Premier League Highlights: Sat, Aug 18

Premier League highlights: Saturday, August 18





Emirates Stadium



Norwich City


Craven Cottage

Queens Park Rangers


Swansea City


Loftus Road



Stoke City


Madejski Stadium

West Bromwich Albion




The Hawthorns

West Ham United


Aston Villa


Upton Park

Newcastle United


Tottenham Hotspur


St.James Park (Sports Direct Arena)


For the first day of the English Premier League there were many highlights as well as surprises. Perhaps the biggest surprise was West Bromwich defeating Liverpool 3-0. Zoltan Gera’s first half goal was a  splendid strike from outside the box. Daniel Agger’s 2nd half red card helped to ensure that West Brom was able to come out victorious as they were able to score 2 more against a stretched Liverpool side including 1 from the penalty spot from Peter Odemwingie and a header from Romelu Lukaku.

Arsenal entered their match against Sunderland after having sold their captain, Robin van Persie, to bitter rivals Manchester United. The Gunners were also without midfielder Alex Song who is also on his way out of the Emirates, bound for Barcelona. Arsenal dominated the match throughout but were unable to find the back of the net, despite new boy’s Cazorla and Giroud linking up only to see Giroud put the ball wide. Sunderland seemed to stick to their plan to frustrate Arsenal with a stoic defend and counterattack style. In the end a point each was all that could be mustered with a 0-0 draw.

Swansea ran away with their match 5-0 winners over QPR. The Swans Michu put in the first goal of this Premier League season to begin the match. The second half saw Swansea stamp their mark on the game scoring 5 more goals with Michu getting his second, Nathan Dyer picking up 2, and Scott Sinclair taking the 5th. The Rangers looked desperate in defense and weren’t able to convert any of their many chances. Perhaps if they had been able to put in at least one in the first half it may have been a different game altogether.

Reading and Stoke played out a 1-1 draw with Stoke hanging on to a lead for most of the match until an 89th minute penalty allowed Reading to grab a point. Stoke played their typical hard-nosed style resulting in 4 yellow cards and 1 red (for a second bookable offense) and 17 fouls. Reading ended up being lucky in the end after their own failures to defend in the first half led to Stoke’s goal.

West Ham became another lucky winner beating Aston Villa 1-0 at home. While the initial call from the linesman was for offside, Mike Dean conferred with the assistant and awarded a goal. Replays showed that they were able to get it right with the original cross going off a defender’s head and being put away by Kevin Nolan. This ended up being the only real excitement of the match with most of it being played in midfield and West Ham adopting a defensive tactic to keep out Aston Villa.

Norwich was given a rude awakening on their first match of the season with Fulham putting in a 5 goal display and dominating throughout the match. Fulham’s 2 goals before the break were more than enough to seal the win with Damien Duff netting the first followed by Mladen Petric getting 2 goals, one on either side of the half. Alexander Kaccaniklic and Steve Sidwell finished off the match with a well finished penalty. Fulham did not look bothered to be without want away midfielder Clint Dempsey and almost seemed to want to prove a point.

Saving the best for last on the opening day of the English Premier season was Newcastle United v. Tottenham. The match started out in rather tame manner, but this all changed in the second half with all 3 goals coming in the second half. Newcastle’s Demba Ba opening the scoring in the 54th minute with a beautiful curving shot. Jermain Defoe was able to grab the equalizer in the 76th minute, but Spurs were not able to hold on to the draw for long. Van der Vaart’s trip on Hatem Ben Arfa in the box led to Ben Arfa putting the match away with a well taken penalty. Perhaps the most bizarre moment was Newcastle manager Alan Pardew being sent to the stands for pushing the assistant on the sideline. The question remains what would have happened had this been perpetrated by a player (say Mario Balotelli) instead of the much liked Pardew. I suppose we will need to wait and see if anything further is done. In the end the match was a very enjoyable one with plenty of excitement.

The first day of Premier League highlights was a very enjoyable one overall. West Brom’s shock 3-0 win over Liverpool was one of the top highlights of the day. Arsenal should have done better and really should have won their match over Sunderland. In the end, they seemed to miss the clinical van Persie more than I thought they would. Fulham and Swansea’s 5-0 wins were fantastic displays of team brilliance that were incredibly enjoyable. I would say the 2 most disappointing matches were West Ham v. Aston Villa with both matches lacking in excitement and mired in defense. Newcastle and Tottenham both have the potential to pull off shocks throughout the season including a possible 4th place by the end of the season.