Monday, 20 August 2012

Opening Fixtures - Barclays Premier League

Arsenal 0 Sunderland 0 

Well life after Van Persie is exactly as it sounds for Arsenal fans as they watched on as plucky Sunderland frustrated them all afternoon and despite an encouraging debut from Santi Cazorla it was a less than encouraging debut for both Lucas Podolski and Oliver Giroud with the latter spurning a chance to show the Arsenal faithful that he can replace RVP. Sunderland didn't really set out to attack Arsenal so you could really see this result coming as both sides cancelled each other out. Perhaps not surprising after the anti climax of Arsenal's finest heading through the exit door each summer.

Fulham 5 Norwich 0 

After many expected Fulham to struggle this season particularly without Clint Dempsey as well, it seems unbelievable that such a result occured. Norwich were beyond poor in this game but take nothing away from Fulham who were speared by their rampant wingback in the form of John Arne Riise who seemed to find the form that made him unstoppable at Liverpool. It seems that Norwich have plenty of soul searching to do after this game because it looked like their first game in the league not their 39th. Loads of work ahead for Chris Houghton. Martin Jol will be ecstatic to start the season with such a commanding display.

QPR 0 Swansea 5

Perhaps the result of the weekend, A side who had brought in bags of Premier League experience against a side who lost their manager and arguable their best player both to the same side so were almost starting new again. New signings were also on offer for Swansea with Michael Laudrup fielding Chico Flores at the back and De Guzman and Michu in midfield with the latter really grabbing the headlines. Michu grabbed a brace 8 minutes into the first half and 8 minutes into the second which were crucial times in the game. Nathan Dyer was told to come inside to look for work and both his goals were illustrated from this. Scott Sinclair rounding off a comfortable victory but an imaginable result.

Reading 1 Stoke 1

Reading's first game back in the top flight was a comfortable affair and would have been much simpler had Adam Federici been able to predict the flight of the ball to his near post as Stoke City new signing Michael Kightly had a great start to his new career. An even game in fairness and always seemed destined for a draw with both of the goals having an element of luck about them. Even Reading's penalty shouldn't have been with many people crediting that advantage had been played to Noel Hunt but his shot was saved and the referee brought it back so in contrast the game evened itself out. 

West Brom 3 Liverpool 0 

New managers on both dugouts for this fixture with Brendan Rodgers beginning to build a dynasty again at Liverpool and old Liverpool assistant Steve Clarke at West Brom this was surely to be a crucial game for both sides. They both needed the wins for their respective managers. Goals from Zoltan Gera, Peter Odemwingie and Romelu Lukaku sealed the win for the Baggies and could have been more had Shane Long's penalty been a little less tame. A sending off for Daniel Agger really couldn't have made matters any worse for Liverpool with Man City up next. As for West Brom a great start and plenty to build on. 

West Ham 1 Aston Villa 0 

Both sides got exactly what they deserved in this fixture it's as simple as the scoreline suggests. Few goal scoring opportunities and the ones that did fall were for the home side. Kevin Nolan was the difference between the sides with his simple tap in which was slowly awarded, Aston Villa looked short of Premier League class all afternoon and it will be a tough season for Paul Lambert if he doesn't act on it quickily because the warning signs were apparent here. No firepower and a lack of composure around the park. New signing Maiga could have made it easier for West Ham but his shot was cleared off the line after cleverly rounding Shay Given. 

Newcastle 2 Tottenham 1 

Definitely a close affair this one between two sides matched for the top 6 at least. Jermaine Defoe showing here why he is currently on form and his poaching abilities well documented as well with his goal a traditional strikers finish. Demba Ba got on the scoresheet with his first goal for 14 games although perhaps being on the left wing he was sacrificed for Cisse which is no insult. The turning point in the match was the penalty won by Hatem Ben Arfa which he tricked inside Van Der Vaart and Aaron Lennon to draw in the foul which he dispatched himself. A really tight match and shows how strong each side is this season although both sides still keen to re-invest. 

Wigan 0 Chelsea 2 

This fixture was very comfortable for the European Champions who only found themselves troubled against a very eager Victor Moses who is perhaps trying to appeal to his opposition to sign him already. It was a match of two wingers one who was playing in a controlled side and settled and the other who was seen as the saviour and the main player or the go-to man rather. Eden Hazard provided a masterclass for Chelsea fans with his turn proving sweet and his through ball even more delicate and things got even better for the Belgian when he endured a reckless challenge from Ivan Ramis who had a nightmare in his Wigan debut. Moses was the only shining light in an otherwise disappointing home performance at the DW. Chelsea had done enough in 10 minutes to earn the 3 points. 

Man City 3 Southampton 2

Man City seemed to start the season as they finished their last. A 3-2 scoreline perhaps illustrates that with 20 minutes to go there could have been the shock of the season as newly promoted Southampton were holding no fear at the home of champions. When Man City took the lead through Carlos Tevez despite David Silva missing a penalty earlier it seemed that normal service would be resumed but when Southampton brought on Ricky Lambert the whole team just galvanised around him. It seemed his stage as he struck home with almost his first touch and when Rangers import Steven Davis struck home there seemed an element of suprise around Manchester. Eden Dzeko proved he is the go to man when it comes to equalizing goals and Samir Nasri hitting the winner with 10 minutes to go really is the stuff of champions but they were given a mighty shock on day one which could be the perfect antidote to their season. In addition a terrible looking injury to Sergio Aguero after an innocuous challenge by Nathaniel Clyne took the striker off and after 10 minutes their hero in May was carried off on a stretcher. Best wishes to the Argentine, hope he makes a speedy recovery and well done to Southampton who played their part in a spectacular opening weekend.

Everton V Manchester United

To Be Continued......

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