What was that again? Did I just see Swansea City and Fulham being the biggest performers on the opening day of the English Premier League season? Was it my Liverpool that I saw going 3-0 down at the Hawthorns? And did Southampton really give defending champions Manchester City a good run for their money at the dreaded Etihad Stadium? What an exciting weekend that was and long may it continue.
Of course, there was also great interest in the Monday night fixture at Goodison Park, where Everton hosted Manchester United, largely because of the signing of Robin van Persie a few days before. With the buzz that followed that capture within the United camp, it was such an anti-climax that he did not only fail to weave his magic immediately, but the team actually went down and deservedly so.
This was a result that pleased more people than Everton fans. Yes Manchester City, who expect to be in the title mix come May, would relish any slump by their major rivals, but it was Arsenal fans who were even more excited at seeing that the potential agony of seeing their former prized asset deliver for an avowed enemy delayed at least. It somehow made up for the frustrating goalless draw two days earlier.
It must have been a difficult game for Liverpool fans. The two sides that were meeting on Monday night are traditionally the most bitter of rivals and it is always difficult to pick a favoured winner. Perhaps only a draw would be regarded as the best result. There was, therefore, very little to celebrate if you associate yourself with the red half of Merseyside.
But while the weekendâ€™s biggest scores came from unlikely sources, not many expect the early front-runners to carry the momentum any further than a few weeks and the real winners of the opening week have to be Chelsea who have already played two matches â€” with next weekendâ€™s game played earlier this week because of their Uefa Super Cup encounter next Friday â€” and won both.
Already, new-signing Eden Hazard is proving to be a sensation and a real handful for defences. He has not only a penalty in each of the two opening fixtures, but he has also had a hand in most of the Bluesâ€™ goals so far. Of course, there are still a few questions at the back and I would be very surprised if there are no defensive reinforcements in the remaining six days of the transfer window.
In closing, I must add my voice to the shock at governmentâ€™s insistence to let fans watch tomorrowâ€™s Presidential Initiative on Sports finals for free even against professional advice from the technical people. You do not need any sophistication in your discerning to know that the decision has nothing to do with sports; it is all political. Only the most gullible can buy minister Enoch Chihanaâ€™s justification.
I know the story. That the other president was allowing people to walk in for free and if we allow for charges we shall become less popular. Really? For a government that was brave enough to do the right but painful on our currency, this is too cheap and petty.