Opening weekend of Premier League brings plenty of goals, suprises

                        Craig Shakespeare hooked off midfielder Matty James in the 82nd minute for Kelechi Iheanacho, a pacy forward.

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            If that is what the first two days of the Premier League were like, bring on the next nine months.

The first two days of the 2017-18 Premier League campaign gave you plenty of goals. For the first time ever, the season opened on a Friday, as Arsenal hosted Leicester City. The two teams combined for an instant classic, as the Gunners rallied for two goals in the final 10 minutes to stun the Leicester 4-3.

Aaron Ramsey (83′) and Olivier Giroud (85′) came off the bench to score goals three minutes apart, stunning the Foxes.

But that was just the start of the frantic opening, as the seven Saturday games brought 18 goals, with four teams scoring three each.

The two early televised games accounted for 11 of the 18, as Watford scored in the 93rd minute to draw with Liverpool, and Burnley tallied three times before the break against 10-man Chelsea in a 3-2 victory.

Saturday’s results: 

Watford 3  
Liverpool                      3
Everton 1  
Stoke City               0
 
Crystal Palace               0  
Huddersfield 3

Southampton           0  
Swansea City 0
 
West Brom 1  
Bournemouth       0
Chelsea 2  
Burnley FC             3
 
Brighton 0  
Manchester City                 2

Premier League 2017-18 season sees two Manchester clubs as favorites

Fantasy Stud/Dud

Both players came from the same game.

Burnley’s Sam Voakes stunned the defending champion Chelsea with two first half goals, as the Clarets went on the road and held on for a 3-2 win.

The goat of the match was Blues’ captain Gary Cahill, who saw his campaign get off to an inauspicious start with a 14th minute straight red card. Chelsea, reduced to 10-men, capitulated right after, shipping three goals in the first half. The Blues rallied late, to make it 3-2, but then saw Cesc Fabregas get sent off for a second bookable offense late in the game.

Chelsea will now travel to play Tottenham next Sunday (11 a.m. EDT) with both players suspended, as the club tries not to start its title defense the same way it did in 2015-16.

Manager Antonio Conte was less than pleased with his squad after the first half.

“After Gary Cahill’s red card, we lost composure and conceded three goals,” Conte said. “We have to improve in this respect and we must pay attention to think there is the rest of the game to do our best. Today I saw two faces, one negative in the first half when we easily lost our heads and one positive in the second.”


A Shakesperean Tragedy

With Leicester City up 3-2 in the second half, after Jamie Vardy’s second gave the Foxes back the lead they had given up on the stroke of halftime, Craig Shakespeare hooked off midfielder Matty James in the 82nd minute for Kelechi Iheanacho, a pacy forward. 

The move backfired immediately, as Arsenal substitutes Ramsey and Giroud leveled the score, then gave the Gunners a 4-3 lead. It was a strange decision on the road, so late into the contest, and it may have cost Leicester three points.


Huddersfield Town’s Amazing Debut

Not many people have given Huddersfield Town much of a chance to stay up for a second season.

But after Saturday, maybe the Terriers can scrap their way to a spot outside teh relegation zone.

Huddersfield Town sat atop the standings Saturday night after a stunning 3-0 win at Crystal Palace, which immediately puts new Palace manager Frank DeBoer under pressure. HTAFC record signing Steve Mounie, who came from Ligue 1 team Montpellier in a 13 million Euro deal, bagged a brace to lead the newly-promoted side.

The Terriers will open their home campaign next weekend against fellow promoted side Newcastle, which hosts Tottenham in the 8:30 a.m. game Sunday morning. Any type of result for Hudderfield Town will be great, but fans of the club should not celebrate staying up just yet; Hull City had seven points through three matches last season, and was relegated.


Rooney’s return gives Everton a head up on top seven race

Wayne Rooney made a spectacular return to the blue half of Liverpool, as his header in first half stoppage time gave the Toffees a 1-0 win over Stoke City.

The former captain of Manchester United (which plays West Ham United Sunday, 11 a.m. in the final match of the weekend) returned to his boyhood club, as Romelu Lukaku went the other way and joined the Red Devils this summer. If Rooney can rediscover his scoring touch, it could be an interesting season for Everton.

Contact Sean Miller at seanmillertrentontimes@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean His podcast, Box to Box Football, can be found on iTunes here https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/box-to-box-football/id1208561351?mt=2

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