Norwich City v Everton - Premier League

Premier League Roundup: Villa shock Arsenal, plus wins for Saints, West Ham and Fulham

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What a tremendous opening day of the Premier League so far.

Earlier this morning Liverpool beat Stoke City 1-0, following Simon Mignolet’s last-minute penalty save on his debut at Anfield. Brendan Rodgers’ men took a first half lead through Daniel Sturridge as they pressed for a second during the rest of the game. But Stoke almost stole a point… but Mignolet was the hero.

After the 7:45am ET kick off came the main event, as there were five games starting at 10am then Manchester United faced Swansea at 12:30pm ET.

We covered them all at ProSoccerTalk, so here are the recaps with plenty more reaction to come.

Arsenal 1 – Aston Villa 3

Arsenal had a disastrous start to the season, as they lost 3-1 at home to Aston Villa. The Gunners took an early lead through Olivier Giroud but then Christian Benteke scored an equalizer as he tapped in after his penalty kick had been saved. The Belgian international striker then scored from the penalty spot in the second half to put Villa 2-1 up and then Antonio Luna added a third goal. Arsenal’s bad start got even worse when defender Laurent Koscielny was sent off in the second half.

Norwich 2 – Everton 2

What a great game at Carrow Road as both sides shared the points. Norwich City took the lead through Steven Whittaker but Everton struck twice in quick succession to turn things around. Ross Barkley smashed home a beauty from outside the box, while Seamus Coleman scored a tap in to put the Toffees 2-1 up. Yet Norwich had the last laugh when new signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel scored a stunning header to seal a 2-2 draw. Marvelous stuff.

Sunderland 0 – Fulham 1

Paolo Di Canio’s Sunderland side suffered a defeat at home on the opening day of the season. Fulham made the long-trip from Craven Cottage count, as the Londoners grabbed all three points thanks to a Pajtim Kasami header. His second half strike was enough for the win but the Black Cats did try to level things but couldn’t break Fulham down.

Swansea City 1 – Manchester United 4

Two goals each from Danny Welbeck and Robin van Persie sealed an opening day win for Manchester United at Swansea. David Moyes’ men were in cruise control by half time as each striker hit a goal to calm their nerves. New Swansea striker Wilfried Bony pulled a goal back from the bench to make it 3-1. But United scored superb second half goals from RVP and Welbeck, to win at a canter.

West Ham 2 – Cardiff 0

The Hammers gave Cardiff City are rude awakening to life in the Premier League. Joe Cole scored early at Upton Park and West Ham controlled the match for large swathes. The Bluebirds did look solid but offered very little going forward as United added a second in the 75th minute when captain Kevin Nolan curled home a sublime effort.

West Bromwich Albion 0 – Southampton 1

What a tremendous week for Rickie Lambert. After scoring his first-goal for England on Wednesday on his debut and celebrating the birth of his third child, the Southampton striker scored a 90th minute winner to give Saints a deserved victory. West Brom struggled to get hold of the ball and Saints dominated the first half and much of the second. Although Artur Boruc came up with a great save late on.

Pellegrini says announcing departure was mistake; Won’t jump into job

Manchester City's manager Manuel Pellegrini, right, and Bayern Munich's manager Pep Guardiola during the Champions League group D soccer match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Clint Hughes)
AP Photo/Clint Hughes
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Former Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini thought it was the right thing to do; His club was reportedly looking for his successor, so why not let them do it in the open.

[ MORE: Barcelona could chase Mata ]

What followed Pellegrini’s announcement that he would leave at the end of season were three straight losses and, arguably, City’s chances at a Premier League title.

From Sky Sports:

“After Guardiola said he was coming to England it was my decision [to go public] because all the media was talking about Guardiola here, Guardiola in Arsenal, Guardiola in Manchester United,” he told The Guardian.

“It was not fair for all managers – when everyone knew he was coming here. If I ask if I would do that again… I have some doubts.”

Pellegrini said the announcement didn’t make it difficult for him, but for his players.

The Argentine also said he’ll wait for an interesting job to come calling, and that he could be done managing forever if such an opportunity doesn’t present itself. That said, we think he’ll find a job that’s to his liking given this comment:

“Of course, I would miss it. The challenge keeps me alive.”

Life is a good motivator.

Will upsets continue in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s third round?

SANDY, UT - OCTOBER 1: The U.S. Soccer Championship trophy sits on display before the game between DC United and Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium October 1, 2013 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images
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The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup hits the third round on Wednesday, with NASL teams entering the fray and at least one fourth-tier or lower side guaranteed to advance to face MLS competition.

The USASA had three teams win second round matches, and two will face each other on Wednesday. The L.A. Wolves knocked off the USL’s Orange County Blues, while L Maquina FC handed the NPSL’s Sacramento Gold an ouster. They will tangle for the right to a high-profile match-up with the L.A. Galaxy.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Gonzalez wins Liga MX with Pachuca ]

We’ll also see NASL vs. USL geographical rivalries when Carolina faces Charlotte and Rayo OKC meets Oklahoma City.

Wednesday’s third round matches
Chattanooga FC (NPSL) vs. Harrisburg City Islanders (USL)
Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) vs. Richmond Kickers (USL)
Jacksonville Armada (NASL) vs. Charleston Battery (USL)
New York Cosmos (NASL) vs. Jersey Express (PDL)
Carolina RailHawks (NASL) vs. Charlotte Independence (USL)
Miami FC (NASL) vs. Wilmington Hammerheads (USL)
Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) vs FC Cincinnati (USL)
Rochester Rhinos (USL) vs. Lansdowne Bhoys FC (USASA)
Indy Eleven (NASL) vs. Louisville City FC (USL)
Saint Louis FC (USL) vs. Minnesota United (NASL)
Rayo OKC (NASL) vs Oklahoma City Energy (USL)
Des Moines Menace (PD) vs. San Antonio FC (USL)
Arizona United (USL) vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL)
La Maquina (USASA) vs. L.A. Wolves (USASA)
Kitsap Pumas (PDL) vs. Sacramento Republic (USL)

Iranian woman “sneaks” into Persian League match dressed as a man

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An Iranian woman wanted to see her favorite team play badly, but knew well the unspoken rule: no females at the stadium.

The Independent has the story of a woman who dressed in layers and filmed herself in case trouble came from her attendance.

[ MORE: Police free kidnapped Mexico striker ]

Persepolis FC is the name of the club, and they play in the Persian Gulf Pro League.

From The Independent:

There is no official ban on women attending sports events in Iran, but they are often refused entry so it is rare for women to attend.

In a third video, the woman explains that she layered five T-shirts and five pairs of trousers to hide her figure and covered her face with face paint.

I recognize that this is the norm over there, but it’s still a striking story.

Report: Barcelona ready to swoop if Mourinho deems Mata surplus at Manchester United

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA - OCTOBER 01: Juan Mata (L) of Chelsea shakes hands with manager Jose Mourinho (R) after being substituted during the UEFA Champions League Group E Match between FC Steaua Bucuresti and Chelsea at the National Arena Stadium on October 1, 2013 in Bucharest, Romania.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images
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It’s a $40 million question for Manchester United: Will Juan Mata and Jose Mourinho work well together?

Their time at Chelsea was fractured when Mourinho deemed Mata surplus to requirement and shipped the Spaniard to Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Rashford signs new 4-year deal ]

Mata, 28, has been a consistent performer for United, but will his reunion with Mourinho be short-lived? It’s easy to imagine both as ready to move on and Barcelona could be an option if that happens.

Mundo Deportivo says Barcelona could make a bid of close to $40 million in order to help the midfield continue to tick. Mata was a key part of United’s possession-based approach under Louis Van Gaal, and as a player really does fit the bill of a Mourinho-minded mid.

We’re just hoping that if Mata moves, he doesn’t switch anywhere that would change his English language blog posts.