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Blackpool coast to victory at Wigan

Blackpool began their first season in the Premier League in stunning fashion by thrashing Wigan Athletic 4-0 at the DW Stadium.

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Thirty-nine years after they last graced the top flight, Blackpool produced a fearless display to sit at the top of the table on the opening day - for a few hours at least. It is 53 years since they last led the top flight.

Ian Holloway's side took the lead after 16 minutes when Gary Taylor-Fletcher - whose previous clubs include Huddersfield Town, Lincoln City and Leyton Orient - was left unmarked at the back post to tap home.

It got worse for Wigan before the break as Blackpool scored two more goals in the space of five minutes, with Marlon Harewood scoring both on his debut. First, goalkeeper Chris Kirkland failed to get enough on the striker's shot from the edge of the box and the second was a tap-in.

Wigan should have been back in it straight after the break but Steve Gohouri's headed goal was wrongly ruled out for offside. And Blackpool put the game beyond any doubt in the 75th minute when Alex Baptiste's mis-hit cross caught Kirkland out, capping off an amazing first game for the visitors.

Chelsea issued a statement of intent by thrashing another of the Premier League newcomers, West Bromwich Albion, 6-0 at Stamford Bridge. Didier Drogba hit a hat-trick against the hapless Baggies, Florent Malouda grabbed a brace with Frank Lampard netting the other goal.

Aston Villa began life without Martin O'Neill with a 3-0 win over West Ham United. Stewart Downing scored the first goal of the Premier League season in the 15th minute before Stiliyan Petrov doubled the advantage five minutes before the break. James Milner, who started the game despite his move to Manchester City being close to completion, netted the third.

The opening game of the season came at White Hart Lane as Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City played out a goalless draw. Joe Hart got the nod in goal for City and produced a man of the match performance, making fine saves from Tom Huddlestone and Jermain Defoe, as Spurs dominated the first half. The visitors improved after the break but still had little threat on goal.

Birmingham City produced an excellent fightback at Sunderland to force a 2-2 draw. Sunderland looked to be in control when a Darren Bent penalty put them in front. But Lee Catermole was dismissed just before the break for two yellow cards to leave the home side with ten men for the remainder of the match. A Stephen Carr own goal doubled the advantage but the extra man began to tell and late goals from defenders Scott Dann and Liam Ridgewell earned a point.

Wolverhampton Wanderers enjoyed a 2-1 home victory over Stoke City. Stoke lost £8 million club record signing Kenwyne Jones to injury after just 14 minutes and their misery was compounded when Wolves scored twice in three minutes before the interval. David Jones opened the scoring with a superb free-kick before Steven Fletcher bundled in the second at the far post on his debut. Abdoulaye Faye brought a goal back but the home side held on.

A blunder from Tim Howard handed Blackburn Rovers the points with a 1-0 win over Everton at Ewood Park. The goalkeeper dropped the ball, allowing Nikola Kalinic to fire home in the 14th minute.

The day's final game, between Bolton Wanderers and Fulham, finished goalless.


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