The English Premier League 2013-14 (EPL) is back with a bang with as many as 9 matches resulting in wins.
Moreover, new signings and new bosses made their mark in the opening matches of the season which saw wins from Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Manchester City while there was a major disappointment with Arsenal losing their opening match of the season.
A look how the teams fared this weekend:
Liverpool 1-0 Stoke City – Liverpool started their campaign without their ace striker, Luis Suarez, who saw the match from the stands. It took a while for Liverpool to score as they found Asmir Begovic in superb form who ended up saving 10 shots.
However, it was Daniel Sturridge who grabbed the first goal of the EPL 2013-14 season with his 37th minute strike. Sturridge made an impressive move when he lost his marker and received a 25 yard pass from Jordan Henderson and lashed a low effort across Begovic into the goalkeeper’s left-hand corner.
Stoke City almost snatched a win in the final minutes of the match when Daniel Agger handled a Charlie Adam's free-kick in the penalty area. The referee, Martin Atkinson, was quick enough to award Stoke with a penalty which could guarantee them a point in the opening fixture. However, Liverpool new signing, Simon Mignolet was the hero of the match when he kept Walters shot out and reacted quickly to keep a follow up shot from Jones' out and win the match for Liverpool.
After the impressive win, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers told premier league.com, "Considering he's [Sturridge] only been back just over two weeks, it was a great credit to him. He played 90 minutes in midweek behind closed doors, so to come out and play another 90 today [was impressive].
"Just at the point he scored, I made a note for him to take more shots. It was a real good move, to get the space and the power. He's disappointed he didn't get more but he continues to score and that's why he's here - that's his job."
“[Mignolet] made three terrific saves. When you get the penalty against you at the end you get a sinking feeling. But he did his homework - he knows where all the penalty takers are going, he made a good first save and then obviously the second action to get up and make the double save was impressive."
Stoke City assistant manager Mark Bowen to premier league.com, "Obviously we're disappointed because at that late stage you get a penalty and think you're going to come away with a point. He's [Walters] missed a couple in the past, from where I was sat he struck it well enough, I thought the ‘keeper made a good save.
"Jonathan Walters gives everything for this club week in, week out. We will pick him up and pat him on the back.
"You come to Anfield and you expect a tough battle, our goalkeeper kept us in it a few times which you expect him to do because he's a top player. It's a case of staying in the game as long as you can, we're asking this group of players to play a different style, and you have to make sure they don't lose confidence in that but I don't think they did."
Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa- A brace from Christian Benteke and a goal from new signing, Antonio Luna put Villa in a comfortable yet shocking win over the Gunners in the opening week of the season. Arsenal started off with a goal from Olivier Giroud in the 6th minute of the match. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain took the initiative of the first attack for the Gunners when he was able to lose Matthew Lowton down the left before cutting into the box to provide the Frenchman with a tap-in that he did not miss.
However. It was a brace from Christian Benteke that stole the show. The striker cancelled out the goal from Giroud in the 22nd minute after Gabriel Agbonlahor was brought down in the box by Wojciech Szczesny. Benteke scored again in the 66th minute when Laurent Koscielny fouled Agbonlahor which gifted the visitor's another spot kick which Benteke was comfortable scoring and gave the lead to the visitor's. Paul Lambert's men sealed the match for Villa after their new signing, Antonio Luna scored in the 85th minute with a fantastic through-ball from Weimann that allowed Luna to burst through the Arsenal defence and pass the ball home beyond Szczesny. The match also witnessed the first red card of the season when Koscielny lunged into a challenge with Andreas Weimann to receive a second yellow card.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger in post match interview with premier league.com, "We want our fans to be happy and when you don't achieve that you feel absolutely sorry and really disappointed. My job is to make the fans happy but we haven't lost the game because of [not signing players].
"If we do not spend money it's because we don't find the players. I'm not the only one to work on that, we are a team who works on that and we are ready to buy the players if we find that the players are good enough for us. We are on the market, everybody knows that we want to buy players but until we buy players we have to win football games. It's not an excuse not to have bought players to lose the game today.
"People always say 'buy players, buy players, buy players' when you tell them 'tell me who' it becomes much more problematic. We take our work seriously and believe me we analyse every single player in the world. We work 24 hours a day for that and when you make a decision we take it seriously. We are not what people try to think we do not want to spend, we want, we are ready to buy players. Not only do we lose a game we have many injuries. It's unbelievable how many people are on the treatment table."
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert to premier league.com, "Everybody up and down the country thought it was a home banker probably. But I've got lads in here who are really top footballers and Agbonlahor was just unplayable.
"He was absolutely fantastic, it was as good a performance as I've seen from an individual in many a year - nobody can catch him when he's in that form. But he's been like that probably the last four months of last season and he's started this season the way he has.
"We've got miles and miles to go but what it has done is given us a great start to the season. We had a terrific crowd watching us today and we've got a really tough first three games. Everybody thought we would get no points out of the first three games if you look at the fixtures, but the performance today - the counter-attack football we played was outstanding."
Norwich City 2-2 Everton- Roberto Martinez’s first competitive match in charge of Everton ended in a 2-2 draw against Norwich city.
The first goal of the match came from the home side in the 2nd half of the match. Steven Whittaker scored in the 51st minute of the match for Norwich City from a difficult angle on the right to the bottom left corner. However, the lead lasted only 10 minutes with Everton scoring two goals in quick succession. The first one came of Ross Barkley in the 61st minute who scored through an amazing assist by Seamus Coleman. The defender started off his run from the right flank of the field, skipped past two tackles and fed the ball back to the edge of the area for Barkley who finished it off with a left footed drive past Ruddy to level the game. They quickly took the lead in the 65th minute through a Coleman header from a Nikica Jelavic shot which was saved by Ruddy. However, that was not the end of the match as Norwich City made things even in the next 6 minutes with a Ricky van Wolfswinkel strike. Things were levelled up in the 71st minute when Steven Whittaker sliced a left-footed volley into the danger area from the right and Van Wolfswinkel rose above Phil Jagielka to head the ball into the top corner.
Norwich manager Chris Hughton to premier league.com, "We certainly showed drive to get back into the game. We had good chances ourselves and having taken the lead in the second half, I think we needed a longer period to get back into it. However, we soon found that we were 2-1 down and then we look at the character of our players.
"It's a fair result. It was a tight and difficult game in which they [Everton] showed great quality with what is arguably their best XI. They moved the ball around very well and caused us a lot of problems.
"The satisfying thing is that we were up against a full-strength Everton side. Robert Snodgrass pulled out only today; we were missing Leroy Fer, Anthony Pilkington and Sebastian Bassong, too. We've got more scope with the squad we've got, and taking that into consideration the lads put a great effort in."
"We've got to make sure that with the strikers we do have we provide them with a service. What Ricky [van Wolfswinkel] gives us is a willing runner up front, whatever formation. He always gives us an opportunity to score goals."
Everton manager Roberto Martinez to premier league.com, "Scoring goals is the hardest thing in football and Ross has the talent. What I’m pleased about with Ross is he wants to learn, develop and listen. To have a player of that ability at that age is an incredible asset for us. He was perfect today.
"Many people will speak about the quality of the goal, but that’s something he does every day in training. I’m most happy about is his overall contribution. Tactically, he was outstanding and he worked very hard for the team. It was a very mature performance. I’ve seen that a lot in pre-season and he showed he is willing to help the team. He was excellent and he deserved his goal."
"I was obviously pleased with the chances we created. We all know that Norwich at Carrow Road are a difficult unit to break down, so I couldn’t be happier with the manner in which we were patient in our build-up, we created good chances to score good goals from open play. Overall, I’d say we deserved the three points but we conceded two soft goals, which is the area of the performance in which we need to improve."
Sunderland 0-1 Fulham- Fulham claimed a narrow win against Sunderland at Stadium of Light through Pajtim Kasami goal.
Sunderland dominated most of the match but were unsuccessful in scoring. However, Paolo Di Canio handed out debuts to 5 of his 10 new signings, it was not enough to secure 3 points for the Italian boss. Moreover, Jozy Altidore was not able to capitalize on the many chances he got to score.
The goal came in the 52nd minute for Fulham, (it was the first real chance created by them in the match), when Kasami towered above Valentin Roberge at the back post to nod home a corner from Damien Duff.
Sunderland head coach Paolo Di Canio to premier league.com, "One corner kick we concede, they score from. It was a silly mistake and that was the difference. We played 80 minutes in the opposition half but we lost.
"If our new boys learn quick I am not worried. We were the only team to play football. Just because we played well doesn't really matter. We must do better in the final third though and be nasty and ferocious. Our new players must understand this and if they accept this after our first game then we can still do well this season."
Fulham manager Martin Jol to premier league.com, "It was what we needed, three points with our schedule is perfect for us. At times you would have to say we would have been happy with the draw.
"They pressed us in the first half and we didn't do enough, but in the second half we did better - but it's fair to say it was a scrappy win. With people coming back from international duty Kasami really stepped up and we came away with a good result."
West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Southampton – It was 31 year old Rickie Lambert who came to the rescue of Southampton when he scored in the 90th minute of the match and gave boss, Mauricio Pochettino 3 points to start off the season in style.
The match saw equal opportunities from both the teams, however it was Sunderland who had the last laugh. Luke Shaw was brought down by Youssuf Mulumbu in the box in the dying minutes of the match. Lambert made no mistake from the spot, drilling his penalty into the bottom-left corner. However, Billy Jones threatened to draw the hosts level deep into stoppage-time, but his header was well saved by Boruc and Southampton held on to claim the win.
West Bromwich Albion head coach Steve Clarke to premier league.com, "We were disappointed with our first half, certainly with our start to the game, Southampton started much better. They were on the front foot from the off and they pinned us back. At half-time we readjusted a couple of things and second half I thought we were much better."
Southampton manager Mauro Pochettino to premier league.com, "Overall, Lambert's having a dream week, everything is going well for him but the greatest thing about this whole story about Rickie Lambert is that he deserves everything that he’s getting because he’s a brilliant person and a great footballer.
"I think in the overall reading of the game we were superior. In football nowadays you play for 94, 95 minutes and you always have to believe that you can win up until the last whistle. Because of that I want to congratulate my team because even in the second half when West Brom was pressing us quite hard, my team showed resolve to keep it at 0-0 and we were able to get that winning goal at the end."
West Ham United 2-0 Cardiff City – The first game back to EPL for Cardiff City ended in a defeat when goals from Joe Cole and Kevin Nolan secured 3 points for West Ham United (WHU) in the opening fixture.
The home side made a bright start to their new season and were rewarded with only 12 minutes into the game when Joe Cole was played in after a brilliant pass from Matt Jarvis on the left who struck it passed David Marshall into the goal.
However, Cardiff City did not play like minnows and came up with occasional chances to score. However, it was the goal from Kevin Nolan which sealed the fate for the newly promoted club. Nolan wrapped up 3 points for WHU when he curled the ball home inside the area after a pass from Mark Noble.
West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce to premier league.com, "We've perhaps not taken as many chances as we would have liked but that doesn't matter. It's a 2-0 victory, it's a clean sheet and it's two very good goals. Sometimes we play one up front when we play Manchester United, most teams do, but when we play here we play with a front three.
"That was abundant today, so let's hope that continues at Newcastle next week and we pick more points up. It was pretty exciting what Downing contributed and he's glad to be here, which is the most important thing."
Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay to premier league.com, "I thought we started the first 15 to 20 minutes slowly. We knew we had to start better than we did and in that first 15 minutes they were clinical with their finishing. After that, in the last half an hour of the first half I thought we had plenty of possession without any penetration.
"Overall I can't be too harsh on my players because on a day at Upton Park I thought we had an awful lot of possession and gave a good account of ourselves. It needs to be better but we're away from home against a good team. They were clinical with their two finishes and we weren't. I don't think it's a lesson because we knew before that we had to be clinical, it's about choices and that final pass."
Swansea City 1-4 Manchester United – One of the most anticipated match this weekend, David Moyes did not fail to deliver and stood up to the long stranded legacy of Sir Alex Ferguson and proved to his critics that he was the right man for the job. Goals came in the form of braces from RVP and Danny Welbeck who took away all the three points for the defending champions in this opening fixture of the EPL.
RVP and Welbeck scored their first goals in the 34th and 36th minute respectively and again scored in 72nd and 90+2 minutes respectively to give Moyes a comfortable win. However, Swansea City got a consolation goal when Wilfried Bony scored in the 82nd minute.
The Dutchman opened the scoring with a sweetly struck volley before completing his brace with a solo effort from the edge of the penalty area. In-between his two strikes, Welbeck scored from close range with Antonio Valencia assisting him in the process.
The record signing for Swansea City, Bony scored with an assist from Pablo Hernandez.
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup to premier league.com, "Our plan was to put them under pressure," he said. "We knew it would be a long game and it worked well for the first half hour as they only had one shot on target. But then you see that difference – and the first goal was a great finish. But to concede two goals in two minutes against a team like Manchester United makes it very difficult after that.
"We created some chances after that but the third goal meant it was game over. The main difference was the finishing, and losing the two goals like we did was a huge blow.
"It’s always difficult to play the big teams, but I would rather play them at the start of the season. There is always that doubt, but the difference in today’s game was the finishing.
"I said to the players that we just have to move on. We are playing for different things within this league and its not against teams like Manchester Untied that we need to see where we are. We now look ahead to Thursday’s game in the Europa League and get back on track."
Manchester United manager David Moyes to MUTV, "You always want to win your [first] game - when you're manager of Manchester United your job is to win the games. I was made well aware of it. The players have done it today and did really well.
"Swansea had a lot of the ball, anybody who comes here will be made to work really hard. We had to work hard as we had periods where we didn't have a great deal of the ball. We limited them to very few opportunities and we made incisive, telling passes and got in for opportunities.
"More importantly, they were really good finishes by the forward players and a brilliantly taken first goal by Robin [van Persie]. We could have played better at times in the game overall, but are more than happy winning here 4-1. In the dressing room, it's quiet as they tell me it's what they do here. Move on to the next game and that's what I'm going to do as well."
Crystal Palace 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur - Roberto Soldado made a perfect debut to his EPL season with a goal and in the process securing 3 points for the Spurs. Soldado scored the only goal in the match which also saw debut from Nacer Chadli and Paulinho while Etienne Capoue had to settle for a place on the bench for Spurs. However, the newly acquired striker from Arsenal Marouane Chamakh made a second half start for his new club.
Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway to premier league.com, "I'm a bit disappointed, to be honest, we normally play a bit quicker and sharper than that with the ball. I was disappointed with our movement and our passing. The honeymoon period is over and the lads have to start believing in themselves.
"We need to learn quickly. We need to counter attack quicker and sharper than we did. We've got to get used to where we are and we've got to deal with it, when we had the ball we didn't do enough with it. At the moment with this group I might have to defend my way to victory. We need some more pace up front."
"Chamakh should be able to train next week and [Jose] Campana will have another week. We should be in a much better scenario next week.
Spurs head coach Andre Villas-Boas to premier league.com, "[It was] a good performance. There's always a surprise factor to Palace because of the amount of signings that they have brought [in] and the fact that we don't know them as well as the other teams so I'm extremely happy with the performance.
"We had good chances during the whole of the 90 minutes, chances to put the game to bed when we were 1-0 up, so I can only be pleased with the performance. Overall we were the deserved winners. Most of the [new signings] arrived at a later stage [of pre-season], particularly Soldado and Paulinho.
"We can only see them develop towards the future. Bearing in mind for all of them the Premier League is a different proposition in terms of intensity and passion they did extremely well."
Chelsea 2-0 Hull City – The last match of the weekend saw the return of the "HAPPY ONE", Jose Mourinho, back to his former club Chelsea. The match ended with Chelsea securing all three points in a half which has been deemed by the manager as one of their best performances. First half goals from Oscar and Frank Lampard saw the home team to a brilliant start to their campaign with a new "old" manager.
It took only 7 minutes for Chelsea to grab the first goal, when a fine exchange allowed Kevin De Bruyne to work space and the Belgian picked out a slide-rule pass that Oscar poked under McGregor's dive. The second goal came in the form of a Frank Lampard ferocious freekick from 30-yard that dipped over the visiting goalkeeper.
The match ended with Chelsea, backed by the two first half goals, grabbed all three points and giving Mourinho the perfect start to his new campaign.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho to premier league.com, “The reception was amazing. I was expecting that because I played here with Inter as an opponent and it was fantastic so I could imagine that coming to Chelsea would be like that. It gives me more responsibility but at the same time they know I give everything for this club.
(To Chelsea TV) “I'm very happy, I was saying before about the quality, dynamic and creativity. I've played so many times here and won so many matches, but I've never had such a period of fantastic play like we had. In the second half when I saw it going in another direction I was a bit frustrated because I wanted more, but after five or 10 minutes I was thinking that we didn't because we couldn't, you can't play that way for 90 minutes.
“When the creativity disappeared we lost the danger in our game. I tried to make a couple of changes but at that time the game was bad, we sat back but our defensive block was very comfortable. The second half wasn't comparable to the first half but the first half was fantastic.
“I'm happy we managed to win and show this is the football we want to play and can play. Now it's up to me to make it happen more often.”
Hull City manager Steve Bruce to premier league.com, "We all know how difficult it's been and what's changed this year for me is that the so-called smaller teams have all invested a lot of money. When you see the likes of Southampton going for a £15 million player; Swansea, Norwich, all the teams that - no disrespect to them - you think you're going to be up against, they've all invested too. We know how difficult it's going be but let's try to make a fist of it and do our best to try and stay there.
[On Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore being on the bench] "We've only had them 48 hours really and believe them or not we've been trying to work on a system to play Chelsea for the last two-three weeks. Also I have to say that that in management to create the spirit and atmosphere you have to be kind to the boys who have got you here too.
"For them rainy nights in Barnsley - no disrespect - people have done well for me so it was important for me that they be rewarded too. But make no mistake the two boys from Tottenham will make a huge difference to us and we've got many games to play where we won't be playing Chelsea every week."
Manchester City 4-0 Newcastle United – The blue side of Manchester kick started their new campaign in some style when they over-powered Newcastle United with 4 amazing goals which gave a perfect start to their new manager, Manuel Pellegrini.
City started off the proceedings with a goal in just 6 minutes into the match. David Silva played Edin Dzeko to the left in the penalty area whose low cross was fortunately deflected straight into the path of Silva, who had continued his run to head beyond Newcastle goalkeeper, Tim Krul.
City doubled their lead with a Sergio Aguero strike in the 22nd minute when the Argentine netted the ball into far bottom corner. Aguero showed great vision when he received a back-heel pass from Dzeko and comfortably made it past the keeper and into the nets.
It got much worse for Newcastle when Jonas Gutierrez departed in the 43rd minute due to an injury. Moreover, Steven Taylor's evening was brought to a abrupt end when he was shown a straight red card for striking the back of Aguero's head with his arm.
However, it was City's night as they continued with their demolishing ways in the second half. It was Yaya Touré this time who scored in the 50th minute from a free kick just outside the penalty area. Touré made no mistake and swept home stunner of a goal. Moreover, they added to their opponents plight when substitute Samir Nasri scored in the 75th minute of the match. Nasri pounced on a loose ball before coolly slotting past Krul.
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini to premier league.com, “The most pleasing aspect was the way the team played for 90 minutes, from the beginning the attitude was aggressive and we continued to play that way for the whole match. It’s a very good start but I was very confident that the team would play well, we worked very hard during pre-season, we were trying another style of football and maybe we must continue to improve but for the first match, it was good.
“I trust Edin Dzeko. It was a pity he didn’t score because he had a lot of chances and he played very well. We knew with the ball that he’s a very good player but he played very well without the ball tonight. He had some important chances and he deserved to score today.
“I spoke to him when I first arrived and I told him that he will do very well for us. I am sure we are now going to see the Edin Dzeko that City bought from Wolfsburg two years ago.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew to premier league.com, "I have to say I thought we gave a good account of ourselves up until the sending-off. We'd threatened their goal, but the sending-off made it a really difficult night for us and you don't want that on the first day.
"It was a silly challenge from Tayls, it was out of character for him, and then we had to work and grind in the second half, which we did. I just thought it was a silly action, and I can't really defend him on it, if I'm honest. I know he's a proper fella and he wouldn't mean to be malicious to the guy.
"I don't think we've got too much to be concerned about. We need to put a team out that's a lot more offensive at home, and we won't have that kind of opposition, although West Ham are in good shape. It's one out of 38 games, and it's important we try and win the two home games that are coming up."