While trying to explain what he acknowledged were two very cheap goals, Wenger pointed to West Ham being further advanced in its preparation for the season. After all, Slaven Bilic’s side had already played three rounds of Europa League m88 football.
Looked at dispassionately, losing the first of 38 games means nothing.
But it’s just too tempting.
Given Courtois’ automatic suspension, Chelsea fans will have left Stamford Bridge on Saturday with even longer faces and even bigger regrets after Petr Cech was allowed to move to Arsenal.
Wenger was factually correct. And the extent to which it is already playing mind games can be gauged from the comments made afterward by defender Per Mertesacker.
More important is the fact that Sunday’s defeat already puts Arsenal under an unwelcome degree of pressure ahead of this weekend’s game against Crystal Palace.
It may not have been a slick performance, and there was more sideways passing than is usually welcomed by the Old Trafford faithful, but United looked a very sharp unit at times.
And Aston Villa probably won’t either, for that matter.
And it promises to be a tight game. Though Chelsea lacked the rhythm that will come as the season progresses, Jose Mourinho’s side still showed plenty of power and attacking intent against Swansea – particularly whenever Willian or Eden Hazard were on the ball.
With four new signings in the starting lineup and a fifth – Bastian Schweinsteiger – coming on in the second half, United should have looked pretty disjointed in the middle and vulnerable at the back against Tottenham.
With a nervous Manchester United needing an own goal by Kyle Walker to beat Tottenham, Manchester City was by far the most convincing of English football’s Big Four with its 3-0 win at West Bromwich Albion.
LONDON (AP) It is, of course, much too early to try to read something into the first round of matches in a Premier League season that has another 37 games and more than eight months to run.
. But whether taking on the likes of Birkirkara from the Maltese Premier League and Astra Giurgiu of Romania counts as preparation for facing one of the best sides in Europe is a moot point.
It’s a far cry from the relative optimism that Louis van Gaal’s new-look United should be taking to Aston Villa in the first of the season’s Friday night fixtures.
Arsenal had a good domestic season in 2014-15, finishing third in the league and winning a second consecutive FA Cup. The major disappointment came from a poor start – with just two wins from the opening eight league games – that effectively dashed any realistic hopes of winning the title.
Add the 49 million pounds ($76 million) paid to Liverpool for Raheem Sterling and the goalscoring talent of Sergio Aguero, and it’s not difficult to see the potential for a third league trophy in five seasons.
Right back Matteo Darmian and defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin both made promising debuts, although it’s open to question whether Wayne Rooney is best used as a target man, rather than as a marauding No. 10.
Or of an early title claim when Chelsea coming visiting on Sunday.
For a man who makes very few mistakes in a season, two blunders after less than an hour is certainly a worrying start, and was enough to consign Arsene Wenger’s side to an embarrassing 2-0 home defeat to West Ham.
Especially as some of the surprises in an entertaining start will clearly have an impact on the coming weekend’s action – at least for Chelsea and Arsenal.
Yet Mertesacker went so far as to describe Sunday’s upset as ”a massive loss”, adding that ”to start with a game like that is not good, but to bounce back is even more important now.”
New signing Asmir Begovic, whose first touch was to pick the ball out of the Chelsea net after Gomis had converted the resulting penalty, should make his full debut for the champions at Etihad Stadium.
Neither was the case.
About 24 hours later, those opinions may have been revised with the 33-year-old’s calamitous league debut for his new club.
The Blues now face one of their toughest games of the season – at Manchester City – without goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, following the Belgian’s rash decision to clatter into Bafetimbi Gomis during its 2-2 home draw with Swansea.
When players like Yaya Toure, who scored twice at the Hawthorns, and David Silva are on the kind of form they showed Monday night, the 2012 and 2014 champions are an astonishingly good side.
Signing another striker, and resolving the future of goalkeeper and Real Madrid target David De Gea, would certainly do United no harm in the days ahead.
So Sunday turned into precisely the kind of nightmare that Arsenal had been determined to avoid
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