Fulham stun Norwich, Rogers gets a taste of pressure at the top

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Updated: August 19, 2012

Fulham’s Croatian Mladen Petric, another signing who went largely under the radar when drafted in from coach Martin Jol’s former side Hamburg, enjoyed a dream debut with a brace in Fulham’s 5-0 home victory over Norwich City. Duff, Sidwell and Kacaniklic finishing the rout in an impressive beginning for the London team to their Premiership campaign.

New Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, having dared to replace sacked fan hero Kenny Dalglish, could barely have imagined a worse opening day to the Premier League season after a 3-0 loss at West Bromwich Albio. This was a rude awakening for a man that finds himself in the hot seat of a club whose fans will demand an immediate impact from the Northern Irishman.

A Zoltan Gera cracker just before the break, Peter Odemwingie’s 64th minute penalty, and Romelu Lukaku’s header sealed a famous opening-day win for new Albion manager Steve Clarke, Dalglish’s assistant at Liverpool last term.

His former team Swansea couldnt have begun better as they thrashed QPR 5-0 away from home, a brace for both Michu, Dyer with the talented Sinclair finishing off the comfortable win.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had almost as bad a day as Rodgers, watching his toothless side held 0-0 at home by Sunderland in the week last season’s top scorer Robin van Persie joined rivals Manchester United.

New strikers Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud had decent chances but never came especially close, as Arsenal supporters, fed up by high-profile departures and no trophies in recent seasons, were left fretting over another difficult campaign.

News at fulltime of midfielder Alex Song heading to Barcelona hardly improved the mood in north London.

Rivals Tottenham Hotspur were also frustrated in a 2-1 defeat at Newcastle United, where ex-Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas’s new charges hit the woodwork twice before Newcastle’s Demba Ba netted to end a personal 14-game goal drought.

Jermain Defoe grabbed Spurs’ equaliser, following up his own header on 76 minutes, but Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa soon converted a penalty after the Frenchman was brought down.

West Ham United’s top-flight return was marked by a 1-0 win over Aston Villa and their new boss Paul Lambert, although Kevin Nolan’s 40th minute goal had a hint of offside.

Fellow new boys Reading drew 1-1 at home to Stoke City after Adam Le Fondre’s late spot kick for the hosts partly spared the blushes of keeper Adam Federici, who was at fault for Michael Kightly’s opener.

Champions Manchester City host promoted Southampton on Sunday, when Chelsea go to Wigan Athletic. Manchester United and new signing Van Persie travel to Everton on Monday.