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Aug 19, 2012

City scrape win; Hazard shines for Blues

Manchester City began the new Premier League season the way they ended the last, coming back from 2-1 down at home to record a 3-2 victory, this time over Southampton.

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City dominated the opening period and, after David Silva had missed a penalty, eventually got their reward when Carlos Tevez beat Kelvin Davis at his near post, having been played in by Samir Nasri. There was some bad news for Roberto Mancini's men, however, as Sergio Aguero was stretchered off with a knee problem.

The hosts wasted a glut of chances at the beginning of the second half, and were punished when substitute Rickie Lambert equalised with a composed first-time strike. Southampton went into dreamland shortly afterwards when, following a mistake from City debutant Jack Rodwell, Steven Davis found the net at the end of a counter-attack.

But City, who left it so late before beating QPR 3-2 to take the Premier League title last season, did not have to wait long to level: Edin Dzeko pouncing after Saints failed to clear a corner. And it was another poor clearance, this time from Danny Fox, that allowed Samir Nasri to notch a winner with a half-volley.

Chelsea kicked off their Premier League campaign with a relatively comfortable 2-0 victory over Wigan on Sunday, as new signing Eden Hazard impressed.

Two goals in the opening seven minutes got the job done for Roberto Di Matteo's side - as Branislav Ivanovic and Frank Lampard (from the penalty spot) profited from Hazard's sparkling play.

Slippery work from the Belgian allowed him to evade Wigan new-boy Ivan Ramis before slotting to Ivanovic to turn home in the second minute, before he was brought down by Ramis inside the box five minutes later to give Lampard the chance to drive home from 12 yards.

Wigan dominated much of the rest of the game and pressed hard for a goal, with Chelsea target Victor Moses, former Blue Franco Di Santo and new striker Arouna Kone all forcing decent saves from Petr Cech, but they could not make the breakthrough.

The best chance of the second half still went to Chelsea, however, as Fernando Torres managed to beat Ali Al-Habsi with a stretching shot - but Ramis redeemed himself slightly as he rushed round to clear the ball off the line.

Di Matteo chose to withdraw Hazard with around 20 minutes remaining, giving Oscar, another summer signing, a chance to get his first taste of Premier League football as the champions of Europe comfortably saw out the remainder of the game at the DW Stadium.

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