Matchday Two of the Premier League is done and dusted with a mixed bag like last week. Jose Mourinho’s diversionary tactics regarding his medical staff backfired as Man City put Chelsea to the sword, Liverpool and Manchester United were unimpressive both kept their perfect records, Arsenal got back to winning ways against Palace while the tinkerman Claudio Ranieri kept Leceister City at the top of the table. Adam Dow provides the EPL Wrap Up for the second weekend of matches.
A controversial first-half goal from Christian Benteke saw Liverpool maintain their perfect record in the English Premier League with a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth, who were playing their first ever top flight match away from home.
The Belgian striker scored from close range at the Kop End just 26 minutes into his Anfield debut, but Coutinho was in an offside position as he also tried to make contact with Jordan Henderson’s cross.
Henderson, who inherited the captain’s armband from Steven Gerrard, suffered an injury and was replaced on 51 minutes, but Liverpool held on despite a few scares from the Cherries, in particular from the lively Matt Ritchie, who struck the outside of the right upright as Bournemouth pushed for an equaliser.
Benteke did hit the bar in injury time but a 2-0 result would probably have flattered the Reds, while James Milner and Coutinho also went close.
Indeed, Bournemouth could have been ahead early on, but Tommy Elphick had a header ruled out for a foul on Dejan Lovren.
The newly promoted side showed plenty of promise and enjoyed a good portion of possession, but you wonder whether they’ll have the ability to grind results out when it matters. They’re receiving plenty of praise for their attitude and style, but that didn’t save Burnley last season.
Manager Eddie Howe said his side needed to learn quickly to avoid suffering the same fate: “We are learning tough lessons, the margins for success are small. It will be character building.”
He was surprisingly diplomatic when it came to discussions about Liverpool’s goal: “They have a hard job but I will speak to them privately.”
Rodgers, meanwhile, was obviously pleased with the result and that the big decisions went in Liverpool’s favour: “The most important thing is that ours (goal) stood.”
Last season’s second-place finishers Manchester City hosted champions Chelsea at The Etihad Stadium in the first blockbuster of the season, and goals from Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho secured the Sky Blues a 3-0 rout against a usually tighter Chelsea outfit.
City dominated from the start, with David Silva providing Aguero with a number of fine passes, only for the Argentinian to be thwarted by the outstanding Asmir Begovic. In truth, if it were not for Begovic, the result could well and truly have been beyond doubt by half-time, but all City had to show for their dominance was Aguero’s terrific opener.
In the 31st minute, after a counter-attack came to nothing, Silva rolled the ball to Aguero on the edge of the area, who played a clever one-two with Yaya Toure before turning Gary Cahill inside out and finishing beyond Begovic with his left foot into the bottom left-hand corner.
The new three-tier South Stand was opened for the first time and those extra City fans had plenty to cheer about, particularly when Chelsea’s medical staff entered the pitch for the first time to attend to Cahill, who had collided with Begovic. That entry prompted City fans to sing “you’re getting sacked in the morning” in light of club doctor Eva Garneiro’s demotion following her entry to treat Eden Hazard last week.
This was only exacerbated when Fernandinho elbowed Diego Costa in the head, forcing Chelsea’s doctors to split their time between Cahill and Costa, requiring assistance from City’s own medical staff. Fernandinho was booked for the challenge, perhaps luckily, as the first half ended 1-0.
Jose Mourinho, who claimed in his post-match press conference that the result was a “fake” one, substituted skipper John Terry for Kurt Zouma, claiming that he wanted more pace in his defence to deal with City’s threat. Whether Mourinho was telling the truth or merely demonstrating his want for another central defender to Chelsea’s board and owner is a matter for the coming weeks. Terry played every minute of the Blues’ title-winning season in 2014/15 so to see him off at the break, and for Jose to publicly admit he was not injured, was surprising. It was the first time in 177 starts under Mourinho that the captain had been substituted.
Chelsea looked better in the second period, with Ramires controversially having a goal ruled out for offside, while Branislav Ivanovic and Cesar Azpilicueta threatened from wide positions without any material success. Eden Hazard had a fantastic chance to level midway through the half, but fired straight at Joe Hart.
Chelsea’s defending only got worse though, as Kompany soared above Ivanovic to head in off the inside of the post with 79 minutes played, and Fernandinho secured the victory with a clinical, driven strike from outside the area after Chelsea had been caught bringing the ball out from the back.
The result sees City maintain their 100% record in the league, whilst Chelsea are winless after two matches.
In other matches, Everton recorded their first victory at St Mary’s since 2002 as a first half double from Romelu Lukaku proved Southampton’s downfall. Ross Barkley added a third in the second half, with his second goal in as any matches to raise the spirits of Everton supporters who are in the midst of displaying discontent for the board and owner Bill Kentwright.
A stunning volley from Olivier Giroud earned Arsenal a tough 2-1 win over Crystal Palace. Mesut Özil teed up the Frenchman to give the Gunners the lead at Selhurst Park, before the Eagles leveled via an outstanding long-range strike from Joel Ward. Arsenal were not to be denied, however, when Alexis Sanchez – who had been bright but failed to provide any end product – netted with a close range header that was eventually credited as an own goal to Damien Delaney.
Norwich City picked up their first points of the season at Carrow Road with a comfortable 3-1 victory over a hapless Sunderland. Goals from Russell Martin, Steven Whittaker, and Nathan Redmond were a fair indication of a dominant display by the Canaries, while the only bright spot for Sunderland was a debut goal to Duncan Watmore.
Swansea entertained Newcastle in South Wales, and Daryl Janmaat’s sending off for receiving two yellow cards in the first half made it easy for Bafetimbi Gomis and Andre Ayew to power the Swans to a routine 2-0 victory. Jefferson Montero was again impressive for the hosts after his stunning display against Chelsea last week.
Leicester City continued their dream start to the season under Claudio Ranieri to beat West Ham 2-1 at the Boleyn Ground. Shinji Okazaki scored his first goal for the Foxes to open the scoring, and Algerian Riyad Mahrez was teed up by Marc Albrighton to smash home his third goal this season; while Albrighton registered his third assist. Frenchman Dimitri Payet gave the Hammers a lifeline but Leicester held on. The match finished on a sour note as West Ham goalkeeper Adrian, who was up for a corner in the dying minutes of the match, was sent off for studding Jamie Vardy in the midriff. As West Ham had used all three of their substitutions, defender Carl Jenkinson was forced to stand in goal.
Saido Berahino missed a golden chance to secure victory for West Bromwich Albion in their match with Watford, and both sides picked up a point as the match finished 0-0. Record signing Salamon Rondon made his debut for the Baggies, coming on as a substitute in the second half.
Tottenham threw away a two-goal lead at home to draw 2-2 with Stoke City. Defender Eric Dier scored Spurs’ first goal of the season with a near-post header, and Nacer Chadli doubled their lead with a deflected volley. However, Stoke hauled themselves back into the match when Toby Alderweireld tripped Joselu in the area and Marko Arnautovic smashed home the resulting penalty, and the comeback was complete when the impressive Stephen Ireland crossed for Mame Biram Diouf, who got the faintest of touches to claim a headed goal. The goal must have been a relief for the Senegalese striker, who missed a host of gilt-edged chances.
And finally, the early match on Friday night saw Manchester United cruise to a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa courtesy of an Adnan Januzaj strike.
Results in full: Aston Villa 0-1 Manchester United; Southampton 0-3 Everton; Sunderland 1-3 Norwich City; Swansea City 2-0 Newcastle United; Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Stoke City; Watford 0-0 West Bromwich Albion; West Ham United 1-2 Leicester City; Crystal Palace 1-2 Arsenal; Manchester City 3-0 Chelsea; Liverpool 1-0 AFC Bournemouth.