A Didier Drogba hat-trick combined with a Florent Malouda (pictured) brace and another goal from Frank Lampard saw Chelsea destroy West Bromich Albion 6-0 at Stamford Bridge. The opening day rout of the promoted Baggies will do nothing to convince skeptics that the Blues still have what it takes to defend their 2009/10 double, but it will surely give the club themselves confidence after a shaky pre-season.
The highlighted match of the day between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City turned out far below expectations, ending in a nil-nil draw at White Hart Lane. Joe Hart was the man of the match for City but his teammates could not find the net, despite their millions in salary and record transfer fees. Both sides will be pleased with a point from the other, but both will rue the opportunity to win against what could again be a top-four rival, by simply scoring one goal.
Aston Villa set aside the rumors and controversy to blast West Ham United 3-0 at Villa Park. Stewart Downing, Stilyan Petrov and James Milner all scored for Villa while Avram Grant’s Hammers were held scoreless. The fast start is not particularly surprising, given players often like to show that they are not dependent on managers for their success. Miler will likely be gone to Manchester City before the week is done, and he got a rousing ovation when caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald removed him from the game just before full-time.
Blackburn Rovers earned three big points against Everton with a 1-0 victory at Ewood Park. Nikola Kalinić scored in the 14th minute after a huge blunder by Toffees’ keeper Tim Howard. That goal stood and the home side held on for a very nice start to the season. Everton will be looking to avoid the disastrous start that plagued their 2009/10 season. Saturday’s result was certainly not the way to do that.
Two goals in the final thirteen minutes gave Birmingham City a stunning 2-2 draw away to Sunderland. The Black Cats were ahead by two goals at the Stadium of Light after a Darren Bent penalty and a Stephen Carr own-goal. But Scott Dann scored on 77 minutes and eleven minutes later, Liam Ridgewell recorded the equalizer. Sunderland will rue the missed three points, but will be pleased that Darren Bent was able to play and score.
David Jones and Steven Fletcher scored first half goals for Wovlerhampton Wanderers within two minutes to take down Stoke City at Molineux. Stoke new man Kenwyne Jones lasted only 14 minutes after a Jody Craddock tackle left the record signing injured and replaced by Mamady Sidibé. Abdoulaye Diagne-Faye did pull one back for the visitors in the final moments but the match belonged to Wolves.
The most stunning result of the day came as newly promoted Blackpool blasted Wigan Athletic 4-0 at the DW Stadium. Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Alex John-Baptiste scored goals that sandwiched a Marlon Harewood brace to lead the Seasiders to a stirring away victory. The sixth-place finishers in the 2009/10 Championship will struggle this season, but the opening day victory is a massive one for the Tangerines in their campaign toward retention. For Wigan the result is an utter disaster.
Finally, Bolton Wanderers and Fulham played to a scoreless draw at the Reebok. Neither side was pleased with the failure to score, but both managers appeared to be happy with the play of their respective sides.