It’s back. The biggest league in the world kicked off on Saturday, and with a full ten games over the weekend, and another one on Wednesday, it’s time to get emerged in the Premier League once again. The opening weekend was a cracker, with some fantastic games being played up and down the country so if you need to catch up or you want to remind yourself, read on for a review of all this weekend’s action:
Liverpool 1 – 0 Stoke
A Suarez-less Liverpool eased to a pretty comfortable win over Mark Hughes’ Stoke side on Saturday, with the Reds looking in control for the duration. Daniel Sturridge fired into the bottom right-hand corner after 37 minutes; the goal coming after Liverpool had peppered Begovic’s goal with shots in the opening stages. Liverpool thoroughly deserved the win, but still needed Simon Mignolet’s heroics to save them from a Jonathan Walters penalty in the closing stages. Things are looking good for Liverpool, and with Suarez parading his child around at Anfield; it looks very much like they get to keep their Uruguayan for at least another year.
Arsenal 1 – 3 Aston Villa
In perhaps the biggest shock of the weekend, Aston Villa beat the Gunners on their own turf in pretty emphatic fashion, with the Villains scoring three goals after Olivier Giroud had opened the scoring for the home team. Christian Benteke continued his great form of last year with two goals whilst Antonio Luna popped up in the 85th minute to strike a low drive past Szczesny. Arsenal fans were understandably apoplectic with rage, and the pressure is mounting on Arsene Wenger to deliver a couple of world-class signings before the transfer window slams shut.
Norwich 2 – 2 Everton
It was all-square at Carrow Road, as Roberto Martinez took charge of Everton for the first time in a competitive fixture. All four goals came in the second half with Steven Whittaker netting a rebound despite Everton having had the best of the game up until that point. The Toffees responded with two goals in five minutes; as first Ross Barkley, and then Seamus Coleman opened their accounts for the season. Barely five minutes later, Ricky van Wolfswinkel evened things up again with a brilliant header, forcing Everton to share the spoils. Both teams will be relatively happy with a point, but given Everton’s dominance, Martinez will perhaps be wondering how his team failed to emerge from Carrow Road without all three.
Sunderland 0 – 1 Fulham
Sunderland must be adjudged unlucky to emerge from their clash with the Cottagers with nothing to show from a game that was for the most part dominated by the Black Cats. Sunderland had 20 shots to Fulham’s five, and Paolo di Canio was no doubt wondering what more his side had to do when Pajtim Kasami headed home to secure all three points for Martin Jol’s side. Sunderland gave debuts to five of their 10 new signings, and given that new signings usually require a certain amount of bedding in time, Sunderland could struggle for the first few weeks having failed to gain a 3-point cushion from this fixture.
West Brom 0 – 1 Southampton
Rickie Lambert followed up his winner for England midweek with a winner for the Saints, as Southampton squeaked a narrow win at the Hawthorns. With only three shots on target altogether, this was not a game for the neutral, and the match appeared destined for a goalless draw before Youssouf Mulumbu tripped Luke Shaw in the penalty area, and Lambert converted expertly into the bottom left-hand corner. West Brom manager Steve Clarke maintained that it was a ‘soft’ decision, but that will be of little comfort to a team who have lost their first fixture at home in front of their expectant fans.
West Ham 2 – 0 Cardiff City
The Hammers cruised to victory at Upton Park, as Premier League new boys Cardiff had a rude awakening in their debut game. Cardiff are generally regarded as the most likely of the three promoted teams to remain in the division, but were a distant second best to West Ham, with the Bluebirds failing to register a single shot on target. Joe Cole opened the scoring for the Hammers, with Kevin Nolan adding another with an absolute peach of a finish. Having flirted with relegation last season, Sam Allardyce will be delighted that his charges have opened the season so strongly, whilst Malky Mackay will be hoping for easier games along the road in the next couple of weeks.
Swansea 1 – 4 Man Utd
A lot has been said about David Moyes’ capability to manage a team as big as Man Utd, but this was a routine and vintage United performance as the Red Devils eased to victory at the Liberty Stadium. Two goals apiece from Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck settled the result for United, with Swansea debutant Wilfred Bony netting a consolation goal as Swansea lost in a manner that perhaps their performance didn’t deserve. Swansea were United’s equal for large chunks of the game, but inevitably, Robin van Persie was the difference, as he was at so many other occasions last season. Moyes will breathe a sigh of relief and hope to build on a great start when he takes on Chelsea in one week’s time.
Crystal Palace 0 – 1 Tottenham
The scoreline somewhat flattered newly promoted Crystal Palace, as they were given a tough afternoon by a skilful Spurs side. Tottenham had the better of the ball throughout the game, but credit must go to Palace for continually thwarting the North London side in the final third. New Tottenham striker and record signing Roberto Soldado eventually broke the deadlock with a penalty after a Dean Moxley handball. Palace manager Ian Holloway has Premier League experience, and this showed as he made his defence difficult to break down, and the Bristolian will be hoping for a few easier fixtures as Palace look to get their feet under the desk in the Premier League.
Chelsea 2 – 0 Hull
It was the return of the Special One at Stamford Bridge, as Jose Mourinho presided over a comfortable Chelsea victory against newly promoted Hull. Goals from Frank Lampard and Oscar sealed the victory, with Hull manager Steve Bruce admitting that Chelsea were simply too good for the Tigers. Mourinho will be delighted with the manner of victory as he begins his second spell at the Bridge