16 August 2009


Man United's quest for a fourth successive title got under way with a narrow win at home to newly promoted Birmingham. United had the better of the opening half an hour and took a deserved lead when Nani's cross was headed against the post by Wayne Rooney who was first to the rebound and tapped in from close range. Darren Fletcher missed a sitter just before half time and Dimitar Berbatov's looping header was cleared off the line before he made way for the arrival of Michael Owen. It was a Birmingham sub who almost scored though as Christian Benitez burst through only to be denied by an excellent save from Ben Foster. In stoppage time, Owen was through on goal but keeper Joe Hart kept his shot out.

Attendance : 75,062
Assists : n/a

TOTTENHAM 2 (Assout-Ekotto 44, Bassong 59)
LIVERPOOL 1 (Gerrard 56 Pen)

Spurs begin their season with a win against fancied Liverpool who rarely looked like getting anything from the game. After a dull opening 30 minutes, Spurs created three excellent chances in a five minute spell as Robbie Keane was denied by twice by Jose Reina, once from a close range header and then from a shot whilst clean through and then Jermaine Defoe headed wide whilst unmarked from a corner. As the half neared it's end, Keane blazed over from 15 yards as another chance went begging. Ironically with all the opportunites falling to the strikers, it took a defender to break the deadlock with a fantastic goal. Tom Huddlestone's free kick thudded into the Liverpool wall, however the rebound fell to Beniot Assou-Ekotto who smashed the loose ball arrowing into the top corner from 25 yards for his first Spurs goal. Liverpool had to improve after the break and they did, although again it was a defender who effectively got them level as Glen Johnson cut inside, beat two men and was clattered over by keeper Heurelho Gomes for one of the clearest penalties we will see all season. Steven Gerrard stepped up and blazed the ball into the roof of the net from the spot. Parity lasted three minutes as the hosts regained the lead with a superb header by debutant Sebastien Bassong to convert a free kick crossed in by Luka Modric.

Attendance : 35,935
Assists : n/a, Johnson (won pen), Modric (fk)

15 August 2009

WIGAN 2 (Rodallega 31, Koumas 56)

Arguably the surprise result of the opening day came at Villa Park as new Wigan boss Roberto Martinez guided his team to a fine victory at Aston Villa. The opening goal was a belter as Hugo Rodallega latched onto a weak defensive header and having let the ball bounce, he crashed home a brilliant volley from the left edge of the area. Jason Koumas wrapped it up after the break with a low side footed shot from a tricky angle having been found by Charles N'Zogbia.

Attendance : 35,578
Assists : n/a, N'Zogbia

MANCHESTER CITY 2 (Adebayor 3, Ireland 91)

Moneybags Man City began their surge for success with a good win at Blackburn. They took an early lead when Shaun Wright-Phillips found space down the left and his square pass was smashed in first time by debutant Emmanuel Adebayor from the edge of the area. Rovers had chances, notably when Christopher Samba's firm header was well saved by Shay Given. In stoppage time, Stephen Ireland ran onto a through ball from Wright-Phillips before rounding the keeper and although Paul Robinson got back to his feet, Ireland slotted it past him and three defenders to wrap up the win.

Attendance : 29,584
Assists : SWP, n/a


Sunderland new boy Darren Bent netted the only goal as Sunderland picked up a fine win at the Reebok against Bolton. The strike came early as Bent met Steed Malbranque's cross at the far post to head back across goal and inside the post.

Attendance : 22,247
Assist : Malbranque

CHELSEA 2 (Drogba 37 fk, Drogba 92)
HULL 1 (Hunt 28)

Carlo Ancelotti's reign as Chelsea manager began with a whimper rather than a bang as they needed a stoppage time winner at home to Hull City. The opening goal of the new season went, somewhat surprisingly, against Chelsea as the hosts failed to deal with a long ball hoisted toward the edge of their area and after a shot from George Boateng struck two defenders, it fell nicely for Stephen Hunt to fire into a gaping net from seven yards. Within ten minutes Chelsea levelled when Didier Drogba sent a Ronaldo-esq free kick over the wall and into the bottom corner from 25 yards out. After the break, Chelsea attacked their opponents constantly but struggled to break through as Drogba's effort was well saved at close range by Boaz Myhill and sub Salomon Kalou headed over with his first touch. Hull almost snatched a late winner themselves when a deflected cross from Caleb Folan was tipped over by Petr Cech. Hull were angered at the award of six minutes of added on time and inside two of those, Drogba found space on the left and having collected a pass from Deco, clipped a cross (or shot?) over Myhill which dropped just inside the far post from a tight angle.

Attendance : 41,597
Assists : n/a, Mikel (won fk), Deco

EVERTON 1 (Saha 92)
ARSENAL 6 (Denilson 26, Vermaelen 37, Gallas 41, Fabregas 48, Fabregas 69, Eduardo 88)

Despite being largely by-passed in the list of potential title winners this season, Arsenal posted their intent with a crushing 6-1 win away at Everton. After having the better of the opening stages, Arsenal blitzed their hosts with three goals in a fifteen minute spell. The first was superb as Nicklas Bendtner and Cesc Fabregas set up Denilson whose first time shot arced away from the keeper and found the corner. The lead was doubled when Robin Van Persie floated in a free kick from the halfway line which was in the air for ages and allowed debutant Thomas Vermaelen to lose his marker and send a header across goal and inside the far post. The home defence failed to learn their lesson as four minutes later, a similar cross from Fabregas was glanced in by William Gallas, also unmarked in the area. Whilst they've lost Adebayor and Toure, Fabregas remains for now and he stamped his mark on the game even more after the break as he ended a sweeping move with a clinical finish under Tim Howard having been sent clear by Van Persie and then drilled home his second and the Gunners fifth from the edge of the area after latching onto a goal kick from keeper Manuel Almunia. Arsenal kept the ball well all game and this was evident in the sixth as a fine spell of passing ended with Andrei Arshavin's prodded effort taking a deflection and bouncing off the post for Eduardo to tap into an empty net from two yards out. Everton grabbed a stoppage time consolation when Stephen Pienaar's shot was saved and Louis Saha slotted in the rebound but a large number of home fans were out of the ground by then.

Attendance : 39,309
Assists : Denilson, RVP (fk), Fabregas (fk), RVP, Almunia, n/a, n/a

FULHAM 1 (Zamora 13)

Portsmouth's summer of discontent continues after a home defeat against last season's surprise package Fulham. Bobby Zamora scored the only goal although he knew little about it as he deflected in a shot from Clint Dempsey.

Attendance : 17,510
Assist : Dempsey

STOKE 2 (Shawcross 19, Jordan 33 og)

Premier League new boys Burnley slumped to defeat at Stoke who are hoping to avoid "second season syndrome" after impressing last year. The game was over by half time as Ryan Shawcross headed in a free kick from Liam Lawrence at the far post. A traditional long throw from Rory Delay set up the second as Steven Jordan could only head into his own net.

Attendance : 27,385
Assists : Lawrence (fk), n/a

WEST HAM 2 (Noble 22, Upson 69)

Wolves first top flight game in five years ended in defeat as a goal in each half gave West Ham all three points. Mark Noble curled in a beauty from 25 yards after being set up by Carlton Cole and after the break, Matthew Upson headed in a corner from Noble.

Attendance : 28,674
Assists : Cole, Noble (ck)

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