One of the matches I watched live during the opening day of the Premier League was the one featuring Wigan Athletic against Blackpool at the DW Stadium in Lancashire. I watched it live on FoxSoccer.tv. But I was astonished as most viewers were what unfolded before my eyes as Wigan completely collapsed defensively and Blackpool capitalized on their complacency, completely ripping apart the Latics. The final scoreline was 4-0 to the Tangerines. The away support of 4,000 Blackpool supporters looked to be in ecstasy.
I’m fairly familiar with Blackpool FC’s exploits. After all, they pipped my club Swansea to the final place in the Championship playoffs last season by playing an attacking style of football that is accentuated by an incredible team confidence. Something Swansea was lacking last season (well, the goals at least). But I was surprised by the manner of Blackpool’s win and how awful Wigan looked in defense where they completely wilted. To see thousands of people streaming out of the DW Stadium in disgust in the 77th minute must have been an awful feeling. It’s one the first day of the season when club supporters are usually filled with anticipation and dreams. Losing 4-0 at home on the first day of the season is a crushing blow.
On Saturday in the Premier League, even despite two nil-nil draws, there were plenty of goals scored. An average of 2.62 per game, to be exact, which is encouraging and exciting news for the starting day of the season. Yes, I was critical of the way that Chelsea was so one-sided in their victory against West Bromwich Albion, especially in the second half, but as someone once said, “we’re in the goals business.” Twenty one yesterday, which was one better than how many were scored on the opening day of last season.
Another thing that impressed me Saturday was the way that Aston Villa came out firing against West Ham United. The Villa side looked like they had a lot to prove and seemed set on convincing supporters (and viewers) that while Martin O’Neill was important to the club, the club and the team is bigger than one man. Just as how Wigan played against Blackpool, West Ham United’s defense crumbled too against the weight of Aston Villa’s attacks. The scoreline could have been even more in favor of Aston Villa such was the way they controlled the game.
And then there was the goalfest at the Stadium of Light where Birmingham City came back from being two nil down at the half against Sunderland to rescue a two-two draw. No doubt, Sunderland boss Steve Bruce will view the incident where Lee Cattermole got sent off for Sunderland in the first half as a turning point in the game.
Last but not least, Wolverhampton earned a precious three points Saturday against Stoke City, which included this gem of a goal by David Jones.
Let’s hope the goal fest continues Sunday and Monday to round out an exciting beginning to the opening weekend of the 2010-11 Premier League. Just as long as the goal fests aren’t so one sided. By the way, Chelsea’s 6-0 win against West Brom was the biggest opening day win in Premier League history.