Arsenal 6 – 0 Blackpool – Fresh from tango-ing Wigan 4-0 away on the opening day, seeing their chairman Karl “Agent K” Oyston resign, then go bankrupt, and being described as monsters by their manager Ian “Agent I” Holloway, The MIOs went MIA on Saturday and came crashing back to earth with a slap. Theo Walcott, still valiantly battling Gary Neville in the ‘who can grow a convincing looking pirate beard first’ stakes, was the tormentaaargh in chief, scoring a hat-trick despite still seeming unable to lift a shot off the ground. Blackpool were a little unlucky, losing a man and a penalty on the half hour mark despite the challenge being outside the box but in truth they were being thoroughly Arsenalized before then anyway. It could have been 10 if Chamakh had converted more than one of his 18 clear chances – including an admirably Yakubu like effort – but 6 is in vogue, and they obviously didn’t want to ruin the party..Or my by-line.
Wigan 0 – 6 Chelsea – Fresh from scoring eight against Wigan on the final day of last season and six last week against the Baggies, Chelsea fans continued to live in Playstation land by racking up the kind of two game goal difference even Celtic and Rangers would be envious of. If any game featuring Celtic and Rangers that wasn’t Celtic vs. Rangers had any kind of meaning, significance, satisfaction or importance that is. It’s now becoming clear that Roberto Martinez isn’t balding, his hair is simply too embarrassed to be seen with him. All of Chelsea’s goals came complete with indecipherable cryptic hand flapping celebrations. Joining Nicholas Anelka’s “look, I can make a shadow puppet bird thing” stalwart were Didier Drogba’s “look, I can make your shadow puppet bird fly out of my arse”, Solomon Kalou’s “something nasty is wafting in my face” and Florent Malouda’s “look, Samsung have given me 5 free minutes on my mobile. Woooo!”. Twelve goals in two games. Twenty in three counting the last game of last term. Just give them the bloody thing now and get it over with so we can all concentrate fully on Tottenham embarrassing themselves in the Champions League.
Newcastle 6 – 0 Villa – After helpfully getting their annual bogey trip to Old Trafford out of the way early, Newcastle United joined in the swinging six party after John Carew had thundered his early penalty into outer space. Joey Barton started the rout with a more controlled, but no less venomous rocket, meaning he can now stop looking like a psychopathic Midge Ure and concentrate on just looking like a psychopathic Joey Barton. His celebration seemed to veer dangerously close to a mock Hitler salute, but this being Newcastle, he was more likely paying homage to that other evil, singular arm raising tyrant prone to filling the air with poisonous rhetoric and lazy cliché’d stereotypes – Alan Shearer. His lip hair was overshadowed however by the unavoidable huge mass of retro lockage residing on the top of local boy done good Andy Carroll. Channeling a cross between Darren Peacock and the lead singer of a 1980s stadium rock outfit, Carroll grabbed a well taken hat-trick to humiliate Villa in an entertainingly fast paced encounter whilst Kevin Nolan scored two thoroughly Bolton goals to complete the rout. In other news, Emile Heskey came on, and no one noticed.
Fulham 2 – 2 Man Utd – In yet another fantastically entertaining game (or so Sky kept telling us) down at the Cottage, Fulham twice fought back from behind to grab a point as Manchester United continued to prove they have more fans in South West London than Fulham do in the whole entire world. Living legend Paul Scholes grabbed the opener with a goal that was exactly what the famous one he scored at Bradford 10 years ago would’ve been like if it had been scored by Theo Walcott. United dominated the first half with Fulham’s brilliantly designed new shirts cleverly retaining all the sweat they’d amassed from chasing Scholes’ balls around the pitch and drenching them completely within about 20 minutes. They rallied in the second however, making great use of their solitary “Come on Fulham” chant and the invigorating presence of Hugh Grant to inspire them to score three goals, one at the wrong end, and exorcise their manager Mark Hughes’ daemons by grabbing a late goal against the side who’d famously done the same thing to snatch the spoils against him in the Manchester derby almost exactly a year ago. Nani missed a penalty, Fulham should’ve had one and John O’Shea continues to look like the kind of player you never ever want to give the ball to.
Stoke 1-2 Spurs – Putting their vulnerability in the hands of Young Boys behind them, Spurs prevailed in a tight game at The Britannia Stadium courtesy of a wonder strike from the ever-impressive Gareth Bale. After ingeniously fluking a first in off his face Chicharito style, Bale struck a sweet volley with the wonder-shin of destiny after Stoke had leveled with a very Stoke like goal from their 402 year old stuffed leather forward Ricardo Fuller. Stoke pressed hard for an equalizer but were thwarted repeatedly by Heurelho Gomes despite the Spurs stopper going completely walkabout at virtually every corner he faced. Eventually Stoke got their leveller, but somehow the world’s best placed referee failed to spot it had crossed the line and Peter Crouch snuggled the ball away to leave Bale’s wonder-shin to take the spoils. Bale is now rapidly emerging as a top top class player and probably Tottenham’s best ever since he stopped being a massive jinx.
West Ham 1-3 Bolton – Down at the Boleyn, West Ham’s miserable time of it continued despite the comforting realization that Kieron Dyer is still alive. The ‘Ammers had by far the best of it in the first half but then completely fell apart, like a rice cake in a tumble dryer, once Matty Upson had put through his own net whilst being kicked in the face by the ever graceful Kevin Davies. Despite grabbing one back from the spot, the home side were undone by that very Bolton of beasts – the unprolific striker – as Johan Elmander, a man who once went 11 months without a league goal, grabbed two to blow all their bubbles away. When he gets a brace and your next games are Man Utd and Chelsea, you know you’re in trouble. They could perhaps change their theme song to “I’m forever knowing trouble”. If it wasn’t so utterly rubbish that is.
Brum 2-1 Blackburn – Presided over by the Premier League’s youngest ever referee, the embryonic 25 year old Michael Oliver gave Blackburn an early penalty after some dodgy shirt tuggage only for former Man Utd and Watford cast off and sure fire future England scapegoat Ben Foster to save brilliantly from Morten Gamst Pedersen. Nzonzi gave the visitors the lead but Foster continued to frustrate and eventually James McFadden fed Craig Gardner to level after Blackburn’s entire defense had decided to suddenly stop playing for no particular reason at the worst possible moment. Gardner grabbed the winner on 71 minutes from a long-range shot that instigated some furious shouty defence chastisement from Paul Robinson, despite the failure to stop it being clearly, and almost entirely his fault. Birmingham didn’t really deserve to win, but did anyway and Alex McLeish’s impressive run continues to almost no-ones interest.
West Brom 1-0 Sunderland – With Steve Bruce looking more and more like the fat lesbian love child of Pat Butcher and Clare Balding, his Sunderland side were beaten by a player who’s name wasn’t even in the match day programme. Peter Odemwingie had only been a West Brom player for 15 or so hours when he scored the winning goal in the 81st minute to earn instant cult status at the Hawthorns and karmically punish Kieron Richardson for having a criminally atrocious hair cut that makes him look like a sort of bad amalgamation of Anakin Skywalker, Lister from Red Dwarf and a mid 90s Roberto Baggio, except without exhibiting any of the cool of any of those people in any way at all.
Everton 1-1 Wolves – With Mikel Arteta being touted for England by everyone except Mikel Arteta, David Moyes’ decision to start with League One pedigree striker Jermaine Beckford ahead of Champions League pedigree “assemble what bits you have available” striker Louis Saha didn’t look like a master stroke as the Toffees failed to make use of their first half dominance and eventually surrendered a one goal lead. Wolves leveled with a lovely break away goal from Ebanks-Blake to almost, almost, make Mick McCarthy sound vaguely pleased about something for the first time in his entire monotone existence. Almost.
Other Things I Noticed: Sky’s not at all over enthusiastic willingness to tell us that the Premier League they are showing is already so much better than the World Cup they weren’t showing. The BBC’s interesting new MoTD intro, which is a lovely idea, but executed with all the quality, expense and professionalism of the ..er..the BBC. And the admirable effort of a small section of Everton fans who, in an attempt to make their hideous pink kit seem more acceptable, turned up in frilly pink tutu’s. Kudos sirs, I doth my feathered cap to you.
You can follow Oscar on Twitter here, https://twitter.com/oscarpyejeary where you can furiously debate with him whether that’s actually 9 things or not.