Sunday, August 18, 2013
Premier League Update
The pressure is back on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger as the Gunners misfire against Aston Villa in season opener.
On Friday, Arsene Wenger told Arsenal fans not to worry about the club's lack of signings.
On Saturday, his team did little to reassure fans after a worrying 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa.
If the pressure wasn't on before, it is now, and Wenger may well have to pull the cheque book out soon if he is to keep fans on his side.
"We start a new season with a defeat at home... It's a massive blow," Wenger said after his team were booed off the pitch by their own fans.
"We want our fans to be happy. When you don't achieve that, you feel absolutely sorry and disappointed."
It was a positive start for the Gunners with Olivier Giroud scoring in the sixth minute, tapping in a pinpoint cross from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from close range.
But the damage came from the penalty spot and from one man in particular. Christian Benteke scored from two penalties to direct the spotlight back onto Wenger. Benteke equalised in the 22nd, heading in his own rebound after his penalty was saved by Wojciech Szczesny.
The striker then slotted in a second penalty in the 61st. To add to Wenger's woes defender Laurent Koscielny was sent off for a second booking and Villa hit the Gunners with a quick counter attack late on, with new signing Antonio Luna securing the win by slotting a shot past Szczesny.
In the early kick-off, Liverpool started their English Premier League campaign with a 1-0 victory over Stoke.
Joe Cole and Kevin Nolan scored for West Ham in a 2-0 win over newly promoted Cardiff in the opening round.
Cole opened the scoring after 13 minutes at Upton Park, receiving a pass from Matt Jarvis on the left before shooting low past goalkeeper David Marshall.
Nolan secured the win in the 76th minute, with the West Ham captain finding the net after Mark Noble had broken into the penalty area.
Just three days after scoring the winner on his England debut, Rickie Lambert scored from the penalty spot in the last minute to give Southampton a 1-0 winning start against West Bromwich Albion.
Southampton had come closest to scoring in a game that looked set to finish goalless before the penalty, when captain Adam Lallana had a goal disallowed for offside.
West Brom came close to scoring in the first half when midfielder Graham Dorrans shot narrowly over from a free kick.
Norwich City's record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel marked his Premier League debut with a goal to earn his new side a 2-2 draw at home to Everton.
The 24-year-old Dutch striker, an $13.3 million signing from Sporting Lisbon, scored with a 71st-minute header to earn Chris Hughton's side a point after Everton came from behind to lead.
His goal prevented Roberto Martinez from enjoying victory in his first competitive game as Everton manager, after he succeeded the Manchester United-bound David Moyes during the close season.
Goals from Ross Barkley and Seamus Coleman had turned the game in Everton's favour after Steven Whittaker gave Norwich a 51st-minute lead, only for Van Wolfswinkel to steal the show.
At Sunderland, Pajtim Kasami headed in a second-half winner to give Fulham a 1-0 victory.
Sasami met a corner from Damien Duff at the far post in the 52nd to nod home his first goal for the club and frustrate the home side, which had dominated most of the game. It was Fulham's only good chance of the game, while Sunderland had squandered a number of opportunities in the first half.
New signing Cabral was impressive in midfield for Sunderland, although fellow newcomer Jozy Altidore lacked a cutting edge up front.
Sunderland had a number of near-misses after the goal as well, with Altidore firing just wide in the 65th and seeing his effort saved by goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg 10 minutes later.
Manchester United began their title defence with a 4-1 victory over Swansea in the late kick-off with two goals each from Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck.
Games for Saturday August 17
Liverpool 1-0 Stoke
Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa
West Ham 2-0 Cardiff
Norwich 2-2 Everton
Sunderland 0-1 Fulham
West Brom 0-1 Soton
Swansea 1-4 Man Utd