Sports Locker

Premier League Points And Ponderings (Matchday 1)

[By Azri Firman Bin Aqil]

Finally, the football season is back with the Barclays Premier League. Everyone is likely to be hyped as almost two months of no football are over. We take a look at the points and ponder over all the matches from matchday one.

United Wins, But Still Has Work To Do On And Off The Pitch

Even though Manchester United won, they had to rely on an unfortunate Kyle Walker own goal. The first 22 minutes saw Spurs dominating until that own goal. Despite the win, United couldn’t find the rhythm just then as their passing and fluidity proved wobbly. After all, they handed five of their new signings debuts. Out of all them, Matteo Darmian was the most impressive as he made forwards run and did his best to stop the attacks on Spurs’ left wing. However, United not only has to do work on the pitch but off the pitch as well. With David De Gea’s future still uncertain, Romero played instead. United hopes that De Gea will stay, and despite a solid showing from the defence, United still needs a CB as Daley Blind looks shaky in his new role and Phil Jones is out again. The saga continues, but you never know what will happen next.

False Hope For Arsenal?

Everyone in the Arsenal camp was highly optimistic after a solid win over Chelsea at the Community Shield and the signing of Petr Cech. Surely they can start off with a victory? Not exactly. It was a disastrous day for the Gunners as they lost 2-0 at home to West Ham. Everything went wrong for Arsenal. Their finishing and productivity were almost non-existent, defending still looking shaky. It was a disastrous debut for Cech as the two goals could’ve been prevented had he got his angles right. Oh, and let’s not forget Mesut Ozil was kept quiet by West Ham’s 16-year old midfielder Reece Oxford, who was one of the star performers in that match. This has resulted in a curious question: Is Arsenal maybe a bit too optimistic on finally landing the title? Nothing wrong with being optimistic, but you can’t just say that you’re going to win the title and perform badly on your first game.

West Ham’s Cheikhou Kouyate (Left) heads the ball past Arsenal’s Petr Cech (Fourth from right) (Source: skysports.com)

West Ham’s Cheikhou Kouyate (Left) heads the ball past Arsenal’s Petr Cech (Fourth from right) (Source: skysports.com)

Opening Day Blues For Chelsea & Mourinho

Chelsea had everything going right in their match against Swansea, despite needing luck to score two of their goals. Leading 2-1, what could possibly go wrong? A red card, especially to your keeper. And that is exactly what happened to Thibaut Courtois. Looking to get the ball off Swansea’s Bafetimbi Gomis, Courtois got Gomis instead, eventually resulting in a sending off. Chelsea’s new keeper, Asmir Begovic came on and failed to keep out Gomis’ penalty with the match ending at 2-2. That’s not all. Jose Mourinho actually criticized his own medical team for taking off Eden Hazard for a bit, which resulted in Chelsea playing only with 9 men momentarily when there was a risk of Swansea scoring another goal. The medical team did what they had to do. Mourinho ought to also consider that if Hazard’s little knock remained unattended, he could’ve lost his star performer to injury. Chelsea should be lucky that nothing further went wrong. But you have to question what was on Mourinho’s mind about all the antics he caused.

Liverpool Gets Payback

On their final match of last season, Liverpool suffered a humiliating 6-1 defeat at Stoke City. This time, they got revenge with a 1-0 victory. But they needed a moment of magic from their Brazilian miracle-man, Phillipe Coutinho, scoring from 40 yards, five minutes from stoppage time. Despite the win, Liverpool still need to do more work as both teams cancelled each other out and it could’ve been much different had former Reds Right-Back, Glen Johnson, not belted his shot over the bar from 8 yards. A draw would’ve been a fairer result. But don’t let that dampen your short-term celebrations, Liverpool fans.

Liverpool’s Phillppe Coutinho (third from left) celebrates his goal with his teammates (Source: www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)

Liverpool’s Phillppe Coutinho (third from left) celebrates his goal with his teammates (Source: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)

How Did The Promoted Teams Do?

And finally we look at our new teams for the BPL 2015/16 season. Out of all three, Watford came closest to pulling off a shock, but had to settle for a 2-2 draw to Everton. Watford took advantage of a near clueless Everton side. But had it not been for the inspiring substitution of Arouna Kone, Watford could’ve won. As for Norwich and Bournemouth, they unfortunately opened their accounts with a loss to Crystal Palace and Aston Villa respectively. For Norwich, they were the most aggrieved as they may have had a legitimate goal disallowed for dangerous play that could’ve pulled them level. As for Bournemouth, they just don’t make enough chances and Villa made them pay for it by taking their own with new signing Rudy Gestede’s goal enough for a victory. 1 down, 37 games to go. Can they survive the drop? No pressure, new teams.

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