With the first weekend of the 2009/10 campaign already behind us, Kevin Coleman reviews the Premier League’s opening day action. Vote for Goal of the Week at the bottom right corner, and discuss the Team of the Week below.
Chelsea 2-1 Hull City
Chelsea got off to winning ways under Carlo Ancelotti after overcoming a 1-0 deficit to beat Hull 2-1 at Stamford Bridge. New signing Stephen Hunt’s 28th minute tap in brought up thoughts of a shock on the cards but a superb Didier Drogba free-kick equalized for Chelsea minutes later. George Boateng and Dean Marney both came close for the Tigers, while John Terry headed close at the other end before Stephen Hunt found the lead with a left-footed shot into an open net. The away side conceded a free-kick just outside the box literally moments later, and it was Drogba who answered the set piece duties beating Myhill to his left. The tension mounted late on when the referee revealed six minutes of injury time, and Hull’s worst fears came true as Didier Drogba’s lofted kick looped over Boaz Myhill and gave Chelsea all three points in their opening game.
Aston Villa were handed a footballing lesson by a superb Wigan side under new boss Roberto Martinez, a manager known for playing sweet good looking football. But a stunning strike from striker Hugo Rodallega stole the headlines. The Colombian forward’s super half-volley latched on to a long ball first time from about forty yards out near the right hand side, striking it beautifully past Brad Friedel into the left hand side of the net. Jason Koumas slotted in at the far post in the 56th minute to give Wigan a comprehensive lead after losing two valuable players during the summer in Antonio Valencia and Lee Cattermole. But despite this, new boss Martinez has got off to a dream start in the Premier League.
Blackburn Rovers 0-2 Manchester City
Manchester City also kicked-off in winning ways against Blackburn at Ewood Park. It was a bright opening for the visitors, and after a superb move on the counter Shawn Wright-Phillips took on new boy Adebayor’s long ball along the right, and set up the big forward who put the ball in the net from just outside the box. The other new signings also impressed, Kolo Toure was solid in an otherwise shaky back line and Gareth Barry played well at centre midfield. Shay Given’s heroics in goals kept Sparky’s City in the game before Stephen Ireland doubled their lead – winning the ball in a box crowded with Blackburn players. He didn’t panic, and after weighing up his options calmly slotted in past the near post to guarantee three points on the board for the Citizens.
Bolton Wanderers 0-1 Sunderland
Sunderland’s £10million striker Darren Bent 6th minute goal was enough to ensure three points for Steve Bruce’s Sunderland. The ex-Tottenham striker headed in at the back post early on, and it was his goal that awarded the visitors the three points. Bolton came close to equalizing before half-time, only for two superb saves from Marton Fulop. Kenwyne Jones headed wide twice, as Sunderland failed to double their lead despite creating a number of chances in the first half.
Portsmouth 0-1 Fulham
Fulham continued last season’s form with a 1-0 win against Portsmouth. The home side, who are widely tipped to face a relegation battle this season, suffered some bad luck as Clint Dempsey’s strike deflected off Bobby Zamora and past David James. Pompey had a number of chances to equalize but failed to really test Mark Schwarzer in goal. Lyon loanee Frederic Piquionne was a handful for Fulham, but not enough to capitalize on any chances as the Cottagers ran home comfortable winners.
Stoke City 2-0 Burnley
Play-Off winners Burnley were defeated in their first Premier League game by last year’s promoted heroes Stoke at the Brittania. Stoke threatened from set pieces on numerous occasions, and it was a Ryan Shawcross header from a Liam Lawrence free-kick in the 19th minute that gave Stoke the lead. The home side struck again in the first half this time a trademark Rory Delap throw-in caught out Stephen Jordan who turned the ball into his own net which secured a win for Tony Pulis’ side.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 West Ham United
Mark Noble’s superb first half strike gave West Ham a 22nd minute lead against new boys Wolves at Molineux. New signing Nenad Milijas wasn’t hesitant in taking a long range shot, and threatened Robert Greene’s goal on more than one occasion. But mid way through the second half defender Matty Upson met a Mark Noble corner to secure a 2-o lead and three points to take back to Upton Park.
Everton 1-6 Arsenal
Arsenal kicked-off with the 6-1 demolition of Everton at Goodison on Saturday evening. Denilson kicked off the thrashing with a strike into the left side of the goals from just outside the box, before new signing Thomas Vermaelen headed in 12 minutes later inside the six yard box. Centre half partner William Gallas added a third just before half time, again from a header after a Fabregas free kick. It was Fabregas who scored the fourth from just inside the box, slotting in to the bottom right corner. It was the Spaniard who added the fifth soon later after a marauding solo run from deep inside his own half, and celebrated both by presenting a jersey with “Jarque 21” printed on the back. Substitute Eduardo added salt to the wounds with his 87th minute tap, while Everton grabbed a late consolation thanks to Louis Saha.
Manchester United 1-0 Birmingham
Wayne Rooney’s 99th club goal for United was enough to earn them three points in their opening game against Birmingham. The Englishman fired a shot from deep inside the box past Joe Hart into the middle of the goal, and that was enough to earn the home side the spoils in their aims to retain the title. Birmingham’s best chance came late in the second half when Ben Foster denied a Christian Benitez strike. Michael Owen missed a superb chance to double their lead and open his account, but the 1-0 lead was enough for United.
Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Liverpool
Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham beat Liverpool this afternoon at White Hart Lane. A superb Benoit Assou-Ekotto strike after Tom Huddlestone’s free kick hit the wall gave Spurs a deserved lead after early pressure. Robbie Keane came close twice, but denied by a fantastic Pepe Reina on both occasions. Glen Johnson threatened along the right hand side, and after a superb run into the box he was taken down by Heurelho Gomes and duly awarded a penalty – which Steven Gerrard buried down the middle. But Tottenham re-took the lead almost immediately, new signing Sebastian Bassong heading in the winner on his debut for Spurs.
Kevin’s team of the week:
Sagna Bassong Vermaelen Evra
Noble Gomez Fabregas
Van Persie Adebayor Rodallega