Sports

Aug 152016
 
Philippe Coutinho scored a brilliant first goal of the season, at Emirates Stadium

Liverpool held on to beat Arsenal in a stunning Premier League opening weekend encounter at Emirates Stadium.

Theo Walcott fired in the first goal for the Gunners in the 31st minute, moments after missing a penalty.

Philippe Coutinho equalised with a brilliant free-kick before Adam Lallana fired in after the break.

Coutinho poked in his second and Sadio Mane slammed home, before Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored a great solo goal and Calum Chambers headed in.

Relive this thrilling match at the Emirates Stadium

Aaron Ramsey suffers a suspected hamstring injury

Brilliant goals light up brilliant encounter

Philippe Coutinho’s second goal followed a 19-pass move

It was billed as the best game of the Premier League opening weekend and more than lived up to expectations.

After quite a dour 30 minutes, Alberto Moreno’s second defensive mistake lit the flame for the encounter that followed.

It was the second half that will long live in the memory. Four of the five goals were exceptional.

There was Lallana’s chest control and strike followed by a 19-pass move finished off by Coutinho. Mane then capped off an impressive debut with a goal reminiscent of his strikes at Southampton – driving at the defence before a fierce finish.

And substitute Oxlade-Chamberlain then produced a delightful cameo when he dazzled the Liverpool backline and then slotted past Simon Mignolet.

Chambers’ header left Liverpool wondering whether a great win would become ‘what could have been’ – but they hung on.

Where does this leave Arsenal?

A familiar sight – will Arsene Wenger bring in more defensive reinforcements before the transfer window shuts?

During the 2013-14 season, the Gunners capitulated horribly on three occasions in the league – conceding six against Manchester City and Chelsea and five against Liverpool.

Home fans watching must have thought it was a case of history repeating when, from 1-0 up in the first half through Walcott’s drilled effort, they were 4-1 down by the 63rd minute.

The difference between then and now is that Arsenal are a far more potent proposition in attack, which is why the Reds were left celebrating a narrow win rather than a mauling.

It is the issues at the back that appear to be a perennial problem. On Sunday they were without injured senior defenders Per Mertesacker and Gabriel, while Laurent Koscielny is still not match fit after his exploits at Euro 2016.

That meant manager Arsene Wenger was forced to play Rob Holding, 20, a £2m summer signing from Bolton, alongside Calum Chambers, 21, in central defence.

Their inexperience was brutally exposed by Liverpool’s attack in the second half. The question is whether Wenger dips into the transfer market or waits for his senior players to return. The fans will want the former.

Has time already run out for Moreno?

Alberto Moreno (right) mistimed a tackle on Theo Walcott to earn Arsenal a penalty

The reaction on social media was damning and who knows what his manager Jurgen Klopp was thinking.

Liverpool’s full-back Moreno had a match to forget after twice making crucial mistakes. He should have been punished by Walcott for his first – a wild lunge on the England forward inside the area which resulted in the penalty. Simon Mignolet’s save bailed him out.

His second error was arguably more inexplicable when he allowed Walcott acres of space on the right of the box – before the England winger drilled his angled effort past the Belgian keeper.

Derided by his own fans last season, memorably for his performance in the Europa League final, the 24-year-old Spaniard’s display is surely now giving Klopp food for thought with the transfer window shutting in two weeks.

Man of the match – Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)

Philippe Coutinho was the conductor in midfield for Liverpool, he scored two superb goals – the only downside was the injury to the Brazilian 20 minutes from time.

What the managers said

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger:

“We lacked experience at the back and we were physically short. Liverpool did well and we were for 15 minutes completely shocked.

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Arsenal lacked experience – Wenger

We pushed players today like Aaron Ramsey. It is an impossible situation to get players back from the Euros and prepare.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp:

“I played a big part in the excitement of the last half-hour, because it’s not allowed to celebrate the fourth goal like this with 35 minutes to go.

“At this moment, we switched off the machines. The game was not over. Arsenal lost, but we gave them a path back into the game.

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Liverpool’s Klopp pleased with ‘deserved’ win

“Nothing is sure until the final whistle. Over the whole of the 90 minutes it was a deserved win.

“We can always score goals and we can defend much better. It’s the Premier League and nothing should be easy in this league. Nothing is easy.”

The stats you need to know

  • Arsenal conceded four goals in a league game at the Emirates for the first time since May 2009 (4-1 v Chelsea).
  • Arsenal v Liverpool has seen more penalties missed than any other fixture in Premier League history (seven).
  • Mignolet has saved five of the 11 penalties he has faced in the Premier League, more than any other Liverpool goalkeeper.
  • Walcott has scored in 10 different Premier League seasons for Arsenal; only Dennis Bergkamp (11) has scored in more for the Gunners.
  • Thirteen of Philippe Coutinho’s 30 goals for Liverpool in all competitions have been scored from outside the box.
  • Arsenal had three different English scorers in the same Premier League game for the first time since October 1997 against Barnsley (Parlour, Platt and Wright).
  • This is the first time since 1953-54 in the English top flight that the two top from the previous season have both lost their opening game.

What’s next?

The Gunners face champions Leicester next Saturday at 17:30 BST at the King Power Stadium. On the same day Liverpool are away again, this time at Burnley – that match kicks off at 15:00 BST.

Live Text

Match ends, Arsenal 3, Liverpool 4.

Second Half ends, Arsenal 3, Liverpool 4.

Offside, Liverpool. Emre Can tries a through ball, but Divock Origi is caught offside.

Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Sadio Mané (Liverpool).

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Héctor Bellerín.

Attempt blocked. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Divock Origi.

Calum Chambers (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Divock Origi (Liverpool).

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Theo Walcott.

Substitution, Liverpool. Kevin Stewart replaces Georginio Wijnaldum.

Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

Sadio Mané (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Offside, Liverpool. Alberto Moreno tries a through ball, but Roberto Firmino is caught offside.

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Calum Chambers.

Attempt blocked. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Georginio Wijnaldum.

Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Dejan Lovren.

Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

Alberto Moreno (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool).

Foul by Francis Coquelin (Arsenal).

Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Arsenal. Santiago Cazorla tries a through ball, but Alexis Sánchez is caught offside.

Substitution, Liverpool. Divock Origi replaces Adam Lallana.

Goal! Arsenal 3, Liverpool 4. Calum Chambers (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Santiago Cazorla with a cross following a set piece situation.

Francis Coquelin (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool).

Attempt missed. Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Francis Coquelin.

Foul by Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).

Francis Coquelin (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Sadio Mané (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

Substitution, Liverpool. Emre Can replaces Philippe Coutinho because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) because of an injury.

Substitution, Arsenal. Granit Xhaka replaces Mohamed Elneny.

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Aug 142016
 
Manchester United finished 15 points behind champions Leicester City last season

Jose Mourinho made a winning Premier League start as Manchester United manager with a comprehensive opening victory at Bournemouth.

Juan Mata, who was substituted after coming on in last week’s Community Shield, opened the scoring with a tap-in after Simon Francis’ error.

Wayne Rooney headed the second before Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked his United league debut with a goal from 25 yards.

Adam Smith scored a consolation goal for the Cherries.

United were without world-record £89m signing Paul Pogba through suspension, while midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan started on the bench, with Mata preferred.

Relive the action from Vitality Stadium

Can Mourinho bring back the fear factor?

As starts go, this was a highly satisfactory day for United – the Mourinho era began with a solid victory at a ground where they came unstuck under Louis van Gaal last season.

United started slowly and did not register a shot on target until a Rooney effort produced a comfortable save from Artur Boruc in the 27th minute.

Yet it was job done once the visitors opened the scoring with a messy goal and added two more in the space of five second-half minutes to put them in a commanding position.

Manchester United lost the corresponding fixture 2-1 last season

Mata looked unhappy when he was replaced 30 minutes after coming on at Wembley against Leicester last Sunday but the Spaniard was all smiles as he got Mourinho’s reign up and running.

Boruc made a fine block from Mata after Francis’ under-hit back-pass but the rebound bounced off Francis into the former Chelsea player’s path and he tapped home.

United’s second goal was also down to some good fortune – Rooney was well positioned to head home after Anthony Martial’s mis-hit shot fell perfectly for his captain.

Ibrahimovic was denied by a one-handed Boruc save but the Swede made it 3-0 with a drilled low finish from outside the area to leave Mourinho smiling.

Ibrahimovic conjures another debut goal

Ibrahimovic continued his remarkable record of marking debuts with a goal.

The 34-year-old Swede has now scored on his first league starts in England, Italy, Spain and France, and in the Champions League.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic made 19 touches in the first half – none of which were in Bournemouth’s penalty area

Any concerns the frenetic pace in English football’s top-flight might not suit Ibrahimovic were dispelled with his well-executed finish to follow a goal at Wembley last week.

It was his third goal in total for his new club after scoring on his first appearance in a United shirt in a friendly against Galatasaray as well as the winner in the Community Shield against Leicester.

Mourinho’s oldest signing of the summer could turn out to be his shrewdest.

How did the new players perform?

Bournemouth:

Jordon Ibe – Bournemouth’s club-record £15m signing from Liverpool looked a threat coming in off the right and driving through the middle. He also had a goal-bound shot blocked after twisting and turning inside the United area.

Lewis Cook – The 19-year-old midfield signing from Leeds United did not lack confidence and showed enough promise to suggest he could be a success in the Premier League.

Manchester United:

Eric Bailly – Solid league debut and made his presence felt very early on with a no-nonsense challenge on Joshua King.

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Mourinho ‘very happy’ with win at Bournemouth

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Took a while to get going but, when he did, the former Paris St-Germain striker made an impact. Ibrahimovic was not afraid to go in where it hurts and was involved in an early clash of heads with Simon Francis while attempting to connect with Antonio Valencia’s cross.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – Came on for the final 15 minutes with the points in the bag. Replaced Juan Mata, who surprisingly started in place of the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder.

More signings for Bournemouth?

Eddie Howe has been one of the busiest top-flight managers in the transfer market this summer, having brought in six major signings.

And while the Cherries made it hard for United in the first half before Francis’ error, they were exposed by ruthless opponents after the break.

There is still work for Howe to do on his team and his next addition looks like being Marc Wilson, the Stoke City defender, for £2m.

Bournemouth conceded 67 goals last season – more than relegated Newcastle – and they needed Boruc at his best to keep United from a more handsome win.

That needs addressing if Bournemouth, who scored when Smith found the top corner from 16 yards, are to stay out of the bottom three this season.

What they said:

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe: “It was an even game until the first goal. You can’t give Manchester United goals which we did.

“Credit to our boys. We kept fighting away and got the goal back and ended the game very strongly.

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Bournemouth boss Howe bemoans first United goal

“I thought Jordon [Ibe] did well in flashes and showed what he is going to bring to us. He is a really exciting talent and there is more to come from him.”

The game in numbers

8: Only Alan Shearer and Frank Lampard (8) have scored more opening day Premier League goals than Wayne Rooney (7).

1: Juan Mata scored his first Premier League goal under the management of Jose Mourinho (no goals in 13 Premier League games for Chelsea in 2013-14, before leaving for Manchester United).

0: Jose Mourinho has never lost an opening day fixture in the Premier League (W7 D1).

11: Bournemouth have now gone 11 Premier League games without keeping a clean sheet.

What’s next?

Bournemouth look to bounce back when they provide the opposition for West Ham’s first Premier League game at London Stadium on 21 August (16:00 BST). United welcome Southampton to Old Trafford on Friday.(20:00 BST).

Live Text

Match ends, Bournemouth 1, Manchester United 3.

Second Half ends, Bournemouth 1, Manchester United 3.

Attempt saved. Max Gradel (Bournemouth) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt blocked. Adam Smith (Bournemouth) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Benik Afobe.

Corner, Bournemouth. Conceded by David de Gea.

Attempt saved. Andrew Surman (Bournemouth) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Joshua King.

Corner, Bournemouth. Conceded by Marouane Fellaini.

Corner, Bournemouth. Conceded by Marouane Fellaini.

Attempt blocked. Joshua King (Bournemouth) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Charlie Daniels with a cross.

Offside, Manchester United. Ander Herrera tries a through ball, but Memphis Depay is caught offside.

Substitution, Manchester United. Memphis Depay replaces Wayne Rooney.

Offside, Manchester United. Ander Herrera tries a through ball, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan is caught offside.

Foul by Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United).

Steve Cook (Bournemouth) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Ander Herrera (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Ander Herrera (Manchester United).

Joshua King (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution, Manchester United. Morgan Schneiderlin replaces Anthony Martial.

Foul by Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United).

Adam Smith (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution, Bournemouth. Max Gradel replaces Lewis Cook.

Foul by Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).

Steve Cook (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United).

Charlie Daniels (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United).

Adam Smith (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Bournemouth. Lewis Cook tries a through ball, but Benik Afobe is caught offside.

Substitution, Manchester United. Henrikh Mkhitaryan replaces Juan Mata.

Offside, Bournemouth. Charlie Daniels tries a through ball, but Benik Afobe is caught offside.

Juan Mata (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Joshua King (Bournemouth).

Goal! Bournemouth 1, Manchester United 3. Adam Smith (Bournemouth) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Lewis Grabban.

Substitution, Bournemouth. Benik Afobe replaces Jordon Ibe.

Substitution, Bournemouth. Lewis Grabban replaces Callum Wilson.

Attempt blocked. Anthony Martial (Manchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Goal! Bournemouth 0, Manchester United 3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Anthony Martial.

Attempt saved. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

Anthony Martial (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Andrew Surman (Bournemouth).

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Hart reacted well to omission – Guardiola

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he has no issue with goalkeeper Joe Hart despite excluding him from his first Premier League starting XI.

Argentina’s Willy Caballero played in goal for City in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Sunderland with Hart on the bench.

Asked how England international Hart, 29, took the news of his omission, Guardiola said: “He reacted well.

“I have a lot of respect for Joe. I know how good a goalkeeper he is, but I decided for Willy.”

The Spaniard, who took over from Manuel Pellegrini in the summer, said: “In the end I have a squad and I decide what I see.

“I have to create a team spirit. It’s not about tactics, it’s not about anything, and I decided today for this line-up.”

Match of the Day pundit Ian Wright believes Hart is the superior keeper but said he has work to do to impress Guardiola.

“It leaves Hart with a lot to think about,” said the former Arsenal striker. “Coming off the Euros and some high-profile mistakes, he has to suck it up, be professional and get himself going again.

“I don’t think Caballero is a better keeper than Joe.”

Guardiola also left fully fit midfielder Yaya Toure and defender Eliaquim Mangala out of his squad. Midfielder Samir Nasri is still not match fit.

He said: “I have no complaints about these names. Yaya trained really good, Samir arrived a little bit overweight but in the last one or two weeks he has been training amazing. I am really impressed with his quality. Mangala, you know better than me how professional he is.”

Joe Hart came on to the pitch at the end of the match to celebrate the win with his team-mates

Argentina striker Sergio Aguero opened the scoring against the Black Cats from the penalty spot before Jermain Defoe equalised in the 71st minute.

Paddy McNair, who recently signed for Sunderland, inadvertently headed into his own net in the 87th minute to give City victory.

Guardiola praised winger Raheem Sterling for his performance. The England winger won the early penalty when he was brought down in the area by Patrick van Aanholt.

“Sterling was amazing. That is what we need. People to play wide and have the quality to go one on one, on the outside, inside, right, left. That is important. He is a fighter,” said Guardiola.

City’s next match is on Tuesday when they play Steaua Bucharest in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier.

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Lineker presents MOTD in pants

Gary Lineker kept his promise and introduced the opening Match of the Day of the new season in his underpants.

Former England captain Lineker, 55, pledged to “do the first MOTD of next season in just my undies” if former club Leicester won the Premier League.

The Foxes went on to win their first top-flight title by 10 points.

“It is a one-off and a sporting miracle that has landed me in my underwear,” said Lineker, who scored 95 goals in 194 appearances for Leicester.

“When I tweeted that silly bet back in December, I categorically knew there was zero chance of Leicester winning the league. Zero chance. It happened but it was magical, it was great.”

Lineker managed to keep a straight face, while MOTD pundits Alan Shearer and Ian Wright giggled in the background, as he opened the programme.

Lineker stayed in his underwear as Shearer and Wright analysed Leicester’s opening-day defeat by Hull. But as the programme moved on to the second match, he told viewers: “Enough of this nonsense – I’m going to get dressed!”

He returned to discuss Manchester City’s game against Sunderland wearing a shirt and trousers.

‘4,000 sit-ups a day for 20 seconds of telly’ – social media reaction

“We’re not laughing at you, we’re laughing with you!” Lineker’s MOTD colleague Alan Shearer posted a message of support on his Instagram account
Fellow BBC Sport presenter Dan Walker questioned whether Gary’s underwear counted as ‘pants’…
…as did former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan.
Manish Bhasin, another Leicester-supporting BBC presenter, compares Lineker’s underwear with the Foxes’ defeat at Hull
Stoke and former England striker Peter Crouch could not believe Lineker managed to stay professional in front of the camera
BBC Sport pundit Kevin Kilbane was surprised Lineker went through with it
Presenter and comedian Danny Baker praised Lineker with the help of a pants-related pun

Lineker tweeted following Leicester’s 2-1 win against then champions Chelsea, a victory which moved the leaders two points clear after 16 games.

And his preparation for Saturday’s Match of the Day did not just include meticulous pre-match research and practising his lines…

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Gary Lineker: “I did the tweet knowing there was zero chance of Leicester winning the league”

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MOTD’s Gary Lineker on pants and Paul Pogba

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