Manchester City began their Premier League title defence in style with a 5-0 thrashing of West Ham, while Watford and Southampton suffered shock defeats to Brighton and Hove Albion and Burnley respectively.

West Ham United 0-5 Manchester City

Fresh from their win in the Community Shield a week ago, Pep Guardiola’s side put the Hammers to the sword in a ruthless second half display.

The hosts were well in the game at half-time as a Gabriel Jesus goal was the only thing separating the two teams, but it was all one way traffic after that.

Raheem Sterling doubled the lead six minutes into the second half as Kevin De Bruyne ran through a passive West Ham midfield, before adding a third 15 minutes from time after he had been denied an assist to Jesus after VAR had ruled him offside.

Sergio Aguero soon added to the lead from the penalty spot after VAR again intervened, allowing him to retake his spot kick that was saved due to Declan Rice encroaching in the area.

Sterling completed an opening day hat-trick in added time, sliding the ball into the bottom right corner when played one on one with Lukasz Fabianski.

Bournemouth 1-1 Sheffield United

Bournemouth played host to Sheffield United’s return to the top flight in a host of simultaneous later kick-offs, looking to emulate the strong start they made to the last campaign.

After quite a drab opening half, Chris Mepham brought the game to life just after the hour mark, smashing in a loose ball from close range after Callum Wilson had drawn a save out of Dean Henderson.

The Blades set about chasing the game and thrust on record-signing Oliver McBurnie and local hero Billy Sharp in the hope of scoring an equaliser, and the latter did just that.

McBurnie failed to connect on a shot from a cutback that was ultimately turned in by Sharp, the leading goal scorer in English league football this century.

Burnley 3-0 Southampton

Keeping with the theme of lively second halves, Burnley swept aside Southampton thanks to a rampant second period at Turf Moor.

Ashley Barnes scored two fantastic strikes within seven minutes of each other after Chris Wood had a goal disallowed in the first half.

The Austrian took advantage of some slack Saints defending to find the ball in the box and powerfully strike past Angus Gunn.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson added the pick of the bunch soon after, ending a brilliant solo run down the right-hand side with a superb finish into the far corner.

Crystal Palace 0-0 Everton

After all of their transfer window spending, Everton failed to earn their first win of the season in a disappointing 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Gylfi Sigurdsson spurned a glorious opportunity in the box in the opening stages before Richarlison came close with a left-footed strike from outside the area in a dominant first period for the visitors.

Wilfried Zaha looked to change the game off the bench after his transfer to Everton failed to materialise, but Marco Silva’s Toffees ultimately went home frustrated after registering 65% of possession 10 shots on goal to Palace’s six.

Watford 0-3 Brighton and Hove Albion

Many people’s tip to be on the way to the Championship, Brighton gave Graham Potter the perfect welcome to the club with a comprehensive victory over top half hopefuls Watford.

The Hornets failed to create meaningful chances in the opening 45 minute and were behind to an Abdoulaye Doucoure own goal just before the half hour mark.

Gerard Deulofeu was hauled off at half time for Roberto Pereyra, but it was Brighton’s second half substitutes that made the difference.

Florin Andone doubled the Seagulls’ lead with his first touch off the bench, a deft finish at the front post before the man who came on with him christened his Brighton debut.

Neal Maupay latched onto a delightful defence-splitting pass from Lewis Dunk before rounding Ben Foster and rolling his first goal for the club into an empty net.

Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Aston Villa

Aston Villa marched back into the Premier League after a three season absence, taking on Champions League runners-up Tottenham Hotspur.

It was the man that scored the goal that clinched promotion for the Villains who opened their Premier League account within the first 10 minutes, controlling a long ball from Tyrone Mings before sliding a wonderful finish past Hugo Lloris into the bottom right corner.

Tottenham were lacklustre and struggled to string together consistently positive pieces of play until Christian Eriksen’s introduction in the 64th minute altered their shape.

Within 10 minutes of that change, new record signing Tanguy Ndombele scored a stunning first Tottenham goal, striking from range to beat Tom Heaton.

Captain Harry Kane then took over in the final five minutes, scoring two typically opportunistic yet high quality goals to ensure the Lilywhites began the new campaign with a win.

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Nick Hughes
nick.hughesy6@gmail.com

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