Cristiano Ronaldo scores double on second debut in pictures
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The Premier League returned this week for the first time since clubs completed their transfer deadline day business. There were two debutants who bagged braces and one who had a maiden first half to forget. There was a first win for a new manager but the first big defeat for another. Here are Express Sport’s winners and losers from the weekend.
The only surprise during Ronaldo’s first Premier League outing in 12 years was that he required 47 whole minutes to put the ball in the Newcastle United net.
There was even some assistance from goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, who parried Mason Greenwood’s strike right into the path of the Portugal star to open the scoring for Manchester United. Ronaldo then collected Paul Pogba’s pass to slam home a second after Javier Manquillo had equalised.
At 36, there have been some suggestions that Ronaldo will not be quite the same devastating attacking force that he has been throughout his career. A brace on his Old Trafford return might suggest otherwise.
Is he a different player to the one who became one of the Premier League’s most iconic figures of the 2000s? No. But is he going to have a huge impact for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side? Yes.
Although only time will tell whether Ronaldo’s goals will be enough to lift United from second to first.
A narrow, cagey 1-0 victory over Norwich City was hardly the most convincing way to respond to the three defeats from Arsenal’s opening three Premier League fixtures. But, for Arteta, it has at least bought him some time.
There was plenty of fortune around Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang’s goal. Nicolas Pepe had his effort tipped onto the post by Tim Krul before the Ivorian again hit the upright, with the ball bobbling off Krul and into Aubameyang’s path.
Arteta conceded that he was emotional after the game. The jury remains out on Arsenal’s transfer business, while a poor start to the season will have been stressful for the Spaniard. This victory at least offers a chance to build some winning momentum.
“After three defeats things get complicated,” he told BBC Sport.
“You learn a lot in difficult moments, who you are with. In difficult moments when you see the people and the level of organisation and the fans we have. They were ready to suffer today but they just give, give, give to the team.
“You have to win football matches but it is a joy to watch how everyone was behaving around the context that we had around. I got pretty emotional to see that.”
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Crystal Palace’s search for a new head coach this summer was only exceeded for drama by that of Saturday’s opponents Tottenham.
The Eagles attempted to appoint Nuno Espirito Santo and Lucien Favre before talks with both fell through at the last minute. They eventually landed former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira.
And the Frenchman might argue that it should have been his job all along. Vieira earned his first competitive win as Palace boss with a thumping 3-0 win over Nuno’s Spurs.
Having replaced Roy Hodgson, many outsiders criticised the Vieira’s appointment as being too similar to the catastrophic hiring of Frank de Boer four years ago. Those opinions are misguided.
Vieira has overseen a mini overhaul in South London, with seven arrivals replacing 10 outgoing first-teamers, but has still adopted an exciting style of football. His decision to put Odsonne Edouard on for his debut was vindicated, with the former Celtic striker scoring twice in the final 10 minutes.
While Ronaldo and Edouard marked their debuts with braces, new Chelsea loanee Saul was withdrawn at half-time during the Blues’ 3-0 win against Aston Villa.
The Spain international was a deadline day arrival from Atletico Madrid but it remains to be seen exactly where he fits into Thomas Tuchel’s plans when everyone is fit.
Saul twice lost possession in dangerous areas, and better finishing would have seen Villa punish his sloppy passes.
Tuchel has generally played with two central midfielders since replacing Frank Lampard in January. N’Golo Kante and Jorginho appear to be the German’s preferred options. Mateo Kovacic might have even pushed himself about Saul with a goal and an assist against the Villans.
Saul is a talented player – you don’t feature frequently for one of Atletico Madrid’s best-ever sides if you are not. But there remain question marks over why Chelsea decided to sign him.
The pats on the back of Arsenal for winning a Premier League match at the fourth attempt has slightly overshadowed the even more worrying fortunes of Norwich.
Including their disappointing 2019-20 campaign, the Canaries have now lost 14 consecutive top-flight fixtures. Teemu Pukki’s penalty against Leicester City prior to the international break is the only time Daniel Farke’s side have scored in their previous eight outings.
Norwich topped the Championship with 97 points last term. Their 6-0 EFL Cup thumping of Bournemouth in August offered hope that they might improve on their terrible 2019-20 Premier League outing.
Farke’s side face Watford, Everton, Burnley and Brighton in their next four matches. Their supporters will be demanding points from those fixtures.
Nuno Espirito Santo
It was all going well for Spurs’ new boss until everything fell apart over the international break.
Argentinian stars Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso were forced to isolate after their international exploits. Son Heung-min suffered a calf injury while featuring for South Korea.
If Nuno could have written down what a terrible day at Selhurst Park might look like, he would have a defender being forced off with an injury within 15 minutes, another centre-back sent off in the second half, and a thumping 3-0 defeat.
That was exactly how things unravelled for the Spurs head coach. That 1-0 victory against Manchester City now seems a very long time ago.
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