The first weekend action of Premier League season 2019/20 produced highly entertaining fare and goals galore. Here is what happened on the first Saturday of the new top-flight campaign:
Champions hammer the Irons
Reigning champions Manchester City sent out a statement of intent in the early kick-off by recording a 5-0 win at West Ham, as VAR took centre stage for the first time in the English top-flight.
The result was just what the Citizens needed after challengers Liverpool had kicked off the campaign with a 4-1 win over Norwich at Anfield on Friday night.
West Ham did reasonably well for the first quarter of an hour of the game. However, City showed their class on 25 minutes, as Gabriel Jesus produced a clever near-post flicked finished after a turbo-charged run and cross from Kyle Walker. Pep Guardiola’s side took complete control in the second period. Raheem Sterling slotted home the Citizens second goal six minutes into the second period after a clever ball from Kevin De Bruyne.
Gabriel Jesus thought he had a second goal from a Sterling pass, only for a VAR check to rule out the effort for offside. City did score a second goal with 15 minutes left on the clock, as Sterling latched on to a Riyad Mahrez pass and looped the ball past Lukasz Fabianski. After another VAR check for offside, the goal stood.
The visitors made it four on 86 minutes. Mahrez won a penalty kick, that Sergio Aguero saw saved. However, VAR was once again on hand to order a retake, which the striker dispatched second time around.
Sterling completed the rout in stoppage-time, slotting past Fabianski at his near post. The victory showed why the Citizens are the favourites to retain the Premier League title.
Hornets stunned by the Seagulls
Brighton recorded a superb 3-0 win at Watford on the opening day, as Graham Potter won his first game in charge of the Seagulls.
Brighton took the lead on 28 minutes, as midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure turned a Pascal Gross cross past his own goalkeeper Ben Foster. The home side saw a penalty appeal turned away, as Roberto Pereyra’s free-kick appeared to hit Glenn Murray on the arm. Referee Craig Pawson said no penalty-kick, as did the VAR check.
Brighton boss made a crucial double substitution in the second period, as strikers Neal Maupay and Florian Andone came to aid the Seagulls attacking play.
The move paid dividends on 68 minutes, as Florian Andone fired home from a Davy Propper powerful cross. Maupay then got on the scoresheet with 13 minutes left on the clock. The debutant picked up a superb through-ball from Lewis Dunk and went around Foster before firing home into an empty net.
The result proved to be an impressive one from Brighton boss Potter. Some doubted his ability to manage at the top level. It may only be one game, but the signs are there that the former Ostersunds boss will be a success in the Premier League.
Saturday’s other Premier League results
Bournemouth 1-1 Sheffield United
Burnley 3-0 Southampton
Crystal Palace 0-0 Everton
Tottenham 3-1 Aston Villa
Who produced the best result of Saturday in the Premier League?