Saturday 24 March 2018

Premier League - things we learned

Petr Cech was at fault for both goals in a 2-0 defeat on his Premier League debut for Arsenal
Petr Cech was at fault for both goals in a 2-0 defeat on his Premier League debut for Arsenal

The opening weekend of the Barclays Premier League threw up a few surprises and a few questions too.

Here, Press Association Sport picks out five things we learned from the games.


Petr Cech's summer arrival at Arsenal was lauded by many as the final piece in the Gunners' title jigsaw. Cech was a serial winner in his 11 years at Chelsea but his Premier League debut in North London turned into a nightmare as he was at fault for both West Ham goals in a shock 2-0 derby defeat, failing to get to a cross and then beaten from distance at his near post. Arsenal fans will hope that 33-year-old Cech - who made only six Premier League starts at Chelsea last season - is just a victim of rust, rather than the subject of any long-term decline.


Having lost Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling in the last two summer transfer windows, the big question was who is going to supply the magic for Liverpool? Step forward Philippe Coutinho. Liverpool have spent big in the summer and Christian Benteke drew a blank on his league debut, but Coutinho showed he can become the Reds' key man when he picked the ball up from deep in the 86th minute and advanced to hit a 25-yard shot into the top corner for a spot of true Brazilian brilliance.


No-one was getting carried away by Manchester United's 1-0 victory over Tottenham, which again suggested Louis van Gaal is some way from mounting a title challenge at Old Trafford. Three points might have been welcome for the Dutch boss on his 64th birthday but the sight of David de Gea sitting in the stands amid interest from Real Madrid, rather than standing between the posts, added to the feeling of uncertainty at the club. It is a situation United must sort out one way or the other as quickly as possible.


Swansea manager Garry Monk suggested his team had hit their ceiling last season after recording a best Premier League finish of eighth with a record points total. But Thierry Henry might not be alone in suggesting Swansea can improve on last term after their impressive 2-2 draw away to champions Chelsea. Ghana forward Andre Ayew appears to be another signing masterstroke, and in the Ecuadorian Jefferson Montero they might possess one of the most destructive wingers in the league - just ask Branislav Ivanovic.


Stepping up to the Premier League is notoriously difficult for any side and the shrewd money is on at least one of the new boys being relegated. But there was cause for optimism as Watford drew 2-2 at Everton and they would have taken all three points but for Arouna Kone's late equaliser. Bournemouth showed enough in their 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa to suggest they will be competitive and Norwich might have had some reward in their 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace but for the contentious decision to disallow Cameron Jerome's effort at 2-1.

Press Association

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