The new Premier League season has officially kicked off, and the opening day was not without surprises.
Defending champion Leicester City did the honors of beginning the season at promoted side Hull City, one mired by uncertainty, a lack of fit players and board room drama–and it promptly fell to the Tigers 2-1 to become the first defending Premier League champion to ever lose its first match of the ensuing campaign.
Pep Guardiola's tenure at Manchester City got off to an unconvincing start as well, though City ultimately prevailed. Despite taking a fourth-minute lead on Sergio Aguero's penalty kick, the Citizens couldn't do much else against a Sunderland side playing its first match under new boss David Moyes. The Black Cats pounced on their one big opportunity, tying it up through Jermain Defoe, but City's incessant pressure down the stretch resulted in a Sunderland own goal and three points at the Etihad.
Those were just two of the seven results on the day. Here's how the whole slate panned out:
Premier League opening day results, highlights
Hull City 2, Leicester City 1
Leicester's title defense did not get off to a smooth start, as Hull took the champs down a peg.
After misses from Leicester's Christian Fuchs, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy, Hull–pegged by many for relegation and a quick return to the second tier–took a stunning lead just before halftime. Kasper Schmeichel's tremendous save off a corner kick fell to Abel Hernandez, who patiently set himself up for a bicycle-kick finish (though Adama Diamande also went for the acrobatic strike and was given the final touch) for the opening goal of the season:
The tide turned quickly after halftime. Demarai Gray was taken down by Tom Huddlestone 15 seconds into the second half, though the contact appeared to happen just outside the box. The penalty was given, anyhow, and Mahrez buried the spot kick to bring Leicester back level at 1-1.
Hull restored its lead some 10 minutes later with the eventual game-winner. Robert Snodgrass delivered a thunderous finish from inside the area, tucking it in the bottom right corner to make it 2-1 to the Tigers.
Everton 1, Tottenham 1
Ross Barkley whipped in a long-range free kick in the fifth minute that evaded everyone and bounced inside the post, getting Ronald Koeman's tenure with Everton off to a great start at Goodison Park:
Things got worse for Spurs in the 35th minute, when starting goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was subbed off with an undisclosed injury. He was replaced by Michel Vorm, who came up with an important save on Gerard Deulofeu's breakaway attempt at the end of the first half.
Tottenham found an equalizer 59 minutes in, against the run of play. Kyle Walker whipped in a cross from the right, and Erik Lamela was first to it, heading it home to quiet the home crowd and salvage the point for Spurs:
Middlesbrough 1, Stoke City 1
Spanish forward Alvaro Negredo got his loan to Middlesbrough off to a strong start, scoring in the 11th minute by beating goalkeeper Shay Given after Gaston Ramirez's crossed header by the goal mouth:
Xherdan Shaqiri scored an equalizer off a free kick in the second half, bending a left-footed attempt from long range over the wall and out of the reach of Boro goalkeeper Victor Valdes to make it 1-1 in the 67th minute:
Southampton 1, Watford 1
Watford went ahead early through Etienne Capoue, who volleyed home Troy Deeney's knockdown header from the center of the box in the ninth minute:
Nathan Redmond brought the home crowd back to life in the 58th minute with a volley after Heurelho Gomes failed to fully clear off his punch from a corner kick.
Crystal Palace 0, West Brom 1
Venezuela forward Salomon Rondon came up with the breakthrough and lone goal in the 74th minute on a glancing header off a free kick:
Burnley 0, Swansea City 1
Leroy Fer finally found the back of the net for Swansea in the 82nd minute after a number of missed opportunities for the Swans. He won't score many easier goals, as he tapped home a rebound from the doorstep for the opener and game-winner.
Manchester City vs. Sunderland
Guardiola made an early statement, benching goalkeeper Joe Hart and favoring Willy Caballero instead with his first Manchester City lineup. New signings Nolito and John Stones also earned the starts.
As for Sunderland, new manager David Moyes handed U.S. Under-20 midfielder Lynden Gooch his Premier League debut, inserting him into the XI.
It didn't take long for Guardiola's City to get on the board. Raheem Sterling was tripped by Patrick Van Aanholt in the box in the third minute, and Sergio Aguero converted the ensuing penalty to make it 1-0 early on.
Manchester City couldn't create much in the run of play after that, though, and it paid the price. Jermaine Defoe brought Sunderland level in the 71st minute after a splitting pass from former City midfielder Jack Rodwell.
City struck back late on, as Jesus Navas whipped in a cross from the right. With Fabian Delph bearing down on the goal mouth, Sunderland's Paddy McNair turned it into his own net, restoring the hosts' one-goal edge.
Matchday 1 continues Sunday with Bournemouth hosting Manchester United and Arsenal hosting Liverpool.
It concludes on Monday with Chelsea hosting West Ham at Stamford Bridge.