Sunday, 18 August 2013

EPL Opening Day Review + Analysis:

Hello everyone and welcome to my latest blog post where I have match reports from all of today's 7 EPL matches including Liverpool vs Stoke, Arsenal vs Aston Villa and Swansea City vs Manchester United. 

12:45pm - Liverpool 1 Stoke City 0 

The opening match of the season was played at Anfield, as Liverpool were desperate to get off to a good start to the 2013-14 season against a tough Stoke side who would not go down without a fight.

You could tell this was true from the start, as Stoke had chances to score but could not finish them - thanks to great saves from new Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who signed from Sunderland for around £7million pounds earlier this summer. 

Robert Huth hit the crossbar, Ryan Shawcross had a header cleared off the line but it was Liverpool who broke the deadlock in the 37th minute thanks to young English striker Daniel Sturridge who capped off a wonderful passing play with a fine strike into the bottom corner of the net past Asmir Begovic. 

Stunning: Daniel Sturridge broke the deadlock just before half-time with this powerful effort. 

Sturridge celebrates scoring the 1st goal of the season, capping off a good move for Liverpool.

In the second half, Stoke tried to get back into the match more by trying to create more chances, but the Liverpool defence stayed strong with the new partnership at the back - Daniel Agger and Kolo Toure on display today. 

Sturridge and Henderson were both denied good goals by the saves of Asmir Begovic, and the game was really a tale of the two goalkeepers who both did well to keep the score to a minimum. 

Belgian goalkeeper Mignolet came to the hosts' aid in the last minute, when a penalty was awarded and striker Jonathan Walters smashed the ball towards the far corner of the goal. However, Mignolet anticipated the shot well and dived to parry it away, before also saving the rebound shot from Kenwyne Jones. 

The match ended 1-0 to the hosts, with Liverpool's new side looking encouraging for the new season ahead. 

3pm kick-off matches: 

Arsenal 1 Aston Villa 3 
So it goes from terrible to absolutely horrible for The Gunners in the space of a few days. The hosts played against relegation-fighters Aston Villa (yes, they already have that tag) at HOME and somehow lost 3-1 with 10 men after French defender Laurent Koscielny got sent off during the second half.

Two goals from Christian Benteke either side of half-time and another from new Spanish left-back Luna left Arsenal wondering what the future holds for the club after another poor display in-front of their angry home fans. 

Olivier Giroud broke the deadlock after 5 minutes when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sprinted down the wing before feeding the French striker with a ball he just could not mess up. 

Giroud finishes off Chamberlain's cross with a tap past Brad Guzan into the net to make it 1-0.

Couldn't miss: Giroud wheels away to celebrate the first and only Arsenal goal of the day.

From then on Arsenal lost the plot as Szczesny gave away a penalty in the 22nd minute, saved it before missing the rebound. 

Stroke of luck: Benteke scored the rebound after his penalty was saved by Szczesny. 

Then Benteke scored another penalty in the 62nd minute before Luna put Arsenal out of their misery with another goal in the 85th minute after Koscielny was sent off for a second bookable offence. 

The abuse has never been this bad before at Arsenal, until now. The pressure to sign players must surely be on Wenger by now?!? 

This one's for you: An angry Arsenal fan shows Wenger a message he won't forget anytime soon

Norwich City 2 Everton 2

An interesting game at Carrow Road, as big summer spenders Norwich City hosted Everton. 

Both sides are realistically targeting European football this season, because they both know that they have the quality and squad depth to do so.

Norwich striker Steven Whittaker broke the deadlock for the hosts in the 51st minute after a good solo run, before Everton equalised 10 minutes later thanks to young English midfielder Ross Barkley who unleashed a bullet strike into the bottom corner of the net following a pass from right-back Seamus Coleman. 

Coleman then got a goal of his own, 4 minutes later to give Everton the lead before new Norwich signing and Holland striker Ricky wan Wolfswinkel equalised for the hosts in the 71st minute to give him a goal on his EPL debut.

Sunderland 0 Fulham 1 
Paulo Di Canio started the 2013-14 EPL season with a home loss to Fulham, despite a tight match-up at The Stadium of Light. 

The only goal of the game came from Fulham midfield youngster Pajtim Kasami who scored in the 52nd minute to give The Cottagers their first win of the season.

Vital goal: Kasami celebrates his goal with manager Martin Jol.

Breakthrough: Kasami wheels away to celebrate the only goal of the game. 

West Brom 0 Southampton 1
Another 1-0 victory for the away side as Southampton striker Rickie Lambert capped off a great week to score a last-minute penalty after 90 tense minutes of play. 

Bullet strike: Rickie Lambert scores from the penalty spot to give Southampton a late winner. 

Lambert celebrates his 2nd goal of the week, after his debut goal for England in midweek. 

Southampton go back to St. Mary's having beaten a standout team from last season, with a last-gasp winner from the penalty spot. 

West Ham United 2 Cardiff City 0 
West Ham hosted newly-promoted side Cardiff at Upton Park, as both sides were looking forward to parading their new signings onto the pitch.

Joe Cole broke the deadlock in the 13th minute after beating a defender with a quick turn before shooting the ball off-balance into the bottom corner of the net. 

Off-balance: Joe Cole strikes the ball low and hard into the bottom corner of the net. 

There we go: Joe Cole scores West Ham's first goal of the season after just 13 minutes of play.

A nice one-touch passing move was clinically finished off by captain and midfielder Kevin Nolan in the 76th minute to double the hosts' lead and seal the three points on the opening day of the season. 

Nolan clinically finished a great passing move off with a finesse shot into the top corner. 

Swansea City 1 Manchester United 4
The scoreline does not reflect the actual play during the match. Swansea tried hard, but could not cope with United changing gears quickly, from slow momentum to fast tempo play within seconds - which is where they got most of their 4 goals from today. 

Strikers Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck both scored twice either side of half-time as Manchester United gave new manager David Moyes a win on his first EPL game in charge of United. 

Goals galore: RvP scored his first two goals of the season against Swansea at The Liberty. 

Acrobatic effort: van Persie scored his first of the day with a long-range acrobatic effort. 

Easy slot: Danny Welbeck is in the right place at the right time to make it 2-0.

There we go: Welbeck celebrates making it 2-0 to United in the 36th minute.

Comfortable: United were not playing at top gear throughout, yet they were winning for the most part. 
New Swansea signing Wilfried Bony got on the scoresheet for the hosts late on but it was only a consolation goal as Swansea slump to the bottom of the table on the first day. 

Thank you for reading my football blog today, there will be more blog posts from me in the coming weeks and months as the football season begins properly and matches take place regularly. I apologise for this post being late, my Internet was poor and down for the most part of yesterday but I finally have the post out now. 

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Have a nice day, another blog post will be out later today. 

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