Premier League Week 1 Match Round-up

Here’s a round-up of the Premier League Week 1 action. All match reports are taken from the Official Barclay’s Premier League Website.

Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

Arsenal started life after Robin van Persie with a goalless draw against Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsene Wenger’s side, who fielded Lukas Podolski, the German striker, and Spain midfielder Santi Cazorla in the starting XI, enjoyed plenty of possession, but lacked a killer instinct in the final third.
When a clear opening eventually came their way late in the second half substitute Olivier Giroud fired wide.

It was a lively start by the hosts, but Sunderland remained dangerous on the counter through Stephane Sessegnon. On six minutes, the Arsenal defence was opened up as James McClean slipped into the penalty area, but his shot was blocked smartly by Wojciech Szczesny.

Cazorla almost made himself an instant hero when he unleashed a 20-yard effort that Simon Mignolet beat away.

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Sunderland created another decent opening when the ball was worked to Jack Colback at the edge of the Arsenal area, but his low effort was straight at Szczesny.

Gervinho skipped away down the left and rode a couple of tackles before cutting the ball back across goal, only for Cazorla to drill it wide.

Arsenal continued to press Sunderland deeper as Abou Diaby’s low, 20-yard effort was touched around the post.

But Sunderland also looked to get forward, with the best success again coming down the left flank though Sessegnon.

After half-time, Sunderland continued to sit back, but Arsenal failed to make the most of their possession. With nine minutes left, Cazorla played in Giroud, but the French striker fired wide from 10 yards.

Arsenal pressed in search of a winner during four minutes of stoppage time, but had to be content with just a point.

West Brom 3-0 Liverpool

West Brom stunned Liverpool with a 3-0 victory The Hawthorns. A superb strike from Zoltan Gera, Peter Odemwingie’s penalty plus a header from Romelu Lukaku made it a bad day for new Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who saw his defender Daniel Agger sent off early in the second period.

Albion started brightly and but the first save of note came from West Brom’s Ben Foster, who parried away a powerful 20-yard drive from Suarez who forced the goalkeeper to make another save soon afterwards. The home side came back strongly in the final minutes of the half which culminated in them taking the lead after 42 minutes. James Morrison’s corner was headed away but Gera flashed an unstoppable rising shot past Pepe Reina from 20 yards.

Liverpool started the second half on the offensive but West Brom weathered the initial storm and doubled their lead from the second of two penalties awarded them in the space of six minutes. Agger was sent off for pulling back Shane Long just inside the box only for the striker’s spot-kick to be saved by Reina. But referee Phil Dowd awarded another penalty when Skrtel tripped Long and this time Odemwingie hit the spot-kick past Reina.

After Suarez missed a chance Lukaku added to the lead in the 77th minute. Liam Ridgewell’s lob to the back post was headed in by the on-loan Chelsea forward.

Reading 1-1 Stoke

Reading looked set to be taught a harsh lesson in the realities of top-flight football after Adam Federici’s mistake gave Michael Kightly a debut goal for Stoke. But new signing Garath McCleary came off the bench to turn the game, winning the penalty that earned Dean Whitehead a second yellow card.

Le Fondre dispatched the spot-kick to spark joy at the Madejski Stadium, which was almost repeated when Stoke’s Robert Huth gave away a stoppage-time free-kick that Harte curled inches over the top.

In the end, Reading fans went home happy from what was their first Barclays Premier League outing for four years.

QPR 0-5 Swansea

Michael Laudrup got life at the Swansea helm off to the best possible start as his side overwhelmed QPR 5-0 at Loftus Road to move joint top of the Barclays Premier League.

The Swans dominated proceedings in west London as they began life without Brendan Rodgers, who left for Liverpool in the summer, in some style.

Only eight minutes were on the clock when Michu struck the first goal of the Premier League season. The Spaniard collected a loose ball on the edge of the box and unleashed a low shot that, while well struck, might have been dealt with by Rob Green.

Michu then hit the crossbar as half-time approached after fellow summer signing Chico had done the same before Laudrup’s side ran away with proceedings in the second half.

First Michu exquisitely curled in a left-footed strike before Nathan Dyer netted twice and Scott Sinclair came off the bench to lash in a fifth.

Fulham 5-0 Norwich

Fulham debutant Mladen Petric scored twice and set up one more as Martin Jol’s side subjected Norwich City to a comprehensive defeat.

Martin Jol’s side put on a sublime display to ensure a disappointing start for Chris Hughton in his first match in charge of the Norfolk club. Petric, signed on a free transfer from Hamburg this summer, was the star of the show, scoring twice after Damien Duff had opened the scoring.

Alex Kacaniklic scored his first Fulham goal to make it 4-0 and substitute Steve Sidwell unleashed a fierce penalty four minutes from time to seal the rout.

Duff scored the first when John Arne Riise hit a cross-field pass to find the winger, whose shot trickled in off John Ruddy’s outstretched leg.

Fulham almost added a second when Petric found Bryan Ruiz in the box but Ryan Bennett put in a crucial tackle. The Cottagers had their second from the resulting corner, as Petric glanced home Duff’s cross.

Eight minutes into the second half Fulham scored their third. Ruiz found Petric in space and the Croatian fired home a 30-yard shot that took a deflection.

Thirteen minutes later it was 4-0. Petric backheeled into the path of Kacaniklic from a Mousa Dembele pass and the 21-year-old finished calmly.

Four minutes from the end Fulham scored a fifth when Turner’s foul on Hugo Rodallega, a substitute for Petric, earned a penalty and Sidwell hammered the spot-kick into the roof of the net.

West Ham 1-0 Aston Villa

Kevin Nolan’s close-range strike ensured that West Ham United enjoyed a successful return to the Barclays Premier League with a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa. The West Ham captain turned in a low cross from Ricardo Vaz Te five minutes before half-time for the only goal of the game.

The game began to spark into some sort of life after 36 minutes when Cole was brought down on the edge of the Villa box by Ron Vlaar. Mark Noble touched the free-kick to Nolan, who drilled it low and through the wall but just wide of Shay Given’s right-hand post.

Four minutes later, West Ham had the lead. Noble’s lofted free-kick fell to Vaz Te, who pulled the ball back for Nolan to score from close range.

West Ham began to grow as the game went on and could have doubled their lead after 65 minutes, when Vaz Te skipped past Nathan Baker and cut a low cross back to Nolan, whose shot was blocked by Vlaar. The Villa defender then went up the other end and had a shot on goal from 35 yards as Villa sought in vain for an equaliser.

Newcastle 2-1 Tottenham

Hatem Ben Arfa stroked home a late penalty as Newcastle United’s Barclays Premier League campaign got off to a flying start with a 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

The Frenchman sent Brad Friedel the wrong way in the 80th minute having been fouled by Rafael van der Vaart and Aaron Lennon.

The game sprang into life ten minutes into the second half when Demba Ba fired in his first goal since February to put the home side ahead before Jermain Defoe prodded in a 76th-minute equaliser at the second attempt.

Spurs had been unlucky not to take the lead into the half-time break after Defoe and Gareth Bale both hit the woodwork. Defoe fired against the base of Tim Krul’s right post, and three minutes later Bale headed powerfully against the bar.

After the break the home side snatched the lead against the run of play when Danny Simpson’s high ball into the box was half headed clear by Kyle Walker, and Ba curled a shot high into the net from the corner of the box.

It took another 15 minutes for Spurs to respond, Defoe hitting a low shot which was parried by Krul. But in the 76th minute Defoe made amends when he scored from close range after seeing Krul save his initial header from Aaron Lennon’s cross.

But the score only lasted four minutes before Van der Vaart and Lennon combined to trip Ben Arfa on the left side of the area, and the Frenchman picked himself up to send Friedel the wrong way.

Wigan 0-2 Chelsea

Eden Hazard played a big role on his debut as Chelsea began their Barclays Premier League season with a 2-0 victory over Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.

Both goals came in the first seven minutes, with Hazard setting up Branislav Ivanovic for the opener and then winning a penalty that was converted by Frank Lampard.

Wigan dominated much of the rest of the game and pressed hard for a goal, with Victor Moses, Franco Di Santo and new striker Arouna Kone all forcing decent saves from Petr Cech, but the hosts could not make the breakthrough.

It took Hazard less than two minutes to show why Chelsea bought him this summer as he turned Wigan’s Ivan Ramis, another debutant, in midfield and played a perfect ball through for Ivanovic.

The defender showed composure to run on and slot the ball past Ali al-Habsi.

Ramis’s afternoon got worse five minutes later as he upended Hazard in the penalty area and Lampard tucked away the penalty.

Despite the setbacks the home side began to settle and dominate possession. Di Santo headed just over from an Emmerson Boyce cross, while Petr Cech saved a rasping effort from Moses.

Di Santo had another chance in first-half injury time when he was played in by Maynor Figueroa but his first touch allowed Cech to close him down and a combination of the goalkeeper and David Luiz cleared the danger.

For all Wigan’s pressure, Chelsea came close to making it 3-0 in the 63rd minute as Fernando Torres found some space and dinked a shot over the onrushing Al Habsi but Ramis rushed back to clear off the line.

Jordi Gomez had a good chance to halve the deficit when he got his head on a Figueroa cross but he could not direct it on goal and then the Spaniard saw his well-struck free-kick from 20 yards saved by Cech.

Kone, who scored 15 goals in the Primera Division for Levante last season, almost opened his account for his new side in the 84th minute but powered a header wide from a corner. Moments later the Ivory Coast forward forced Cech into a good save before Gomez acrobatically volleyed the rebound just wide.

Manchester City 3-2 Southampton

It was deja vu for Manchester City as the Barclays Premier League champions opened their title defence with a thrilling 3-2 victory over newly promoted Southampton.

Not only was the score the same as that unforgettable final home game against Queens Park Rangers last season, so was the scoring sequence, and even the ends they went in at the Etihad Stadium. The major difference was that this time, City did not wait until added time before responding to falling behind.

Edin Dzeko was the man who equalised again, though, before Samir Nasri produced the winner with 10 minutes remaining. It was tough on Southampton, who had stuck doggedly to their task, but paid the price for only holding their lead for four minutes as Rickie Lambert and Steven Davis responded to Carlos Tevez’s first-half opener.

Tevez’s goal came as a huge relief to the hosts, whose striker Sergio Aguero was taken off on a stretcher in the first half with a knee injury after a challenge from Nathaniel Clyne. City subsequently missed a penalty, when David Silva’s softly struck spot-kick was saved by Kelvin Davis. Having been played through by Samir Nasri, the Argentina striker beat Davis at his near post.

The second half did not go to plan for Roberto Mancini’s charges as Lambert came off the bench to curl an equaliser past Joe Hart on 59 minutes, and Steven Davis, also a second-half substitute, drove in midway through the second half.

But just as they did on that memorable final match of last season, City responded to going 2-1 down. Dzeko, who scored the stoppage-time equaliser against QPR and had come on for Aguero, pulled City level with a first-time shot after Vincent Kompany’s effort had been blocked.

And 10 minutes from time, after defender Daniel Fox headed the ball into his path, Nasri flashed a shot into the net from 12 yards to complete yet another enthralling comeback for the Barclays Premier League champions.

Everton 1-0 Manchester United

Manchester United’s Barclays Premier League campaign got off to a disappointing start as they were beaten 1-0 by Everton at Goodison Park thanks to Marouane Fellaini’s second-half goal.

The Belgian international was a thorn in United’s side throughout an engaging encounter at Goodison Park and was worthy of his winner, which arrived from a powerful header on 57 minutes.

Fellaini had already hit the post in the first half, and Leon Osman rattled the crossbar after the break as Everton gave a purposeful display and forced David de Gea into a succession of saves.

De Gea had to deny Nikica Jelavic, tip over a long-range header from Steven Pienaar header and fling himself to his left to save the South Africa midfielder’s low shot, before preventing Leighton Baines’s deflected free-kick from sneaking into the top corner.

It was not all one-way traffic, however, as United had chances of their own, though not as good or as numerous as their hosts. Danny Welbeck had one shot blocked by Phil Jagielka hooked another wide under pressure from the centre-back.

Fellaini’s ravaging of the United defence continued after the interval as his header across goal was smashed against the crossbar by Leon Osman with De Gea, for once, beaten.

And the Belgian international was finally rewarded for his outstanding display when former United midfielder Darron Gibson swung over a corner and Fellaini left Carrick sprawling on the turf to power in a header.

United’s summer signing Shinji Kagawa had plenty of good touches around the penalty area, including a pinpoint pass for Welbeck, who was denied by Jagielka’s perfectly judged tackle.

Kagawa was then set up for a goalscoring chance by second-half substitute Robin van Persie, only to be thwarted by Tim Howard.

But despite a late rally by Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, the hosts held on for a rousing win. For the visitors this represented their first opening day defeat in eight years.

Chelsea 4-2 Reading

Chelsea went to the top of the Barclays Premier League for the first time since November 2010 with their second victory of the season but had to recover from a big shock handed to them by Reading in doing so.

Reading vowed to follow the likes of Swansea City and Norwich City last season by not being overawed when visiting the big Premier League teams and the club, who came up as winners of the Championship last season, were true to their word as they battled back from Frank Lampard’s penalty to lead at half-time through goals by Pavel Pogrebnyak and Danny Guthrie. But attacking substitutions from Roberto Di Matteo put Reading on the back foot and after Gary Cahill had equalised from long range, goals from Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic turned the game around.

For the opening quarter, Chelsea dominated, with Eden Hazard showing the skills that he displayed against Wigan Athletic on Sunday. The Belgian had taken less than two minutes to make his mark on his league debut at the DW Stadium and it could have been the same story against Reading had he not screwed Juan Mata’s through-ball wide.

Torres went close to a solo goal before Chelsea took the lead in the 18th minute, thanks to the skills of Hazard. The player forced Chris Gunter to trip him in the penalty area and Lampard scored his second penalty in successive games, both created by Hazard.

But Reading came back as Pogrebnyak equalised with a header, getting in front of Cahill to glance home Garath McCleary’s cross. They then took the lead as Guthrie’s powerful free kick spun past Petr Cech into the net.

After the break with Chelsea still losing, Di Matteo went all out for the equaliser by bringing on Oscar for Ramires and Daniel Sturridge for John Obi Mikel. The pressure paid off as Gary Cahill’s 25-yard shot was too strong for Adam Federici to palm away.

The home side went in front after a neat build-up ended with Ashley Cole sweeping a low cross for Torres to finish from close range. Reading went for broke late on, with Federici going forward for a corner in injury time, and they were caught out when Chelsea broke and Hazard squared for Ivanovic to tap home.

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