Arsenal roll on as Man United stumble in league opener
Sports Desk, Sep 19 (efe-epa).- Two traditional Premier League powerhouses striving to return to the elite after slipping down the table experienced very different outcomes on Saturday.
Arsenal, who entered the campaign on a high after winning the FA Cup and beating champions Liverpool on penalties in the Community Shield, eked out a 2-1 win over West Ham United to stay perfect with 6 points out of 6.
In Manchester, meanwhile, the United side who stormed through Operation Restart to secure a top four finish lost 3-1 to surprising Crystal Palace, who have won their first two matches of the season for the first time in their history in the Premier League.
Also with two victories from two outings are Everton, who sit ahead of Arsenal in first on the strength of scoring one more goal than the Gunners.
Arsenal cruised 3-0 against promoted Fulham in the league opener and West Ham seemed unlikely to offer much of a challenge to Mikel Arteta’s squad in Saturday’s contest behind closed doors at Emirates Stadium.
The hosts got on the scoreboard in the 25th minute, when Alexander Lacazette headed-in a cross from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
But the Hammers regrouped and pulled level just before half-time on a goal by Michail Antonio, who was far and away the team’s best player in Operation Restart.
West Ham were arguably the better side in the second half and would have taken the lead if a thunderous Antonio header hadn’t hit the cross-bar.
The Hammers were still in line to pick up a point until Ceballos and Nketiah combined to win the match for Arsenal.
The only bright spot for the hosts at Old Trafford on Saturday was newcomer Donny van de Beek’s first goal in a United shirt.
Palace got a brace from captain Wilfried Zaha, who had a brief, unhappy sojourn with the Red Devils between his two spells with the London club.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men fell behind in the 7th minute, conceding a goal to Andros Townsend off a cross by Jeffrey Schlupp.
Despite having 76 percent possession, United struggled to create chances and would have been down 2-0 at the break but for a fine stop by David De Gea against Jordan Ayew.
The Red Devils pressed hard for the equalizer in the second half, creating more openings for Palace on the counter. Zaha had a goal called back for offside before a ball from Ayew touched Victor Lindelof on the arm and the referee awarded a penalty.
De Gea did well to stop Ayew, but VAR detected that the United goalkeeper moved off his line too early and Palace got a second chance.
This time, it was Zaha who took it and he made no mistake, blasting the ball past the Spain international to make it 2-0 for the away side.
With 23 minutes left in regulation, Solskaer decided it was time for Van de Beek to make his official debut and the former Ajax star did not disappoint, scoring in the 80th minute to bring United within one.
But Zaha got his second of the evening five minutes later to secure all 3 points for Palace,
Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the first hat trick of his career and James Rodriguez scored his first goal since moving to the Premier League as Everton beat newly promoted West Bromwich Albion 5-2 at Goodison Park.
West Brom opened the scoring after Grady Diangana drove forward unchallenged from halfway and hit a dipping shot from the edge of the box with an excellent finish.