There's always room for surprise

There's always room for surprise

Results which no one predicted

Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic reacts after scoring against Liverpool. (Photo: AFP)
Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic reacts after scoring against Liverpool. (Photo: AFP)

One of the entertaining aspects of the English Premier League is that despite the air of inevitability about which teams will finish at the top and those which will struggle, nearly every weekend there are usually a couple of surprise results which no one would have predicted.

It is important to appreciate the role of the underdogs in the top flight.

We saw an example of this in the opening fixtures last weekend in which the outcome of at least three of the games were forecast incorrectly by pundits and bookmakers alike.

Two of these games involved newly promoted clubs suggesting they might not be quite the pushovers many predicted, although it is very early days.

A major surprise was Fulham holding Liverpool to a 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage.

In fact, "holding" is not the right word because the Cottagers led on two occasions and were a shade unlucky not to pick up all three points.

It was also good to see Fulham striker Alexsandar Mitrovic notching two goals in response to many critics who believe he could not replicate his prolific Championship scoring in the Premier League.

Down on the south coast, we saw Bournemouth, tipped by just about everyone to finish rock bottom, defeat Aston Villa 2-0 in relatively comfortable fashion at the Vitality Stadium which still only has a capacity of 11,364.

The Cherries won't be getting too carried away though -- today they face the minor matter of a visit to Manchester City.

Perhaps the biggest upset, although some will argue it wasn't really a surprise, was Brighton's 2-1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford -- the first time the Seagulls had beaten the Red Devils at the Theatre of Dreams.

In their last nine visits, Brighton had only managed one point. Brighton were well-deserved winners and outplayed their disjointed opponents.

It was a hugely disappointing result for United fans who had hoped the arrival of manager Erik ten Hag would see a change in fortunes.

All the more credit to Brighton manager Graham Potter who had just suffered the disappointment of seeing his club sell their best two players, Yves Bissouma and Marc Cucurella.

It should also not be forgotten that the last time the two teams met in May, Brighton thrashed United 4-0 at the Amex Stadium.

No wonder the visiting Brighton fans sang "Can we play you every week?"

There was another encouraging result for a team that has been heavily tipped to struggle this season when Brentford fought back from 2-0 down to grab a draw at Leicester City.

It might only be one point, but it was psychologically very important for the Bees.

There was another significant game at the London Stadium where Manchester City comfortably defeated West Ham 2-0.

More importantly, the scorer of those two goals was Erling Haaland who definitely lived up to the superstar tag that has been placed on him.

In contrast to his quiet display in the Community Shield, Haaland looked dangerous every time he got the ball and centre-backs throughout the league will be losing sleep on how to handle him.

Haaland calmly dispatched a penalty after had been fouled by the goalkeeper, and then made no mistake when put clean through by Kevin de Bruyne.

You get the feeling we will be reading about that combination many times this season.

The most interesting aspect of Tottenham Hotspur's ultimately comfortable 4-1 win over Southampton was that none of the goals were scored by Harry Kane or Son Heung-Min.

It will provide comfort for Spurs manager Antonio Conte knowing that he does not have to rely on the dynamic duo every week.

As it was, two of the goals came from a most unlikely source -- Ryan Sessegnon (his first ever goal for Spurs) and Eric Dier (his first in three years).

It's early days of course and foolish to make predictions based on the opening day's results.

After all, in last season's openers Manchester United thrashed Leeds while City lost to Tottenham.

Let's hope there are more surprises this weekend. They add an important and welcome spice to the league.


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