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Swansea And Fulham Both Hit Five As EPL Season Begins

The Premier League kicked off its 2012-13 season with both Swansea and Fulham winning big, while it was a disappointing first game in charge for Brendan Rodgers of Liverpool.

Swansea City midfielder Michu scored a goal in each half on his Premier League debut as the Swans thumped Queens Park Rangers 5-0 at Loftus Road. The Spaniard scored this season’s first goal in the Premier League when his shot crept past goalkeeper Robert Green in the eighth minute before he doubled his tally after the break thanks to Wayne Routledge’s inch-perfect ball from the left which he fired into the net.

Nathan Dyer fired the third, again from a Routledge assist, before he beat the offside trap to score Swansea’s fourth, with Scott Sinclair’s strike rounding off new manager Michael Laudrup’s perfect start to the season.

Fulham also scored five as they thumped Norwich City 5-0 at Craven Cottage thanks to a dominant performance and a brace by Mladen Petric. Republic of Ireland international Damien Duff opened the scoring when he latched on to the end of John Arne Riise’s diagonal long ball from the left in the 25th minute before Petric headed the home side’s second with five minutes remaining in the first half.

The striker then added his second before Alex Kacaniklic’s goal and Steve Sidwell’s 87th-minute penalty wrapped up the win. Who needs Clint Dempsey??

The big upset of the day took place at the Hawthorns where Steve Clark got some revenge on his former employers as West Brom beat a ten-man Liverpool 3-0. It could have been a heavier defeat for Liverpool as Shane Long also missed a penalty. The Baggies took the lead late in the first half when Zoltan Gera drilled a shot past Pepe Reina after Reds striker Luis Suarez had missed two great chances to give Liverpool the advantage.

Liverpool defender Daniel Agger was shown a red card after he brought down Long in the area after the break but the striker was unable to convert from the spot. However, Long quickly atoned when he was tripped by Martin Skrtel to claim another penalty, with Peter Odemwingie firing into the bottom left corner, before substitute Romelu Lukaku sealed the win in the 78th minute with a close-range header.

Stoke City drew with Premier League new boys Reading 1-1 at the Madejski Stadium after they gave away a penalty and were reduced to ten men in the dying minutes. Michael Kightly fired Tony Pulis’ side into the lead from close range, with the ball slipping through goalkeeper Adam Federici’s fingertips, but the Royals salvaged a point when Adam Le Fondre equalised from the spot as Dean Whitehead was sent off for his second bookable offence.

Elsewhere, Kevin Nolan’s strike gave West Ham United a 1-0 win over Aston Villa in their opening game at Upton Park. Nolan scored from close range in the 40th minute from Ricardo Vaz Te’s assist to edge the Premier League new boys ahead before they had a penalty shout turned down after the break.

Arsenal dominated Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium but were unable to find the breakthrough as they drew 0-0.

In the late kick-off, Hatem Ben Arfa stroked home a late winner from the penalty spot as Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United rode their luck to get their new Premier League campaign off to a flying start with a 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

The Frenchman sent Brad Friedel the wrong way in the 80th minute having been hauled down by Rafael van der Vaart, restoring the Magpies’ slender advantage after Spurs had pulled back to level four minutes earlier.

A low-key encounter had sprung into life in the 55th minute when Demba Ba fired his first goal since February to put the home side ahead before Jermain Defoe prodded a 76th minute equaliser at the second attempt. Alan Pardew was also sent to the stands for a shove on the linesman.