What a start...

Published: Monday, 14 August 2017

What a start. What a cracking weekend. The next 37 rounds probably won't be as good, but let's celebrate as good an opening weekend as I can remember.

We're very lucky in our part of the world because we see ALL the games 'live' ALL the time on beINSports.  Before I talk about the games let me compliment our officials. To a man I thought they were terrific. Craig Pawson had a really good day at Stamford Bridge, although I did think the second yellow for Fabragas should've been red. It was a shocking challenge. But Craig made big calls all day.

Antony Taylor and his team got all the big calls correct at Watford. What a good decision they made on the pen - no panic, Taylor waited, gave himself thinking time, obviously spoke with his assistant, they were spot on. Bearing in mind the direction that the ball travelled after Gomes' challenge it would've been easy to get that one wrong. So who needs VAR? Oh, there was another cock up with the system - this time in Belgium. Please, let's think long and hard before we rush headlong into this.


So to the football. I thought United were terrific. Of all the contenders they looked the most likely, although City did a really professional job at Brighton. They weren't 'pretty' but they were effective and there's nothing wrong with that.

At Old Trafford Lukaku looked worth every penny of his fee - but how good was Matic? I saw a line Monday that he was worth 6 points - 3 at Old Trafford and the 3 that Chelsea lost at The Bridge. I agree. What were Chelsea thinking when they sold him to United?

I was disappointed in the Hammers. I said in my last blog that I liked their summer transfer business and I still do - so give Bilic a bit of time eh before we jump all over him? That he's favourite, with Conte, to get the sack first astounds me.

What was his game at The Bridge? I don't care what he says - Conte's team selection was designed to make a point. And I thought the way he dressed was too. By wearing that tracksuit I think he was saying to the hierarchy 'Ok. I'm just the boy in charge of the team. I'll dress like it and behave like it'. I smiled when I saw Mourinho in a shirt and tie - he doesn't miss the chance to make a point either does he?!? Burnley, by the way, were fantastic at Chelsea.

I was delighted for Wayne Rooney. It's no secret that I'm a huge fan. The guy has been phenomenal these past 13 years and as I've said before - I believe there's plenty left in the tank. It wasn't a 'fluid' Everton performance, but, like City, they too were effective. They'll get better.

Eighteen times Liverpool have now conceded from corners during Jurgen Klopp's time in charge at Anfield - the latest two examples came at Watford. Andy Gray has always said - and he did again on beINSports this weekend - he believes Liverpool are always dangerous with the ball - but too easy to punish when they haven't got it. It's a recurring problem and they won't win anything whilst it is. One big plus - the new kit. I love the 'Shankly' red.

I've no idea how they've managed to get into such a mess over Coutinho. They can't possibly not have known that he was on Barcelona's shopping list - so why the public surprise now? The bottom line is they've 'lost' him. If they stick to the stubborn line that he's not going anywhere they keep the individual - but not the player. He'll switch off and the chances are he'll stink the place out. He wants to leave and might never get another chance to join the Catalans. If they don't get him now they'll look elsewhere for Neymar's replacement and Coutinho's chance will have gone. He knows that. If I was Klopp I'd drive him to the airport myself and bank the money. Never mind the tough talk - it's all posturing anyway.

Spurs looked good - but I expect that on the road. It'll be interesting to watch them first time out at Wembley.

I wasn't overly keen on the Friday night start to the season - but what a game. I wonder how many Arsenal fans had got their 'Wenger out' banners unfurled when Leicester were 3-2 up? It was a huge win for the Arsenal manager.

Huddersfield were terrific - but in truth had nothing to beat. Palace were awful. They've gambled on a change of style and Frank de Boer has been charged with delivering it. I still think it's a huge gamble and the Selhurst faithful won't have it if they're continually as bad as they were Saturday.

Brighton knew they had a job and a half on before they lost to City. They made two individual errors and were punished. You can't do that at P Lge level.

We got 31 goals in total and some confident officiating. As a neutral I really enjoyed it. What a start......