Four Star Manchester Dominates Season Openers

posted 19 Aug 2013, 22:33 by Richard Brook   [ updated 20 Aug 2013, 01:28 ]

Manchester City scored four without reply, against Newcastle United, on Monday night. It was a case of 'anything you can do we can do better' for City as they bettered Manchester United's opening day result, a 4-1 victory over Swansea City.

It was dream start for new City boss Manuel Pellegrini, as his side brushed aside the challenge of Newcastle. The Magpies reduced to ten men as Steven Taylor received his marching orders, just seconds from the interval, for swipe at Sergio Aguero.

City had already dominated proceedings and David Silva gave them the lead after just five minutes. Edin Dzeko attacked on the left before hitting a low cross into the box. Taylor got a touch but it fell to Silva who finished past a helpless Tim Krul, with a well placed header. At the mid-way point of the first half Aguero doubled the lead. Taylor seemed in control of the situation shepherding the forward well. To the defender's amazement Aguero struck an inch perfect, low drive from the corner of the box and in off the base of the far post.

In the first minute of injury time Newcastle survived a penalty appeal, as Aguero's shot hit Taylor's arm. Two minutes later the defender saw red as his forearm connected with the back of Aguero's head as a long-ball was played in their direction.

The game had barely restarted when Yaya Toure struck a delightful free-kick into the top corner, although the Newcastle wall might have done better. With 15 minutes to play substitute Samir Nasri got onto to Pablo Zabaleta's pass to fire beyond Krul and round off the scoring.

In truth but for Krul's performance the scoreline could have been far greater as City were rampant. The debuts of Fernandinho, Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo were all very impressive, the latter having a goal ruled out for a marginal offside.

Manchester United's Saturday tea-time encounter with Swansea was almost as emphatic, as David Moyes side set about proving that they can withstand the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. Swansea started the game brightly and posed a real threat to United during the opening half an hour. Michu had the ball in the net for Swans, during these early exchanges, but the linesman already has his flag aloft when the ball arrived to Michu following Wayne Routledge's shot.

It was to be United that opened the scoring through Robin Van Persie, who showed both presence of mind and athleticism to hook a boot around Ryan Giggs lofted pass, and guide it past Michel Vorm. Just two minutes later Danny Welbeck increased the lead as he arrived to tap in Antonio Valencia's cross, to kill the game as a contest.

Wayne Rooney, of whom it barely needs to be said that his future has caused much speculation over the summer, was introduced after an hour. It was to be Rooney's pass that set up United's third as Van Persie gave Vorm no chance, as he finished expertly into the top corner of the net.

Swansea got a goal back through new signing Wilfried Bony, after Welbeck had been caught in possession, but Welbeck made up for it with a last minute goal, delicately chipping Vorm from an angle as he broke into the right hand side of the box to make it 4-1.

Aston Villa, have been awarded about as tough a set of opening fixtures as is possible, provided one of the talking points of the opening day as they triumphed 3-1 away to Arsenal, at the Emirates. Villa left Premier League survival uncomfortably close last season but hopes of a much better showing this time around will have been buoyed by Saturday's result.

Villa must have feared the worst when Oliver Giroud converted Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's left wing cross in only the sixth minute. In the 22nd minute, however, Villa were level. Wojiech Szczesny, almost redeemed himself for his foul on Gabriel Agbonlahor, by stopping Christian Benteke's penalty, but the Belgian striker followed up to head in the rebound.

Just after the hour there was a second foul adjudged on Agbonlahor, in the box. This time Laurent Koscielny was the culprit and was booked, although he must feel aggrieved as he did seem to get a touch on the ball first. This time Benteke sent the goalkeeper the wrong way and scored the spot kick.

The Gunners' day went from bad to worse as Koscielny saw a second yellow card, for a challenge on Andreas Weimann, and was sent from the field. With five minutes remaining, Antonio Luna wrapped up the points on his debut, latching on to Weimann's pass before beating Szczesny at his near post, to score.

All of the Premier League's newcomers tasted defeat over the course of the opening weekend. West Ham United beat Cardiff City 2-0 on Saturday. Goals from Joe Cole and Kevin Nolan saw the Hammers get off to a winning start, as Cardiff Struggled to come to terms with their new surroundings, registering just one shot on target.

Chelsea also beat opposition fresh from the second tier of English football, by a 2-0 score-line, as Jose Mourinho began his second spell in charge of the West London club. Both goals came in the opening half hour, as Oscar finished off a chance fashioned by Kevin de Bruyne and Frank Lampard scored a trademark free-kick. In this opening 30 minute spell there was also time for Lampard to miss a penalty and the same player to be denied by goalkeeper Allan McGregor.

Roberto Soldado scored a penalty on debut, which was the only difference – on the score sheet at least – between his new club Tottenham Hotspur and Premier League new boys Crystal Palace. Full-back Dean Moxey handled the ball in the box and it fell to the £26 million man to coolly slot the spot-kick past Julian Speroni.

In the weekend's other games Liverpool were almost made to pay for failing to make their dominance count as they beat Stoke 1-0 at Anfield, thanks to a goal by Daniel Sturridge. However it was to be new goalkeeper Simon Mignolet that was the hero of the day as he got Liverpool out of jail, saving both Jonathan Walters' penalty after Daniel Agger's inexplicable late handball, and Kenwyne Jones' follow-up effort.

Norwich and Everton shared four goals at Carrow Road in a game that Everton will feel that they did enough to win. Roberto Martinez' first game competitive match saw 19 year old midfielder Ross Barkley dominate proceedings. Norwich's goals, the first and last of the game, came from Steven Whittaker and Ricky van Wolfswinkel. Barkley equalised the first for Everton, and Seamus Coleman gave them the lead before van Wolfswinkel's equaliser.

Rickie Lambert rounded off a great week by scoring the only goal of Southampton's match with West Bromwich Albion, by way of a 90th minute penalty. The goal follows on from Lambert scoring for England with his first touch in international football against Scotland at Wembley in midweek.

A first Fulham goal from Pajtim Kasami gave the Cottagers three points at Sunderland. The Black Cats were the better side through out but were unable to conjure up a goal, and Kasami made them pay early in the second-half, with a close range header. Ji Dong-Won could have equalised in the dying moments but he headed wide from Adam Johnson's cross and it was to be Fulham that opened the 2013/14 Premier League season with a win.