A look at the stories surrounding week one of the Premiership season

August 19, 2016
By: Danny Pugsley

The build up to last weekends Premiership season opener was interrupted on Friday with the conclusion to two of the summers biggest transfer stories.

Firstly, the long running ‘will he/won’t he’ saga involving Patrick Viera’s move to Real Madrid was concluded when he decided to remain at champions Arsenal, signalling his intention to see out his contract and fulfil his ambitions with the London based side.

Later in the afternoon, Real moved swiftly to counter the blow of failing to land Viera by snapping up Michael Owen from Liverpool for a fee of £8 million.

The Owen transfer was perhaps more surprising as although his contract only had one year remaining before he was a free agent, recent indications were that he and Liverpool would come to terms on at least a short term extension to his current deal. Perhaps in a move to stave off any supporter unrest, ดูบอลสด the Anfield side were quick to state they were left with little choice but to cash in with Owen only a year away from becoming a free agent. Countering this, Owen cited the lack of a firm offer on the table from Liverpool as the reason no extension was signed, announcing that he had just joined ‘the best club in the world’.

It is a bold move that Liverpool have made, and one that leaves them light in attack with no real quality or experience behind the starting due of Djibril Cisse and Milan Baros. Manager Rafael Benitez has used the money received from Owen to sign Spanish midfield duo Antonio Nunez and Xavi Alonso, but for Liverpool to sustain a genuine title challenge they must improve the depth of their attacking options.

It will be interesting to see how Owen fits into the side at Real now, as they have three other world class options in attack with Ronaldo, Raul and Fernando Morientes all in competition with him. However, with the style of football that Real play and the quality service the team provides, it looks a good move for Owen and he will find plenty of opportunity to score goals in Spain. The Viera ‘non move’ was a surprise as he was expected to join Real and several articles appeared over the weekend which suggested that Arsenal had scuppered the deal by holding out for too high a fee for him. As has been proved in the past though, if Real want a player and the player wants to go to Real then the deal invariably happens. His decision took the majority of people by surprise as it looked as though his heart was set on Madrid, but the lure of Arsenal – where he has been for eight years, and the potential this side has for success appears to have swayed him into staying with them.

Viera was not missed on the opening day of the season as Champions Arsenal started the defence of the championship with a 4-1 stroll over Everton. Despite missing several starters they were rarely troubled by an Everton side already facing a long season and are now one game away from equalling the league record of forty-two for games without defeat. The big game of the opening weekend was at Chelsea were Jose Mourinho started his Premiership managerial career well with a 1-0 victory over Manchester United thanks to a goal from Eidur Gudjohnson.

Bolton and Aston Villa were the only other opening weekend victors, with Jay-Jay Okocha ending his season long goal drought with a double in Bolton’s 4-1 demolition of Charlton, and Aston Villa comfortably defeating Southampton 2-0.

Elsewhere, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink scored a disputed late equaliser on his Middlesbrough debut as they drew 2-2 with Newcastle and new boys Norwich and Crystal Palace shared the spoils in a 1-1 tie at Carrow Road.

Results from weekend of August 14/15:

Tottenham 1 Liverpool 1

Aston Villa 2 Southampton 0

Blackburn 1 West Brom 1

Bolton 4 Charlton 1

Manchester City 1 Fulham 1

Norwich 1 Crystal Palace 1

Portsmouth 1 Birmingham 1

Middlesbrough 2 Newcastle 2

Everton 1 Arsenal 4

Chelsea 1 Manchester United 0

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