LONDON: Arsenal followed up on their Community Shield by claiming the only home win on the opening day of the Premier League campaign.
Earlier north London neighbours Tottenham as well as Aston Villa and Hull City had all followed up on Swansea’s success by winning away from home while promoted Leicester and West Bromwich were held 2-2 at home by Everton and Sunderland respectively.
Arsenal, who missed their German World Cup-winning trio, needed a last-minute, close-range strike from Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey to overcome a Crystal Palace side shocked by Thursday’s sudden departure of manager Tony Pulis.
Palace, against the run of play in north London, took an early lead through summer signing Brede Hangeland but Laurent Koscielny equalised on the stroke of half-time. Koscielny also provided a decisive header in the move which brought Ramsey’s late winner.
By that time luckless Palace had been reduced to 10 men by the expulsion moments earlier of Jason Puncheon after a second yellow card, thus facilitating Arsenal’s first opening day Premier League win since 2009.
Mauricio Pochettino’s first game in charge of Tottenham proved memorable in all sorts of ways in the London derby at West Ham. The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 29th minute when Naughton was sent off for handling a Kevin Nolan shot in the box but Mark Noble fired the penalty wide.
Hammers were also reduced to 10 men in the 63rd minute when James Collins was issued his second yellow card, and things grew worse for the hosts when Harry Kane sent Dier clear to snatch the winner in added time.
Andreas Weimann hinted at brighter times ahead for Aston Villa as his 50th minute drive sealed a 1-0 win over Stoke at the Britannia Stadium. Villa were on top for long periods of the game and could have increased their winning margin with chances for Charles N’Zogbia and Leandro Bacuna.
Hull keeper Allan McGregor saved a late Charlie Austin penalty as the Tigers hung on for a 1-0 win at QPR.
James Chester put the visitors in front with a diving header in the 52nd minute but his 83rd handball gave the home side their spot-kick chance, only for Austin to see his weak kick well saved.
Alan Irvine looked set for a debut win in charge of West Bromwich before a late strike from Sebastian Larsson salvaged a point for Sunderland in a feisty 2-2 draw.
Lee Cattermole’s thunderous early opener was cancelled out by a Saido Berahino penalty and the Baggies striker put his side in front with a close-range volley in the 74th minute.
But Gus Poyet’s men refused to accept defeat and grabbed a point when the impressive Patrick van Aanholt crossed from the left and set up Larsson to stroke home the equaliser.
Substitute Chris Wood gave Leicester something to celebrate on their return to the top-flight as his 86th minute effort sealed a 2-2 draw with Everton.
Aiden McGeady curled the visitors in front on 20 minutes only for Leonardo Ulloa, the Foxes’ recent capture from Brighton, to equalise almost immediately.
Steven Naismith fired back in front on the stroke of half-time but Wood was on hand to hit the leveller past Tim Howard after impressive work from Riyad Mahrez.