August 10, 2019 / 4:53 PM / a month ago

Soccer-Five-star City make statement as last year's strugglers shine

* Man City win 5-0 at West Ham, Sterling hat-trick

* Brighton ease to 3-0 victory at Watford

* Burnley beat Southampton 3-0

* Crystal Palace and Everton in goalless stalemate

By Simon Evans

Aug 10 (Reuters) - Manchester City delivered a statement of intent with an emphatic 5-0 win at West Ham United, inspired by a Raheem Sterling hat-trick, and there were impressive wins for Burnley and Brighton & Hove Albion on the opening Saturday of the Premier League season.

After Liverpool raised the curtain on the new campaign with a 4-1 crushing of promoted Norwich City at Anfield on Friday, Pep Guardiola’s champions responded in clinical fashion.

Brazilian Gabriel Jesus, preferred to Sergio Aguero in attack, opened the scoring in the 25th minute and Sterling made it 2-0 six minutes after the interval with a cool finish after being put through by Kevin De Bruyne.

Jesus became the first player to have a goal disallowed by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in the Premier League when, in the 53rd minute, he finished off Sterling’s pass following a fine move. However, the VAR adjudged that Sterling was slightly offside.

VAR, making its debut this season, was used again to review and validate Sterling’s second and the video staff were busy again in the 84th minute when Aguero’s soft penalty was saved but VAR ruled that Declan Rice was encroaching into the box and referee Mike Dean ordered a re-take. The Argentine scored before Sterling completed his hat-trick in stoppage time.

Brighton, who narrowly avoided the drop last season, made an excellent start under new boss Graham Potter with a surprise 3-0 win at Watford — thanks to an own goal from Abdoulaye Doucoure and second-half strikes by forwards Florin Andone and Neal Maupay.

Ashley Barnes struck twice as Sean Dyche’s Burnley beat Southampton 3-0 in a meeting of two of last season’s strugglers at a wet and windswept Turf Moor. Icelandic winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson added the third on a disappointing day for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.

Local boy Billy Sharp came off the bench for Sheffield United to earn a share of the spoils in their first Premier League game since 2007 as they earned a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth. Defender Chris Mepham had put the Cherries ahead in the 62nd minute.

Everton’s investments have raised hopes of a real challenge for the top six this season but they had to settle for a point at Crystal Palace after missing a series of chances in a 0-0 draw.

Tottenham Hotspur host promoted Aston Villa in the late kickoff.

Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond

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