The Premier League is back! Seven sweet matches came our way on Saturday to cure our months-long withdrawls and now we're back in the thick of it. It's important not to read too much into the opening matches -- with the transfer window not yet closed and small sample sizes -- but that doesn't mean nothing stood out (besides our relief to have the league back). Here are five takeaways from the first day:
Getty ImagesStu Forster
Hull City's win was absolutely shocking
It's easy to focus on Leicester losing (we did!), but turn the tables and take a look at Hull City. This is a team whose manager walked away just weeks ago and hasn't made a single signing of note all summer. Things are so bad that the Tigers dressed just 13 senior team players in their Premier League opener against the defending champions and, despite it all, they came away with a 2-1 win. It wasn't entirely undeserved either, as they defended well and were pretty good in front of both goals. Things will probably get worse for Hull -- it's unlikely they play this well with any regularity -- but their win on this day was magnificent.
Getty ImagesAlex Morton
A missed chance for Tottenham
By the end of the season, Spurs' 1-1 draw at Everton won't look bad. The Toffees should be a pretty good team and they'll beat many good teams at Goodison Park, but this wasn't an especially good Everton side. Ashley Williams and Romelu Lukaku both missed the match and despite that, Tottenham looked pretty poor. Their passing through the midfield was dreadful and they were unable to get Christian Eriksen or Harry Kane involved with any regularity, resulting in few good chances until late in the match when Maarten Stekelenburg was phenomenal. It's clear they still don't have a Plan B when Moussa Dembele is out (serving a suspension today and for three more). This was an opportunity to snag all three points for Spurs and instead they couldn't even get the basics right for an hour. Tottenham were winless in their first four last season and still finished third, but they were hoping for a quicker start this time around against a weakened opposition.
Getty ImagesJan Kruger
Nathan Redmond gets off to a quick start
Southampton moved quickly to buy Redmond when Norwich were relegated last season and for good reason. The 22-year-old scored six goals last season and really came into his own as the season went on. Then the Saints moved him from the wing to a more central role in the preseason and he looked more dangerous than ever. So it should have been no surprise that he scored on Saturday, but it was more than just his goal -- he was a constant danger. It looks like Southampton may have found themselves (another) steal.
Getty ImagesTom Dulat
People still think formations matter to Pep Guardiola
We've spent more than a decade watching Guardiola manage now so we have a pretty good grasp on how he views things. One thing he has no interest in is traditional formations. Whether his team is playing a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-1-4-1 or 4-3-3 or whatever else is irrelevant. His system doesn't fit any of those and trying to fit them into any of those numerical formations is foolish. Guardiola had City playing with four at the back in defense, but Gael Glichy and Bacary Sagna pushed into the midfield when the Citizens had the ball, with Fernandinho dropping into the back line. Then David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne rushed forward to attack with five. That's a real, functioning and even brilliant system, but it doesn't fit a formation. Guardiola's systems rarely do, so don't bother trying to make them fit.
Getty ImagesStu Forster
Jermain Defoe will score goals forever
Sunderland lost to Manchester City, 2-1, but that one goal was pretty amazing because it was a classic Defoe goal -- lurking around the box, seeing a gap in the back line, slipping in and clinically finishing. The striker is 33 years old now and made his Premier League debut 16 years ago, but he's still scoring goals. He bagged 15 last season to help keep Sunderland up and got another this year. There's no doubt that he's limited as a player, but it's crazy that someone who has proven for more than a decade that he can find the back of the net is still often overlooked. He won't be overlooked at Sunderland, though, because he might the man who keeps them from relegation yet again.