A defeat in the opening fixtures of the premier league may sound and look demoralizing but it is not as damaging, considering the marathon nature of the league. Opening day defeat in most cases serve as a reality check for the defeated teams, so, Norwich City, Sheffield United and Aston Villa who are all returning to the EPL after some years of absence will have a bit of belief despite the disappointing results in their season’s openers. A brief review of how these trio’s opened their EPL accounts over the weekend.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPURS 3-1 ASTON VILLA:
Saturday late game presents an opportunity for one of the 3 promoted teams Aston Villa to get a result in the season’s opening fixture, however, it proved to be a difficult trip to the White Hart Lane, against last season’s UCL finalist Tottenham Hotspurs, despite starting the brightest.
With money available for spending having won the playoffs, Villa was 1 of the big spenders of the concluded summer transfer window, spending as much as £130M to bring in about a dozen new faces to bolster their squad. Spurs dominated the recent fixtures between these 2, winning 4 out of the last 5, however, Villa took a surprise lead in the 9th minute, midfielder John McGinn slotted past Hugo Lloris and it looked like Villa was going to see out the entirety of the match with the lone goal, but they conceded 3 late goals, Spurs new signing Tanguy Ndombele(73′) equalised with a long ranger, Harry Kane completed his double with quick fired goals(his 1st in Spurs new stadium).
So, Aston Villa’s 1st EPL game in 3 seasons ended with a defeat but they can regroup with a more fancied home tie against Bournemouth come next round of fixtures.
Liverpool 4-1 NORWICH CITY:
Norwich City knew they have a mountain to climb when they visit the reigning UCL champion Liverpool at Anfield for their season’s opener, they are playing premier league football for the 1st time since their last in the 205/16 when they got relegated and Liverpool offers a stern test of character for the Canaries.
However, Liverpool test proved to be too much as Norwich City went down as early as the 7th minute of kick-off via an unfortunate own-goal, Liverpool’s Divock Origi’s cross into the box was miskicked into own net by Grant Hanley. Mo Salah(19′), Van Dijk(28′) and Divock Origi added to the tally, to take a half-time 4 nil lead. With the result seemingly secured, Liverpool stepped off the pace at the restart, giving Norwich a chance to get a consolation goal in the 64th minute, Norwich top striker Teemu Pukki cooly beat substitute goalie Adrian.
The Canaries will try again in the next match when they host Newcastle United, a result against Steve Bruce side is much more within reach for Norwich City.
On a rather hilarious but embarrassing note, a pitch invader managed to make it unto the pitch but thank goodness the hard-tackling stewards subdued him, some crazy a.. fan right there.
BOURNEMOUTH 1-1 SHEFFIELD UNITED:
The blades as Sheffield United are popularly called are also 1 of premier league newcomers, it’s 12 seasons since they played in EPL and they began their campaign on the road just like fellow returned(Norwich & Aston Villa), United played Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.
Eddie Howe’s team is a shadow of the team it was some 2 seasons ago and again showed weakness against Sheffield United. The 1st half ended in a goalless draw much to the frustration of the home fans, however, an improved 2nd half performance saw Bournemouth took the lead in the 62nd minute when defender Chris Mepham fired home after Sheffield failed to clear their line. However, when it seemed like the home side will get the maximum point, Sheffield equalised on the 88th minute through Billy Sharp to sent the visiting fans into wild jubilation.
Sheffield will go into next home tie against Crystal Palace with a high spirit. Not a bad opening weekend result for the Blades.
Most of these teams deployed a defensive approach against there opponent aiming to hit back on the break, that didn’t quite work out according to plans, Aston Villa could have successfully defended the 1 nil lead had it been an EFL match, she could not hold Spurs all 90 minutes. However, they all did prove to have worthy strikers as Billy Sharp and Teemu Pukki( both made EFL team of last season) found the back of the net.
ps: You can find this post on Sport Dapp SCORUM
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