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Arsenal, Liverpool start with first day wins

August 17, 2008 10:54 IST

Arsenal [Images] launched their bid for a first Premier League crown in five years with a comfortable 1-0 win over promoted West Bromwich Albion on the opening day of the season on Saturday.

Liverpool, who have their eyes on a first title since 1990, also got off to a winning start by beating Sunderland 1-0 at the Stadium of Light with a late goal from Fernando Torres.

Champions Manchester United [Images] and runners-up Chelsea, the other two members of the Big Four, are at home on Sunday against Newcastle United and FA Cup holders Portsmouth respectively.

Hull City celebrated their first top-flight match with a 2-1 win over visitors Fulham but Stoke City, back among the elite for the first time since 1985, lost 3-1 at Bolton Wanderers.


French debutant Samir Nasri, who joined Arsenal for 15.0 million pounds ($28.0 million) from Olympique Marseille in the close season, scored the first goal of the new season after four minutes in the lunchtime kickoff at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told the BBC: "We always looked in control and I thought the second goal would come. But West Brom defended very well and we lacked a bit of sharpness around the box."

West Brom boss Tony Mowbray told Sky Sports: "We didn't get off to a great start. We had one or two opportunities compared to their 15 or 20 but we go away believing we can compete in this league. If we work as hard as we did today we've got a chance."

A lot is expected of Liverpool this season with Robbie Keane's arrival from Tottenham Hotspur for 20.0 million expected to add even more potency to their attack.

But they only scored after Keane went off, Torres taking his chance superbly by scoring with a low shot from 20 metres.

"We were on top in the second half and controlled the game. We had chances and Torres took his. He's a key player who can change games," Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez told Setanta Sports.

Sunderland manager Roy Keane added: "I was disappointed with the result but very pleased with the performance. I was pleased with all the new players but we just did not do enough to get over the finishing line with a draw."


Bolton start the season top of the table after scoring the biggest win of the day over Stoke at the Reebok Stadium with all three goals coming before halftime.

Gretar Steinsson scored with a long-range effort, Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander, Bolton's record signing making his debut, added the others. Ricardo Fuller scored in the last minute for Stoke.

Promoted Hull marked their first match in the top division in their 104-year history with a 2-1 win over Fulham. Goals by Geovanni and substitute Caleb Folan gave them the points after Seol Ki-Hyeon headed Fulham in front after eight minutes.

"We took the game to Fulham, we did not sit back," Hull manager Phil Brown told Sky Sports.

"There is a lot of excitement in the city that we are here for the first time and we've got something to build on."


David Wheater and former Spurs striker Mido, a late substitute, scored as Middlesbrough beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at the Riverside Stadium after Wheater had what looked like a valid goal wrongly disallowed in the first half.

Spurs scored when Boro defender Robert Huth conceded an own goal in stoppage time.

Dean Ashton scored twice in the opening 10 minutes for West Ham United to establish a 2-0 lead over Wigan Athletic at Upton Park. Amr Zaki scored for Wigan early in the second half but West Ham held on for a 2-1 win.

Blackburn Rovers won an astonishing match 3-2 at Everton with the teams trading the lead before Andre Ooijer scored a last-minute winner to give manager Paul Ince a victory in his first Premier League match in charge of the visitors.

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