One day into the new Premier League season, we already have a number of surprising results.
Hull City and West Bromwich Albion – teams who both struggled through bad press, managerial turmoil, and a frustrating transfer window this summer – both picked up wins over teams who seem to be trending upwards.
Nobody thought Leicester City’s title defense would be easy, or even possible, but most expected them to ease past managerless and transfer-less Hull City on opening day. Most thought wrong. Robert Snodgrass was creative and scored the winner as the Tigers, under caretaker manager Mike Phelan, picked up a confidence-building win over the defending champions.
Building on Hull’s win, West Brom surprised a rising Crystal Palace squad at Selhurst Park behind a header from Salomon Rondon, who looked most dangerous during an otherwise listless match. Similar to Hull, West Brom has had a rocky summer, stymied on a number of transfers and forced to question if Tony Pulis would stick around. However, they faced a Palace side that looked timid in the final third and Rondon, last year’s leading scorer for the Baggies, started off on the right foot.
Pep Guardiola made a statement when he benched incumbent goalkeeper Joe Hart, but it didn’t matter as the City attack was in charge. For much of the match City was in control, and while Jermain Defoe thought he earned Sunderland a point with a 70th minute equalizer, pressure from the hosts was too much at the end amid defensive tactics from David Moyes. A Paddy McNair own-goal with four minutes was the difference as City survived.
Boro looks like an exciting and stout Premier League side, and went ahead through new signing Alvaro Negredo. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t last as Xherdan Shaqiri – invisible for much of the early going – deposited a beautiful free-kick into the back of the net to equalize.
Leroy Fer produced a late, 82nd minute winner to give Swansea all three points at Turf Moor. The goal was just after Swans defender Federico Fernandez should have scored earlier in the second half but missed poorly from close range. Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski was also needed as he denied Sam Vokes just after halftime.
The two sides finished level in a matchup of first-time Premier League managers. Nathan Redmond scored an impressive volley on his Saints debut to peg Watford back after Etienne Capoue had given the visitors the lead with his first goal for the club. Watford’s Ben Watson was sent off late after a last-man foul, a selfless sacrifice after Southampton was threatening on the break.
Ross Barkley put the hosts in front, but Erik Lamela headed home an equalizer in the second half as both teams had to settle for a disappointing draw. Spurs will be even more concerned that goalkeeper Hugo Lloris went off injured, as the club announced he had a hamstring problem and will be assessed in the coming days.
With the match tied at one, Spurs sub Erik Lamela played a well-weighted through ball to Eriksen, who touched it forward before pushing a shot around a sliding Joe Hart to give Tottenham a lead it would not relinquish over the final minutes.