Premier League round-up: Gameweek 1

– Dan Brown contributed to this report.

Conventional wisdom suggests that the league table is meaningless this early in the season, but it would have made pleasant reading for Fulham and Swansea City fans after the opening day to the new Premier League season.


Santi Cazorla goes for goal in Arsenal and Sunderland's goalless draw. Photo: Ronnie Macdonald
Norwich and QPR hit for five

Fulham put the Clint Dempsey transfer saga to one side as they thrashed Norwich City 5-0 at Craven Cottage. Damien Duff opened the scoring midway through the first half before Croatian, Mladen Petric doubled their lead four minutes before the break.

The debutant bagged his second with a deflected 25-yard effort on 54 minutes and the game was put beyond doubt when Alex Kacaniklic made it 4-0. Steve Sidwell smashed home a late penalty to complete the rout, making it a day to forget for new Canaries boss, Chris Houghton.

Michael Laudrup got his career as Swansea boss off to the perfect start with a 5-0 drubbing of QPR at Loftus Road. New recruit, Michu, scorer of 15 La Liga goals last season with Rayo Vallecano, took just eight minutes to open his account when his long range effort squirmed under Rob Green.

Michu doubled his tally on 53 minutes with a delightful curling finish from 18 yards, before Nathan Dyer grabbed goals three and four. Rangers’ misery was completed nine minutes from time when Scott Sinclair fire home from the edge of the box.

Liverpool stunned while new-boys get off the mark

Brendan Rodgers, who departed Swansea for Liverpool, endured a disastrous start to his reign in charge as the Reds succumbed to a 3-0 defeat at West Brom. Liverpool, who had the second worst shot conversion rate late term, wasted a host of chances, with Luis Suarez particularly guilty.

They paid for their profligacy when Zoltan Gera opened the scoring in spectacular fashion just before half time. Things got worse for Liverpool after the break when Daniel Agger was shown red for bringing Shane Long down in the box. Long missed the resultant spot-kick, but earned another one just minutes later, which Peter Odemwingie fired home. Chelsea loanee, Romelu Lukaku headed in the third on 77 minutes.

Newly-promoted Reading snatched a late equaliser at home to Stoke. Reading, who boasted the Championship’s best defence last season, fell behind after 34 minutes when a howler from goalkeeper Adam Federichi allowed Michael Knightly’s tame effort to find the bottom corner.

It stayed that way until the final minute when Dead Whitehead brought down Gareth McCleary. Whitehead was shown a second yellow, and Adam Le Fondre coolly swept home the penalty.

West Ham made a winning return to the top flight courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa, with Kevin Nolan grabbing the solitary goal. New Villa boss, Paul Lambert was baffled at the award of the goal after the flag had initially been raised for offside, but replays suggest referee, Mike Dean was correct to overrule his assistant.

Frustration for North London

Arsenal started their post-Robin van Persie era with a goalless draw at home to Sunderland. New recruits, Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud were unable to break the Black Cat’s resistance as Arsenal looked to recover from the departure of their talismanic captain.

In Saturday’s late kick-off, Newcastle recorded a 2-1 victory over Tottenham at the Sports Direct Arena. Demba Ba scored his first goal since January with a superb curling effort on 54 minutes. Spurs equalised after 76 minutes when Jermain Defoe bundled home.

They were level for only four minutes before Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa was floored in the box by a clumsy double-challenge from Aaron Lennon and Rafael van der Vaart. Ben Arfa picked himself up to convert the spot kick and earn Newcastle all three points.

Eden a Hazard for Wigan, City win super Sunday thriller and United faulter

£32m signing Eden Hazard inspired Chelsea to a 2-0 at Wigan, setting up Branislav Ivanovic to open the scoring after two minutes and winning the penalty converted by Frank Lampard five minutes later.

The game of the weekend came at Eastlands as Manchester City began their title defence against newly-promoted Southampton. A frantic opening 20 minutes saw City lose Sergio Aguero to a knee injury, before David Silva’s dreadful penalty was saved by Kelvin Davis. Carlos Tevez’s 40 th minute strike gave City the half time lead, before an extraordinary second half.

The Saints brought on 2011/12 Championship Player of the Year, Rickie Lambert, whose cool finish levelled proceedings on 59 minutes. Fellow substitute, Steven Davis gave Southampton a shock lead 9 minutes later when he fired past Joe Hart.

The champions regrouped and were rewarded for their effort when Edin Dzeko made it 2-2 on 72 minutes, while Samir Nasri capitalised on some sloppy defending 8 minutes later to ensure City got off to a winning start.

Manchester United’s bid to regain the title got off to a disappointing start as they fell to a 1-0 defeat away to Everton. The imperious Marouane Fallaini headed home after 57 minutes to give David Moyes’ men a fully deserved victory.

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