Premier League roundup: Drama, goals galore on wild opening day

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Five games took place on the opening day of the Premier League season, and they came with plenty of goals and drama.

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Leicester City hammered Sunderland, Manchester United crept past Tottenham, Bournemouth were downed by Villa on their PL debut, while Everton drew with Watford and Palace beat Norwich. But the best game of the day came at the end as Chelsea drew 2-2 with Swansea in an absolute cracker at Stamford Bridge. It had it all.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule | standings ]

All in all, and I think you will agree with this, it was great to have the PL back.

Below you will find videos, recaps, reaction and more from all five games.

Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur RECAP

Louis van Gaal’s five new signings all played a part as the Red Devils beat Spurs 1-0 on the opening day of the season. The only goal of the game came against the run of play as Spurs’ bright start was interrupted when Kyle Walker tried to challenge Wayne Rooney but instead toe-poked the ball into his own net for the first goal of the 2015-16 season. Spurs had a great chance early on when Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen carved open United’s defense but the latter lobbed his effort over. Eriksen tested United’s new goalkeeper Sergio Romero late on, but he was up to the challenge as a tight game went United’s way.

Chelsea 2-2 Swansea City – RECAP

Jose Mourinho’s men got their title defense off to an inauspicious start against Swansea at Stamford Bridge. Oscar’s free kick gave Chelsea an early lead, but Andre Ayew scored on his debut to make it 1-1. Willian’s deflected effort but the Blues ahead before the break and in the second half the moment of the match arrived as Thibaut Courtois flicked Bafetimbi Gomis and referee Michael Oliver awarded Swansea a penalty kick and showed Chelsea’s goalkeeper a red card. Gomis scored the resulting spot kick and despite some heavy pressure from the Swans, Chelsea held on for a point.

Leicester City 4-2 SunderlandRECAP

What a start for Claudio Ranieri in charge of the Foxes as his side raced into a 3-0 lead at half time. Jamie Vardy’s header got things going early on, then Riyad Mahrez scored twice before half time to stun Sunderland. The Black Cats improved in the second half, with Jermain Defoe pulling one back, but Marc Albrighton scored another to make it 4-1. Steven Fletcher pulled another one back for Sunderland, but it ended 4-2 at the King Power Stadium with Leicester momentarily top of the league.

Everton 2-2 WatfordRECAP

Newly promoted Waford got a point away at Goodison Park on the opening day and the Hornets were a few minutes away from grabbing a win. Mexico international Miguel Layun put the 1-0 up in the first half, but Ross Barkley equalized in stunning fashion to make it 1-1. Late on Odion Ighalo put Watford 2-1 up, but Arouna Kone scored just two minutes later as the Toffees fought back to grab a point.

Bournemouth 0-1 Aston VillaRECAP

Second half substitute Rudy Gestede powered home a header just 13 minutes into his debut to hand Villa an opening day win for the third-straight PL season. Tim Sherwood handed six players their debuts and after struggling in the first half, Villa improved in the second but Bournemouth and Eddie Howe will feel hard done by to lose in the sun down on the South Coast. Marc Pugh and Dan Gosling went close in the first half, while Matt Ritchie had some chances late on to snag an equalizer, but Bournemouth’s first-ever game in the PL ended in defeat.

Norwich City 1-3 Crystal Palace – RECAP

The Eagles bagged an impressive win away from home as goals either side of half time from Wilfried Zaha and Damien Delaney put them 2-0 up. Substitute Nathan Redmond pulled one back for Norwich with a long-range goal, then Cameron Jerome had a goal disallowed and the Canaries thought they should have had a penalty when Sebastian Bassong went down. Late on Palace debutant Yohan Cabaye wrapped up the win, as Alan Pardew’s side started off this season exactly the way they finished last year.

Lacazette gives Arsenal first leg in Greece

Arsenal
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Alexandre Lacazette scored the lone goal as Arsenal beat hosts Olympiacos 1-0 in the first leg of a Europa League Round of 32 tie on Thursday.

The second leg is Feb. 27 at the Emirates Stadium, four days after the Gunners host Carlo Ancelotti and Everton in Premier League play.

Lacazette now has eight goals in 24 appearances for Arsenal this season.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Lacazette missed a big early chance from close range, Gabriel Martinelli deprived of a near-certain assist.

Fortunately for Lacazette, he got a second bite at the apple and smashed it home with a vengeance. Bukayo Saka continued his impressive debut season by assisting the goal.

It was an even match, as Olympiacos continued its habit of steady defense but was unable to produce any attack. The Greeks weren’t credited with the creation of any big chances.

Bernd Leno made three saves and was very good in distribution on the day, with Saka, David Luiz, Shkrodan Mustafi, and Sokratis Papastathopoulus continuing steady defense under Mikel Arteta.

Wolves clobber Espanyol, Neves scores another magnificent volley

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Diogo Jota had a hat trick and Ruben Neves scored a very Ruben Neves goal as Wolves took a 4-0 lead over Espanyol on Thursday after one leg of Europa League Round of 32 action.

Raul Jimenez, Joao Moutinho, and Matt Doherty recorded assists for Wolves, who will visit the Portuguese side on Feb. 27.

Espanyol had 57 percent of the ball and put four shots on target to Wolves’ five.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Wolves came out of the gates with a show of strength, taking six shots to Espanyol’s zero over the first 25 minutes.

The goal came off an Adama Traore-won corner, Raul Jimenez flicking on to Jota.

Neves’ goal came straight from his area of expertise, a beautiful bit of control with his chest before smashing home from distance.

The 23-year-old Jota scored the first, third, and fourth goals of the contest to give him two Europa League hat tricks this season. He has 12 goals and five assists in 33 appearances across all competitions this season.

Solskjaer, Mata react to Man Utd draw: ‘We can play better’

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Manchester United got an away goal in a 1-1 first leg draw with Europa League foes Club Brugge in Belgium on Thursday.

The goals were pretty individual, a big chip of Sergio Romero followed by Anthony Martial’s powerful dribble to equalize for the Red Devils.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

United outshot the hosts 16-10, but fell short in big chances created by a 3-1 margin.

Here’s Red Devils manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, via the BBC:

“It was a game with difficult conditions out there. It was almost like an astroturf. The ball was very quick and lively,” Solskjaer said. “We got the away goal. It was a very good individual goal, worked hard to win the ball and finish so we are happy with that but we know we can play better.”

The second leg is Feb. 27 at Old Trafford, four days after a Premier League encounter with Watford in the same building.

United midfielder Juan Mata had a busy day, winning the majority of his tackles and creating one key pass. He expected better from his team but sees the game for what it is.

Here is Mata, from The Manchester Evening News:

“They scored a goal we shouldn’t concede. We scored a goal from their mistake. we wanted to win, obviously, 1-1 is not a very bad result, but we always want to win,” Mata said. “We just couldn’t find spaces, they defended very well with five plus four. We tried to play a few times through the middle, which we didn’t succeed to do that. Then we scored that goal and from then we played a bit better.”

Solskjaer kept Bruno Fernandes, Fred, Daniel James, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka on the bench to start the match. Fernandes and Fred came on late.

FC Cincinnati adds Ajax midfielder Siem de Jong

Siem de Jong
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FC Cincinnati got a much-needed bit of good news toward the end of a rough week in Southern Ohio.

Longtime Ajax attacker Siem De Jong has joined a talented FCC attack ahead of the club’s second MLS season.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

De Jong, 31, came up through Ajax’s vaunted academy before transferring to Newcastle United, where he suffered through a series of miserable injuries including two collapsed lungs in 18 months.

He’s been capped six times with two goals for the Netherlands in his career and will join a revitalized Cincinnati attack with Jurgen Locadia and Yuya Kubo.

“The system they want to play is quite similar to the Dutch system, and yeah, Ajax is probably one of the team’s that perfected it,” de Jong said. “Over the years I played there, I’ve learned a lot about this similar philosophy and trying to build up from the back in the Dutch style of play. That was one of the reasons why FC Cincinnati was a good fit for me. Hopefully I can help with the experience I’ve had over the years playing this style of football.”

De Jong scored three times in nine matches this season for Ajax, all of the goals coming in a cup match against third-tier Spakenburg. His other eight matches combined for just 118 minutes.

He may not be with FCC when the season starts as he waits on visa approval.