Good morning, folks; it was a busy weekend as the 2011-12 Premier League season kicked off, MLS shifted into second gear in its march to the playoffs, and the BP Fantasy League sputtered out of the gate, thanks to a buggy, inefficient hosting site—namely, the official website of the Barclays Premier League, which failed us in several ways.
But we are confident (hopeful?) that the tech issues will be resolved and players in the Backpost league will be able to view such information as who they’re playing against in a given week, their point totals (in a timely fashion), the league standings (which are supposed to go up after today’s game, the last one of Gameweek 1) and the site itself (which was entirely inaccessible at times).
Before we get to the Premier League games, click here to read about the weekend’s MLS action, and to see Adam Moffat’s astounding 40-yard rocket of a goal in Houston’s 2-1 win over Portland.
Our Man at the Valley and MGlo will check in this week with updated information, but for now, a couple of quick rules-related things before we talk Week 1 results:
1. Once you make a transfer and confirm it, that transfer is locked in for the duration of the week.
2. The same goes for your Captain and Vice Captain.
In other words, if you have two Man City players going today against promotion side Swansea City, and those Man City players were not already your Captain and Vice Captain, you can not now go make them such to take advantage of today’s inevitable rout.
Not that we tried that or anything….
All right, the games:
• QPR’s introduction to the Premier League went about as well as the time Ben Stiller went to use the bathroom at Cameron Diaz’s house in There’s Something About Mary. They lost midfielder Kieron Dyer to a suspected broken foot in the first five minutes, got thumped 4-0 by Bolton, and then had defender Clint Hill sent off in stoppage time for trying to head butt Martin Petrov. Hill will miss the next three games.
They did get some good news after the game, though, as Dyer’s x-rays showed no fracture. He should be back in time for next week’s visit to Goodison Park to take on Everton and U.S. keeper Tim Howard.
• Liverpool came out flying against Sunderland as Luis Suarez (you had him in your team, right?) drew a penalty in the first five minutes of the game, missed it, but then quickly made amends by scoring just seven minutes later.
Andy Carroll had a goal called back and Stewart Downing hit the crossbar—all in the first 30 minutes—and it looked like the Black Cats were going to get blown off the field. But they gradually got their bearings and disrupted Liverpool’s rhythm before equalizing in the 57th minute on an excellent strike from Sebastian Larsson. They held off Liverpool’s late efforts and left Anfield with a 1-1 draw.
• Chelsea’s new 33-year-old manager Andre Villas-Boas experienced a rocky debut as his team could only muster a 0-0 draw at scrappy Stoke City. There were four penalty claims in the game—three for Chelsea, one for Stoke—but all were waved off.
• Despite a shaky debut from Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea and injuries to both Nemanja Vidic (calf) and Rio Ferdinand (hamstring), Manchester United took all three points on the road against West Brom. Wayne Rooney scored in the 13th minute and United forced an own goal from WBA defender Steven Reid in the 81st to go back in front after de Gea had misplayed Shane Long‘s shot from the corner of the box to make it 1-1 in the 37th minute.
• There were two Americans in action on opening weekend as U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey started and went the full 90 in Fulham’s 0-0 draw with Aston Villa, and defender Zak Whitbread started and played 71 minutes in Norwich City’s Premier League debut, a 1-1 draw at Wigan.
Bolton’s U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden is recovering from injury, and Brad Friedel and Tottenham had their game with Tim Howard and Everton postponed due to the rioting in London.
• Finally, Newcastle hosted Arsenal and played the Gunners to a scoreless draw despite being up a man for the final 14 minutes after Arsenal’s new Ivorian striker Gervinho was sent off for slapping Magpies midfielder Joey Barton (who, let’s be honest, deserved it).