By Ayyaz Malik
Leicester City grabbed the headlines of the Saturday action with a 4-2 win over last seasons relegation rivals Sunderland. The Foxes as they are also known came into the season in somewhat uncertain circumstances after the very popular Nigel Pearson was sacked, in very suspicious circumstances.
Pearson who was in his second spell at the King Power stadium guided the Foxes to safety with an impressive unbeaten run towards the end of the season. The Foxes seemed dead and buried and doomed for relegation.
Signings followed such as Japanese international Shinji Okazaki. With signings such as the 29 year old from Bundesliga side Mainz and Robert Huth from Stoke, one would have thought that Leicester would have a good season.
Then what could be described as out of the blue, Leicester manager Nigel Pearson was sacked, till this day there is no clear reason. Not the ideal start for the new season – but to the surprise of many including myself, Leicester appointed former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri as their new manager.
Quite a coup for Leicester’s owners who would have been no doubt under fire for giving Pearson the boot. Outbursts such as the ‘ostrich one’ against a journalist last season was never going to cover Nigel Pearson in glory.
Fast forward to the start of the season however – and well Leicester have started the new season with a bang. Saturday’s opponents Sunderland, who were their relegation rivals last year had signed some good players such as Dynamo Kiev attacker Jermaine Lens, so you thought would have given more of a fight than what they did on the day.
It was essentially Leicester’s world wind start that blew the Black Cats away. Three goals up with in half an hour, the match was realistically over before half time. A Riyad Mahrez brace which included a penalty and a Luke Vardy strike was the difference for Leicester as they went 3-0 up at the break.
Despite Sunderland pulling a goal back, that made little difference as Leicester grabbed a fourth. The Black Cats did score again – but it was to little to late.
Else where Watford who have been promoted back to the premier league, made Everton work for their point. The Hornets who many tip for relegation, were good value for their lead that was taken on 18 minutes through a Miguel Layun goal . Everton did huff and puff as they say- but to no avail initially.
A wonder Ross Barkley strike though levelled things up. Everton would have been looking to win the game after regaining a foot hold in it. Much to surprise of many though however Watford took the lead again! Odion Igahlo the man with a well taken finish to put the Hornets in dream land.
Thankfully for Everton they managed to grab another equaliser through Arouna Kone. So 2-2 the match finished then and a point gained for Roberto Martinez’s side.
Else where Norwich and Bournemouth who both got promoted last year, both suffered opening day defeats. Bournemouth who were promoted as champions were beaten by a debut Rude Gustede strike at the Vitality Stadium.
Norwich who were promoted via the play offs, were well beaten 3-1 at home by Crystal Palace. Palace who are managed by former player Alan Pardew, were ruthless in their play and gobbled the crucial chances that came their way.
It could have been different if Lewis Grabban converted the chance he had to score when the scores were 0-0 – but football can be a cruel game sometimes. To only emphasise the cruel nature of Premier League football in particular, Palace went 2-0 up – and were seeming to be coasting.
Goals from Wilfred Zaha and Damien Delaney looked to have set the South Londoners to an easy three points – but a Nathan Redmond goal to pull one back, made things slightly nervy for Crystal Palace. All fears were alleviated as Palace record buy Yohan Cabaye grabbed a late third to add gloss the scoreline.
In the days early kick off Manchester United who have been busy in the transfer market and have been talked up as potential title contenders, faced Spurs, who sadly if you’re a Spurs fan have not been busy in the transfer market . The match itself was settled with a rather unfortunate moment for England right back Kyle Walker.
Walker who has spent a significant time on the sidelines last season, would have been looking to help his team to a win at the self proclaimed Theatre Of Dreams. Sadly though it turned out to be the Theatre Of Nightmares for Walker and Spurs . The former Sheffield United man’s tackle on Wayne Rooney which lead the ball to come off him and in to the Tottenham net.
Chelsea who are the defending Premier League champions, got their defence off to a disappointing start with a draw against Swansea. The Blues were the only to remain unbeaten in all four leagues were maybe a bit lucky in this one as the champions had to survive the red card of Belgian keeper Thiabut Courtouis.
Despite taking the lead twice through Oscar and a Fernandez own goal, the Swans managed to find a way back into the game twice through Andre Ayew and Batefembi Gomis.
A brilliant end then to a brilliant opening day of the Premier League season, more of the same please.