Premier League back with a bang in Emirates thriller
15 August 2016 – A rampant Liverpool came from behind to beat Arsenal 4-3, while Manchester United began its new era under Jose Mourinho with a 3-1 win at Bournemouth in their opening games of the English Premier League season on yesterday.
Theo Walcott put Arsenal ahead at Emirates Stadium, but his side was soon overwhelmed after Liverpool leveled through Philippe Coutinho on the stroke of halftime and then raced into a 4-1 lead after the break.
Hit by injuries to Arsenal’s first-team regulars, a youthful second-string defense was torn to pieces by Liverpool’s fluent passing and clinical finishing in the second half. Classy goals by Adam Lallana, Coutinho and Sadio Mane put the Reds in control before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers scored to give Arsenal hope, in vain.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp, in his first full season in charge, saw both sides of a sensational result.
“Scoring four goals is wonderful, conceding three is the opposite of that emotion,” he said. “It was hard work but a deserved win in the end. It feels brilliant at the moment, actually.”
“We were far away today from showing our whole quality,” he added. “But we showed a few nice signs, a few not-so-nice signs.”
The signs were not so encouraging for Arsenal, which already looks to be struggling to meet fans’ expectations after finishing as runner-up to Leicester last season.
With his team booed off the pitch, as much for the club’s lack of new signings as for another season-opening defeat, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger pointed to Coutinho’s equalizer as the turning point.
“Of course we are bitterly disappointed,” said the Frenchman, who will mark his 20th year in charge next month. “It was a contrast between the two halves. We lost this game for many reasons and one of them is [the impact] of Liverpool making it 1-1 just before half-time.”
Wenger also highlighted the absentees in defense, Gabriel Paulista, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, while agreeing on the need to be ready for the first game of the season.
“But we are not stupid,” Wenger said. “We prepared well the players we have in, but I think you have to consider we have been a bit unlucky as well … You have to sometimes accept that you cannot control absolutely everything.”
There was no need for such excuses from Mourinho, whose first league game in charge of United was a far more comfortable affair and included a fine goal by 34-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic on his Premier League debut.
Juan Mata opened the scoring five minutes before halftime and captain Wayne Rooney headed United’s second in the 59th before Ibrahimovic rifled home a shot from 25 meters.