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Six things we learned about the Premier League after opening weekend
The 22nd Premier League season got off to a start at the weekend, and sports writer Richard Mason analyses the main talking points from the opening fixtures
DAVID MOYES ISN'T A BAD MANAGER
Manchester United won the Premier League with a margin of 12 points last season, but were installed as third favourites to retain the title this summer. The departure of Sir Alex Ferguson and the arrival of David Moyes was the contributing factor for this, but Moyes showed there was life after Sir Alex as his new side tore Swansea City apart 4-1 at the Liberty Stadium.
Such a rout, including two assists from supposedly wantaway striker Wayne Rooney, will do plenty to silence Moyes' critics, while reminding fans that Sir Alex, who personally handpicked Moyes to succeed him, wanted to leave the club in the best possible hands.
DEBUTANTS ENJOY OPENING DAY
With all 20 clubs having their pockets filled by the massive TV rights deal negotiated by the Premier League, there has been some serious spending this summer. So it is no surprise that plenty of the top-flight's new boys got off the mark.
Norwich's Ricky van Wolfswinkel swapped Lisbon for Norfolk and opened his account with a fine headed equaliser against Everton, while Wilfried Bony scored Swansea's one goal in their 4-1 defeat to United. Roberto Soldado slotted home from the penalty spot for Tottenham against Crystal Palace, while Simon Mignolet, a £12m capture from Sunderland, saved a penalty against Stoke City to help Liverpool to an opening-day victory over the Potters.
It's not going to stop there, as Southampton have spent £35m on Pablo Osvaldo, Victor Wanyama, and Dejan Lovren, with plenty more movement expected before the transfer window closes next month. So much for the recession, eh?
ARSENAL NEED TO SPEND MONEY TO FINISH IN TOP FOUR
Arsene Wenger, armed with £100m to spend in the summer, has missed out on two out of three of his main transfer targets and is unlikely to get the third. Gonzalo Higuain moved from Real Madrid to Napoli and Luiz Gustavo from Bayern Munich to Wolfsburg. And with a £40,000,001 bid likely to remain on the table for Luis Suarez, time is running out for Wenger before the transfer window closes on September 2.
On the weekend's evidence, it is Gustavo who Arsenal could have done with the most as Aston Villa steamrollered their way through the Gunners at the Emirates to record a 3-1 victory. An uncompromising central midfielder who specialises in doing the 'dirty work' on the pitch, Arsenal need to splash the cash on a midfield enforcer or risk losing out on Champions League football next season.
REFEREES ARE IN FOR A LONG SEASON
The season is hours old, and already the managers have started complaining about the much-maligned referee. Ian Holloway, not one to shirk an interview, got the ball rolling in earnest with a remarkable tirade against Mark Clattenburg, who was in the middle as Holloway's Crystal Palace lost 1-0 at home to Tottenham Hotspur.
"I've got to learn what a foul is because I thought Nacer Chadli deliberately bodychecked Stephen Dobbie, smashed him down and ran off with the ball," said Holloway.
"If the referee didn't see that, the assistant should have. You have to ask if he's good enough if he didn't see that. I don't see how he can miss it.
"It's going to be a long hard season for me with these people (referees). I had this with Blackpool.
"Certain clubs get fouls and others don't. Tottenham will feel that if they play Man United.
"I want a foul like anyone else would have got one. I've got a horrible taste in my mouth after that."
Holloway, who spent two seasons out of the Premier League with Blackpool, then Palace, will be expecting a stern rebuke from the FA after this outburst.
THIS REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE INSTANT
Paolo Di Canio has referred to his Sunderland summer overhaul as a revolution, but on Saturday's showing it is certainly a work in progress. With Valentin Roberge, Ondrej Celustka, Cabral, Emanuele Giaccherini and Jozy Altidore making their debuts on the pitch, a new identity, new scouts and a new director of football in the stands, Sunderland were expected to hit the ground running at home to Fulham.
However, the result was different. Despite an encouraging first half, Sunderland's performance dipped in the second half and the display was no better or worse than under previous managers. Di Canio wants another five players before the transfer window closes. Ellis Short might have other ideas about that. But one thing is certain that progress will not be judged after one game.
THE SPECIAL ONE RETURNS TO FORM
After a five-year hiatus from English football, Jose Mourinho returned to Chelsea and the Premier League, and with a routine 2-0 win over Hull City (Tigers) he showed nothing much has changed.
Much of his original success at Chelsea revolved around making Stamford Bridge a fortress – Mourinho did not lose a single home league game in his first spell between 2004-2007 – and on Sunday, that statistic showed no signs of changing.
Oscar opened the scoring for the Blues before one of Mourinho's trusted lieutenants Frank Lampard smashed a second before half-time.
This victory may have been over newly-promoted Hull, but Chelsea's knack of grinding out narrow victories under Mourinho without breaking sweat was a main component of their back to back title wins in 2005 and 2006.
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