Oh football, how we've missed you.

Monday, 17 August 2009

The questions are endless; will Manchester City break the Top 4? Can Manchester United win four Premier League titles in a row? Will Liverpool knock Manchester United off their perch, and win their first title in two decades? Or can Ancelotti bring the Holy Grail to Stamford Bridge? Well no doubt over the next 8 months these questions will be answered.

83 days, numerous transfers, managerial changes, and spending even the WAG’s would be proud of, it could only mean the return of one event. The kick-off to the new Premier League season. With the Championship, League 1, League 2, and Blue Square Premier League all in full swing, it was time for some top flight action. After the usual hype and build up off the field, the action didn’t disappoint on the field.

New-boys Burnley, Birmingham, and Wolves, all failed to make a winning start, suffering defeats at the hands of Stoke, Manchester United and West Ham respectively. Despite losing, all of the debutants made encouraging starts in what promises to be a closely run campaign.

From new teams, to new managers, Chelsea’s Carlo Ancelotti, Wigan’s Roberto Martinez, and Sunderland’s new boss Steve Bruce, all made their league debut in charge of their respective clubs, all of which resulted in wins.

Chelsea came from behind against Hull, giving Carlo Ancelotti his first Premier League win. Hull came very close to causing an upset on the opening day, with Chelsea hate figure Stephen Hunt giving Hull the lead, only to be cancelled out by a Didier Drogba free kick before half time. Drogba was the hero, needing only one of the six additional minutes to secure all 3 points for the London side.

A wonder goal from Hugo Rodallega, and a quality finish from Jason Koumas sealed a shock victory for Wigan over Aston Villa. Here's Rodallega's goal, cracking right footed volley:
Their first ever win on the opening day of the season. It was a Brucie bonus for Sunderland manager Steve Bruce, as his summer buy Darren Bent netted the game’s only goal after 5mins, giving the Black Cats a much deserved win.

Carrying on the trend of London sides winning, Fulham, Arsenal and Spurs all sealed victories in their opening fixtures. A Bobby Zamora deflection was enough for Fulham to secure a 1-0 win over anticipated strugglers Portsmouth. The Gunners showed that they should not be written out of the top 4 just yet, with a 6-1 drubbing of Everton. High quality football, leaving the Toffee’s stuck to the foot of the table. Tottenham also took a much deserved victory against Liverpool, beating them 2-1. Liverpool left White Hart Lane battered and bruised, with their title hopes already in doubt.

That just leaves us with the two sides of Manchester. Big-spenders City didn’t slip up on the pitch, but manager Mark Hughes managed to do so off the pitch.
That aside, goals from Emmanuel Adebayor and Stephen Ireland gave City the win. They now have half the number of away wins as last season. That investment is paying off already. Finally, Manchester United played out a very ordinary and somewhat boring 1-0 win over promoted Birmingham. , Wayne Rooney on the scoresheet with his 99th goal for the club. The game also saw Michael Owen making his league debut, and missing a golden opportunity to score after coming on as a second-half substitute.

And there we have it. One week over. 37 more to go. Quick couple of points to note from this weekend’s game. 22 goals scored. 6 away wins. 4 home wins. 0 draws. All promoted clubs lost, and all London side won. Does that mean anything? Not really. They’re just pointless stats.

I would say let’s do it all again next weekend, but, we’ve got mid-week fixtures to look forward to. How exciting. Ah. It’s good to have football back.


Touchline Views

This is a football blog by Ian Walsh, covering all aspects of the game - from the Premier League and La Liga to the slightly mental football stories we all love.

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