Aaaah… It feels good, doesn’t it? Finally, weekends are whole again. The Premier League is back and even by its own lofty standards, that was a crazy first round of fixtures. Friday night’s opener and the Midday game on Saturday produced an impressive 13 goals between them and set us up for an amazing weekend of goals, shocks, red cards and all manner of high octane action.
And the question a lot of people were asking before Friday night was this: How will the newbies get on? Whether it be the three newly-promoted teams or the Gawd-knows-how-many new debutants making their bows. Well, we thought we’d picked out five of the latter and analyse their performances for you.
Here’s how five of the Premier League’s biggest new signings performed in their first game for their new club…
When Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United lost Zlatan and Rooney over the summer, a big forward was needed. And the Red Devils wasted no time in getting one. And ‘big’ he most certainly is. Everton’s goal machine Romelu Lukaku was recruited. Tall, broad and an impressive name, plenty is expected of him.
His pre-season was decent, but none of that matters when the real games kick off. United fans know the Belgian’s pedigree, but they’ve seen a fair few stars fail to shine up front for them over the years. All eyes were on Lukaku on his Premier League debut in a red shirt and he more than delivered the goods. Pace, power and a goal in each half hint at a stellar career ahead at Old Trafford for the ex-Chelsea man.
In fact, Lukaku can consider himself unlucky not to have gone home with the match ball. But still… Two goals against West Ham’s on-loan City ‘keeper Joe Hart in a 4-0 opening day thumping? That’s a pretty good way to introduce yourself to United fans.
There are dream starts and there are dream starts. And Arsenal’s new £52m signing from Lyon, Alexandre Lacazette had a dream start… Every striker wants to score on his debut. Especially when his bow comes in the first game of the new season, in front of millions. But very few get to do it in under two minutes!
The Frenchman’s brilliantly-timed glancing header sailed past Leicester City ‘keeper Kasper Schmeichel after just 94 seconds on Friday night. The new arrival celebrated his opening goal by casually strutting over to Gunners fans with his arms outstretched wide saying, ‘I’m here.’
Pretty cool, eh?
With Diego Costa all but departed, a heavy burden weighs down on new sort Alvaro Morata. He’s got some pretty big – and probably quite smelly – boots to fill. He’s being eased into life in the Premier League and didn’t start the game against Burnley on Saturday. But after Antonio Conte rather staggeringly found himself 3-0 down at half time at home to the Clarets, he had little choice but to bring Morata on. Albeit not until the hour mark.
Morata’s impact was immediate. True, the Blues stiull ended up losing the game 3-2, but the former Real Madrid and Juventus man wasted no time, scoring and setting up goals in quick succession. It set up a tense final few minutes. Had he have come on at half time, maybe he could have changed the game even more…
23 year-old Portuguese international Bernando Silva arrived at the Etihad from high-flying Monaco a few months ago to, well, not as much fanfare as a £43m signing might expect. It’s not that City fans aren’t keen to see the exciting midfielder play for them. It’s more that when you spend almost £250m on players in one summer, it can all get a bit blurry.
Silva shone at The AMEX Stadium on Saturday. David Silva, that is. Bernando (no relation) had to make do with a late substitute appearance. Such is the strength in depth of City’s squad that they can afford to leave £43m players on the bench. When he came on, with less than ten minutes to play, Silva showed some class but didn’t really have much time to impress.
Liverpool are fun to watch. They were last season and they look to be again this year. Most Reds fans would rather substitute a little of that fun for some defensive security, but there’s not much that their summer signing Mohamed Salah can do about that. The forward, bought from Roma over the summer, impressed very few during his time at Chelsea, but stood out as Serie A’s player of the year in 2016/17.
Like a couple of other players in this list, the man netted in his first game for his new club. But it wouldn’t bag Liverpool the three points. Defensive frailties and some great work from the hosts denied Salah and the visiting fans the win. But a goal and assist is a top start for the Egyptian who could well make his mark in England at the second time of asking.
We can only imagine what else is to come from these footballing masters. The only way to find out? Head down to your nearest Rileys at the weekend and watch some more pulsating Premier League games!