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16 August 2010

MANCHESTER UNITED 3 (Berbatov 33, Fletcher 41, Giggs 85)
NEWCASTLE 0

Man United emulated Chelsea with a home win against a promoted club in the opening game as they swept aside Newcastle at Old Trafford. In a high tempo opening, the visitors had the best chance as Andy Carroll sent a free header wide from close range when it really looked easier to at least hit the target. To his credit it didn't hinder his confidence as he drilled a shot straight at keeper Edwin Van Der Sar a few minutes later as Newcastle continued to hold their own. The hosts were dominating possession but struggling to break Newcastle down as both Nani and Wayne Rooney smashed free kicks into the wall. On the half hour, Rooney hooked a shot over from Dimitar Berbatov's header and it was the latter who finally broke the resistance as he was played in by Paul Scholes and then drilled home a low shot under the keeper. The lead was doubled shortly afterwards when Patrice Evra's drilled cross was touched by Rooney and fell nicely for Darren Fletcher who turned and scored with ease from four yards. In the second half Man United could have increased the lead with both Rooney and Berbatov clear on goal only to waste both chances before Rooney was taken off to be replaced by Javier Hernandez for his league debut. Newcastle refused to roll over and give up and had a chance to get back into it when sub Shola Ameobi headed wide at the far post whilst at the busy end, Berbatov waltzed through again only to prod his close range effort at keeper Steve Harper. Five minutes from time, two of the old stagers combined to add a third as a crossfield pass from Scholes found sub Ryan Giggs on the left edge of the area whose volley sailed across the goal and nestled sweetly inside the far post. Giggs has now scored in every single season for the last 21 years!! WOW!

Attendance : 75,221
Assists : n/a, Rooney, Scholes


15 August 2010

LIVERPOOL 1 (Ngog 46)
ARSENAL 1 (Reina 91)

A freak own goal from Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina gifted Arsenal a point after the hosts played the entire second half after Joe Cole was sent off on his debut for Liverpool. The first half was a bit of a non-event until the late stages when Glen Johnson had a shot tipped over and from the corner David Ngog had a header blocked on the line and as the ball was cleared, so the back page headlines were written as Cole launched into a late challenge on Laurent Koscielny and although some refs would have shown yellow, Martin Atkinson chose red and Cole was off to the astonishment and anger of the home players and fans. Koscielny was stretchered off as the half time whistle blew but did recover enough to start the second half and within a minute, the ten men went ahead! Arsenal failed to clear from their final third and Javier Mascherano played a lovely ball into the area to Ngog who absolutely walloped a first time shot past Manuel Almunia and into the roof of the net at the near post. They almost doubled the lead two minutes later when Martin Skrtel glanced a header wide as they made a mockery of being a player down. Eventually Arsenal began to get a foothold and should have levelled when Thomas Vermaelen headed wide from a good position and then Reina tipped a Theo Walcott free kick wide. Having used all their subs, Liverpool were effectively down to nine men for the last ten minutes with Daniel Agger picking up a head knock and they were almost made to pay when Tomas Rosicky burst through only for Reina to produce a fingertip save to push the ball over. The incessant pressure finally paid off when a near post cross tempted Reina off his line only for Marouane Chamakh to beat him to it and bundle the ball against the post, however Reina reacted sharply to collect it as it rebounded into play but somehow managed to fumble it into his own net! Amazingly in stoppage time, Steven Gerrard's stinging free kick was superbly saved as Liverpool went for a winner before it was ten v ten as Koscielny was shown a second yellow for a deliberate handball. Cracking game if you ignore the opening 44 minutes!

Attendance : 44,722
Red Cards : Koscielny 95 (Arsenal)
Assists : Mascherano, n/a


14 August 2010

TOTTENHAM 0
MANCHESTER CITY 0

Last seasons fourth met last seasons fifth at White Hart Lane as Spurs and Man City opened the season with a goalless draw. The hosts dominated the first half and the only surprise was how they didn't score with City keeper Joe Hart making a series of decent saves whilst Gareth Bale came desperately close with a stinging low drive which flew across goal and cracked against the foot of the far post. Ironically, within seconds of the restart City blew a golden chance as Shaun Wright-Phillips broke the offside trap but took too long to shoot with only the keeper to beat, allowing Benoit Assou-Ekotto to nick the ball away from him. The second half was a more even game though as Carlos Tevez had a shot deflected just over whilst Spurs sub Roman Pavlyuchenko was twice denied by Hart in a minute. Bale scuffed a late effort wide as Spurs put on some late pressure but it ended as the first 0-0 on the opening weekend of the Prem in three years and the first on the opening day in five years.

Attendance : 35,928
Assists : n/a


WOLVES 2 (Jones 37, Fletcher 39)
STOKE 1 (Diagne-Faye 55)

Wolves began with a win after two quick fire goals was enough to see off Stoke. The opening goal was straight off of the training ground as Wolves had a free kick on the edge of the area and after Karl Henry rolled the ball back to David Jones, he flicked it into the air and crashed a volley in off the bar. Two minutes later it was 2-0 as a deflected cross from Christophe Berra looped over the keeper and was nodded in from almost on the line by Steven Fletcher. Abdoulaye Faye's thumping header from Matty Etherington's corner gave Stoke a consolation but they were missing new 8m signing Kenwyne Jones who hit the bar early on only to then collect a knee injury and was forced off in tears after just 14 minutes of his debut.

Attendance : 27,850
Assists : Henry (fk), n/a, Etherington (ck)


ASTON VILLA 3 (Downing 15, Petrov 40, Milner 66)
WEST HAM 0

Aston Villa, still reeling from the shock resignation of boss Martin O'Neill under a week ago, still look good on the pitch as they swept aside West Ham at Villa Park. Stuart Downing had the distinction of netting the first goal of the 2010-11 season, netting a few seconds before Blackburn scored against Everton as he tapped in from close range after Marc Albrighton's volley was parried away although the Hammers wanted an offside flag against Downing earlier in the move. The lead was doubled just before the break when Ashley Young's was headed in well by Stiliyan Petrov. Midway through the second half, Villa added a third as James Milner - possibly on his way to Man City - drilled in from the edge of the area after excellent work from youngster Albrighton who had a superb game throughout. John Carew should have made it four but sent a free header miles wide to the extent that it finished nearer the corner flag and then saw a later effort hit the inside of the post.

Attendance : 36,604
Assists : n/a, Young, Albrighton


BLACKBURN 1 (Kalinic 14)
EVERTON 0

Blackburn edged to a narrow win against Everton thanks to a howler from keeper Tim Howard. The usually reliable American international caught, and then fumbled, a bouncing ball in the area and allowed Nikola Kalinic to roll the loose ball into an empty net.

Attendance : 25,869
Assist : n/a


BOLTON 0
FULHAM 0

No goals at the Reebok as new Fulham boss Mark Hughes began with a clean sheet. Bolton had the better of things but Johan Elmander was denied twice in the second half by young keeper David Stockdale whilst Stuart Holden hit the outside of the post.

Attendance : 20,352
Assists : n/a


SUNDERLAND 2 (Bent 24 Pen, Carr 56 og)
BIRMINGHAM 2 (Dann 77, Ridgewell 88)

Arguably the game of the day came at the Stadium of Light as Sunderland and Birmingham shared four goals. Sunderland looked to be cruising when Darren Bent netted from the penalty spot after Frazier Campbell was clattered on the edge of the area by Stephen Carr and after the break, Carr's nightmare day got worse when he looped a header over his own keeper from a long ball forward from Jordan Henderson. Between the goals, Sunderland were reduced to ten men when Lee Cattermole was shown a second yellow card for a nasty tackle from behind on Lee Bowyer, although he had earlier escaped punishment for an elbow on Gary O'Connor which left the visiting player with blood streaming down his face. Credit to Birmingham for battling back when Scott Dann headed in Sebastien Larsson's cross and then they levelled late on when Liam Ridgewell got the final touch on Larsson's cross although how much he knew about it is open to debate with the player himself stating that he didn't think he got a touch to it!

Attendance : 38,390
Red Card : Cattermole 44 (Sunderland)
Assists : Campbell (won pen), n/a, Larsson, Larsson (fk)


WIGAN 0
BLACKPOOL 4 (Taylor-Fletcher 16, Harewood 38, Harewood 43, Baptiste 75)

Favourites for relegation Blackpool, in their first top flight game since 1971, walloped Wigan on their own turf in one of the most eye catching opening day results ever! The Seasiders began superbly and could have easily been ahead before Gary Taylor-Fletcher swept in Marlon Harewood's cross at the far post. The lead should have been doubled only for Taylor-Fletcher's effort to be ruled out for offside against Brett Ormerod even though he was taking no part in the build up. Ironically Wigan had a similar effort disallowed early in the second half when Steve Gohouri netted when he looked level! By then, Blackpool had put the game out of reach as Harewood took control of a long ball forward, held off the challenge of two defenders and with little danger seemingly on, his effort from the left edge of the area found the far corner but keeper Chris Kirkland should have done better having got his hands to the shot. Blackpool were rampant and added a third shortly afterwards with Harewood again on target after Elliot Grandin's shot had been saved. Wigan improved after the break but Blackpool had the final say when Chris Basham found Alex Baptiste wide and his attempted cross deceived the keeper and sailed inside the near post. Finally, a welcome back in this game to referee Mark Halsey, taking charge of his first Prem game since his recovery from cancer.

Attendance : 16,152
Assists : Harewood, Evatt, n/a, Basham


CHELSEA 6 (Malouda 6, Drogba 45, Drogba 55, Lampard 63, Drogba 68, Malouda 90)
WEST BROM 0

Champions Chelsea begin their defence of the Premier League with a comfortable win over newly promoted West Brom, aided by the second successive home hat trick from Didier Drogba. They took just over five minutes to open the scoring as Drogba's free kick wasn't held by keeper Scott Carson and although John Obi Mikel should have buried the loose ball, he didn't and it fell nicely to Florent Malouda to drill into a gaping net from close range. To be fair, the visitors then held their own until first half stoppage time when another Drogba free kick, this time further out and more to the right, flew through the wall and inside Carson's near post to double the lead. After the interval, Chelsea wrapped it up when John Terry headed a corner goalwards only to see it blocked and after Nik Anelka failed to convert the rebound, Drogba made no mistake from six yards to double his personal tally. It was like a training exercise at times for the hosts, none more so than the fourth goal as Anelka's reverse pass found Ashley Cole unmarked in the area who squared it to Frank Lampard to fire low inside the near post from 12 yards out. Drogba completed his hat trick five minutes later as Cole was tackled by the corner flag but the ball fell for the striker whose shot from the left edge of the area took a strong deflection and flew inside Carson's post. Having started the rout, Malouda finished it as he latched onto Anelka's superb chipped through ball, rounded the keeper with his first touch and thumped it into the net via the near post.

Attendance : 41,589
Assists : n/a, Essien (won fk), n/a, Cole, n/a, Anelka

Gary Dowden - Joint Admin Yahoo Groups Premier-L list
http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/premier-l/
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