SportSoccer

The Saturday View - Calm before the storm

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Lukaku made a mark on and off the pitch with his starring display at Southampton
Lukaku made a mark on and off the pitch with his starring display at Southampton

The second Saturday of the English soccer season felt like something of a warm up ahead of the main event on Sunday - as the day ended with a surprise team atop the fledging Premier League table.

With Manchester United getting their match out of the way on Friday night and Manchester City's showdown with Chelsea inked into the diary for tomorrow, this was an afternoon for the lesser lights of the Premier League to take their limelight and Leicester ensured that claimed top billing after securing a surprise victory against West Ham at Upton Park.

Many were tipping Leicester to be among the favourites for relegation when they appointed Claudio Ranieri (seen below ahead of an apparent surprise attack from a West Ham mascot!) as manager last month, but goals from Shinji Okazaki and Riyad Mahrez were enough to see off the Hammers in a 2-1 triumph.

If Leicester are the early pace setters in the Premier League, then Everton put in a claim for the most polished performance of the new season, as they brushed aside Southampton in stunning fashion with a 3-0 win at Southampton.

Romelu Lukaku (2) and Ross Barkley scored their goals at St Mary's Stadium, with Lukaku showing his softer side before kick-off as he rushed into the stands to comfort a fan he hit with a ball during the warm up (see below). It was quite a touching moment.

Tottenham's indifferent start to the season continued as they managed to throw away a 2-0 lead to finished with just a point against Stoke, who were inspired by substitute and forgotten man Stephen Ireland into a stirring comeback at White Hart Lane.

Meanwhile, the alarm bells are ringing once again for the two faltering giants from the North East of England, with Newcastle going down to a 2-0 defeat at Swansea and Sunderland handed a drubbing by newly promoted Norwich at the Stadium of Light.

After they were hammered by Leicester last week, Sunderland's home supporters were left to jeer their own players once again as another shambolic defensive display confirmed their status as the slowest starters after two game.

Those old relegation fears are already on the minds of Sunderland fans, with the new season just over a week old and boss Dick Advocaat admitted he was confused by his side's performance.

"These players train fine and I cannot explain what happens on the field," said Advocaat after his side's 3-1 defeat. "We try to keep it simple for the players and if they don't understand, they have a problem."

Watford and West Bromwich Albion played out a 0-0 draw at Vicarage Road in a game that will not live long in the memory and now all eyes will turn to the Etihad Stadium and the latest Manuel Pellegrini v Jose Mourinho clash on Sunday.

With Arsenal's game at Crystal Palace also on the agenda on Sunday, this weekend of Premier League football is saving the best till last.

Get your Sunday World this weekend for all the best analysis from the weekend's Premier League action, with John Aldridge and Paul McGrath among those giving their views on the game's biggest talking points.