Simon Mignolet saves Liverpool on his debut, Arsenal stumble at home to Aston Villa, while Manchester United get off to a flier.
Liverpool 1-0 Stoke City
[Daniel Sturridge 37’]
Liverpool got off to a good start in the Premier League with a 1-0 victory over Stoke City as Daniel Sturridge’s first half goal turned out to be the winner. But Merseyside club has to thank their new goalkeeper Simon Mignolet for his penalty save in the second half for all the three points. Both Begovic and Mignolet pulled off some fantastic saves to restrict it to just one goal in the match. Liverpool created a lot of chances in both the halves, but failed to grab them, despite having a total of 25 shots.
Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for Mignolet for his double save, first off Walters from the spot, then denying Jones on the rebound.
“It was a terrific performance all-round but of course the goalkeeper gets the plaudits when he saves a penalty at the end.
“He made three terrific saves in the game. He made one in the first half from Walters but obviously when you don’t take your chances – and we created numerous chances – and you get a penalty against you at the end you have that sinking feeling.
“But he had done his homework, he made a good first save and his second action to get up and make the double save (from substitute Kenwyne Jones) was impressive.
“From that (save) you also saw the spirit in the team and what we are trying to cultivate here.
“I’m delighted for the players. The work they have put in over pre-season – and the focus and concentration amid everything that was thrown at the club meant I was delighted when they came out and played like that, creating so many chances and getting the win.
“It is the first three points and hopefully there will be many more.” – The Liverpool manager said the post-match conference.
Norwich 2-2 Everton
[Steven Whittaker 51’, Ricky van Wolfswinkel 71’ – Ross Barkley 61’, Seamus Coleman 65’]
New Everton manager Roberto Martinez begins his reign at the club with an exciting 2-2 draw with Norwich. All the four goals of the match came in the second half as the game burst into life. Steven Whittaker took the lead for Norwich, Everton youngster Ross Markley equalized with a wonderful strike. 19-year-old was, along with right back Seamus Coleman, put in a wonderful performance as Everton enters a new era. Norwich’s new signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel also made a significant impact on the game as he scored the equalizer in the 71st minute – a lot is expected of the Dutch forward.
Martinez was full of praise for Barkley and lauded his mature performance at the middle of the park.
“Scoring goals is the hardest thing in football and Ross has the talent. What I’m pleased about with Ross is he wants to learn, develop and listen.
“To have a player of that ability at that age is an incredible asset for us. He was perfect today.
“Many people will speak about the quality of the goal, but that’s something he does every day in training. I’m most happy about is his overall contribution.
“Tactically, he was outstanding and he worked very hard for the team. It was a very mature performance.
“I’ve seen that a lot in pre-season and he showed he is willing to help the team. He was excellent and he deserved his goal.
“We all know that Norwich at Carrow Road are a difficult unit to break down, so I couldn’t be happier with the manner in which we were patient in our build-up, we created good chances to score good goals from open play.
“Overall, I’d say we deserved the three points but we conceded two soft goals, which is the area of the performance in which we need to improve.” – Martinez said.
Sunderland 0-1 Fulham
[Pajtim Kasami 52’]
After a busy summer, lots of new arrivals, and high expectations Sunderland got off to a poor start in this campaign as Pajtim Kasami headed in the winner for Fulham in the 52nd minute of the match. Fulham mean suffered an early blow as left back Matthew Briggs went off injured to be replaced by Kieran Richardson. But Sunderland failed to take any advantage of their dominance, both in possession and chances created, as they faltered in the final third. Sunderland took 21 shots in this game, but had only 3 on target, whereas Fulham had only one shot on target all throughout the match, and incidentally turned out to be the winner.
Paolo Di Canio was understandably frustrated with his team’s wastefulness upfront.
“One corner kick we concede they score from. It was a silly mistake and that was the difference.
“We played 80 minutes in the opposition half but we lost.
“If our new boys learn quick I am not worried. We were the only team to play football.
“Just because we played well doesn’t really matter. We must do better in the final third though and be nasty and ferocious.
“Our new players must understand this and if they accept this after our first game then we can still do well this season.” – Di Canio told the press.
West Ham 2-0 Cardiff
[Joe Cole 13’, Kevin Nolan 76’]
West Ham are off to flying start as they coasted home with a convincing 2-0 win over the newly promoted Cardiff City. Joe Cole got the home side off to a flier as he swivelled and scored inside the box. Then in the second half Kevin Nolan sealed off the three points with a goal on the counter.
Sam Allardyce was delighted with the good start, but believed that his team should have been more clinical in front of the goal.
“It is a fantastic start, it was great entertainment from the fans and a really positive display by ourselves.
“We were probably a little disappointed it was only 1-0, then we had to work it out because Cardiff changed the way they played.
“It was excellent and just what we were looking for and at the defensive end we were so good.” – The West Ham manager said.
Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa
[Olivier Giroud 6’ – Christian Benteke 22’, 62’, Antonio Luna 85’]
After a summer of frustration in the transfer market, Arsenal got off to the worst possible start against Aston Villa with 1-4 defeat at the Emirates. If the result wasn’t bad enough, Arsenal also were also left short in numbers as Gibbs, Sagna, Ramsey, Rosicky and Wilshere all picked up injuries/knock. The Gunners got off to a good start in the match with Olivier Giroud scoring the opening goal in the 6th minute, but it all went downhill from that point for the London club. Aston Villa were awarded two penalties, one of which turned out to be a wrong decision, and Benteke scored twice from the spot – although his first attempt was initially saved by Szczesny. Things got worse for Arsene Wenger’s men as Koscielny picked up his second booking of the match and was sent off – although replays showed he didn’t deserve the second yellow.
The panic button has well and truly been pressed at the Emirates and Arsenal need to secure signings before the transfer window closes. Arsene Wenger, who was booed by the fans, didn’t hide his disappointment at the result, but he remained adamant that the loss wasn’t a direct result of Arsenal’s lack of transfer activity.
“Could we have won the game with the players we had on the pitch? I say yes,” Wenger said.
“And if we don’t spend the money it’s because we don’t find the players.
“We want our fans to be happy and when you don’t achieve that you feel sorry and really disappointed.
“My job is to make the fans happy. But we haven’t lost a game because of that. That’s what I want to convince you of.
“We are in the market, everybody knows we are ready to buy players, but until we buy players we have to win football games and it’s not an excuse not to win the game.”
“You got what you wanted, you should be happy. Before the start of the season that was all you wrote in the papers so what do you expect?
“Everybody has opinions and I have to live with that. I think in 16 years I have shown my loyalty to this club.
“My only worry is to do well and I am hugely disappointed because we came out of last season without a defeat in 10 games and we start the new season with a defeat at home.
“It’s a massive blow and that’s why the solution is not to sit here and say we’ll buy players to keep you happy.” – Wenger said.
West Brom 0-1 Southampton
[Ricky Lambert 90’]
Ricky Lambert scored a later winner to give all three points to the Saints as their new signings makes their presence felt. Southampton have had a busy summer and have made some key addition to the squad and with a good performance away from home, Southampton could possibly push for top half of the table this time around.
Ricky Lambert has been in the news all this week and after scoring in his debut for England, the 31-year-old striker once again showed his match winning prowess for the Saints with a clinical penalty in the dying minutes of the game. Mauricio Pochettino was delighted with the late winner and insisted that he always felt his team could snatch a goal.
“I think in the overall reading of the game, we were superior to West Brom.
“You always have to believe you are going to win, through to the last whistle, and because of that I want to congratulate my team.
“Even in the second half, when West Brom were pressing us quite hard, my team showed the resolve to keep it at 0-0 and we were able to get that winning goal in the end.” – The Southampton manager told the press.
Swansea 1-4 Manchester United
[Bony 82’ – Robin van Persie 34’, 72’, Danny Welbeck 36’, 92’]
New manager, new season, but it seems like the same old Manchester United. The reigning Premier League Champions made a statement of intent on the opening day with a convincing 4-1 victory against Swansea. Robin van Persie has continued from where left off last season by scoring a brace, whereas Danny Welbeck justified his selection with two wonderfully taken goals – the last one a audacious chip over the keeper. Swansea did get a consolation goal, when new signing Wilfried Bony scored on his debut after coming off the bench, but David Moyes will be relieved to have been able to get off to such a fantastic start.
David Moyes agreed that the result came as ahuge relief after such a build-up throughout the summer.
“Yeah it is because you always want to win your games and as manager of Manchester United the job is to win the games. The players did that today.
‘Swansea had a lot of the ball and they passed it very well and are very well managed under Michael Laudrup but we limited to them to few opportunities. We could have played better at times but we’re happy to score 4-1.
‘It is the first game of the league away from home. They are a great team the way they play. I love the way they play and they are very hard to play at times. It is a big win,’ he told Sky Sports 1.
‘The first goal changed the game and we got the second shortly after so it helped us. The first one I had a touch and felt at the time it was quite heavy so I had to take it (the shot) as high as possible
‘The first game of the season you just don’t want to lose. We worked very hard so I’m very pleased.’ – Moyes said.
Wayne Rooney made a small appearance off the bench, and even racked up two assists during his short spell on the pitch. David Moyes insisted that Rooney isn’t physically fit to start a match.
‘He got 65 minutes in the game against Scotland and I felt he could do a job today if he came in.
‘He’s not ready yet physically as he’s not done a lot of training but he came on and had a great run.
‘It will be great for Wayne to get those minutes on the pitch.
‘People know good players and Wayne is a good player and people want them in your team.’ – Moyes added.
Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea get their campaign underway tonight, with their matches against Crystal Palace and Hull City, two newly promoted sides, respectively.