17 August 2008

ASTON VILLA 4 (Carew 47, Agbonlahor 68, Agbonlahor 73, Agbonlahor 75)
MANCHESTER CITY 2 (Elano 63 Pen, Corluka 89)

Gabriel Agbonlahor scored the second quickest hat trick since the inception of the Premier League in 1992 as his Aston Villa side saw off Man City whose troubles on and off the pitch are increasing. After a goalless first half, Villa went ahead thanks to John Carew's far post header from Ashley Young's cross however City levelled with Elano's penalty after a tangle in the area between Luke Young and Michael Johnson. Enter Agbonlahor who regained the lead with a close range finish after Carew helped Young's corner back across goal and five minutes later he netted his second with a clinical header from Gareth Barry's cross. The hat trick goal wasn't far behind as Barry sent Agbonlahor clear to finish brilliantly past the keeper. City scored a late consolation when Vedran Corluka tapped in Johnson's deflected shot but they were well beaten.

Attendance : 39,955
Assists : Young, Johnson (won pen), Carew, Barry, Barry, n/a

NEWCASTLE 1 (Martins 22)

Newcastle grabbed a rare point at Old Trafford as Man United were held in their opening game of the season. Newcastle shocked their opponents by taking the lead as a corner from James Milner was headed powerfully in by Obafemi Martins, however the Champions levelled as Darren Fletcher turned in a cross from Ryan Giggs within two minutes.

Attendance : 75,512
Assists : Milner (ck), Giggs

CHELSEA 4 (Cole 12, Anelka 26, Lampard 45 Pen, Deco 88)

The Scolari era at Chelsea began with a thumping win against FA Cup holders Portsmouth. They were three up by half time, starting with a through ball from Michael Ballack which sent Joe Cole clear to send a controlled volley into the net and then the lead was doubled with a close range header from Nik Anelka after Deco's looped effort had beaten keeper David James. Frank Lampard's penalty on half time made it three after Joe Cole's cross was handled by Sylvain Distin. They added a fourth late on as Deco exchanged passes with Shaun Wright=Phillips before swerving in a beauty from 25 yards. This was Chelsea at their awesome best.

Attendance : 41,468
Assists : Ballack, Ballack, n/a, SWP

16 August 2008

ARSENAL 1 (Nasri 3)

Arsenal took a jittery start towards their first league title in four years with a narrow win over newly promoted West Brom. The only goal came early as Denilson made a break down the left and his cut back was tapped in at close range by new arrival Samir Nasri. The Gunners couldn't capitalise on their early advantage and never looked convincing.

Attendance : 60,071
Assist : Denilson

BOLTON 3 (Steinsson 33, Davies 40, Elmander 45)
STOKE 1 (Fuller 92)

Stoke's first top flight game for 23 years was effectively over at half time as they were blitzed by a three goal in eleven minute spell by Bolton. The first was either sensationally brilliant or a fluke of the highest degree as Kevin Nolan found Gretar Steinsson on the right flank and his volleyed cross (shot?) sailed over the keeper and into the far corner. The second was more routine as Kevin Davies's back header found the net from Gary Cahill's cross and on half time, Johan Elmander added a third as he was left unmarked to head in Joey O'Brien's cross. Stoke grabbed a late consolation in stoppage time when Ricardo Fuller superbly headed home Carl Dickinson's cross.

Attendance : 22,717
Assists : Nolan, Cahill (ck), O'Brien (fk), Dickinson

EVERTON 2 (Arteta 47 fk, Yakubu 63)
BLACKBURN 3 (Dunn 21, Santa Cruz 65, Ooijer 93)

Cracking match as Goodison as both teams gained and then lost the lead before Blackburn's late winner. Rovers began well and were ahead when Morten Gamst Pedersen set up David Dunn who made space on the edge of the area before curling a shot inside the post. Everton levelled on half time through Mikael Arteta who, with everyone expecting a cross from a free kick on the left, fired an effort near post which beat Paul Robinson and found the net. Everton went ahead in the second half as Yakubu headed in Arteta's cross at the far post but within two minutes, Roque Santa Cruz levelled it again with a calm finish from close range as he collected a long pass from Stephen Warnock. Rovers won in very late on as Andre Ooijer tapped in from almost on the line after Ryan Nelson had hit the post with a header.

Attendance : 38,675
Assists : Pederson, n/a, Arteta, Warnock, n/a

WEST HAM 2 (Ashton 2, Ashton 9)
WIGAN 1 (Zaki 46)

West Ham began their season with a bang against Wigan but were left clinging onto victory by the end. Two Dean Ashton goals in the first ten minutes set the Hammers up. His first was a stinging shot high into the roof of the net after a good turn in the area from Julien Faubert's pass. The second was more scrappy as Faubert's corner was helped goalwards by Callum Davenport and Ashton goal ahead of keeper Chris Kirkland to prod in. Wigan pulled one back as Emile Heskey's header was brilliantly volleyed in by Amr Zaki but they couldn't find an equaliser.

Attendance : 32,758
Assists : Faubert, Davenport, Heskey

HULL 2 (Geovanni 21, Folan 80)
FULHAM 1 (Ki-Hyeon 7)

Hull's first ever top flight game ended in victory as they came from Fulham to beat Fulham. The visitors took an early lead when Jimmy Bullard's cross was headed in by Seol Ki-Hyeon however Hull levelled as Samuel Ricketts found Giovanni and after a sharp turn and run, he arrowed a low shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards. The winner came with nine minutes to go as Paul Konchesky lost possession in his own penalty area, allowing Craig Fagan to set up Caleb Folan to tap in the winner.

Attendance : 24,525
Assists : Bullard, Ricketts, Fagan

MIDDLESBROUGH 2 (Wheater 70, Mido 85)
TOTTENAHAM 1 (Huth 92 og)

Much is expected of Spurs this season but they were well and truly beaten at Middlesbrough in their opening game of the new campaign. David Wheater had a goal harshly disallowed in the first half but did get on the scoresheet after the break for Boro as Stuart Downing's cross was met by Afonso Alves and although the keeper somehow pushed the effort onto the bar, Wheater tapped in from a matter of inches. Former Spurs striker Ahmed Mido rubbed salt into the wounds with the second goal as he helped Didier Digard's shot into the net. Spurs did snatch a late consolation when Robert Huth headed a David Bentley free kick into his own net via the post.

Attendance : 32,623
Assists : n/a, Digard, n/a

LIVERPOOL 1 (Torres 82)

Liverpool are off and running this season although they left it late to see off Sunderland. The goal came with seven minutes left as Xabi Alonso's pass found Fernando Torres and after a quick turn, he walloped a shot low into the corner from 25 yards.

Attendance : 43,259
Assist : Xabi Alonso

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