New EPL season begins

The English Premier League kicked off this weekend with some surprising results.

Southampton defender Jose Fonte vies for the ball with Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge during the teams' opening game of the EPL season on 17 August 2014. Picture: Official LFC Facebook page

LONDON - One moment of attacking brilliance and a late Sergio Aguero strike gave Premier League holders Manchester City a winning start to their title defence as they eased past Newcastle United 2-0 away on Sunday.

Earlier, last season's runners-up Liverpool beat a stubborn Southampton 2-1, goals from Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge either side of Nathaniel Clyne's thunderbolt ensuring the post-Luis Suarez era at Anfield got off to a positive start.

On Saturday Manchester United began life under Louis van Gaal with a disappointing 2-1 home defeat by Swansea City, while Arsenal needed a stoppage-time Aaron Ramsey goal to beat Crystal Palace 2-1.

Tottenham Hotspur, Hull City and Aston Villa were other opening-weekend winners, while Chelsea play at promoted Burnley on Monday.

LIVERPOOL

Three players traded the south coast for Merseyside in the off-season but only Dejan Lovren started at Anfield, with striker Rickie Lambert on the bench and midfielder Adam Lallana injured.

Clear chances were in short supply for both sides until Jordan Henderson won the ball inside his own half on 23 minutes.

He split the Southampton defence with an incisive pass, allowing 19-year-old Sterling to calmly shoot past Southampton's new goalkeeper Fraser Forster.

Liverpool earned plenty of plaudits for the way they tore teams apart last term, but after going a goal up they allowed Southampton to gain a foothold. Clyne blasted in an equaliser after a neat one-two with Dusan Tadic, the Serb playing a delightful backheel to set up the right back.

Steven Davis missed a chance shortly afterwards, and the Saints were made to pay for the wastefulness when Sturridge, who scored 21 league goals last term, flicked the ball home after the impressive Sterling met Henderson's cross.

"I'm really happy with that determination and character to win a football match," Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said. "As the season rolls on, we'll get better and more fluent. It was very hard-fought."

MAN UNITED

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal found no instant fix as a new era dawned in dispiriting fashion at Old Trafford where Swansea City's 2-1 victory on the opening day of the Premier League reopened old wounds.

United's new captain Wayne Rooney had cancelled out Ki Sung-yueng's neat goal for the visitors shortly after halftime but Gylfi Sigurdsson's late strike condemned the Old Trafford side to their first opening-day top-flight home defeat for 42 years.

"It was a disastrous start for us but we have to move on," Rooney said. "We're not happy, the manager's not happy.

"We'll have to go through what went wrong during the week. We'll do that. I thought today we didn't play as well together as a team as we can do. We have to put that right."

Van Gaal said, "It's more than disappointing for the fans,"

He was without Netherlands striker Robin van Persie through injury and the likes of defensive stalwarts Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, both of whom left in the close season.

"They are expecting a lot because we have won every game in pre-season. Then you lose the first match. That's disappointing for the fans, also for the players and also for me.

"It's a very bad day for us," he added.

ARSENAL

Arsenal, tipped as serious title contenders this term, left it late to beat managerless Crystal Palace, with Aaron Ramsey pouncing in stoppage time to earn a 2-1 victory at the Emirates after the home side had slipped behind.

With former Barcelona hitman Alexis Sanchez making his Premier League debut, were stunned by a Palace side reeling from the departure of manager Tony Pulis 48 hours earlier.

Brede Hangeland's glancing header gave Palace a 35th minute lead but Laurent Koscielny nodded home a free kick from Sanchez on the stroke of halftime to equalise.

Palace seemed to have earned a point with a stubborn defensive display but Welshman Ramsey tucked in a rebound after Mathieu Debuchy's shot was half-saved by Julian Speroni.

Palace had been reduced to 10 men shortly before Arsenal's late winner when Jason Puncheon received a second yellow card.

Ramsey's goal secured the day's only Premier League home win with Arsenal's relieved manager Arsene Wenger fully aware of the difficulties of winning the opening league fixture.

"If you look at the (earlier) results today, no home team won, we were the only one so it shows in the first game it is not easy to win. Our desire got us through," he said.

MORE ACTION

Tottenham Hotspur, who finished one place above United in sixth last season, began life under new manager Mauricio Pochettino with a 1-0 win at London rivals West Ham United thanks to a stoppage-time goal from new signing Eric Dier.

Promoted Leicester City twice battled back to draw 2-2 with Everton, while West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland also shared four goals - Saido Berahino scoring twice for the hosts.

Queens Park Rangers were beaten 1-0 at home by Hull City on their return to the top flight, missing a penalty in the process, while Aston Villa earned a notable three points with a 1-0 win at Stoke City - Andreas Weimann grabbing the goal.

RESULTS:

Sunday:

Newcastle 0 - 2 Man City

Liverpool 2 - 1 Southampton

Saturday:

Arsenal 2 - 1 Crystal Palace

Leicester 2 - 2 Everton

QPR 0 - 1 Hull

Stoke 0 - 1 Aston Villa

West Brom 2 - 2 Sunderland

West Ham 0 - 1 Spurs

Man Utd 1 - 2 Swansea

Monday:

Burnley vs Chelsea