Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Classy United Kicks Off Repeat Bid With Style

LONDON -- Eric Cantona, the key figure in Manchester United's league and cup double triumph in May, launched his new season with a typical goal in a 3-0 defeat of Wimbledon.


The gifted Frenchman latched on to a cross from Nicky Butt midway through Saturday's first half and drove a fierce half volley beyond goalkeeper Neil Sullivan.


United's class brought further goals from Dennis Irwin and David Beckham in the second half.


While United made a flying start to the new campaign, Newcastle, parading the world's costliest player in Alan Shearer, had a nightmare day, losing 2-0 at Everton.


Shearer, who cost big spenders Newcastle $23.2 million to recruit from Blackburn, had a headed goal disallowed in the first half and later struck the bar with another header.


Fabrizio Ravanelli, one of several big-name foreigners plying their trade in the premier league this season, scored a hat trick on his debut for Middlesbrough, his last in the 81st minute earning it a 3-3 home draw with Liverpool.


Kevin Campbell was another hat-trick man. He struck three times in the opening 47 minutes in Nottingham Forest's 3-0 win at Coventry.


Cantona, playing on the ground where his kung fu attack on a Crystal Palace fan 18 months ago cost him a lengthy ban, was at the heart of much of United's inventive buildup.


But it was Beckham who earned the biggest roar from the United fans with a superb goal in the final minute. Spotting Sullivan off his line, he lobbed the embarrassed Wimbledon goalkeeper from the halfway line.


Irwin had similarly embarrassed Sullivan with a shot from an acute angle in the 57th minute.


Newcastle, routed 4-0 by United in the Charity Shield last week, must quickly put its house in order if it is to be a serious challenger for a championship it has not won since 1927.


Hard as Shearer worked to mark his debut with a goal, he was outshone by Everton's Scotland international striker Duncan Ferguson.


His sheer physical presence created both goals, a 29th minute David Unsworth penalty and a 40th minute strike by Gary Speed.


Middlesbrough made an immediate return on the $10.8 million it paid Juventus for Ravanelli.


He canceled out a Stig Bjornebye fourth-minute strike with a 26th minute penalty and scored again 10 minutes later after John Barnes had restored Liverpool's lead.


A Robbie Fowler goal midway through the second half threatened to spoil Ravanelli's day but the never-say-die Italian came up trumps again nine minutes from time.


Campbell, scorer of eight goals in preseason friendlies, was a handful for a leaden-footed Coventry defense.


He put Forest ahead after 13 minutes, came close to scoring twice more before adding a second in the 36th minute and then sealed Coventry's fate with a third, two minutes into the second half.


Chris Armstrong, scorer of 22 goals last season, came close to registering a hat trick in Tottenham's 2-0 win at Blackburn.


After clinical strikes in the 33rd and 67th minutes, he watched his curling left-footer clip the bar in the dying minutes.


Arsenal, which sacked manager Bruce Rioch a few days before the start of the season, also won 2-0.


John Hartson gave it the lead against West Ham in the 27th minute. Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp added the next from the penalty spot after 40 minutes.


Promoted Derby, 2-0 down at home to Leeds after 77 minutes, stormed back to draw 3-3, Dean Sturridge earning them a point with a last-minute goal.


In Sunday's lone match, former Juventus striker Gianluca Vialli narrowly missed marking his Chelsea debut with a goal in a 0-0 draw at Southampton.


The 32-year-old Italian recruit struck the woodwork as the cosmopolitan Chelsea side managed by former Dutch international Ruud Gullit was held by an opponent which showed the virtues of English workmanship.


Vialli almost broke the deadlock in the 70th minute when he launched himself acrobatically at a left-wing cross from Andy Myers, producing a shot that beat goalkeeper Dave Beasant but rebounded off his right-hand.


Chelsea fielded just two Englishmen -- midfielder Dennis Wise and Myers -- among its collection of players from Italy, France, Romania, Wales, Ireland and Scotland.