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Villa stun Arsenal, wins for Man United and Liverpool

ESPN staff
August 17, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Aston Villa caused plenty of problems for Arsenal © Getty Images
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Arsenal suffered a defeat on the opening day of the new Premier League season after Aston Villa came from behind to win at The Emirates, while Manchester United, Liverpool, Fulham, West Ham and Southampton all kicked off their campaigns with victories.

Arsenal gave under-pressure manager Arsene Wenger a good start when Olivier Giroud gave them the lead in the sixth minute, but thereafter little went right as they went down 3-1 to Aston Villa. The visitors were level within 16 minutes when Christian Benteke headed in a rebound from his saved penalty by Wojciech Szczesny, who had brought down Gabriel Agbonlahor.

On the hour Villa took the lead when Laurent Koscielny fouled Agbonlahor and Benteke slotted home the resulting penalty. Arsenal's problems grew when Koscielny was dismissed for a second yellow card six minutes later and as they pressed for the equaliser debutant Antonio Luna broke and scored Villa's third five minutes from the end. By the time the full-time whistle went The Emirates was three-quarters empty, but those remaining booed the team off.

Robin van Persie scored twice for Manchester United in a thumping victory © Getty Images
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Robin van Persie scored twice for Manchester United as the reigning champions cruised to a 4-1 victory over Swansea in David Moyes' first league game in charge.

Last season's Premier League top scorer acrobatically gave United the lead with a volley, and United doubled their tally two minutes later thanks to Danny Welbeck.

With Swansea failing to make an impact, Van Persie notched his second of the game in fine style, turning a couple of defenders before rifling in a left-footed finish high into the roof of Michel Vorm's net. Wilfried Bony came off the bench to score a consolation for Swansea near the end, but Welbeck grabbed a fourth for United with a delicate chip in injury-time.

Liverpool started with a 1-0 victory over Stoke at Anfield, with new goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saving a late penalty to deny the visitors a point. Daniel Sturridge scored the only goal of the game in the 37th-minute after drilling in a 22-yard effort beyond Asmir Begovic. Two minutes from time Stoke were awarded a penalty after Daniel Agger handled in the box only for Mignolet to cap his debut by saving Jon Walters spot kick.

Joe Cole and Kevin Nolan gave West Ham a 2-0 win over last season's Championship-winners Cardiff. Matt Jarvis was the provider after 13 minutes for the first goal as his low cross enabled Cole to spin and fire his shot. Nolan then doubled the lead 14 minutes from the end when he blasted in his first-time shot beyond David Marshall.

Rickie Lambert, who scored on his England debut in midweek, converted a 91st-minute penalty, awarded when Youssouf Mulumbu brought down Luke Shaw, to give Southampton a 1-0 win over West Brom in a scrappy encounter with few good chances created by either side.

A close range header from Pajtim Kasami gave Fulham a 1-0 win at Sunderland. The home side controlled the game and created most of the chances, and could have stolen a point in injury time but Ji Dong-Won headed Adam Johnson's cross wide.

Norwich and Everton played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Carrow Road. Norwich led through Steven Whittaker, but two goals in the space of four second-half minutes saw Everton turn the game around. Ricky van Wolfswinkel though rescued a point for Norwich to net on his debut.

Joe Cole was on hand to put West Ham ahead in their win against Cardiff © Getty Images
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