Well, the first round of the EPL has come and gone and already the top of the table has a relatively familiar feel to it, albeit with only goal difference separating the winners from the first round. A 50% success rate on my tipping wasn’t the best start and even at this early stage its hard not to start second guessing some of the season-ending predictions I made. But there is a long way to go!

It might be a new season but for Manchester United fans it was the same old story. There was a lack of attacking intent and defeat at home to Swansea was a stark reminder that pre-season is one thing and the real thing a completely different proposition. Swansea’s hero was the returning Gilfi Sigurdsson. Ineffectual at Tottenham he already looks a better player at Swansea. He had a successful loan spell there the season before last and Swansea’s fans will already be hugely optimistic that he can have the same impact over a full season. He links the play well, is creative and makes intelligent runs. Tottenham may have plenty of similar players but it still seems surprising that they didn’t give him more of a chance to shine last season.

The other big surprise on the opening weekend was Stoke‘s loss at home to Aston Villa. Stoke’s home form last season was central to their success and their loss at home to Aston Villa on the opening day will be of significant concern. Can Roy Keane inspire a Villa revival from the dug out? It will take more than one stout defensive showing, but holding on to Ron Vlaar over the next two weeks would certainly help.

Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool all left it late but secured victory by a solitary goal. Daniel Sturridge may have scored the winner but it was Simon Mignolet who Liverpool really had to thank. He was in outstanding form in goal with a number of crucial saves. Likewise Hugo Lloris for Tottenham. Only a couple of days after the departure of manager Tony Pulis Crystal Palace put up a spirited performance before succumbing to a late Aaron Ramsey goal in their 2-1 loss to Arsenal. Of the other big names Manchester City and Chelsea were both more comfortable in their two goal victories.

In the first Bledisloe test of the year Australia and New Zealand played out a tense and tight 12-12 draw. New Zealand played a quarter of the game a man down courtesy to a yellow card in each half but Australia were unable to take advantage of their numerical advantage. The game finished tryless, with Kurtley Beale and Aaron Cruden both landing four penalty goals. It was a stop-start game, with the referee drawing the ire of both sides at different times. While Australia will be happy to have halted New Zealand’s winning streak they now face the prospect of having to win in New Zeland this weekend just to keep their hopes of regaining the Bledisloe Cup alive.

In the Women’s Rugby final it was England who took the spoils with a hard-fought but ultimately comfortable win over Canada. England led 11-3 at half time and while Canada closed to within two points in the second half England were never headed as they ran out 21-9 winners. Earlier France defeated Ireland 25-18 to secure third spot. After the final Canadian Magali Harvey was named the Women’s Rugby Player of the Year.

And briefly to Motorsports and motorcycle racing, where Marc Marquez’s stunning start to the season finally came to an end. Marquez was looking to become the first premier class rider to win the opening 11 races but fell short as he finished fourth at the Czech Republic MotoGP, which was won by Dani Pedrosa.



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