The Dog’s Bollacks…EPL Week One Review

Posted: August 25, 2012 by centennialsports in Uncategorized

by Matt Parker

The Dog’s Bollacks is an english term meaning something is really fantastic. Comes from the fact that a dog’s bollacks are so fantastic he can’t stop licking them. This is how we feel that the English Premier League is back! Even though we had a summer filled with football from Euro 2012 and the Olympics, the first week of the European Club season’s reminded us all why the Barclays Premier League is the best top flight division on the planet.

Newly-promoted Southampton took a lead into the 70th minute at the Etihad Stadium against Manchester City, only to see the defending champs pull off a late comeback eerily similar to the final day of last season, when they snatched a late victory and league title against QPR. All is not well for the champions however, as star striker Sergio Aguero injured his knee after a sliding challenge from right-back Nathaniel Clyne. Aguero is expected to be out for at least a month and Roberto Mancini now must look for a replacement late in the transfer window with Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic reportedly his preferred target.

Manchester United and their new star signing Robin van Persie suffered a shock defeat at Goodison Park to Everton, led by the sublime Marouane Fellaini. Michael Carrick was forced to partner the returning Nemanja Vidic in defense and Fellaini took full advantage dominating the make-shift back line and scoring the game’s only goal. Van Persie came on as a second half substitute and made little impact as United looked disjointed at both ends of the field.

At the Emirates, life without Robin van Persie got off to a rocky start. Arsenal controlled the ball and had the bulk of the scoring chances, but the Black Cats showed up for a draw and got what they wanted. Playing with ten men behind the ball for the majority of the match they frustrated an Arsenal side still struggling to adapt to the in’s and out’s the transfer window typically unleashes. New boy Santi Cazorla was the lone bright light for the Gunners, showing great movement and excellent passing ability. Fellow newcomer Olivier Giroud’s introduction was not as impressive as last year’s top scorer in Ligue 1 wasted a glorious opportunity to win the game late on.

A late penalty from Hatem Ben Arfa ensured Andre Villas-Boas’ Spurs reign got off to a losing start. After a first half that saw Tottenham have the better scoring chances, Demba Ba opened the scoring in the second with a lovely curling effort from inside the box. Jermaine Defoe leveled the match in the 76th after converting a rebound Tim Krul was unable to control. Minutes later Ben Arfa skipped past two Spurs defenders and was taken down in the box. He then stepped up and cooly slotted home the winner much to the delight of manager Alan Pardew who was forced to watch from the stands after making contact with the fourth official.

In what was the shock result of the weekend, the Brendan Rodgers era began with a thud at the Hawthorns. A thunderbolt from Zoltan Gera opened the scoring just before the stroke of halftime,

but a contentious second half red card for Daniel Agger changed the course of the match. A harsh penalty was given as Agger was judged to be the last man back after a foul on Shane Long. Justice seemed to be done for Liverpool fans after Long’s pitiful penalty was saved by Pepe Reina. They were not so lucky minutes later as West Brom was awarded another penalty after a Martin Skrtel challenge on Long and Peter Odemwingie converted the opportunity. Romelu Lukaku capped the scoring on his Albion debut with a 77th minute header. Liverpool pressed late on even bringing on the apparently unwanted Andy Carroll, but could not find the net as West Brom cruised to the victory.

Eden Hazard was the star of the show, setting up both goals at the DW Stadium. A swift counter attack set up by the former Lille star in just the second minute was finished off by Branislav Ivanovic, as Chelsea took an early lead. Just five minutes later Hazard won a penalty after skipping by Maynor Figueroa, and went down under the challenge of Ivan Ramis. The ever-reliable Frank Lampard made no mistake, drilling home under Ali Al-Habsi to put the Champion’s League holders up two goals within the first seven minutes. Wigan were able to create chances and had their fair share of the ball, exposing frailties in the Chelsea defense but were unable to convert the final ball, as the Blues started their season off proper.

A brace from new signing Michu and Nathan Dyer was capped by a beautiful strike from Manchester City target Scott Sinclair as the Swans gave Rangers a footballing lesson at Loftus Road. Michu was the star of the show as the former Rayo Vallecano man was all over the pitch, causing the Ranger’s defense fits.

The QPR defense looked totally out of sync and Swansea took full advantage, continuing to play the attractive brand of football under Michael Laudrup they used successfully with Brendan Rodgers. Perhaps in response to this embarrassing defeat, QPR skipper Mark Hughes has since brought in former Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho from Real Madrid, and Michael Dawson from Tottenham to shore up his leaky back line.

Fulham new boy Mladen Petric made a dream debut at Craven Cottage, bagging a brace as his new side destroyed a disappointing Norwich City. Chris Hughton’s dream return to the Premier League quickly turned into a nightmare as his side were completely overrun. Even without last season’s top scorer Clint Dempsey who is attempting to force a move, Fulham were dominant. Damien Duff, Alexander Kacaniklic, and Steve Sidwell also found the scoresheet in the rout.

Kevin Nolan’s close range strike five minutes before halftime was enough to ensure the Hammers’ return to the top flight was a successful one. Sam Allardyce’s style of relying on long balls, free kicks and set pieces will be vital in ensuring survival this year for West Ham and Nolan’s scrappy goal held true to that philosophy. Paul Lambert’s debut ended on a sour note as his Villains were unable to find the back of the net. Villa controlled the play in the first half but were unable to replicate that in the second as West Ham were able to hold on for the slim victory.

An injury time penalty from Adam Le Fondre secured a point for last season’s Championship winners at the Madejski Stadium. Michael Kightly’s goal in the 34th minute seemed to be enough to secure an opening day victory for Stoke, but Dean Whitehead’s foul on Garath McCleary after a nice one-two with Noel Hunt saw Reading’s new signing in on goal, awarded Reading the penalty that leveled matters.


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