The 29thseason of the English Premier League (EPL) got off to an expectedly rollicking start last weekend. There was the swashbuckling return of Leeds, the smashing debuts of Gabriel and Timo Werner, Recce James’ debut EPL goal (and a screamer at that) and if that was not all, Champions Liverpool saw their star Egyptian forward Mohammad Salah, help himself to a season-opening hat-trick.
A result of all this exciting action? Fancied teams and star names displaying a clear show of intent for the fresh season- with or without fans in the stands and the raging global Covid-19 pandemic, notwithstanding.
The Champions set the ball rolling at Anfield, against the newly promoted Leeds United. The storied Canaries seemed justifiably to be in a celebratory mood as they gave fellow century-old North England rivals a run for their money.
A seven-goal thriller ensued with Liverpool running out 4-3 winners in the end, thanks to a couple of penalties and the Salah hat-trick.
The other winners over the three-day, eight game schedule, included the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea , Crystal Palace, Everton, Newcastle, Leicester City, and the Wolverhampton Wanderers.
London powerhouses Arsenal and Chelsea notched up facile and impressive victories. Both scored thrice, with Chelsea conceding one against Brighton.
French striker Lacazzette opened the scoring for Arsenal, while Brazilian defender Gabriel, got a header on his club debut to double the lead. Aubameyang finished the job for the Gunners early in the second half.
Chelsea also warmed up well for their upcoming clash against the Champions at Stamford Bridge next weekend. Italian Jorginho opened the scoring from the spot against Brighton in the first-half and despite the visitor’s best efforts, they could not add to that tally going into changeover.
Leonardo Trossard equalized for Brighton about 10-minutes into the second half but young Recce James powered Chelsea back into the lead with a scorcher of a debut strike from 20-yards out.
Kurt Zouma claimed the third a little over 20-minutes from the end, when his shot at goal, deflected off a Brighton defender to wrong-foot Australian National Team keeper Mathew Ryan and go in. With new signings Wilian and German striker Timo Werner also displaying good form, manager Frank Lampard will be pleased with the team’s performance in the season opener, particularly with the Champions up next.
Elsewhere, in a battle of multiple top-league winning managers, Carlo Ancelloti’s Everton got the better of Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspurs. Dominic Calvert-Lewin struck for the Toffees exactly 10-minutes into the second half to ensure three-points for his club.
The Wolverhampton Wolves also got their league season to a cracking start, needing just six minutes to go 2-0 up against Sheffield United. The Wolves’ highest ever EPL scorer Raul Jimenez got them ahead just two minutes into the game, before Moroccan Romain Saiss added the cushion four minutes later.
Mexican national team forward Raul, who has made the club his own after initially being loaned to them for the 18-19 season, had scored a phenomenal 31-times for them across competitions, before his strike against Sheffield yesterday.
So as the EPL 2020-21 bandwagon soldiers on to Matchday 2 of 38 this week with the Gunners finding themselves on top of the table, the only war-cry that remains to be heard, is from the city of Manchester. Will it be a red warcry or blue or a combination of both? We can’t wait for Saturday, can we?