Blog by: Into the top corner
Transfer speculation is what characterised the summer before the season began. But when Saturday, 17th August, 2013 rolled around, no one expected a dull start to the season and that is what everyone got!
Three penalties, 26 goals and two red cards, all on the opening weekend and only one upset?
Arsenal, looking to begin their campaign to aim for higher skies fell miserably after their defender Laurent Koscielny added to Arsene Wenger’s reasons for balding by being sent off when the Gunners were 2-1 down against a spirited and attacking Aston Villa side led by Christian Benteke.
Olivier Giroud put them forward in six minutes, a late tackle by Wojciech Szczesny and Koscielny’s controversial slide gave the visitors a two goal lead before they asserted their place with debutant Antonio Luna scoring the third.
The Emirates Stadium witnessed their home side’s first opening day defeat in nearly 13 years and at a time when Wenger hasn’t made any signing during the summer, adding to the frustrations of Arsenal fans. Time to be taken seriously, huh, Wenger?
Liverpool were briefly at the top of the table when Daniel Sturridge scored the first goal of the 2013/14 Premier League season with a beautiful assist from the new summer recruit at Anfield, Iago Aspas. However, another new signing Simon Mignolet was the hero, as he became the first goalkeeper to save a penalty by preventing Jonathan Walters from equalising for Stoke City.
Brendan Rodgers surely looks like he didn’t miss Luis Suarez, although, the quintet of Suarez, Sturridge, Aspas, Philippe Coutinho and Steven Gerrard looks promising. Can this be their year?
Norwich City and Everton ended their game at Carrow Road in a thrilling 2-2 draw, which saw Roberto Martinez’s men in full display. Fulham saw three points to their name versus Sunderland, with the only goal being scored by Pajtim Kasami, while Rickie Lambert continued his dream run after scoring the winner in the world’s oldest football rivalry – England against Scotland.
Lambert’s penalty helped Southampton gain points vs. West Bromwich Albion, having being denied a header earlier. New boys on the block Cardiff City were handed a two goal defeat by West Ham United, who credited their win to the continuing good form of Joe Cole and another added by skipper Kevin Nolan.
The champions of England, Manchester United, travelled up north to the second team in Wales, Swansea City for one of the five most difficult opening fixtures that has been handed to the Red Devils.
While the match began with Swansea holding more possession of the ball in pounding rain, in a matter of two minutes between the 34th and 36th minute, Robin van Persie, fresh from his brace against Wigan Athletic in the Community Shield, and Danny Welbeck, in good goal scoring form after England’s win over Scotland during mid-week, each scored, one by Ryan Giggs’ lob pass and another by a slight tap in by Antonio Valencia.
The second half began with Swansea attempting to tiki-taka their way to another goal under the watchful eye of their very talented manager, Micheal Laudrup but were unable to pressurise United as Wayne Rooney set up two more goals for van Persie and Welbeck to take them to 4-1 win.
The only consolation for Swansea, besides getting one goal in from record signing Wilfried Bony, was that based on stats like higher possession, better accuracy and more corners, they might have won. A perfect beginning to the new David Moyes era.
On Sunday, the two London clubs – Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea – began their campaign with wins over the two newly promoted teams – Crystal Palace and Hull City respectively. At Selhurst Park, the new summer signing from Spain, Roberto Soldado scored the only goal from the penalty spot as the Lilywhites secured all three points against a highly-spirited and unfortunate Palace side.
While in west London, it was the happy homecoming of the ‘Special One’ as goals from Frank Lampard and Oscar helped Chelsea register a comfortable win over Hull City with Jose Mourinho shouting orders to his troops from the dugout.
Monday night football saw Manuel Pellegrini make the best possible start to his reign as Manchester City manager as the Citizens cruised to the top of the table by hammering four goals past 10-man Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium.
David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and second-half substitute Samir Nasri were all on target, while Edin Dzeko was desperately unlucky not to open his account for the season too.