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Lights – Cameras – Kick-Off ! Welcome Back Premier League!

47 days after Jesse Lingard drew the curtains on the 2019/2020 season, the Premier League has returned with a bang. The opening day of the Premier League season turned the cameras to Craven Cottage on the banks of the Thames. Newly promoted Fulham FC welcomed Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal team for the season opener.

Arsenal opened the scoring very early as Alexander Lacazette reacted quickest to Willian’s saved shot in the 8th minute of the game. He became the first goalscorer of the Premier League season for the second time in his career. Arsenal took complete control of the game when  debutant Gabriel Magalhaes rose highest to nod home Willian’s corner just after half time. Aubameyang sealed the game with a signature right foot curler into the far corner as Willian claimed a third assist.

Image Courtesy : Aubameyang P-E Twitter

With Arsenal off to a comfortable and dominant start, our attention now turned to Selhurst Park where Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace took on Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton in a battle of two contrasting styles of football – Roy’s conservative approach against Ralph’s free flowing Bundesliga-inspired football. The Saints started brightly and created a few chances but it was Wilfred Zaha who put Palace ahead with a clinical back post finish to an Andros Townsend cross on the counter attack.

Southampton worked hard to create something as Danny Ings and Adams forced top quality saves from Guaita. Crystal Palace also continued to pose a threat on the counter. In the end Palace squeezed out a hard fought 1-0 victory. The Eagles hit the ground running on their new campaign with 3 points at home.

 

Image Courtesy : BR Football Twitter

The feature game of the night saw reigning champions  Liverpool go up against Championship winners Leeds United. Leeds have made their way back into the English top flight after 16 years in “hell” as Jurgen Klopp described it in his prematch interview. Everyone expected a comfortable Liverpool victory but as football reminds us every time, you don’t always get what you expect.

The evening began in a routine manner for Liverpool. Mohammed Salah won an early penalty for a handball which he scored convincingly to put Liverpool in front. But anybody who counted Leeds out was left eating their words. A few minutes later left back Jack Harris cut inside and fired home in style to level the match.

Image Courtesy : Twitter.com

Not long after Liverpool took the lead again. This time through a towering header from Dutch Captain Virgil Van Dijk. Leeds however did not let their heads drop. Patrick Bamford capitalized on a mistake from Van Dijk to tie it up once more. The deadlock did not last long though as Salah stepped up again and absolutely hammered a half volley into the right top corner to end the first half 3-2 in Liverpool’s favour.

Bielsa’s men refused to back down in the second half. They mounted attack after attack in search of an equalizer. Their quest was finally complete as Mateusz Klich took a sublime touch to control Helder Costa’s cross and then found the left corner of the goal.

With Liverpool in search of a late winner, Leeds were forced deep into their own half. The Reds kept coming hard and fast. Liverpool finally found their opportunity after a few close calls. Leeds’ new signing Rodrigo attempted an ill timed and unnecessary tackle on Fabinho in the box conceding a penalty. Salah placed the ball on the spot and with his hat-trick and the victory in sight, made no mistake. He sent the keeper the wrong way to win the game 4-3 for Liverpool. Salah claimed the match ball for his match winning hat trick and the champions are off to a winning start.

Image Courtesy : Twitter.com

And thus concluded the 7 goal thriller on the opening day of the Premier League season. Leeds can certainly take heart from the fact that they went to Anfield and gave the champions a real run for their money. Everybody loves a thriller and this game had it all.

The final match of the evening was rather drab compared to the previous goal fest. To be fair though the bar was set very high. New signings Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendericks stole the headlines in this game. Both debutants scored to give Newcastle a winning start to the season against David Moyes’ West Ham United.

Matchday 1 of the season did not disappoint at all. The weekly drama of the Premier league is now well and truly back. The fitness, discipline, depth and resilience of every squad will be tested by the jam packed schedule. The only thing that we as fans can hope for is that come Matchweek 38, we can all confidently say that all the players and teams left everything they had on the pitch. There is no room for excuses and regrets. The war has begun and may the best man win.

Also Read: Premier League 2020/21, Game Week 1 – Preview

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