Champions, Manchester City started the defence of their Premier League title with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Unai Emery’s Arsenal at the Emirates.
Pep Guardiola’s side were dominant in the first half and should have gone in at the break with more than just the 1-0 lead given to them by Raheem Sterling after his run and show from the edge of the box.
The new-look Gunners were much improved after the interval and were threatening to get back on level terms before Bernardo Silva thumped in a decisive second goal just after the hour mark.
Even after that there were just some signs of sloppiness creeping into the City ranks as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil had great chances to score in the closing stages, but it was a deserved three points in the end for the visitors.
The positives outweighed any minor negatives for City, who looked as slick as last season at times but not quite as clinical – Sergio Aguero missed a one-on-one against Petr Cech – but Guardiola will be pleased he was able to start with Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane on the bench and still win with something in hand.
Liverpool kicked off their season in style with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah scoring in a commanding 4-0 win over West Ham at Anfield.
It was a stroll next to Stanley Park for Liverpool, who took the lead after just 19 minute when Salah picked up where he left off last season by tapping in a great low cross from Andy Robertson to cap off a wonderful flowing move.
Mane doubled the home side’s advantage just before half time when he also converted from close range from a James Milner cross, before killing off the game early in the second half with a low rifled effort – although he was certainly offside.
Liverpool had been around the 9/2 mark before they kicked off their season at Anfield on Sunday, but the result saw their odds cut to 7/2 to claim the title. Manchester City remain the odds-on favourites at 8/13 to defend their title.
Liverpool had dominated throughout and Daniel Sturridge came off the bench to complete the rout two minutes from time when he tapped home a corner at the far post with his very first touch.
Things could not have gone any better for Jurgen Klopp with Naby Keita enjoying a fine debut running the midfield, the defence and goalkeeper Alisson spectating for most of the game and the front men looking fluid and threatening throughout.
Manuel Pellegrini has spent £100m in the summer but has plenty of work to do going on this display, but his season will not be judged on games at the top four teams and his side will need time to gel.
For Liverpool, though, they’ve hit the ground running in what is being billed as a Premier League title push – they couldn’t have possibly wanted a better start.
Burnley played a goalless match against Southampton but controlled the tempo of the game early on, despite only returning from Turkey on Friday following Thursday’s 0-0 Europa League draw against Istanbul Basaksehir – where Hart made his debut.
Burnley started the second half in a similar fashion and McCarthy was called into action again as Stephen Ward was first to the second ball following a corner, but the Saints keeper showed good speed to prevent the ball from crossing the line.
Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy denied Aaron Lennon early on before keeping out Jeff Hendrick’s low first-half header.
But the hosts came back into the game when new signings Danny Ings and Mohamed Elyounoussi were introduced to the action.
Jack Stephens saw his side-foot effort at the back post turned aside by Hart, who also saved Mario Lemina’s header.
Burnley started the match with a real intensity, which suggests they were not suffering after their trip to Istanbul.
Saints failed to clear their lines early on as former Everton forward Lennon latched on to the loose ball before firing at goal, but Southampton keeper McCarthy made himself big and kept it out.