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Aug 15, 2009

Premier League: Villa shocked by Wigan onslaught

Before Arsenal - in the late game - delivered a thrilling statement of intent, Wigan Athletic had provided the first shock of the Premier League season and handed an early setback to Aston Villa's aspirations by defeating the Villans 2-0 at their own Villa Park. Goals from Hugo Rodallega and Jason Koumas presented good signs for new Latics boss Roberto Martinez, taking charge of his first game in English football's highest echelon. Martin O'Neill, meanwhile, suffered a highly disappointing afternoon.

Hull City nearly joined Wigan as surprise packages but their luck ran out when an attempted Didier Drogba cross flew past Boaz Myhill to break the hearts of Phil Brown and co. Chelsea pariah Stephen Hunt had opened the scoring for Hull before a Drogba free-kick levelled matters. Hull defended deep and doggedly but the Ivorian's luck was obviously in as Chelsea celebrated a lucky 2-1 win.

Manchester City signalled a statement of intent with a hard-won 2-0 victory at Blackburn Rovers. Multi-million signing Emmanuel Adebayor opened the scoring for Mark Hughes' men on his league debut for City. Rovers made quite a fight of it but, as time ticked on, Stephen Ireland supplied the winner with the coollest of finishes.

Darren Bent showed why Sunderland were prepared to wait to sign him by rewarding Steve Bruce with the winner in the Black Cats' 1-0 win at Bolton. His early strike told in a game which the home team struggled to make an impact.

Burnley suffered a tough introduction to Premier League life with a 2-0 defeat at Stoke City. Ryan Shawcross' header from a Liam Lawrence free-kick put the Clarets on the back foot and their problems were compounded by Stephen Jordan putting through his own net.

It was a similar story for Wolves who lost 2-0 to West Ham at Molineux. Mark Noble opened the scoring for the Hammers before Matthew Upson scored his first goal in some time to secure three away points for Gianfranco Zola's team.

Portsmouth are many experts' tip for a struggle with relegation and their season got underway in troubled circumstances with a 1-0 loss to Fulham. Bobby Zamora, the subject of many transfer rumours during the summer, got the goal off, well, his rear end.

And in the late game, ESPN's first UK live broadcast of a Premier League match, Arsenal simply destroyed Everton at Goodison Park. A 6-1 win did not flatter the Gunners who took apart the Toffees once Denilson had opened the scoring. Debutant Thomas Vermaelen grabbed the next before William Gallas similarly capitalised on slack defending to make it a 3-0 lead at half-time.

Cesc Fabregas grabbed a double which he dedicated to his deceased friend Daniel Jarque, the Espanyol player who died of heart attack last week. Eduardo scored the last of Arsenal's goals before Louis Saha scored the most scant of consolation strikes. Everton boss David Moyes looked distraught on the sidelines.

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