Man United edges Spurs, flying starts for Leicester, Palace
LONDON (AP) Manchester United needed an own goal to start the new Premier League season with a 1-0 victory over Tottenham on Saturday, while Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester beat Sunderland 4-2 and Crystal Palace earned a controversial 3-1 win at Norwich.
There was no fairytale start to Bournemouth’s first ever season in the English top flight, though, as the team slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa at its 11,700-capacity seaside stadium.
Watford, promoted along with Bournemouth at the end of last season, was twice in front against Everton before having to settle for a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.
Chelsea was opening the defense of its league title with a home game against Swansea in the day’s late kickoff.
At Old Trafford, Spurs defender Kyle Walker handed all three points to United by steering the ball into his own net in the 22nd minute as he tried to tackle United captain Wayne Rooney.
It was one of very few chances in a scrappy match which Louis van Gaal’s new-look United started with four pre-season signings.
Sergio Romero was in goal after Van Gaal decided that Real Madrid target David de Gea was not in the right frame of mind to play. Fullback Matteo Darmain, along with midfielders Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay all made convincing debuts and Romero improved after some early signs of nerves.
Another of new United’s new signings, midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, replaced Michael Carrick on the hour mark.
”It was a very difficult game because you have seen two teams that want to press, so every player at the ball had a very small (amount of) time to play,” Van Gaal told BT Sport. ”We didn’t keep the ball too much … but we created a few chances.”
Leicester was the place to go for goals, where former Chelsea coach Ranieri made an ideal start to his return to the Premier League after an 11-year absence.
Jamie Vardy struck first after 11 minutes with a header to the bottom right corner and Riyad Mahrez scored in the 18th and from the penalty spot in the 25th.
Jermain Defoe and Steven Fletcher grabbed second-half goals for Sunderland, while Marc Albrighton got Leicester’s fourth at the King Power Stadium.
If Sunderland was well-beaten on the day, Norwich players were furious after a potential equalizer was disallowed in their home defeat to Palace.
Substitute Cameron Jerome thought he’d made it 2-2 when he stretched his boot up for an acrobatic overhead shot that flew into the net in the 74th – only for referee Simon Hooper to whistle for his foot being too high.
Norwich also appealed for a penalty when Sebastien Bassong was pushed over by Connor Wickham in the area in the 89th.
Given the two setbacks, it was almost predictable that Palace would score again – and new signing Yohan Cabaye netted the Londoners’ third on a counterattack in stoppage time.
Wilfried Zaha and Damien Delaney had given Palace a 2-0 lead before Nathan Redmond pulled one back in the 69th.
Bournemouth’s hopes of a dream start to life in the Premier League were also dashed in the closing stages against Villa.
The much-awaited game at Vitality Stadium was decided by substitute Rudy Gestede’s header in the 72nd for last season’s FA Cup finalists.