Welcome to the first edition of the BIG English Premier League Round-up. A place where you can get a run down of all the weekend’s action. This will be a regular feature here on This is Football and hopefully it will become one of our most popular with lost of discussions between rival supporters
Saturday 14 August
Tottenham Hotspur 0 – 0 Manchester City
The first game of the day involved the two teams who slugged it out for the lucrative 4th Champions league qualifying spot for most last season. Harry Redknapp’s young Spurs side against the expensively assembled squad of Roberto Mancini. There were two surprised before the match as Mancini stripped Kolo Toure of the captaincy and installed Carlos Tevez as the new captain while also dropping the excellent Shay Given in favour of Joe Hart.
The second decision proved to be one that Mancini will be most pleased with as Joe Hart showed why Fabio Capello will probably be kicking himself after the World Cup fiasco with Green and James. Hart was in top form and was the only thing standing between Spurs going with a 3-0 lead into the break after excellent saves from Defoe, Crouch, Huddlestone, Assou-Ekotto and Bale, to name but a few!
In the second half City gave a better account of themselves with Yaya Toure bossing the midfield. The Ivorian set up Wright-Phillips with an excellent chance shortly after the restart but Assou-Ekotto’s last-ditch tackle cleared the danger. Roman Pavlychenko had a couple of half chances but the best chance of the half, and probably the day fell to Gareth Bale who misplaced his shot from about six yards out when it seemed easier to score!
The game ended 0-0 and one suspects that Roberto Mancini will be the happier of the two managers. Joe Hart the hero for City. Bale the Villain for Spurs after striking the bar and missing a sitter.
Wigan 0 – 4 Blackpool
Well this didn’t go according to the script now did it? Just about every Tom Tick and Flerry were predicting that Blackpool would be this season’s whipping boys but Ian Holloway’s side were the ones dishing out the whooping as they beat Wigan 4-0 in their opening Premier League fixture.
The Tangerines, as they are affectionately known (yes that’s Naartjies if you're South African) stormed to a 3-0 lead at the break after an early goal from Taylor-Fletcher got them on their way. Blackpool were making their first appearance in English football’s top flight since 1971 but it was Wigan who were made to look like the rookies when new ‘Pool signing Marlon Harwood doubled their lead in the 38th minute, before adding a second, and Blackpool’s third two minutes before the break.
Wigan completed a miserable day at the DW stadium when Kirkland allowed Alex Baptiste’s cross to trickle into his goal in the 73rd minute, which was also round about the time that the Wigan fans decided they had enough of watching this dross.
Blackpool could not have made a better start to the Premier league campaign but should be wary of getting carried away with good results in the opening weeks after what happened with Burnley last season.
Chelsea 6 – 0 West Brom
Some things never change hey? Chelsea picked up where they left off last season by thrashing Premier League newcomers Wes Brom 6-0 to record the biggest opening day win in Premier League history.
West Brom are managed by former Chelsea player Roberto Di Matteo but that cut no ice with Carlo Ancelotti’s side as they tore the West Brom defence apart with alarming ease. Florent Malouda opened the scoring for the Blues early on when he tapped in from close range after West Brom ‘keeper Carson failed to clear Didier Drogba’s free-kick to safety. Drogba then doubled their lead on the stroke of half time when his free-kick from distance went clean through the West Brom defensive wall to beat Carson in stoppage time.
The goal killed off any fantasies West Brom might have had of mounting a fight back and having a goal disallowed after the break seemed like the final blow for the Baggies. This was soon followed up by Drogba’s second of the day, with the striker slotting home from close range after Terry’s header was cleared off the line. Drogba then completed his hat-trick in the 68th minute with a deflected strike, after Frank Lampard added Chelsea 4th goal 5 minutes earlier.
Malouda rounded up a comprehensive win with his second in stoppage time as Chelsea start their title defence in the most emphatic manner possible.
Aston Villa 3 – 0 West Ham
Aston Villa got their post Martin ‘O Neill era off to a winning star as they beat West Ham 3-0 at Villa Park, and with fans chanting “There’s only one Randy Lerner” it was a case of Martin Who?
Aston Villa started the better of the two sides and went on to dominate the first half as their pace and all out attacking style cause West Ham lots of problems. Steward Downing opened the scoring after Robert ‘It was teh Jabulani ball’ Green parried away Albrighton’s shot, only for Downing to smash in the rebound.
Stiliyan Petrov’s header from an Ashley Young cross made it 2-0 before the break as Villa were cruising to a win against a very disjointed West Ham side. James Milner capped what could be his last appearance for the Villians with a great goal in the 66th minute after excellent work from Albrighton set him up on the edge of the box.
Even without O’Neill and Milner this Aston Villa side still looks like it’s going to be up there with the Spurs’ Liverpool’s ans Man City’s for in the battle for a Top Four finish.
Sunderland 2 – 2 Birmingham
Sunderland were fortunate to take a 2-0 lead thanks to a penalty from Darren Bent and an own goal from Stephen Carr, but the sending off of Lee Catermole proved to be a costly mistake. Birmingham pulled one back 13 minutes from full-time and scored an unlikely equaliser in the 88th minute after Ridgewell bundled the ball into the net.
Blackburn 1 – 0 Everton
What is about Everton and making bad starts? They somehow always seem to start the league with a couple of defeats here, a couple of draws there, and a whipping or two in between. It was no different this time round as a blunder from the normally reliable Tim Howard allowed Nikola Kalinic to score the only goal of the match in the 14th minute.
Wolves 2 – 1 Stoke
Wolves started their second season in the top flight with an impressive 2-1 win over Stoke City after a brilliant goal from David Jones set them on their way in the 37th minute. Stephen Fletcher scored their second goal two minutes later as Wolves enter the break with a 2-0 lead. Abdoulaye Faye pulled one back for Stoke in the second half but Wolves held on for a deserved three points.
Bolton 0 – 0 Fulham
Bolton v Fulham, What were you expecting? A goal fest! ?