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Premier League, Gameweek Two: No Need To Press The Panic Buttons Yet

Fulham's Brede Hangeland (2nd R) celebrates his goal against Manchester United with Bobby Zamora (L), John Pantsil (2nd L) and Dickson Etuhu during their English Premier League soccer match at Craven Cottage in London August 22, 2010.  REUTERS/Eddie Keogh (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) NO ONLINE/INTERNET USAGE WITHOUT A LICENCE FROM THE FOOTBALL DATA CO LTD. FOR LICENCE ENQUIRIES PLEASE TELEPHONE ++44 (0)

You can’t criticize the Premier League for one thing, and that’s a lack of goals. The opening two weekends of the 2010-11 Premier League season have seen a cascade of goals flying into the back of the net. And it hasn’t just been Chelsea and Arsenal getting in on the act. Even Blackpool and Newcastle United, two recently promoted sides from the Championship, have lost one game but won the other in convincing fashion.

If you want entertainment, despite some of it being very one-sided, this is the league to watch.

But I think it’s time for all of us to take a deep breath and not start to panic – especially if you’re a supporter of Aston Villa, West Ham United or Wigan Athletic.

Clubs such as Wigan Athletic and West Ham United, who have both started the season off disastrously have zero points but they shouldn’t start sacking their managers anytime soon. Wigan were abysmal in their first game against Blackpool, but the Latics played much better against Chelsea and matched them pretty closely in the first half. The second half was a different story where Chelsea showed the difference in class as they obliterated the Lancashire club. Despite the result, Wigan will hopefully gain some confidence from at least improving their performance. Although it’s hard to see that by looking at the scoreline.

West Ham United are a club, too, who started the season abysmally with a woeful performance on opening day. They were all over the place against Aston Villa, but their performance greatly improved against Bolton Wanderers this past Saturday. In the first half they were in the game and creating chances. The second half was a different story though and Bolton deservedly won the game.

It’s been a bizarre Premier League season so far. Aston Villa, who looked so impressive in their opening game against West Ham United, lost their momentum against Newcastle United when John Carew missed a penalty and Ashley Young had a goal unfairly disallowed because of an offside decision. Newcastle then deservedly tore Villa apart with sensational striker Andy Carroll embarrassing Aston Villa by scoring a hat trick.

The match at Craven Cottage between Sweaty White Shirts and Manchester United was the most entertaining game of the season yet, by far. Here were two teams that both had their chances to win all three points throughout the game. And there was plenty of ebb and flow, which made it thoroughly entertaining to watch. After Paul Scholes scored the early goal to open the scoring, it seemed as if this was going to be a game where Manchester United would continue being in the ascendency. But Fulham fought back, battled hard in midfield and were very creative going toward goal.

With ten minutes to go in the game, it looked more likely that Manchester United would grab a late winner as they usually did. And they scored from an own goal that went into the back of the net after being deflected from a corner. And when Manchester United were awarded a penalty decision in the 87th minute after Damien Duff handled the ball in the area, it looked a certainty that the Red Devils would walk away from west London with the three points. But Nani took a tame shot which was saved well by Dave Stockdale. Hangeland then knocked in the equalizer to give Fulham a well-deserved draw.

Arsenal, meanwhile, looked very impressive against Blackpool. But their advantage was even more in their favor after Ian Evatt was sent off after 31 minutes. From that point onwards, Blackpool didn’t have a chance of winning this game. But again, just like Wigan’s loss against Chelsea, the scoreline didn’t accurately portray how the game was played. Blackpool, even when they were several goals down, kept their heads up and continued to play an attractive style of football by passing the ball on the ground.

Speaking of attractive football, Gareth Bale scored a sensational second goal for Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday to give Spurs the three points needed to win this game. However, Stoke City supporters should feel cheated by the clear goal that crossed the line but wasn’t awarded by referee Chris Foy.

Let’s hope Monday’s match between Manchester City and Liverpool is equally exciting as some of the games we saw this weekend.

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  1. Stefan

    October 3, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Need to play well, of course the team affect the outcome of the game.
    First of all, the team must be cohesive and manipulative. According to the game I did not notice.

  2. jleau

    August 23, 2010 at 1:01 am

    Agreed the Fulham game was awesome. Gaffer, I guess those “boys” did pretty well for themselves. That didn’t even take a week.

    Wigan fans should be very nervous. I don’t know what the GD is for their last 10 premier league games but it has to be apocolyptic. 0/2, -10 on goals and they’ve taken a beating from a team that took a drubbing the very next week. It’s hard to find any silver lining other than “it’s early”. Of course at this rate, that sounds like a sentence.

  3. John Gregory

    August 23, 2010 at 12:18 am

    Certainly wasn’t happy with the West Ham loss, but at least there were signs of life from the team in the first half. Unfortunately, they needed to get points out of these first two weeks-I really can’t see them even getting a draw out of Man U or Chelsea.

  4. TGov

    August 22, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    Fulham v. ManU was a freaking awesome game. I was screaming at the TV and so excited to see us pull a point out of that one. After the Duff handball I was was pretty disgusted that it was going to end up a ManU 3-1 victory that didn’t reflect how the game went at all. The boys played tough and actually had several chances to win it. I just hope they don’t let down their guard next week after playing such an emotional game.

    …..and yes, there is something wrong with those jerseys they are wearing. It was said during the broadcast that every Fulham player changed shirts during half time.

  5. Ryan

    August 22, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Stoke’s last minute chance definitely crossed the line, but just as egregious was the foul on Gomes. He was shoved down right on the line. While the ball crossed the line, the chance should have been wiped out by a clear foul all together. In the end, it was fair, although maybe this helps bring about goal line technology.

  6. toddmintz

    August 22, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Regarding Scott Alexander question: 4 years ago after 2 weeks of the season (2006-2007) Manchester United was the only team with 6 points, 3 teams were tied with 4 points; one of them Portsmouth

    • Scott Alexander

      August 23, 2010 at 11:01 am

      thanks. The table certainly looks odd for this early… especially with a 22 goal difference between Chelsea and Wigan

  7. Scott Alexander

    August 22, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    When was the last time that only one club had 6 points at the conclusion of week 2

  8. toddmintz

    August 22, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Fulham seems to be one of those grounds Manchester United all of a sudden can not win at. 3 years in a row now. What separates Manchester United now from Chelsea is the back 4. I am not enthralled with it at all. Even though Rio Ferdinand is no longer in his prime, they turn in more cleans sheets when he plays. Vidic recently signing a 4 year deal. However, I felt he was slow to react or anticipate in the 1st goal Fulham scored, I thought he should have had done better to clear the ball. He and Berbatov were flat footed on the set piece, everyone was ball watching. As the season moves on, we will have to watch closely the back 4 and chemistry and consistent lineup must be found. I question also why Nani would take the penalty

  9. Toon Toon

    August 22, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Ashley Young’s goal was disallowed because of handball, not offside.

    Villa were poor finishing wise no shots on target including the penalty which Ashley Young should’ve taken it but he was getting treatment and limping as it was getting taken. Other than that Newcastle wanted it alot more and it was won in midfield as Barton said he put a tackle in on Petrov then he went missing.

    • Jacob

      August 23, 2010 at 12:02 am

      That was not a game……that was a statement! Newcastle shouted to the rest of the league that they are not going down again and that we are here to stay!!!

  10. Sir Guy

    August 22, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    I LOVED the Fulham/Man Utd. match as we came back when we could have just as easily have folded. Way to go Brede!!! I am looking forward to tomorrow’s match when, since I’m no longer in any fantasy leagues, I will be able to truly enjoy an important early season match.

    It is exhilarating for a change to say I don’t care who plays well or who wins. Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, I’m free at last.

    (To understand you’d have to read my fantasy league article from earlier today.)

  11. Poker Rakeback

    August 22, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Good games this weekend, I enjoyed the Newcastle game very much, mainly because I had A. Carroll in my fantasy team.

  12. Rob

    August 22, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Something needs to be done about those Fulham kits. Not only are they ugly, they don’t function properly.

    Great match at Craven Cottage today, nonetheless.

    Come on Fulham!

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