In Gary Mabbutt Blog



The first game of this seasons Premier league kicked off on Friday night at Old Trafford. Paul Pogba was the star of the show after he captained the side and scored the opening goal in a win over Leicester City.

Pogba was a surprise starter only four days after his return to training, having won the World Cup with France just under a month ago. The hosts made a flying start at Old Trafford, winning a penalty in the second minute when Daniel Amartey handled Alexis Sanchez’s deflected shot.

Pogba stepped up and, after a typically nonchalant slow run-up, placed the ball in the top-right corner above Kasper Schmeichel. Left-back Luke Shaw then scored the first senior goal of his career after controlling Juan Mata’s aerial pass to double their lead. Substitute Jamie Vardy headed a late consolation for Leicester after Ricardo Perreira’s cross had hit a post, and Foxes goalkeeper Schmeichel came forward for an injury-time corner but his header went wide. It was not a convincing win for United, but they will be delighted to have kicked off the campaign with the three points.

All United fans click here for the highlights – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgtOvfpxLa4


Tottenham opened their Premier League campaign with a victory at Newcastle for the second year running as goalline technology set them on their way. Jan Vertonghen’s early header put Spurs ahead, with technology confirming his effort had crossed the goal line by 9mm.

That advantage was short-lived as the hosts equalised 149 seconds later when Joselu headed in Matt Ritchie’s superb cross after being left unmarked six yards from goal. However Tottenham, fielding several of their World Cup stars including England’s Harry Kane and Dele Alli, grew stronger as the game progressed.

And as Newcastle’s early energy began to wane, Alli put the visitors back in front, timing a back-post to run to perfection to meet Serge Aurier’s cross with a textbook header past home goalkeeper Martin Dubravka. New signings Ki Sung-Yeung, Fabian Schar, Salomon Rondon and Yoshinori Muto all started as substitutes for Rafael Benitez’s team, who threatened to level for the second time after the break.

But Kenedy spurned a glorious opportunity with a poor first touch, Mohamed Diame thrashed a shot against the post and Rondon, on as a substitute, hit the crossbar with a deflected shot. It was the second season in a row that Tottenham had won their opening fixture in the northeast, with Alli scoring on both occasions.

Click here for the highlights – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EYSkH-zFrk


Bournemouth spoiled Cardiff City’s Premier League return with a hard-earned 2-0 victory. The technically superior hosts were quick to dominate possession, pinning their opponents back in their own half for long periods and deservedly taking the lead when Ryan Fraser fired in from close range.

Bournemouth was then awarded a penalty when Callum Wilson was brought down after a tangle with Bruno Ecuele Manga, but the forward’s low spot-kick was well saved by Neil Etheridge. Cardiff roused themselves in the second half with a flurry of chances from set pieces – the best seeing Sean Morrison thwarted a yard out by Asmir Begovic.

But Wilson struck in added time to give Bournemouth a first opening day win since they were promoted to the top flight in 2015.

Click here for the goals – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuG8dLBI9-8


Fulham began their return to the Premier League with a home defeat by Crystal Palace, who matched the new arrivals’ adventurous display with a smart and clinical away performance.

At the end of a half defined by Fulham’s failure to make more from slick passing and movement in attack, Patrick van Aanholt found Jeffrey Schlupp, who smashed home from inside the box amid slack marking from Calum Chambers. Aleksandar Mitrovic had twice been denied by smart Wayne Hennessey stops, with Cyrus Christie also turned away from the range, as seven new faces in the Fulham line-up showed few signs of failing to gel.

But Slavisa Jokanovic’s side, whose squad has been boosted by 12 new signings, were kept at arm’s length as Palace defended strongly and threatened on the break. Wilfried Zaha the Ivory Coast forward finally sealed the win with 11 minutes to play when coolly finishing under the Spanish goalkeeper after latching on to Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s through ball.

Click here for the goals – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybkk7TTzKJM


New Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri warned it could take his new side two months to reach their potential, despite starting the season with a comfortable win at Huddersfield Town. A volley from N’Golo Kante, a penalty from debutant Jorginho and a late third from Pedro gave Sarri’s team the ideal start to their league campaign.

Eden Hazard and Olivier Giroud were among the substitutes after their World Cup involvement. Chelsea opted for a 4-3-3 formation, in contrast to the three centre-halves and wing-backs system used by former boss Antonio Conte. Sarri, who became the club’s 10th full-time manager in 10 years after Conte was sacked in the summer, saw his side take the lead with their first shot on target.

It came in the 34th minute when Kante’s mis-hit strike from Willian’s cross bounced past Huddersfield goalkeeper Ben Hamer. Jorginho followed Sarri from Napoli to Chelsea in the summer and the midfielder doubled the Blues’ lead when he converted a penalty after Christopher Schindler fouled Marcos Alonso.

Pedro sealed a comfortable win with a cool, chipped finish after being played in by substitute Hazard.

Chelsea fans click here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMAya5TRsn4


My good friend Brighton manager Chris Hughton, will have been furious after his side were comfortably beaten by Watford at Vicarage Road. The Hornets’ Argentine midfielder Roberto Pereyra scored both goals, the first a sweet volley 10 minutes before the break after he was left unmarked from a Jose Holebas corner.

Shortly after half-time, the 27-year-old former Juventus man got his second after driving into the area and curling the ball beyond a helpless Mathew Ryan from a tight angle.

Brighton did not have one shot on target and offered little resistance to a buoyant Watford side.

Click here for the goals – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MGzpc7w8hE


Everton manager Marco Silva will have been delighted with his £50 million Brazilian Richarlison, after the big money summer signing scored twice on his debut in an entertaining draw at Premier League newcomers Wolves. The Toffees, reduced to 10 men at the end of the first half when Phil Jagielka was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Diogo Jota, were left frustrated as Wolves twice fought back to claim a point.

The £50m signing of Brazilian winger Richarlison raised eyebrows in the summer, particularly since he endured a run of 28 games without a goal in 2017-18, last finding the net in November. But he repaid his manager’s faith when he stabbed home his first from close range, before stroking in a delightful second to restore the lead.

Ruben Neves’ free kick, from the tackle which saw Jagielka sent off, had brought Wolves level, and they eventually rescued a point when on-loan Benfica forward Raul Jimenez buried a header from Neves’ cross with 10 minutes remaining.

Click here for the highlights – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aDmUAkHePk


Mohamed Salah’s early goal set Liverpool on their way to their biggest opening home league win since 1932. The Egyptian tapped in a 19th-minute opener from Andy Robertson’s cross on his return to action for the Reds at Anfield.

It took the visitors almost half an hour to fashion a chance of note as they struggled to stem the Liverpool attacking tide. New Reds goalkeeper Alisson, signed for £66.8m from Roma in the summer, comfortably saved a Fabian Balbuena header, one of only two efforts on target for the Hammers.

As the pressure built, the hosts doubled their advantage when Sadio Mane turned in James Milner’s cut-back after being left unmarked six yards from goal. The Senegalese forward added his second and Liverpool’s third early in the second period. Mane appeared marginally offside as he collected Roberto Firmino’s pass, but the flag stayed down and he drilled his effort beyond new West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

New signing Naby Keita, a £50m acquisition from RB Leipzig, impressed in midfield for Jurgen Klopp’s side. Substitute Daniel Sturridge rounded off the scoring with his first touch, 24 seconds after coming on, to ensure Liverpool recorded their 500th victory in the Premier League era.

All Liverpool fans click here for the demolition of West Ham – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ndkeglp-Qbs


The bore draw of the week came on the South Coast as both teams failed to score. Joe Hart making his Premier League debut for Burnley mad a string of saves that kept the scores level.

Burnley controlled the tempo of the game early on, despite only returning from Turkey on Friday following Thursday’s 0-0 Europa League draw against Istanbul Basaksehir. Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy denied Aaron Lennon early on before keeping out Jeff Hendrick’s low first-half header. But the hosts came back into the game when new signings Danny Ings and Mohamed Elyounoussi were introduced to the action.

Jack Stephens saw his side-foot effort at the back post turned aside by Hart, who also saved Mario Lemina’s header.

No Highlights I am afraid !!


Manchester City looked assured as they easily beat the new Arsenal. The Gunners were playing their first competitive game without Arsene Wenger in charge since 1996 but were well beaten by the defending champions.

Raheem Sterling put City ahead in the 14th minute when he got the ball on the corner of the box, cut beyond two players and rifled home from 20 yards. Riyad Mahrez went close to scoring on his league debut for City when his free-kick was saved by Petr Cech, who denied Aymeric Laporte from the follow-up.

It was always going to be a tough first game for Unai Emery at Arsenal and they had few clear-cut chances, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and substitute Alexandre Lacazette shooting wide from outside the box. City got their second when Benjamin Mendy, who assisted both goals, pulled the ball back for Bernardo Silva to blast in a second.

Click here for the goals and a supreme Man City victory – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCelw1_-4Gk

It was not a bad start for me with my predictions, getting six correct results

Please see following my week 2 predictions:

Cardiff City 2 v 1 Newcastle

Everton 2 v 1 Southampton

Leicester 2 v 1 Wolves

Tottenham 4 v 1 Fulham

West Ham 2 v 1 Bournemouth

Chelsea 2 v 1 Arsenal

Burnley 2 v 1 Watford

Man City 3 v 1 Huddersfield

Brighton 1 v 2 Man United

Crystal Palace 1 v 2 Liverpool

Have a good week,


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