Breaking down EPL's opening day

August, 13, 2011

The English Premier League opened up its 20th season Saturday with six matches. In the most high-profile match of Saturday's program, Arsenal and Newcastle played a scoreless draw, which featured another red card for Arsenal. Gervinho was sent off in his Arsenal debut, the second straight opening-day match that Arsenal have had player sent in his EPL debut. It was also Arsenal's first scoreless draw in a season opener since 1975.

Here are some other statistical nuggets from Saturday's matches:

• Liverpool's Luis Suarez scored the first goal of the EPL season with his 12th-minute tally. It was the third goal in the past five EPL matches for Suarez, who helped Uruguay win the Copa America earlier this summer. Suarez is the second South American-born player to score the opening EPL goal of the season. Colombia's Faustino Asprilla scored in the second minute of Newcastle's 2-1 over Sheffield Wednesday to open the 1997-98 season.

• American Clint Dempsey started and played the full 90 minutes Fulham in its opening-day scoreless home draw against Aston Villa. It was not a statistically memorable day for Dempsey, with a pair of exemptions: Twice Dempsey drew fouls that led to yellow cards for Villa's Emile Heskey (57th minute) and Richard Dunne (84th).

• Aston Villa's Darren Bent started this season just as he finished the last one. Less than two minutes into the 2011-12 season, Bent was caught offside. He finished the match with four offside calls whistled against him after he led the EPL with 67 offside calls against him last season (19 more than any other player). No other player had more than two Saturday.

• Queens Park Rangers were defeated 4-0 by Bolton, its first EPL match since 1996. In the Championship last season, QPR was unbeaten in its first 19 matches (11-0-8) and only lost six times in league play. Only EPL champion Manchester United (four) had fewer losses across all four divisions in England.

• Wolves defeated Blackburn Rovers 2-1, which cemented a trend in Wolves' EPL history. Of the 28 wins for Wolves in the EPL, 22 have been by one-goal margins.



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