Premier League round-up: Alvaro Negredo scores with first shot for Middlesbrough
Southampton worked hard for draw as West Brom and Swansea start season with wins
Middlesbrough’s Alvaro Negredo celebrates scoring on his league debut for the club. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters
Middlesbrough 1 Stoke City 1
Xherdan Shaqiri denied promoted Middlesbrough the perfect start to their Premier League campaign as his superb free-kick handed Stoke a draw they scarcely deserved.
Switzerland international Shaqiri beat Boro keeper Victor Valdes with a curling 67th-minute effort to cancel out debutant Alvaro Negredo’s opener as the Teessiders dominated for long periods in front of a crowd of 32,110.
Indeed, had the impressive Gaston Ramirez not been thwarted by both the post and the bar before the break, they might have had the points wrapped up long before the Potters levelled to snatch a 1-1 draw.
Stoke’s 40-year-old Irish goalkeeper Shay Given, starting in place of the injured Jack Butland, had to tip a speculative effort from Albert Adomah on to the roof of his net and Ramirez headed over from a Stewart Downing corner inside the opening eight minutes.
But Stoke did not heed the warnings and fell behind with 11 minutes gone when Adomah, this time from the left, crossed deep for Ramirez to head back across goal and Negredo climbed above defender Philipp Wollscheid to bundle the ball into the net. His first shot on target for the club ending in the same fashion as it did on his Manchester City debut.
The visitors gradually started to work their way into a physical game — there were four bookings in eight minutes, the last of them for Given as he fell foul of reinforced dissent rules after racing from his line to protest over Ramirez’s challenge on Erik Pieters — with Bojan Krkic and Shaqiri belatedly finding their feet.
Stoke’s efforts to force their way back into the game were laboured though and the home side should probably have extended their lead on the hour when Adomah was set free down the right but could only pick out defender Phil Bardsley, with Negredo and Stewart Downing awaiting his pass.
However, Shaqiri finally made an impact with 23 minutes remaining when he curled a fine free-kick over the defensive wall and looked on as Valdes could only help the ball into his bottom corner.
Wollscheid was booked after appearing to lash out at Ramirez in a frenetic conclusion, but there was to be no late drama.
Southampton 1 Watford 1
Nathan Redmond grabbed a debut goal as Southampton came from behind to snatch a 1-1 draw in the battle of the new bosses.
Watford chief Walter Mazzarri saw his new side take an early lead thanks to a first Hornets goal for Etienne Capoue.
But Redmond ensured Claude Puel came away with a point from his first game in charge of Southampton, while Watford played the final 15 minutes a man down after Ben Watson’s dismissal.
The opening day often throws up the odd surprise and the identity of Watford’s goalscorer was certainly one of them.
Despite his attacking tendencies Capoue did not find the net once last season, much to the amusement of his team-mates, but the former Tottenham midfielder took just nine minutes to get off the mark this term.
Yet Southampton responded when summer signing Redmond notched his deserved debut goal.
Gomes came out to punch a cross clear, only to send it looping high in the air towards Redmond who volleyed it straight back past the keeper and into the net.
Watford sub Watson rightly saw red 15 minutes from time after cynically tugging back Long as the striker raced through on goal.
Redmond’s afternoon almost got even better with five minutes left when he slotted home what would surely have been the winner, only to be denied by a narrow offside decision.
Crystal Palace 0 West Brom 1
West Brom began the new Premier League season with a promising 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace.
In their first competitive fixture since it was announced Chinese investor Guochuan Lai had agreed a takeover deal, Salomon Rondon’s second-half header proved enough to defeat their uninspiring hosts.
Alan Pardew’s Palace had been the more creative team without looking likely to score amid West Brom’s fine defending. Their defeat owed largely to the same as so many of those from last season — the lack of a goalscoring threat.
It is little secret Palace’s pre-season had been undermined by their players’ exploits at Euro 2016.
Yohan Cabaye’s involvement in France’s run to the final, and Joe Ledley’s with semi-finalists Wales, meant both began their 2016/17 preparations late.
Yannick Bolasie — who is reportedly close to concluding a transfer to Everton — joined them on the bench. In their absence, the hosts’ creative responsibility was with club-record signing Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha.
Amid West Brom’s organised defending, it had become clear a set-piece was their likeliest chance of a goal. One which never arrived.
Burnley 0 Swansea City 1
Leroy Fer’s 82nd-minute winner denied Burnley a point on their Premier League return as Swansea claimed a 1-0 victory at Turf Moor.
Last year’s second-tier champions suffered their first league defeat since Boxing Day, 24 games ago, as Dutchman Fer, who made his move to South Wales permanent in the summer, finished from close range.
The Swans had sold both Andre Ayew and Ashley Williams in the week but their resurgence under Francesco Guidolin carried on regardless, even though record signing Borja Baston was absent here and Gylfi Sigurdsson started on the bench.
Burnley’s own transfer business is yet to be concluded, with a record fee for Belgian midfielder Steven Defour understood to be agreed with Anderlecht, and they will be keen to kickstart their campaign soon having started their previous Premier League tilt with a 10-game winless run.