After the last minute decider ending to the premiership last season, a brand new EPL season has commenced with lots of drama from match-day one.
After the last minute ‘down to the wire’ winner deciding ending to the premiership last season, a brand new season has commenced. With an opening day filled with as much drama as this one, it justifies the claim that every new season comes with its own intrigue and peculiarities. Ranging from new player signings and coaches to another set of three teams promoted from the first division to the premiership. All of them combine to make the English Premier League (EPL) one of the most exciting football leagues to follow in the whole wide world. It constantly dishes out a compact and irresistible brand of football doses weekly.
As a background to the new EPL season 2012/2013, the usual scenarios which take place in the transfer window just before opening match-day had gone down. A principal feature in there as almost normal in recent years with Arsenal Football Club was its familiar policy of selling one or two of its best players almost every other season. The latter combined with clubs like Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City, Barcelona, Manchester United and AC Milan - all of them remaining on the big stage as the biggest buyers in the market, always out in search of the next best thing to strengthen or replenish their squads. Before this post becomes centred on the transfer window which is still open, we should rather let it rest here as an issue for another day.
Although it must quickly be mentioned that players such as Robin van Persie had moved to Manchester United, Eden hazard to Chelsea, Steven Pinear back to Everton, Podolski to Arsenal and many more transfers similar to these ones. Also some key actors in the premiership in recent years had also moved on, many to China and some others to the United States or some other places in Europe. Principal among such include Didier Drogba, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Nikolas Anelka, Tim Cahill and Solomon Kalou.
With the foundation laid thus, the business began as usual with games on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. There was a repeat tonic of the large score-lines that have now come to characterise the premiership opening day in recent times, coupled with absolute shockers that may have weighed better had they happened further down the season-long adventure. In a weekend that featured the full set of ten games, a total of twenty seven goals were scored. The main highlights among these happened to be Fulham beating Norwich by five goals to nil, Swansea City putting five away goals past Queens Park Rangers (QPR), West Bromwich getting the better of Liverpool FC by three goals to nil while Everton handed down the real shocker to Manchester United - a rare opening day defeat of one nil, which must be highlighted as having been a very fair score-line to United considering the fact that Everton could have led by as many as three to four more goals but for some last gasp crossbar and upright hits and other highly commendable saves by their goal keeper David Degea.
The action would be incomplete without mentioning the close affair between the holders Manchester City and new boys South-Hampton which ended three goals to two in a five goal thriller settled by Samir Nasri. The goal ensured that City started their title defence on a strong note. Although it must be said that South-Hampton are no weaklings being very efficient on the afternoon, giving more bite to the claim that there are no pushovers in the premiership any longer. Every team has to work hard if they are to earn the all three points available or even a point resulting from a draw. Arsenal also began their season on a note they now seem to strike well with openers in the last two to three seasons - a home draw against Sunderland. With teams like West Ham winning over Aston Villa, Chelsea got a bit of a lucky victory over Wigan Athletic with two early goals, both having something to do with their new signing Eden hazard. Newcastle also had a tight win of two goals to one over Tottenham in a keenly contested game.
This review would not be complete without giving kudos to some great coaches who had done well with smaller teams last season and as a result had been handed bigger appointments in more prestigious teams. Such include Brendan Rogers who moved from Swansea to Liverpool FC and Paul Lambert to Aston Villa, with Martinez deciding to stay on at Wigan even in face of more juicy offers. Some others who had been with other teams last season but were drafted in various new teams this season include Andreas Villas Boas replacing the magician Harry Redknapp at Tottenham and Michael Laudrup resuming at Swansea.
Indeed the drama would never have been full enough, if teams like Manchester City had not been forced to squeeze out a winner coupled with a seemingly fortified attack of Manchester United rendered impotent on the day even with the addition of robin van Persie - the premiership top scorer and best player for last season. These combined with the three nil loss of Liverpool by West Bromwich - their fast becoming bogey team, and huge score endings for Fulham and Swansea. Indeed the excitement was at its height, a great advertisement for the English Premier League especially on an opening day. Indeed it raises the curtain on a season of real surprises and happenings to come. What more can we say but “Let the Business begin!”