Last evening saw the return of the much anticipated the Premier League! The excitement could be seen all over social media with fans and experts curious how’ project restart’ will turn out. Casing point of the new normal including the fitness of players or lack of, no fans, face masks, return of VAR, social distancing and of coarse the artificial fan noise…but well lets start from the first game which saw Aston Villa take on Sheffield United.
The game kicked off with players of both teams together with the officials taking the knee for 10 seconds in support of the black lives matter movement. Anticipating how teams are going to play without fans, well come in the artificial fan noise! An interesting addition to create a fan atmosphere for both players and fans around the world. The game got under way in this new environment where Sheffield United were the victims of a serious first-half injustice when Villa keeper Orjan Nyland fell behind his goal line clutching Oliver Norwood’s free-kick in the 41st minute, only for referee’s watch to fail to signal goal. Villa were the better side, they created more chances forcing some good saves from Dean Henderson. The match ended 0-0.
Sadly, a failure of technology meant a serious injustice was done on the Premier League’s big comeback night.
Then the most anticipated game of the evening- Manchester City vs Arsenal saw City beat Arsenal 3-0 in a game that had quality, errors and injuries all in one. Both managers had surprising picks in their starting 11 with Arteta opting for a more younger side, introducing center back Mari with Toreira and Ozil missing even on the bench. On the other side Pep started Jesus with Aguero on the bench. With great quality in both sides the first 10 minutes was end to end then Granit Xhaka was stretched off with an injury replaced with Cabellos. 10 minutes later it got from bad to worse for Arsenal when Mari was also stretched off with an injury replaced with David Luiz.
In the stroke of half time Raheem Sterling scored the first goal of the Premier League return courtesy of a David Luiz’ error while trying to clear the ball. The Brazilian was at fault again in the second half when Riyad Mahrez got the wrong side of Luiz as he burst into the box and the ex-Chelsea defender put his hand on the Algerian’s back. Referee Anthony Taylor ruled he had pushed him to the ground, awarding a penalty and sending off Luiz. It was indeed a bad day at the office for Luiz to say the least.
Kevin De Bruyne converted. As the game neared the end there was a moment of worry when defender Eric Garcia was carried off in a stretcher after a collision with Ederson. City wrapped up the win in stoppage time when Sergio Aguero hit the post, after a neat exchange with Sterling, and substitute Phil Foden slotted home the loose ball. City were the better side. Pep’s men looked like they had not missed a beat!
Well the Premier League is back and Peter Drury is also back!!