Draws for Liverpool and Arsenal in Premiership opening day

السبت، 19 أغسطس 2006 - 19:51

كتب : Amro Hassan

Henry wasn't at his best against Villa

Arsenal kicked off their new Premiership campaign with a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Villa skipper Olof Mellberg opened the score line in the 53rd minute while Brazilian midfielder Gilberto equalized for the Gunners six minutes from time.

In their first game at the new stadium, Arsenal players looked desperately missing Highbury, and they seemed helpless against a strong and organized Villa defense.

Just before the end of the first half, Arsenal thought they broke the deadlock after Ivorian defender Kolo Toure headed a free kick past Thomas Sorensen but the goal was ruled out for offside.

In the second half and totally against the run of play, a Villa left sided corner was met by Mellberg, who rose above everybody including Jens Lehman to head the ball in the empty net scoring the first goal at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal threw everybody up front in their attempts to score, but the out of form Thierry Henry and Frederick Ljungberg failed to storm past the Villa defense, who were playing their first game under Martin O'Neill.

It wasn’t till the 86th minute that Arsenal equalized after substitute Theo Walcott played a dangerous cross in the Villa box, and a slight miss-header from Robin Van Persie let the ball into Gilberto's path and the Brazilian fired a great volley in the top corner of Sorensen's net.

Earlier on Saturday, FA Cup holders Liverpool could only secure a similar 1-1 draw against Premiership newcomers Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

Robbie Fowler's second half controversial penalty cancelled out Sheffield United's first half lead to mark a slow start for the Reds.

Elsewhere, Newcastle got off to a winning start with a 2-1 home win over Wigan Athletic with goals from Scott Parker and Shola Ameobi after Lee McCulloch equalized for Wigan.

A debut goal from Andy Johnson and a penalty kick from Mikel Arteta handed Everton a 2-1 win over newly promoted Watford at Goodison Park.

Another newly promoted side Reading made a great comeback to beat Middlesbrough 3-2 at the Madejski.

Stuart Downing and Ayiegbeni Yakubu fired Middlesbrough ahead only after 20 minutes, before Dave Kitson brought the home side back into the game with a close range finish with Strikes from Steve Sidwell and substitute Leroy Lita completing Reading's comeback.

West Ham beat Charlton Athletic 3-1 at Upton Park with a brace from Bobby Zamora and a debut goal from Carlton Cole canceling out Charlton's first half lead through a Darren Bent penalty.

Portsmouth thrashed Blackbrun Rovers 3-0 with Rovers finishing the game with nine men after Lucas Neill and Andy Todd were red carded.

Nwanku Kanu who was playing his first game for Portsmouth scored a brace and a goal from Svetoslav Todorov gave Pompey the big win.

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