Heroes and Villains: Coutinho class, Cech hammered on debut
The Premier League was finally back in our lives after a long summer of waiting, and the opening weekend of top-flight action did not disappoint.
Manchester United got the ball rolling with a win over Spurs, but the real thrills and spills came later on Saturday and during Super Sunday.
Here’s who made our Heroes and Villains for the first weekend of the 2015/16 campaign. Do you agree with our selections?
Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho is tipped for a starring role this season at Anfield and he started off in the best possible way, striking a sensational late winner to help Liverpool overcome Stoke City 1-0, with the Reds 14/1 to win the title with Coral.
Coutinho cut in from a wide left position and unleashed a thunderbolt which gave Jack Butland no chance, a sight which is becoming familiar for the Samba star, as he begins his campaign with a trademark goal.
Leicester City appointed former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri as the successor to Nigel Pearson this summer, and he faced a tough task of following the relatively successful figurehead at the King Power Stadium.
Although, the experienced coach wasn’t fazed, as his Foxes side furiously battered a helpless Sunderland 4-2, a scoreline which doesn’t outline the true extent of Leicester’s dominance under their new boss.
Ranieri declared after the outstanding performance that he used rock band Kasabian to inspire his players, telling them to listen to the song ‘Fire’ and to become warriors on the pitch, which seemed to work.
The first Super Sunday of the season brought us the maiden shock result, as a young Reece Oxford helped West Ham United shockingly topple title hopefuls Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates.
Cheikhou Kouyate and Mauro Zarate were the goalscorers, but 16-year-old Hammers midfielder Oxford was incredibly the star of the show on his senior debut in the top tier.
Playing in the vital holding role at such a tender age, the Hammers youngster shone like a seasoned professional, with Slaven Bilic claiming even Lionel Messi wouldn’t faze the promising teenager.
Another debutant in the Premier League, only this time it comes in the form of one of the officials, with referee Simon Hooper having taken charge of his first ever top tier clash between Norwich City and Crystal Palace.
It wasn’t the best of outings, though, with Hooper outrageously disallowing a lovely acrobatic goal from Cameron Jerome, a strike which would have crucially levelled the game with proceedings then at 2-1.
Instead of letting the goal stand, the debuting referee ruled the Canaries effort out for an apparent high-foot, a bizarre decision which ultimately saw the hosts start their return to the top division with a 3-1 defeat.
Former Chelsea stopper Petr Cech arrived at the Emirates this summer as potentially one of the best ever transfer coups which the Gunners have pulled off.
Although, his debut showing between the sticks in North London was possibly one of his worst, getting beat twice by Hammers strikes which seemed relatively simple to contain by his high standards.
Mourinho’s blame game
Swansea City superbly rattled the defending champions Chelsea in the first game of their hopeful domestic crown defence, with Garry Monk’s men securing a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.
However, Jose Mourinho, never one to look towards his own faults or failures, stunningly lashed out his medical staff, claiming they were to blame for only managing an opening day point.
Already down in numbers due to Thibaut Courtois’ earlier red card, club doctor Eva Cameiro proceeded to tend to a seemingly injured Eden Hazard, restricting Chelsea to even less heads on the pitch, something Mourinho blamed for the drop in points.
Despite the stalemate on home soil, the Blues are still 2/1 favourites to retain their Premier League crown this term.