Eight things we loved at the weekend: Eriksen, Can, Rooney, Asensio, Neymar…
Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli returned with a bang for Tottenham. Emre Can reminded us why we’re not professional footballers. And Wayne Rooney stuck to the narrative. Boy were we glad to see the Premier League back.
England’s top flight produced one of the most entertaining opening weekends in recent memory with a host of goals, red cards and thrilling encounters.
But we haven’t just focused on the Premier League as we look back at eight things that made us feel safe in the knowledge that the purgatory of summer is now over.
Dele Alli may have been the centre of attention at St James’ Park with a goal and a role in Jonjo Shelvey’s red card, but another Spurs maestro was at his brilliant best in Christian Eriksen.
The Denmark midfielder created both goals in Spurs’ 2-0 win, meaning he has assisted more Premier League goals (30) than any other player since the start of the 2015-16 season.
And the icing on the cake was undoubtedly this moment…
Dele Alli has scored 13 Premier League goals in 2017; among English players, only Harry Kane (21) has scored more.
Liverpool’s 3-3 draw at Watford was brilliantly mental. Six goals. Little defending. A penalty. A stoppage-time equaliser. Just glorious. More of that, please.
But shout out to Can, who produced the few moments of calm at Vicarage Road, in a moment just as entertaining as the absurdity of the rest of the fixture.
Statistics in football are a great thing, especially when they are interesting but pretty much pointless. These are our favourites from the weekend, courtesy of our friends at Opta:
– Sadio Mane has scored with his first shot on target in the Premier League in both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.
– This is the first time that the reigning champions have suffered a defeat on matchday one in successive top-flight seasons since 1968 (Man Utd 1967/68 & Man City 1968/69).
– Only one of the eight Dutchmen to manage in the Premier League has won their first game in the competition (Guus Hiddink).
– With Ahmed Hegazi’s goal added to Mohamed Salah’s strike for Liverpool earlier in the day, it was the first time in the Premier League that two Egyptians have scored on the same day in the competition since November 1, 2008 (Mido & Amir Zaki).
A goal and an assist on his debut against Guingamp. That world record fee is already starting to pay itself back, eh?
Wayne Rooney made the perfect start to life back at Everton with the winning goal against Stoke, and the occasion signified a number of landmarks in Premier League history.
– The returning hero set a new Premier League record for the longest gap between two appearances for the same team (4837 days between Everton apps), likewise a new record for the longest gap between goals for the same club (4869 days days between Everton goals).
– Thanks to his second-half header, no player has scored more Premier League goals on the opening day than Rooney (8 – level with Alan Shearer & Frank Lampard).
– The 31-year-old’s goal was his 300th goal involvement in the Premier League (199 goals, 101 assists); only Alan Shearer (324) has more.
Without sticking solely to the big leagues, it’s only right we lavish praise on Fleetwood Town goalkeeper Alex Cairns’ remarkable triple save in their 1-0 win at Northampton. Outstanding work.
⛔ ⛔ ⛔
— EFL (@EFL) August 14, 2017
Marco Asensio has now scored on his Real Madrid debut in the UEFA Super Cup, Champions League, Copa Del Rey, La Liga, Champions League final and now the Spanish Super Cup thanks to this stunner against Barcelona.
He’s still only 21. When we were 21… actually, never mind…