Premier league football is back, and as expected this week’s games had their share of unexpected results and brilliant football.
Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland
Life after RVP began at the Emirates for the Gunners with the visit of Sunderland. New signings Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski looked bright, as did Olivier Giroud during his brief cameo as a 2nd half substitute, although the Frenchman did miss the game’s best chance. Sunderland were solid in defence but offered little going forward as both teams looked to work out pre-season kinks.
Fulham 5-0 Norwich
Fulham got off to a flyer with a demolition of a pretty hapless Norwich City. Damien Duff opened the scoring after 26 minutes and the West London side never looked back. Croatian Mladen Petric scored twice on debut with Alex Kacaniklic and Steve Sidwell getting the others. Norwich will have to sort out their defence if they are going to survive this season; far too often the offside trap was broken and Fulham found it relatively simple to control the game.
QPR 0-5 Swansea
The Michael Laudrup era at Swansea started with an emphatic victory over Queen’s Park Rangers. Michu, impressive throughout, opened the scoring with a tame shot that QPR keeper Rob Green will think he should have saved but there was no saving the Spaniard’s 2nd goal, a fine curling effort to make the score 2-0. Winger Nathan Dyer also bagged himself a brace and substitute Scott Sinclair, fresh from Olympic duty, rounded off the scoring with 9 minutes left.
Reading 1-1 Stoke City
Adam Le Fondre scored a very late penalty to earn a point for last season’s Championship winners. Michael Kightly had opened the scoring with a miskicked shot that somehow squeezed past Adam Federici and that looked to have settled the game until the Dean Whitehead was adjudged to have fouled Gareth McCleary (Whitehead picked up a 2nd yellow card for the foul) and Le Fondre slotted past Begovic. There was nearly time for Reading to steal all 3 points but Ian Harte’s late free kick just skimmed the crossbar.
West Brom 3-0 Liverpool
A nice, calm start to Brendan Rodger’s term as Liverpool manager as he saw his side concede 2 penalties and have Daniel Agger sent off as Steve Clarke’s West Bromwich Albion put in a great performance. The game was sparked into life just before half time as a West Brom corner was only cleared as far as Zoltan Gera who took a touch before smashing the ball past Pepe Reina from 25 yards. On the hour mark Daniel Agger was dismissed after bringing down Shane Long to concede a penalty. Long got up to take the penalty but it was easily saved. 5 minutes later Peter Odemwingie showed Long how it should be done after the Irishman was again brought down in the box. It has to be said both penalty decisions were soft, at best. Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku was very impressive in his 20 minute cameo creating a couple of chances and completing the scoring with a far post header.
West Ham 1-0 Aston Villa
The Hammers made a winning return to the Premiership as Kevin Nolan converted Ricardo Vaz Te’s cross 5 minutes before half time. West Ham’s new signing Modibo Maiga had the chance to double the lead but saw his shot cleared off the line after he’d gone round Shay Given.
Newcastle United 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Last season’s 5th place team hosted last season’s 4th placed finishers with Newcastle coming out victorious. Demba Ba curled home after 54 minutes before Jermaine Defoe levelled the scores; bundling the ball past Tim Krul, 20 minutes later. Spurs were level for just 5 minutes as the impressive Hatem Ben Arfa was brought down by a combination of Rafael Van Der Vaart and Aaron Lennon. The French midfielder picked himself up and converted the resulting penalty to secure all 3 points for The Magpies. The only mark against the win for Newcastle is that manager Alan Pardew will have some explaining to after being involved in a minor altercation with a linesman that saw him sent to the stands.
Wigan 0-2 Chelsea
Early goals from Branislav Ivanovic and Frank Lampard got Chelsea’s season off to a successful start. Eden Hazard was involved in both goals, releasing Ivanovic to slot him after 2 minutes and he was then brought down for a penalty that Lampard duly dispatched. Wigan are notoriously slow starters and will have to step up their performance if they are to survive again this year.
Manchester City 3-2 Southampton
This game has already been extensively reviewed by Adam Wilson. You can read his review here: https://11onapitch.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/match-review-man-city-vs-southampton/
Everton 1-0 Manchester United
Marouane Fellaini put in a match winning display in a game that was pretty much a game that was effectively the Everton blueprint for when a member of the top 4 visit Goodison Park. United keeper David De Gea, much maligned last season for some shaky displays, was in great form; making several good saves but was beaten by a Fellaini header after 57 minutes. Shinji Kagawa was another bright spot for Alex Ferguson’s men but a lack of depth in defence is the issue the Red Devils will have to solve if they are to realistically challenge for the title.