Queens Park Rangers’ return to the top flight of English soccer was spoiled by a 4-0 loss to Bolton, while fellow promoted side Norwich tied 1-1 at Wigan.
In other games on the opening day of the Premier League season, Wolverhampton won 2-1 at Blackburn and Sunderland came from behind to tie Liverpool 1-1. The Fulham-Aston Vila and Newcastle-Arsenal games finished scoreless, while Tottenham’s home match with Everton was postponed following this week’s riots in London.
QPR won the second-tier Championship last season to earn promotion back to the Premier League for the first time since 1996. Bolton went ahead in first-half stoppage time as Gary Cahill fired a shot past goalkeeper Paddy Kenny before doubling its lead 12 minutes into the second half on an own goal from QPR’s Danny Gabbidon. Ivan Klasnic made it 3-0 in the 70th minute and Fabrice Muamba closed the scoring nine minutes later.
Bolton had only two away victories last season and finished the campaign winless in its final 12 games away.
Norwich fared better than QPR did in its first top-flight match in six years by coming back at Wigan. The Canaries earned promotion by finishing second to QPR in the Championship.
Ben Watson’s penalty kick in the 12th minute gave Wigan the lead. Wes Hoolahan then tied it for Norwich just before halftime when he put in a shot after goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi couldn’t hold onto Steve Morrison’s cross.
Stephen Ward’s goal two minutes after halftime lifted Wolverhampton to the win at Blackburn. Mauro Formica put Rovers in front in the 20th minute before Steven Fletcher tied it for Wolves just two minutes later.
Sebastian Larsson’s goal in the second half earned Sunderland the away draw. Liverpool’s Luis Suarez sent a penalty kick over the goal in the seventh minute, but made amends by heading in Charlie Adam’s cross five minutes later.
New managers Martin Jol of Fulham and Alex McLeish of Aston Villa settled for a tie in their first games in charge. Fulham’s Bobby Zamora had the best chance to score but his point-blank second-half shot was stopped by Villa goalkeeper Shay Given.
Arsenal played the final 14 minutes at Newcastle with 10 men after Gervinho received red card in his debut for striking Joey Barton in the face during a confrontation. Arsenal was also without midfielders Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, who have both been linked with a move away from the north London club.
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