Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughNot the glorious return we wanted, but the return we needed... - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Not the glorious return we wanted, but the return we needed... - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Not the glorious return we wanted, but the return we needed…

Manchester United earn all three points after going down to a dodgy goal. Joey Barton and Alex Song find themselves reigniting an old flame. Arsenal still look wasteful in the final third. And Fernando Torres still looks way off that £50 mark despite his best efforts this weekend.

Yes, the Barclays Premier League kicked off once more, and boy did we miss it.

But in our eagerness and anticipation for the season to begin, perhaps we expected a bit too much of the opening weekend. After all, last year we saw newcomers Blackpool look right at home in the premier league, taking it by storm, and it’s common for them to be slow out of the blocks but Manchester United looked like a different team altogether.

So when the whistle blew at 3 o’ clock Saturday afternoon, what did we get this year?

Well the truth is, nothing out of the ordinary, except maybe one exception, and we’ll get to that, but first let’s look at the talking points from this weekend.

Owen Coyle was praised at length last season (and rightly so) for his rejuvenated, attacking and resolute Bolton Wanderers, taking them from year in year out relegation fodder that they’d grown accustomed too, no thanks to managers like Gary Megson, into mid table contenders.

 They found themselves up against new boys QPR, who were making their first appearance in the premier league in 14 years.

Football is good at throwing up some sporting romance, so surely an upset on the cards?

No. Bolton didn’t falter under the fanfare and came out comfortable winners in the end, 4-0. Bolton look as comfortable as ever as a Premier League team, while QPR’s premier league future remains (rather expectedly) uncertain.

Manchester United, the defending champions entered the new season as a new team. Fergie has spent wisely this summer, looking at not just the future of United, but also the here and now. Jones and Young are established in the premier league, and will play a huge part this year. Especially now that Ferdinand faces a lengthy period on the sidelines!

They played with a freshness and zest about them not seen at all last season, with Young, Rooney and Cleverly in particular looking sharp. If only De Gea could come out of the game with the same amount of confidence. His second gaff in as many weeks looked to threaten United’s impressive start to the game, but eventually they came out winners after a forced own goal late on.

 It’s interesting how a new look United, found themselves grafting their way to victory when needed, like the many United teams of old.

Tony Pulis and Stoke City are a force to be reckoned with these days. Having battled their way to F.A cup final, and now contenders in Europe, Stoke are truly a well established team. Chelsea were the visitors to the Britannia, and all eyes were on Andre Villas Boas, the latest in the manager merry go round. Stoke is always a difficult away game for any team, and Chelsea battled well, Torres looked a new man, more importantly he looked happy with the ball at his feet, despite the frustrating afternoon Chelsea had at the hands of Stoke, the game ending 0-0.

 A result that isn’t exactly a dream start, but a decent start none the less.

Then there was the most talked about moment this weekend, something of a statement as to how average this new campaign has started out, Arsenal vs Newcastle, or Joey Barton vs the world. Barton has always been a character, both on and off the field. Last season though, he was a symbol of inspiration and graft for Newcastle, with a few customary scuffles thrown in for good measure. His twitter antics recently have placed him under the spotlight, so when Song misplaced a few studs on his calf, fans waited patiently for him to react.

And he did.

Arsenal left the field with 10 men, and a point for their troubles, troubles that seem to be rising already for Arsene Wenger ahead of a long season.

Liverpool’s weekend can be summed up in two halves of a sentence. The first half, the best they;ve been in years, the second half, nonexistent, but there is still time for them to prove their worth once more.

And finally, Manchester City and their attack on the top four.

After finishing impressively last year, securing champions league football and an FA cup final victory, this year everyone expects a lot from Mancini and co. A comfortable 4-0 win over Swansea City, with Aguero almost proving his worth in a single half hour period, and David Silva still shining from midfield amongst others, Manchester City are surely contenders for the title this year.

The premier league didn’t exactly kick off the way we wanted it to, but more so in a way we expected.

There’s a long way to go just yet and you’ve not exactly set tongues wagging just yet, but we’re glad you’re back.

Now, let me stick a timer on Match of the Day.

Dale Benton





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