Fans were taken by surprise as Sir Alex Ferguson revealed the team that had left the strongest impression on him during the opening weekend of the new Premier League season.
The iconic former Manchester United manager was present at Old Trafford to witness the concluding match of matchday one, where Erik ten Hag’s team secured a narrow 1-0 victory over Wolves.
Raphael Varane netted the sole goal in a match that saw Wolves’ fervent appeal for a penalty denied in the final moments. This incident occurred when Andre Onana collided with Sasa Kalajdzic, yet remarkably, referee Simon Hooper did not consult the VAR monitor to review the occurrence.
Newcastle lead the way at the top of the table after a resounding 5-1 win over Aston Villa at St James’ Park.
Eddie Howe’s side were devastating on the counter, with Sandro Tonali, Alexander Isak (2), Callum Wilson and Harvey Barnes all on target.
But Ferguson liked what he saw from Villa, who saw Tyrone Mings stretchered off with a serious knee injury. The Scot was left in disbelief over the score and said Unai Emery’s side “played fantastic football”.
“To be honest with you, I watched Aston Villa against Newcastle, and I can’t believe the scoreline,” he reflected on NBC Sports when asked who had impressed him.
“Honestly, Aston Villa played fantastic football and just lost bad goals.
“Newcastle are going to be very difficult to beat in their own ground in particular and the manager [Eddie Howe] has done a great job there.
“But it’s a surprising game, football. I mean, you can play teams off the pitch but you don’t score and that’s what happened to Aston Villa.”
Ferguson also reserves special praise for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, who began the new campaign with a 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest at the Emirates on Saturday.
He likened the youthful squad to the successful Class of 92 crop he had at United and admirers the way in which youngsters are being brought through.
“They brought a spirit and they never forget you for giving them their chance in life,” he added.
“And all the young players you get, like Arsenal at the moment have got a lot of young players – Saka in particular – who will remember the manager who gave them their chance. That’s the important thing.
“And I think also, for instance, most clubs have a very good scouting operation but if a scout recommends a young player to you and you take him but don’t play hm, the scout is wasted.
“You’ve got to have the confidence and the trust in your scouts who present this player to you. And if you’re producing young players, give them a chance because there’s no point in having them [otherwise], no point whatsoever.”