Cleat Geeks

Five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

Bilic’s gamble pays off

Just three days before West Ham’s opening game of the new Premier League season new Hammers boss Slaven Bilic was criticised for selecting a weakened team a Europa League qualifier in Romania.

The game against Astra Giurgiu ended in defeat which saw West Ham eliminated from the competition, but just three days later Bilic was vindicated as his first choice side earned an impressive 2-0 win away to Arsenal. oxford

The Croatian manager made 11 changes to the side that lost on Thursday for the London derby, including a first Premier League start for 16 year-old Reece Oxford, who was assured throughout and received rave reviews from the media.

Goals from Cheikhou Kouyate and Mauro Zarate won the points for West Ham, who made the perfect start to the  season.

I don’t need a doctor

Jose Mourinho criticized club doctor Eva Carneiro for entering the field to attend to the injured Eden Hazard during Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Swansea on Saturday.

The reigning champions were already down to 10 men after the sending off of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois when the Maltese-born medic rushed to the aid of the stricken Belgium international.

League rules state that if a player is treated on the pitch they must leave the field of play and wait to be waved back on by the referee. This reduced the Blues to nine men at a time when they had to defend a Swansea free kick.

“I was unhappy with my medical staff. They were impulsive and naive,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.

However, Carneiro has received widespread backing following the incident, to which she replied via Facebook: ‘I would like to thank the general public for their overwhelming support,’ she wrote. ‘Really very much appreciated.’

Coutinho shows class

Phillippe Coutinho blasted Liverpool to victory over Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday with the game petering out into a dull stalemate. coutinhoo

Just four minutes remained when the Brazil international unleashed a long range piledriver beyond goalkeeper Jack Butland to give the Reds a winning start to the campaign.

Liverpool just shaded possession in a lackluster encounter but, other than Coutinho’s thunderbolt, managed just two shots on target in the entire 90 minutes.

For manager Brendan Rodgers however, the result was revenge for last season’s 6-1 thrashing at the hands of the Potters on the final day of the campaign. Rodgers said: “To get the win after what happened here last season was even more important. We showed great character and determination as a team and our quality came through.”

New boys struggle

Newly promoted Bournemouth and Norwich City succumbed to opening day defeats while Watford picked up a point away at Everton.

Bournemouth, who play in the league’s smallest stadium, Dean Court, were edged out in front of their home fans 1-0 by Aston Villa. Striker Rudy Gestede came off the bench to head home the winner for the visitors on his debut.

Cherries manager Eddie Howe lamented his side’s wastefulness on their Premier League bow: “First half we were outstanding,” he said. “All that was missing were the goals. We’ve learned what the Premier League is all about, how difficult it’s going to be if you’re not clinical.” jerome

Norwich were beaten 3-1 at home to Crystal Palace on their top flight return, but it could – and should – have been a different story.

Cameron Jerome controversially had a goal ruled out for a high foot for the Canaries when they trailed 2-1, a decision even Palace boss Alan Pardew felt was harsh: “It was tough on Norwich. Anywhere else on the pitch you’d probably give it, so you have to give it there.”

“If it had been us and it was disallowed I would have been disappointed.”

Meanwhile Watford twice led at Goodison Park but had to settle for a 2-2 draw with the Toffees.

City on top

Manchester City made it five opening day wins from the last five attempts with a comprehensive victory over West Brom at the Hawthorns on Monday night.

A double from Yaya Toure and a Vincent Kompany header eased Manuel Pellegrini’s men to a 3-0 win and top spot in the embryonic table.  raheeeeem

$49 million summer signing Raheem Sterling made his league debut for last season’s runners-up as they dominated the hosts to lay down an early marker for the campaign.

Last season’s top two go head to head this Sunday as City entertain the champions at the Etihad Stadium.

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