Football | August 13, 2018

Premier League Returns: Big Boys Make Winning Start

There was no World Cup hangover for the top teams in the Premier League, as England’s top flight returned to action this weekend.

Manchester United hosted Leicester City on Friday evening, and it was a case of Pogback, Shaw-back, and a 2-1 winning return for José Mourinho back under the lights at the Theatre of Dreams.

World Cup winner Pogba shook of his limited pre-season to play the bulk of the minutes and scored an early penalty, before Luke Shaw’s first professional goal wrapped up the points for United.

Jamie Vardy came off the bench to score a stoppage-time goal, but that was little more than a consolation for the Foxes.

Pogba’s World Cup winning midfield partner N’Golo Kanté also found the back of the net, volleying home Willian’s cross to help get Maurizio Sarri’s men off to the perfect start. New boy Jorginho added a penalty and Pedro profited from Eden Hazard’s late cameo to give the Blues a 3-0 win away to Huddersfield.

Dele Alli was Tottenham’s match-winner against Newcastle, as Spurs attempt to manage their way through August without Harry Kane’s goals. Jan Vertonghen and Joselu had exchanged goals earlier, and Mauricio Pochettino would have been delighted to leave St James’ park will the spoils after a tough afternoon.

The big games of the weekend were reserved for Sunday with the two Premier League favourites in action. Jürgen Klopp’s men swept aside West Ham with a 4-0 victory to climb to the top of the league table on goal difference.

Last year’s Golden Boot winner Mohamed Salah got Liverpool off to the perfect start, as he tapped in Andrew Robertson’s pass, before Sadio Mané helped himself to a brace, and Daniel Sturridge confirmed his return to the squad with a goal from his first touch.

Raheem Sterling made it a miserable start to life in England for Unai Emery. The England winger continued his goal scoring form from last season, waltzing inside from the left-flank, before thumping home with his right-foot to leave Petr Čech helpless.

Bernardo Silva crashed home the second to make the game safe, and Emery will have no time to dwell on the result with Arsenal scheduled to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge next week.

Elsewhere, Bournemouth and Watford picked up 2-0 home wins, whilst Crystal Palace impressed with a 2-0 win away to Fulham. Southampton and Burnley played out a goalless draw, but one of the games of the weekend saw the Portuguese coaches Nuno Espírito Santo and Marco Silva go head-to-head in a 2-2 thriller at Molineux.

Rúben Neves scored a great free-kick and set up a second as Wolves came from behind twice to draw level with Everton, who had their big signing Richarlison deliver on his debut with two goals.

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