Hot & Cold: Man City and Liverpool send out a warning shot
The 2019/20 season may only be one weekend old, but there are already plenty of intriguing plot-lines cooking up nicely in the Premier League.
It’s time to look back at the latest football action and more in this week’s Hot and Cold.
MAN CITY AND LIVERPOOL
Anybody outside of the top two hoping last season’s pacesetters would show any signs of complacency will have been left sorely disappointed this weekend. Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp will both be happy with their sides’ opening accounts for the season. Despite big wins, there’s a sense both sides can both comfortably move up another gear once pre-season rustiness is ironed out.
A perfect debut outing for the new Brighton boss. Hotly-tipped for relegation by many pundits after ruthlessly disposing with the popular Chris Hughton at the end of last season, the Seagulls looked a team transformed in their opening-day win at Watford. Woeful away form was one of the principle reasons behind Hughton’s departure. Brighton fans will be hoping Potter’s positivity continues to cure their travel sickness.
The fairy-tale story of Premier League opening weekend. After an incredible Football League career, Sheffield born-and-bred Sharp finally got off the mark in the top-flight as he snatched United an equaliser away at Bournemouth. The 33-year-old had a short-lived stint with Southampton in the Premier League back in 2012, but a goal on his second Premier League debut with his hometown club surely caps off his distinguished career.
It might have been just a point, but a draw against Coventry allowed beleaguered Bolton fans to enjoy a small moment of pride after a difficult few months. A makeshift squad of youth-teamers scrapped their way to a 0-0 draw to get the Trotters off the mark for the season. Due to their ongoing off-field problems, boss Phil Parkinson had to field a team entirely lacking in senior players. A starting XI with an average age of just 19 managed to keep an experienced Coventry side at bay in front of 8,900 loyal Bolton fans.
England coach Jones has a satisfying selection headache to contemplate ahead of his Rugby World Cup team announcement after his charges ended Wales’ 14-match unbeaten run with a convincing 33-19 victory at Twickenham. That performance has prompted Jones to make some last-minute tweaks to his 31-man squad for Tokyo, with shock call-ups for the inexperienced pair of Lewis Ludlam and Ruaridh McConnochie.
Welcome to Premier League management, Frank. The rookie Blues boss received a rude awakening on his top-flight dugout debut. An early mistake from Kurt Zouma in giving away a penalty shifted the momentum completely in Man Utd’s favour following a bright start from the Blues. Given their restrictions in the summer transfer window, Lampard’s job looked hard enough before a ball is kicked. His Chelsea side will need to cut out the self-inflicted errors if Champions League football is going to be a realistic target this season.
Could the Hornets’ opening day humbling be a sign of things to come at Vicarage Road? Last season’s impressive run all the way to the FA Cup Final arguably papered over some cracks, with Watford’s form and clean sheet tally tailing off significantly by the end of the 2018/19 campaign. Javi Gracia’s side have now lost three consecutive home league games for the first time since December 2013. It’s too soon to panic, but could Watford be this season’s surprise struggler?
It’s here to stay so there’s little point in complaining. However, VAR looks set to continue to infuriate or impress depending on your standpoint. One thing’s for sure – it failed to cut down on the controversy, with Brighton surviving a penalty appeal that looked contentious and Wolves denied a second-half winner against Leicester. Time to introduce a challenge system to bring the use of the technology in line with other sports?
The American is fast becoming the least popular man on the tour as a result of his controversial slow play antics. DeChambeau took over two minutes to hit a 70-yard chip at the at the Northern Trust tournament, prompting calls from other golfers for the PGA to review their pace-of-play policy. Brooks Koepka and Eddie Pepperell are among the golfers unlikely to be adding the 25-year-old to their Christmas card list after leading the charge against DeChambeau’s delaying tactics.
GREAT BRITAIN 4x400m RELAY TEAM
In a scene straight out of a 90s sitcom, Great Britain’s European Athletics team somehow managed to register the wrong athlete for the men’s 4x400m relay – resulting in disqualification. Reserve shot putter Youcef Zatat was registered in place of sprinter Rabah Yousif – despite being thousands of miles away from the event in Poland. Britain finished fifth in the overall standings despite not taking part in the race. The twist? They would have likely finished in that position anyway even if Zatat had turned up with his running spikes. A missed opportunity for the shot-putter.
Browse the latest Premier League odds with Marathonbet
18+ | begambleaware.org
Follow us and tweet @Marathonbet