The festive fixtures began with a gift that kept on giving (up goals) as Arsenal came back from 2-0 down in a 3-3 draw with Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on Friday.
[ MORE: Recap | 3 things ]
Who was most responsible for the result, for better or worse? Here are one man’s thoughts.
- Philippe Coutinho — His clever header to make it 1-0 was a neat bit of skill, and the Brazilian was very much Liverpool’s star.
- Mohamed Salah — Didn’t finish as clinically as he has — if he did, the Reds would’ve been up 3-0 at the break — but was a big part of everything the Reds did and attack wasn’t why they lost.
- Jack Wilshere — There may be egg on my face after I review the first half — JPW didn’t love JW’s day — but Wilshere did so many little things well in the second half and a big thing, too, covering near-90 yards to break up a Liverpool counter. Was asked to do a lot with Xhaka in what appeared to be close to a double pivot.
- Laurent Koscielny — Just hasn’t looked right for some time, and seems to physically slip in giving away the ball at least once a match. Very poor and made a mistake in the build-up or the business end of all three goals conceded by Arsenal.
- Simon Mignolet — The second goal was a bullet from Xhaka, but to miss that poorly on a shot right at you that sent the match to 2-2 was regrettable.
- Joe Gomez — Hasn’t been miserable every match, though he certainly was on the Alexis goal. What Klopp wouldn’t give to have Nathaniel Clyne return to health.
- Petr Cech — Was set to be one of the stars of this until he only got a piece of Firmino’s rip to make it 3-3. Three goals allowed is three goals allowed. Still, a decent game for a 3-3.
- Alexandre Lacazette — Was probably frustrated by his wingers not trying to find him often, but he plays a fairly complete game as a center forward. Terrific assist on Ozil’s goal.
- Ragnar Klavan — A couple fine interventions make us want to highlight his performance in keeping Lacazette off the score sheet. Then again, three goals allowed.
- Alexis Sanchez — Only apparent in short bursts during the first 45, there’s no denying his role in the electric comeback.
This season is going to be a challenge for Norwich City, but one of last season’s true heroes made sure the Canaries fans got a bit of home delight.
[ STREAM: All 10 a.m. ET kicks ]
Newcastle is visiting town on Saturday, and Teemu Pukki scored a delightful opener to give the Canaries a halftime lead.
It’s appropriate, as the volley takes a page out of Newcastle hero Alan Shearer’s playbook.
Norwich City 1-0 Newcastle United — STREAM
Aston Villa 0-2 Bournemouth — STREAM
And how about this from Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson, who is making Villa’s home return to the Premier League less than ideal.
Sadio Mane has started the season in sensational fashion.
After scoring twice for Liverpool in their Super Cup final win against Chelsea on Wednesday, Mane curled home a stunning shot right on half time.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Mane was playing against his former club and after Southampton had created the best chances, it was a huge boost for Liverpool to go in ahead at the break.
Click play on the video below to see Mane open the scoring in style.
Despite the score line, Unai Emery can be fairly happy with Arsenal’s performance in a 2-1 defeat of Burnley at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
On midfielder Dani Ceballos, though, Emery will be very pleased.
[ RECAP: Arsenal 2-1 Burnley ]
The Real Madrid loanee was the easy Man of the Match, his silky skill on the ball and quality industry endearing himself to Arsenal faithful. From Football.London:
“It’s to use his quality in the best position in our team. I spoke with him before coming here, it’s to play as an eight and a No.10. He started like a 10 but changed with Willock. He can feel better on the pitch.”
Emery will be less than pleased with his defense, who allowed a goal to early season Golden Boot candidate Ashley Barnes.
“We won in our moments we did the difference for 2-1. A lot of moments we couldn’t impose our gameplan because they pushed and their gameplan was a struggle for us.”
Five Premier League games are coming up at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, as the second Matchweek of the new campaign comes roaring at us.
[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ]
Southampton and Liverpool clash at St Mary’s in the main game at 10 a.m. ET, while two new boys have their first home games back in the PL.
Aston Villa host Bournemouth at Villa Park, while Norwich host Newcastle at Carrow Road. Elsewhere, Everton host Watford and West Ham travel to Brighton.
[ MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ]
You can access additional games by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold which also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.
[ STREAM: “Goal Rush” here ]
For those of you familiar with the Premier League Breakaway Show during busy days (Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Championship Sunday etc.) in the PL, this will follow that model of being similar to the NFL RedZone with action shown from all of the games in the 10 a.m. ET window. More info is available here.
The schedule for all five games at 10 a.m. ET is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.
10 a.m. ET: Southampton v. Liverpool – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Aston Villa v. Bournemouth – CNBC [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Brighton v. West Ham – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Everton v. Watford – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Norwich v. Newcastle – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]