The Weekend Hero
Daniel Sturridge. Despite buying up a sizeable chunk of Southampton’s best players, Liverpool struggled against the Saints. Thanks to Simon Mignolet, the woodwork and Shane Long making his £12 million price tag look like about £11.5 million too much, the Reds weathered the storm and it was left to Sturridge to flick home a winner that kept most accumulators that didn’t involve Manchester United alive.
Top of the Flops
It can only be the aforementioned Manchester United. Good in defence, industrious in midfield and exciting in attack – they were none of these things and managed to make Ashley Williams look like Bobby Moore. At odds of 1/3, they were the shortest price team not to deliver and blow countless accas to smithereens. The dickheads.
1 – Manchester United have lost on the opening day at home for the first time since 1972/73 (2-1 to Ipswich Town). Rare.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 16, 2014
One To Watch
West Ham. Played against 10 men for much of the game against Tottenham and still showed all the killer instinct of a snoozing dolphin. They even missed a penalty. Big Sam was aware he needed to increase their goalscoring prowess and the early evidence is it’s gone as well as a team paying big money for Andy Carroll. It’s Crystal Palace away next week. That’s not the most intimidating of fixtures, but with player after player whiffing some great chances, it’s hard to see where the goals will come from and Palace weren’t to shabby against Arsenal.
An honourable mention to Scunthorpe who lost 4-0 at home to Preston and, after two League One games, are bottom of the table with a goal difference of -6. High flying Fleetwood visit during the week and will be smugly confident of victory.
Obligatory Manager Under Pressure
United aren’t likely to push the panic button until at least 2015, but it can only be Louis van Gaal. Some encouraging pre-season results whipped fans into a hugely over-optimistic frenzy about the alleged Dutch managerial genius, but once again, friendly results proved to be as robust as a promise from Vladimir Putin. A bold selection and formation could only produce a limp performance and Swansea didn’t even need to be especially outstanding to claim their second 2-1 win at Old Trafford of 2014. David Moyes may have set a low bar, but Louis has yet to hurdle over it.
Get Him On The Plane!
Your hotshot flash in the pan youngster of the week is Saido Berahino who got two goals in West Brom’s draw at home to Sunderland. Yeah one was a penalty and the other was fairly orthodox, but England had to pretend Danny Welbeck was a serious goal threat at the World Cup, so clearly reliable English goalscorers are about as common as an enjoyable Justin Beiber song. Four shots, three on target and two goals says it all. Throw in an 82 per cent pass accuracy and suddenly England have a striker who can keep the ball and score goals. Roy, get on the phone!