LONDON: After Liverpool launched the Premier campaign with Friday’s 4-1 defeat of Norwich so champions Manchester City thumped West Ham and two-goal Harry Kane helped Spurs escape to victory over Aston Villa.
Gabriel Jesus struck in the first half and Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score a penalty in a thumping 5-0 win for Manchester City. The champions thus claimed the initial table advantage on goal difference.
However, City were denied another after a goal was disallowed by VAR for the first time in the Premier League, when Sterling was ruled offside by a matter of millimetres after Gabriel Jesus put the ball into the net.
Then VAR ruled Aguero’s spot-kick, initially saved by Lukasz Fabianski, should be retaken as Declan Rice had encroached into the penalty area. The Argentinian did not make the same mistake twice after having missed his previous three spot-kicks.
West Ham had played some slick football for the opening 25 minutes, but still found themselves on the end of another hiding – in five visits to the London Stadium, City have scored 22 and conceded once and have won by at least four goals in all their last four visits.
City manager Pep Guardiola: “You have to be mentally strong with VAR because we were winning 3-0 and then it is only 2-0 which is very different.”
Alan Shearer, on BBC’s Match of the Day, said: “Three times it was used and they were all correct. Last year I thought it wasn’t being used properly but the way they’re using it this season it should be a success. They’re setting a high bar for VAR involvement and it should work and it will improve the game.”
Graham Potter’s new-look Brighton recorded their first win in five trips to Vicarage Road with a comfortable 3-0 win over Watford.
In Potter’s first competitive game in charge of Albion, his side took the lead in the 29th minute after a ball across the box from Pascal Gross was turned into his own net by Abdoulaye Doucoure.
As Watford looked for the equaliser in the second half, Brighton struck again with substitute Florian Andone (65) firing home with his first touch of the ball after coming on just one minute previously.
The three points were sealed when fellow debutant Neal Maupay expertly rounded Ben Foster in the Watford net before tapping home in the 77th minute.
Watford’s impressive record on the opening day, having avoided defeat on the first match of each of the last 12 seasons, was brought to an end by Albion who recorded their first win at Vicarage Road in five attempts.
Harry Kane finally broke his duck at Tottenham’s new stadium as his late double earned a 3-1 win over Aston Villa that looked in doubt for a long time.
Kane had gone three games without troubling the scorers at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but he put that right with two goals in four minutes to seal the three points in what was a curious early evening in north London.
Spurs looked like starting the new Premier League campaign with a defeat after John McGinn’s early opener gave Villa a dream start to life back in the big time.
Tanguy Ndombele showed just why Tottenham broke their transfer record to bring him to the club with a fine leveller 17 minutes from time before Kane stole the headlines with two clinical finishes that masked a match that provided more questions than answers.
Although Kane and Ndombele were the goalscorers it was the introduction off the bench of Christian Eriksen that turned the game, with Mauricio Pochettino choosing not to start the Denmark midfielder as his future at the club remains uncertain.
Burnley scored three goals in 12 second-half minutes to get their Premier League season off to a flying start with a 3-0 victory over Southampton at Turf Moor.
The Clarets, who struggled to recover from a poor start to the last campaign, did not have a shot on target until Ashley Barnes netted the opener in the 63rd minute.
He then scored again with their second seven minutes later, with new signing Erik Pieters the creator on both occasions, and Johann Berg Gudmundsson grabbed the third in the 75th minute.
Substitute Billy Sharp claimed a dramatic late equaliser as promoted Sheffield United marked their Premier League return by securing a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth.
Chris Wilder’s visitors, back in the top flight for the first time since 2007, looked set to leave the Vitality Stadium empty-handed after defender Chris Mepham’s first Cherries goal.
With time ticking away, the 33-year-old Sharp, who struck 23 goals to help the Blades finish second in the Sky Bet Championship in 2018-19, proved his worth.
A short free-kick on the right was worked to the feet of Oli McBurnie inside the box. The former Swansea forward scuffed his attempt but the ball broke perfectly for Sharp to sweep the ball into the bottom left corner.
A boyhood Blades fan, Sharp had been on the pitch just six minutes and the 88th-minute leveller prompted wild celebrations among the sold-out away end and secured a deserved point for Wilder’s men.
Wantaway winger Wilfried Zaha came off the bench for Crystal Palace as they played out a goalless stalemate with his suitors Everton in a Premier League clash at Selhurst Park.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men following Morgan Schneiderlin’s second-half dismissal but created the better chances to secure an opening-day victory – only for both sides to have to settle for a share of the spoils.
The Toffees had targeted Zaha during the transfer window, with the Ivory Coast international reportedly handing in a transfer request in an attempt to push through a move.
Instead deadline day passed and Zaha remained at Palace and came on in the second half as Roy Hodgson looked to pick up three points.
These two shared a goalless draw in south London towards the end of last season and, with Palace never winning an opening day Premier League home game and Everton only tasting victory in two of their past 11 first fixtures, there was an air of inevitability to this result.
Speaking before the game, Hodgson told BBC Sport he “wouldn’t have any hesitation” turning to Zaha off the bench and he did just that with 65 minutes on the clock as the home fans rose to toast their talisman.
Soon after, Everton were reduced to 10 men as Schneiderlin, booked earlier in the second half for a foul on Jordan Ayew, picked up a second yellow card for tripping Eagles skipper Luka Milivojevic.
But Palace, even with Zaha on the pitch, could not make use of their man advantage as the scoring touch continues to elude them in front of their own fans.