What the fans say...
Portsmouth 0-1 Manchester UnitedColin Roberts: Well, we've certainly improved on last week's performance at Chelsea, that's for sure. Jerome Thomas looked lively again and had more shots on target than the rest of the squad put together against an occasionally excellent but largely uninspiring Manchester United team. Armand Traore looks like an inspired loan move on Harry's part once again and gives us a little more room to breathe. Sean Davis and Papa Bouba Diop both turned out good performances in the midfield too. I just wish those who email the radio stations in the UK calling for Harry's head realise that we've just had two of the hardest games of the season out of the way and we won't be bottom of the league for long.
Mark Payne: Fratton Park is a place where we haven't had a great record over the past few seasons so to get a win with such a threadbare squad is quite satisfying. After seeing Chelsea and Liverpool record such ludicrously flukey results we would have been under more pressure in the Monday night doldrums slot. The players responded and the movement of our play was much more polished than it was at the same stage last season, lest we forget some of our more skilful players are still on the way back. We'll just keep doing our jobs and see what happens. It was a bit of a comedy goal but what price odds on Darren Fletcher for the Golden Boot now? All in all this was a United performance that calmed the nerves a bit.
Manchester City 3-0 West Ham UnitedWallace Poulter: three-nil and it wouldn't have been out of place if it was six. The Hammers, still suffering from numerous injuries, were simply awful in the first 30 minutes before the referee ended it as a potential contest when Mark Noble was rightly given a second yellow card for a bad tackle on Michael Johnson, but it was the first yellow car for grabbing the ball as Noble fell down that was out of place. A warning would have sufficed. City took full advantage and turned what had been looking like a likely victory into a second half stroll. Ireland, rightly restored to the side, and a strong performance from debutant Kompany added the strength and pace in midfield missing against Villa as City romped home. Hopefully Morecambe is a quick learner and understands why City were successful this week.
Billy Blagg: Alan Curbishley will be backing himself as the first managerial casualty of the campaign if there are too many more of these showings. As it stands, Sky are already proclaiming our casualty list as 'extensive' and we've barely started the season. The Hammers desperately need a couple of inspiring signings to boost the squad. The sending off of Mark Noble in the 39th minute certainly upset any game plan the Hammers might have had, but I don't see the response to something like this is to pack the midfield and hope we might snatch a goal.
Wigan Athletic 0-1 ChelseaUpTheLatics A great performance, if ultimately fruitless, from the Latics. The only problem I had was that when manager Steve Bruce brought on Daniel De Ridder for the injured Jason Koumas he swapped Valencia onto the left wing and he can't play there. He was ineffectual on the left wing in the second half. Oliver Kapo would have been a much better option. The return of Ryan Taylor will offer more options and hopefully we can turn these good performances into points.
David Esposto A brilliant free kick from Deco spared Chelsea's blushes as they got the three points, on a day where they were less than stellar. Coming off a 4-0 opening day victory over Portsmouth, it took the Portuguese midfielder just four minutes to make his mark, adding to his wonderful strike against Pompey. This game undoubtedly gave Scolari his first look at what the Premier League is all about – up one minute and struggling the next. With just one week left until the transfer window slams shut, Scolari is preparing to finalize his Chelsea squad, and a possible move for Robinho was made even more likely with Andriy Shevchenko going back to the San Siro.
Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Hull CityAlan Griffiths: After two games Rovers sit in second place and we would have been quite happy with that before the season started, however, on this performance it was clear that it's the same old problem as this time last year: not having a creative central midfielder to provide service to the strikers. If Paul Ince doesn't manage to sort out the creative midfield problems, now exaggerated with the loss of David Bentley, then Jason Roberts and his fellow strikers are going to struggle and it's going to be a predictable, long dire season. It's early days for Ince, but he needs to realise that at this level you can't blame poor performances on players being tired after mid-week international duty.
Richard Haddock: Although Rovers had more of the ball, a fantastic defensive display from the Tigers saw them restricted to few chances. Blackburn finally got their chance on 39 minutes when Jason Roberts managed to spring the offside trap and score past Boaz Myhill. But Hull were not disheartened and drew level minutes later when Richard Garcia scored with a fantastic header. A superb performance from Michael Turner was able to keep quiet Rovers danger man, Roque Santa Cruz. Next up for the Tigers is a home tie with Wigan, when the home fans will be hoping the good start to the season can continue.
Fulham 1-0 ArsenalTom Wille: In true 'Fulhamish' fashion, the Cottagers shocked the world by upending a lacklustre Arsenal side en route to an impressive win. Fulham scored early in the first half through Brede Hangeland and had enough in the tank to hold off Arsenal. What was most impressive was that Roy Hodgson's Cottagers took a team in Arsenal that many feel will contend for a title, and made them look average. Most neutrals would tell you that Fulham were the better side and fully deserved the points. The win marked only the second time that Fulham have defeated Arsenal. It was a great day for Fulham supporters everywhere. There is renewed hope that Fulham can have a good season after this display.
David Young: It was a dismal performance. Without Cesc Fabregas pulling the strings at the heart of midfield, the Gunners looked bereft of attacking ideas, lacked any penetration and created too few chances. They went behind courtesy of some poor defending from William Gallas who completely lost his man at a corner, and though they had a couple of near misses at the other end, Mark Schwarzer in the Fulham goal didn't have a single meaningful shot to save during the whole ninety minutes. It seems patently obvious that some new signings are needed before the transfer window closes because, at the moment, the squad does not appear to have the strength in depth and all-round quality to sustain a meaningful challenge on several fronts over the next ten months.
Liverpool 2-1 MiddlesbroughKevin Brodie: Liverpool started brightly and had a few good early chances but only Kuyt managed to test Boro's new goalkeeper. Once the game settled down Liverpool were never in control and continued to frustrate. I was relieved when the half-time whistle came as I hoped Rafa could shake some life into the team. The second half was more of the same as Liverpool continued to play straight down the middle which made it easy for Boro's backline. Mido was introduced and straight away he was causing us problems. His shot was fantastic and the game looked beyond us when they scored. Credit to Liverpool as they didn't give up and Carragher's freak deflection saw us in with a chance at an underserved point in minute 85. Boro looked the more likely team to win the game but in the fourth minute of injury time Gerrard popped up to hammer home the winner. I did not celebrate the equalizer but I think the neighbours thought about calling the police when the winner went in.
Daniel Gray: Rarely have Boro gone to Liverpool and out-passed the home team as was the case on Saturday. We were a lucky, lucky deflection and an extra minute of injury time away from a deserved victory. This bright, mobile football, also on display against Spurs last week, is truly refreshing. A young squad and team will make many mistakes this year, but at long last, entertainment is back. If we believe in ourselves, we might just crack that top ten.
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Jerrad Peters: Aston Villa were superb away from home in 2007-08, claiming 27 points and scoring 8 more goals than they allowed. That form abandoned them at Britannia Stadium on Saturday however. Twice coming back to tie a Stoke City side which played with an enthusiasm that will keep them in the Premier League if repeated, Villa were ultimately crushed by a very long, predictable throw-in by Rory Delap. Mamade Sidebe headed the ball past Brad Friedel; and that was that. Ten minutes earlier, Ricardo Fuller had scored the goal of the season to date when he shuffled Liam Lawrence's sublime pass from his left foot to his right and arrowed the ball beyond a helpless Friedel.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 SunderlandColin McCullough: As in last week's game against Middlesbrough, Darren Bent featured as the lone striker and once again Spurs enjoyed most of the possession without turning it into goals. The team again played attractive football in the middle of the park, only to be out-muscled by a committed and hardworking Sunderland side, who had never previously recorded a single Premier League point at White Hart Lane. The result leaves Spurs close to the foot of the table at this early stage of the season and with a visit to Stamford Bridge up next.
RednWhiteMackam: Following another summer of mass recruitment the pressure is really on Roy Keane to get Sunderland moving up the table so it is always helpful when those very signings get going straight away. Steed Malbranque hit the post against his former employers and then fellow new boy Djibril Cisse came off the bench to score the winner, only a matter of hours after getting his international clearance. A win at White Hart Lane and an unlucky 1-0 loss to Liverpool prove we are heading in the right direction.
West Bromwich Albion 1-2 EvertonWBA08: Baggies boss Tony Mowbray again opted to play the one out-and-out striker in Ishmael Miller and they failed to create many chances. But they were still able to pin the visitors back for long periods until Everton play-maker Mikel Arteta started to impose his class on proceedings. Albion will need to find more firepower if they are to survive, but on this performance Everton have still to reach their best.
Tony Burns: Everton's threadbare squad ground out a brilliant win at West Brom thanks to a superbly taken goal by the underrated Leon Osman and a winner from Yakubu. It might only be West Brom but it's never easy playing one of the promoted teams in their first home game of the season - especially with a squad as depleted as Everton's with so much negativity surrounding the club. The much needed win has also given the club a huge lift that might prove influencial as we enter a crucial few days in the transfer market.
Newcastle United 1-0 Bolton WanderersMagpies4Ever: The great start to the season continued with a win over Bolton and it was a further boost to see Michael Owen come off the bench to score the goal. It was timely reminder to owner Mike Ashley as the 28-year-old's contract comes under discussion but I for one am not sure a single goal and months on the treatment table deserves an increase on £120,000 per week. Hopefully we can spend the cash on some more new faces; the ones we have already acquired are really looking the part.
GlossWhiteTrotter: This was a game of 'if only'. If only Kevin Nolan has scored his penalty. If only Nolan had not put his header wide and if only Johan Elmander had not got injured it might have been a very different game; but it was not to be. A disappointing result overall but I'm confident for a much better season following some good buys by Gary Megson, who the fans are beginning to warm to.
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