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After a long summer of sporting events from the Euros to the Olympics (I think it’s fair to say the Italians reigned supreme), domestic football is finally back. However, after a long 18 months or so, fans and supporters alike are welcomed back into stadiums and boy have their presence been missed. Football is synonymous with being a game of two halves but it is the supporters who bring those halves to life.
Manchester United provided the rest of the Premier League with a glimpse of what’s to come this season in their opening day game against Leeds. United were relentless in their first game and will surely have a say in this season’s title challenge (definitely not going to be a one horse race). Their transfer activity has also been quite impressive with the acquisition of both Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane respectively.
United opened the scoring in the 30th minute through Fernandes as they set out their intention to attack. Leeds did pull one back in the 49th minutes during the second half, however that was all they could muster as Man United took charge of the game. Fernandes added two more goals to complete his hat trick as Greenwood and Fred contributed with goals also to give Man United an impressive 5-1 opening day victory.
Although Fernandes grabbed 3 goals I think the stand out performance on the day was Paul Pogba. The France international registered 4 assists and his distribution of the ball was a work of art (almost felt like I was watching France play). If United can bring in the talent to play alongside Pogba, surely he will be able to produce at the level we all know he is capable.
Liverpool seem to be back to a full strength squad and like United, will have a major say in that top four title hunt. The return of key players, most especially Virgil Van Dijk will almost be like a new signing for Jurgen Klopp. They started the season off to a flyer with a 3-1 win away to Norwich with Mo Salah and Jota in amongst the goals.
Tottenham started the season not knowing whether Kane would still be a Spurs player or whether he would be headed to their opening day opponents Manchester City. With speculations flying around White Hart Lane, the players were able to keep focus and deliver a brilliant performance in front of a packed home crowd at the Lane. The new manager Espirito Santo, understood the task and fully delivered as Spurs beat Man City 1-0 thanks to an brilliant finish from Son. The Tottenham Faithful could be heard chanting “are you watching Harry Kane…….” as a message to their wantaway star striker. Credit to Spurs for their excellent performance against City and a huge pat on the back for Japhet Tanganga who put in a masterful display.
Meanwhile neighbours Arsenal had a rough opening game of the season away to newly promoted Brentford. The home side were dominant and with the support of their cheering fans, were able to produce a positive result as their maiden voyage in the top tier league of English football commences. Arsenal who were without some key players have plenty to ponder. Arteta knows he will need to act fast to change the trajectory or he could be faced with greater issues in the foreseeable future.