Premier League Roundup: Tottenham, Arsenal, Swansea bag wins on crazy opening day

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The Premier League is back!

Rejoice!

On the opening Saturday of the 2014-15 campaign we had it all.  Stunning goals. Red cards. Late drama. Huge upsets. Missed penalties. Comebacks. Yeah, it was a belter.

In case you missed any of the action from the seven Saturday games, we have recaps, reaction and videos below.

Get stuck in!

Arsenal 2-1 Crystal Palace

Without a manager, nobody gave Palace a chance away at Arsenal. Tony Pulis walked out on the Eagles on the eve of the season but they took a shock lead when new signing Brede Hangeland headed home from a corner in the first half. However right on half time Laurent Koscielny returned the favor for Arsenal as the central defender nodded home Alexis Sanchez’s free kick. Try as they might, Arsenal could not break down a stubborn Palace side who had Jason Puncheon sent off late in the game for two yellow cards. But right at the death Aaron Ramsey tapped in from close range to score the game-winner for the Gunners.

Leicester City 2-2 Everton

A frenetic game at the King Power Stadium as Aiden McGeady curled in a beauty to give Everton the lead, but the Foxes were level inside 90 seconds as Leandro Ulloa equalized on his debut. The game ebbed and flowed as the Toffees pushed hard to get back in front and they did so just before half time as Steven Naismith finished superbly from close range to put Everton 2-1 up. Leicester came back into the game in the second half and substitute Chris Wood equalized five minutes from time to seal a point for the Foxes.

Manchester United 1-2 Swansea City

Louis van Gaal’s debut as Manchester United boss could hardly have gone worse as the Red Devils lost at home on the opening day of the PL season for the first-time in history. Swansea City took a shock lead in the first half as Ki slotted home but newly installed captain Wayne Rooney scored an acrobatic effort to make it 1-1 just after the break. United looked as if they would grab a late winner, but it was Swansea who did just that as Gylfi Sigurdsson popped up to stun Old Trafford. Not the start LVG was hoping for.

Stoke City 0-1 Aston Villa

Both teams battled hard at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday and Aston Villa prevailed in windy conditions. Andreas Weimann got the game’s only goal in the second half as he battled through two challenges and then fired an effort across Asmir Begovic and into the far corner. Stoke huffed and puffed but Villa kept a clean sheet to seal an opening day win.

Queens Park Rangers 0-1 Hull City

QPR dominated large spells of this match but Hull stuck to their task and completed a classic ‘smash and grab’ win at Loftus Road. Faurlin, Barton and Mutch all come close for QPR in the first half but the Tigers took the lead after the break when James Chester lost his marker, Rio Ferdinand, and headed home the game-winner. In the 85th minute QPR were awarded a penalty kick as Chester was adjudged to have handballed but Charlie Austin’s spot kick was saved by Allan McGregor and Hull held on.

West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Sunderland

The visitors went ahead thanks to a howitzer from Lee Catermole. It was just his second goal in 102 games for the Black Cats. But before the break West Brom equalized as Saido Berahino scored a penalty following Victor Anichebe being hauled down by Valentin Roberge. The Baggies then went ahead as Berahino scored again and it looked like new boss Alan Irvine was set to seal a debut win. However, Sebastian Larsson popped up late on to nick a point for the Black Cats in an entertaining and even match at the Hawthorns.

West Ham 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs were up against it from the start at Upton Park but ground out a win during Mauricio Pochettino’s first game in charge. Kyle Naughton was sent off for a rather harsh looking handball decision in the box but from the resulting penalty Mark Noble put the ball wide. In the second half West Ham’s defender James Collins was sent off and in stoppage time Eric Dier slotted him after a mazy run to hand Spurs a win on the opening day.

Toronto FC beats Crew 5-0 to extend unbeaten streak to 8

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TORONTO (AP) Victor Vazquez scored twice and Toronto FC routed the Columbus Crew 5-0 on Friday night to extend its unbeaten streak to a franchise record-matching eight games.

[ MORE: Pulisic pleased with U.S. Soccer’s improved landscape ]

Toronto (8-1-5) is 7-0-1 since its lone league loss of the season, a 2-1 decision in Columbus on April 15. Columbus (6-7-1) has lost five of seven since topping Toronto.

Justin Morrow and substitutes Jonathan Osorio and Jordan Hamilton also scored for MLS-leading Toronto. The Canadian team also was unbeaten in eight games (4-0-4) from May 8 to July 10, 2010.

Toronto was reduced to 10 men in the 81st minute when midfielder Marky Delgado was red-carded for a studs-up tackle on Columbus captain Wil Trapp. Osorio and Hamilton then scored to pad the lead for Toronto in its sixth shutout of the season.

Toronto played without the starting forward tandem of Sebastian Giovinco (injured) and Jozy Altidore (suspended for yellow card accumulation). Defender Nick Hagglund also is injured.

Agent: Barcelona offered more than Real for Vinicius Junior

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If Vinicius Junior can become half the player at Real Madrid that Neymar has lived up to be at Barcelona, Los Blancos will be pretty pleased.

[ MORE: Man City closing in on Monaco’s Silva ]

Real closed the deal for the 16-year-old Brazilian this week, but there were several other lucrative offers on the table, according to the player’s agent, Frederico Pena.

[ MORE: Totti leaves future uncertain heading into final Roma match ]

That includes bitter Spanish rivals Barcelona.

The agent stated that the Blaugrana did in fact offer a higher deal to acquire the Brazilian, however, he felt it would have complicated matters further to seek a greater offer from Real.

“There is practically unanimous view of the deal as a success,” Pena said. “If anybody gets criticised it is Real Madrid, for the risk they have taken, but they are sure that it will work. There were other clubs interested, and one offered to pay more money … Barca’s remuneration package offer for the player was higher than Real Madrid.

“But as we had reached an agreement with Real, we did not want to make this last push for them to match it. That could have embittered the relationship. Many people think it is crazy what Madrid are doing, but they were not alone in this craziness. They were not the only ones willing to pay this much for Vinicius.”

Pena also clarified as to why Vinicius chose Real over Barcelona, citing the player’s excitement about the development of Los Blancos during recent seasons under manager Zinedine Zidane and prior.

“Because Vinicius liked Madrid’s project better. There is always the feeling that players choose based on financial reasons, but that is not true. I assure you of that. Real Madrid’s negotiating posture was better.”

Real is on the verge of winning its third UEFA Champions League trophy in the last four seasons as the club prepares to face Juventus in the upcoming final.

Zidane’s men also won La Liga during the 2016/17 campaign.

Pulisic pleased with U.S. Soccer’s improved landscape

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U.S. Soccer has come a long way over the years, and one of the nation’s most promising young players recognizes the progress the United States has made.

[ MORE: Man City acquire Monaco’s Silva after passing medical ]

Christian Pulisic, who plays for Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, is one of several young talents that U.S. hopes to finally bring the American men a moment of glory on the biggest of stages — the World Cup.

The 18-year-old has done just about everything a player of his age could do. He’s played in one of the top leagues in the world, appeared in various UEFA Champions League matches and now he’s likely on pace to appear in the 2018 World Cup, assuming the USMNT advances out of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

The U.S., who have reached the World Cup during seven straight cycles, have come a long way in a short period of time, and Pulisic is happy with the improving U.S. Soccer landscape.

“It’s been big flaw of ours in the soccer department that a lot of our best athletes go and play other sports,” Pulisic told The Guardian. “But I think young players have seen me, and others, go over to Europe and play in some of the best leagues — and MLS is improving so much too.

“There’s so much potential and I think it’s changing: we’ve had some bigger athletes in the past but I don’t think that defines us anymore.

“We’re going to keep moving forward, developing young players and we’re going to have a really good shot in the next few years.”

During this past Bundesliga season, Pulisic recorded three goals and added six assists for a club that has become well known for its high-powered offensive attack.

Report: Kyle Walker a top target for Manchester City

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Manchester City could be looking to bolster its backline further this summer, and the Citizens could turn to Tottenham for help.

[ MORE: Man City closing in on acquiring Monaco’s Silva ]

According to ESPN FC, Pep Guardiola‘s side is growing more and more enamored with Spurs defender Kyle Walker and believes City can acquire the experienced outside back prior to the 2017/18 Premier League season.

With City already losing Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna since the end of the PL season, Guardiola will have to address the club’s lack of depth at outside back.

Several other big clubs have been considered in the running for Walker’s services, including Chelsea, Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

The 26-year-old has been at White Hart Lane since joining Spurs in 2009 from Sheffield United and has made 222 appearances for the club in that span.