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Premiership Round-up

Danny Moran kicks off the North West season's greetings with the first Premiership round-up

Published on August 17th 2009.

Premiership Round-up

A new Premiership season and it's all change in the top league. Ronaldo is gone, Burnley are back in the top division after 33 years and Manchester City have bought themselves a new team. Is it going to work out for the Sky Blues this time?

Spare a thought for Burnley for whom Owen Coyle’s God-like talents and Robbie Blake’s lucky underpants will undoubtedly be stretched to the limits this season in the attempt to remain in the top drawer.

Certainly Emanuel Adebayor made an instant impact on Manchester City, powering in a low shot from the edge of the area in three minutes, as the world’s richest club toiled to a 2-0 victory over a Blackburn side who, in the familiar words of Big Sam Allardyce, were “hard done by”. Blackburn fans may or may not be cheered by the rumours that Benjani may soon be offloaded to them, assuming the Zimbabwean striker doesn’t fall asleep at the airport on transfer deadline day, as he did the last time.

Mark Hughes, meanwhile, attempted to soothe tensions with Everton manager David Moyes – not an easy thing to do right now, one imagines - with an empathic word on the Joleon Lescott situation

“Any manager is going to be aggrieved when a big club goes in for one of his players,” he said of Moyes, whose team finished five places ahead of his own last term. Doubtless Moyes was buoyed when Everton managed to restrict Arsenal to just the six goals at Goodison after their own fans booed Lescott from the kick-off. Never mind, the Toffees have been linked with a triumvirate of unpronounceable foreign talent, according to the Daily Mail. Giant Ghanaian centre back Isaac Vorsah (currently at 1899 Hoffenheim), Russian right winger Vladimir Bystrov (Spartak Moscow) and Argentinian Ever Banega (Valencia) could all be running out to the Z-cars theme tune, if the Daily Mail is to be believed, once the Lescott bunk is done.

Another team booed by its own fans within half an hour of their season beginning was Bolton Wanderers, who lost 1-0 at home to Sunderland. Having signed three defenders in the close season they shipped a fifth minute header when Darren Bent stole in between them and thereafter failed to make any impression on the game. At least they can afford the new talent.

Spare a thought for Burnley for whom Owen Coyle’s God-like talents and Robbie Blake’s lucky underpants will undoubtedly be stretched to the limits this season in the attempt to remain in the top drawer. Blake, in particular, seems a striker who epitomises his club’s dilemmas: classy in the Championship, a bit crummy in the Premiership. Blake was in the thick of the chances against Stoke on Saturday but failed to put one away and Burnley were punished 2-0 by stronger Stoke team.

It’s all change at Wigan too, where the JJB Stadium is now the DW stadium, Dave Whelan having sold his sportswear business. New manager Roberto Martinez saw Hugo Rodallega blasted over Brad Friedel before Jason Koumas sidefooted through the keeper's legs.Talk at the JJB – sorry, DW - concerns Lee Cattermole’s close season exit alongside Steve Bruce to Sunderland, the word being that the combative midfielder was kept on for a year in order to hike up his price. Will Paul Scharner be next out of the door though? “I have decided to play in midfield,” the central defender explained, after a reported row with Martinez. “Because that’s where I play for Austria.”

Sunday saw red devil debuts for Antonio Valencia and Michael Owen in Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat of Birmingham, as Sir Alex Ferguson tried to simplify United’s approach in the aftermath of that Portuguese geezer leaving. So as widely predicted Rooney played in the centre in a conventional 4-4-2, just behind Berbatov, with Michael Owen coming off the bench with fifteen minutes to go. Of the new boys, Valencia is an intriguing commodity: a kind of no-nonsense winger with the Mcmanamanamanian ability to beat a man and not squander the ball as long as it's on his right foot. Sir Alex might have to widen the Old Trafford pitch as the season progresses and full backs start pushing him further and further into the stands.

Meanwhile Liverpool - or more to the point Rafa Benitez – desperately in search of that elusive first Premiership trophy (and hellbent on preventing Man Utd from overtaking them in the all time silverware table) opted to open this year’s proceedings with some ‘mind games’ directed at Sir Alex Ferguson. “Sir Alex,” opined the goateed one, is worried about Manchester City. Liverpool duly slumped to a dispiriting 2-1 reverse at White Hart Lane. No change there then, at least.

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