Millions of football fans around the globe had their eyes set on the top flight in England this weekend as Premier League football returned to the limelight this weekend.
With plenty of talking points going into the matches, fans of the clubs involved were riddled with anticipation – how is our record signing going the do? What impact will the new gaffer have? As Gameweek 1 of the 2013-2014 Barclays Premier League season came to a close on Monday, all of these intangibles had combined together and provided a fantastic round of Premier League action.
Saturday 17th August 2013
SWANSEA CITY 1 – 4 MANCHESTER UNITED
On the opening day’s late kick-off, Michael Laudrup’s Swansea City hosted reigning champions Manchester United who had a new manager in charge for the first time in Premier League history in David Moyes. Despite a Community Shield victory over Wigan Athletic, there were doubters surrounding United in their opening game, but it was long before star striker Robin Van Persie answered the critics with a stellar first half strike. Danny Welbeck got on the score sheet as well only two minutes later, before Van Persie hit a stunning second goal in the second goal to put the game out of reach. Wilfried Bony came off the bench to get one back for Swansea, but an exquisite chip from Welbeck made it two for him and four for United as Moyes and Co. left Wales with three points.
ARSENAL 1 – 3 ASTON VILLA
Probably the most surprising result of the opening weekend saw Aston Villa take three points from a sloppy Arsenal as a Christian Benteke double and goal from Villa debutant Antonio Luna cancelled out Olivier Giroud’s early goal. A penalty was awarded to Villa in the first half as Szczesny took down Agbonlahor, yet Benteke could only convert the rebound as the Polish keeper saved; however, there was controversy in the second half as Villa were awarded another penalty – this one a very close call – which Benteke coverted. The game was put of Arsenal’s reach late on as Luna added the third, Wenger’s men’s defeat only compounded by another controversial decision in Koscielny’s dismissal for a second bookable offence.
NORWICH CITY 2 – 2 EVERTON
A Ricky van Wolfswinkel header on his Norwich rescued a point for ‘The Canaries’ as Roberto Martinez’ Wigan arrived at Carrow Road with hopes of three points under their new gaffer. Whittaker put the hosts ahead early into the second half, but Everton soon took the lead through a great strike from youngster Ross Barkley and a goal from Seamus Coleman. On the 71st minute however, Dutch frontman van Wolfswinkel headed in a superb cross from Whittaker to ensure the game ended 2-2.
LIVERPOOL 1 – 0 STOKE CITY
Amidst the controversy of the Luis Suarez transfer saga, Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side were out to win against Stoke City who were under the regime of a new manager in Mark Hughes. Daniel Sturridge had a goal disallowed early on before Kolo Toure hit the bar with a header, yet a well-placed strike from Sturridge made it 1-0 to Liverpool before the break. Stoke had also hit the bar and forced a great save from Simon Mignolet in the first half, but their best chance came when Agger handled the ball and they received a penalty. However, Mignolet again denied Jon Walters and saved the rebound to keep the three points with Liverpool.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION 0 – 1 SOUTHAMPTON
A flat West Brom performance allowed Southampton to bring the fight to ‘The Baggies’ at The Hawthorns, and even though Southampton had a first-half goal from Adam Lallana denied for an offside call against Jay Rodriguez, it never really looked like the south-coast side wouldn’t take anything from the game. The winning goal came when Rickie Lambert coverted a penalty with only a couple of minutes remaining, and Saints went home happy following a deserved win.
WEST HAM 2 – 0 CARDIFF CITY
New-boys Cardiff City could not take anything from their first Premier League appearance as Joe Cole put ‘The Hammers’ 1-0 ahead in the 13th minute, providing the Welsh side with a mountain to climb against a solid West Ham side. Cardiff didn’t pose much of a threat to West Ham, and when Kevin Nolan added his side’s second during the second half, West Ham did not seem likely to lose the lead, picking up three points on the opening day.
SUNDERLAND 0 – 1 FULHAM
Sunderland entered this game having made no fewer than ten new signings this summer, but none of them could steer ‘The Black Cats’ to three points as Fulham went ahead in the second half through Kasami’s first Premier League goal for the London side. Sunderland continued to attack Fulham’s goal, with David Stockdale having replaced debutant Stekelenberg between the sticks due to injury, yet it was Fulham who came away with the three points and a clean sheet which will be most pleasing to Martin Jol and the Fulham fans after the opening weekend.
Sunday 18th August 2013
CRYSTAL PALACE 0 – 1 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
An action-packed Sunday of Premier League football began when promoted side Crystal Palace hosted Spurs at Selhurst Park. Ian Holloway’s side played with great spirit, but they could not contain a Tottenham side without star player Gareth Bale. Spurs’ Aaron Lennon was a threat throughout and promptly won his side a penalty through a Dean Moxey handball, which Spurs’ record signing Roberto Soldado converted with aplomb, which was all it took for Spurs to seal the three points.
CHELSEA 2 – 0 HULL CITY
‘The Special One’ returned to Stamford Bridge and carried on in a similar fashion to what made him so loved at Chelsea with a 2-0 victory over Hull. After Allan McGregor denied Frank Lampard through a penalty in the opening few minutes, Oscar put the Europa League holders ahead early on with a tidy finish from close, before Frank Lampard this time sent the ball flying past McGregor with a well-hit free kick. A well-oiled machine, Chelsea never looked like losing after going 2-0 ahead, which will be encouraging to the West London club’s fans for the season ahead.
Monday 19th August 2013
MANCHESTER CITY 4 – 0 NEWCASTLE UNITED
Manuel Pellegrini’s first game in charge of Manchester City saw his side easily dispatch ‘The Toon’ at Eastlands. First half goals from David Silva and Sergio Aguero had already hit Newcastle hard before Steven Taylor got sent off for a needless swipe at Aguero, and the incident only compounded a poor performance from the Geordie side. A Yaya Toure free kick put City 3-0 ahead during the second half, before a well-taken goal from substitute Samir Nasri put City four goals ahead. It was a bad showing from Newcastle, but City fans will be encouraged for the remaining 37 games by how they’re team capitalised on Newcastle’s poor performance.
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