Team of the Week
Fresh from a confident outing for England, in which he was twice undone by his own, supposedly world class colleagues, Robert Green took his solid form to Molineux to tinkle on Wolverhampton Wanderers' new Premier League chips. Redundant for the first half, he then turned in four top class saves in the second to preserve his clean sheet and the Hammers' three points.
A brace of Arsenal players are rewarded by a place in TOTW after their mauling of Everton. Many wondered how Thomas Vermaelen would manage with the rigours of the Premier League having made the leap from Ajax. The answer is very nicely indeed, though he shouldn't expect such accommodating opposition every week. He was solid at the back and potent in the air, as he demonstrated with a very well taken header.
Fabio Da Silva is a carbon copy of his brother Rafael, which isn't unusual seeing as they are twins. The main difference being Fabio is left-footed whereas his brother prefers his right. You could hardly guess as Fab slotted into right-back for his first Premier League start and turned in a mature, accomplished performance. Just like his bro, he fancies himself in the attacking third too, and managed to outshine Antonio Valencia with his regular forays down the flank in Manchester United's win over Birmingham.
Jordi Gomez played his part in the destruction of Aston Villa, alongside team-mates Hugo Rodallega and Titus Bramble. The Spanish playmaker introduced his cultured left foot to the Premier League with aplomb, slipping slide rule passes left and right, curling in pinpoint crosses and nearly getting his name on the score sheet to boot. Rodellega smashed in an absolute belter, and should have had a hat-trick, while Titus was rock solid. His only mistake came late in the game when he misplaced a back pass (again), but he dashed back to make a superb clearance from Ashley Young's goal bound shot and redeem himself instantly.
Cesc Fabregas was well placed to pick through the ruins of Everton's opening day dreams and added to their misery by slotting two superb goals. He launched a lung-bursting run to latch on to the first and slide the ball under Howard with his left foot, then wandered unchallenged with the ball for 50 yards before whacking a shot into the bottom corner for his second.
Manchester City have spent the summer plucking talent from a variety of sources - mostly Arsenal - but once again Stephen Ireland proved that he is arguably the most gifted of the lot. Having squandered an excellent chance moments before he then transformed into composure personified to round Paul Robinson, wait, wait, and wait some more before slotting the clinching goal.
Chelsea had to rely on a Didier Drogba fluke to break Hull City's resistance at Stamford Bridge. At least the Ivorian had the good grace to admit so as well, after his left-foot chip in injury time sailed over Boaz Myhill and into the net. There was nothing fortunate about his first though - a beautiful, curling free kick from 30 yards out. A profitable season lies in wait if he can stay fit.
There's nothing like a fifth minute goal to endear yourself to a new set of supporters and a chairman who has just paid an exorbitant transfer fee to sign you. Darren Bent's towering far post header header at the Reebok Stadium also happened to be the match winner too. Lively in everything he did, Bent showed just what a bit of 'want' can do and will reward Steve Bruce with plenty more goals if he can swerve any injuries.
Arsene Wenger and Harry Redknapp threw their respective hats into the ring (beret and pork pie if you're wondering) but there's no doubt Roberto Martinez deserves our first managerial accolade of the new season. He managed to coax an inspired performance out of his new charges, who made Aston Villa look like a sorry rabble. Gomez was at the heart of it, Bramble provided the defensive stability and Rodallega proved himself powerful, pacy and capable of the quite spectacular. Moy bien Roberto, muy bien.