Santi Cazorla sets pulses racing at Arsenal despite stalemate

Aug 20, 2012

Premier League talking points from Arsenal's new love to Chelsea's Hazard warning

ARSENAL'S new-look forward line may have fired blanks against Sunderland at the Emirates on Saturday but there was some cause for optimism among the fans. Santi Cazorla impressed and, noted The Times, he "seems completely unfazed by the Barclays Premier League’s reputation as a graveyard for the dextrous and the diminutive". The fans like him too: "Arsenal may be on the rebound from Robin van Persie, but this felt like love at first sight," says the paper. And despite Olivier Giroud's dire late miss there are "already signs of a fruitful relationship" between the two players.

Eden Hazard took just a few minutes to make his mark on the Premier League on Saturday, setting up Branislav Ivanovic for Chelsea's opener and then winning a penalty to make it 2-0 after just seven minutes. The Blues looked impressive against Roberto Martinez's side and there were signs that Roberto do Matteo could deliver the 'sexy football' that Roman Abramovich craves. The Guardian was impressed by Chelsea's movement and versatility. "Hazard, Mata and new signing Marko Marin can all play on the left, the right or through the middle," it noted. "The substitute Oscar can play on the right or in a central role, while rumoured target Victor Moses, an opponent in this match, offers similar flexibility."

If Chelsea got off to a fine start, the opposite was true of Liverpool, who lost 3-0 to West Brom. New Reds manager Brendan Rodgers would not have been impressed. "For those of a Liverpool persuasion expecting instant rewards from a young manager assuming his biggest task, this was not so much a sharp wake-up call as a kick out of bed and a shove into a cold shower," said Phil McNulty of the BBC. The Daily Telegraph concurred: "Gerrard was alarmingly anonymous, Stewart Downing played poorly and despite Luis Suarez’s menacing first-half display, he missed far too many chances".

The warning signs are already flashing at QPR after they were embarrassed 5-0 at home on the opening day by Swansea. Mark Hughes has brought in a host of new players, including three Premier League winners in Fabio da Silva, Park Ji-Sung and Jose Bosingwa, and five made their debuts on Saturday. "It is too early to be speaking of QPR as relegation candidates, but... this remains a side lacking in top-level nous and craft," said The Guardian.

Manchester City picked up this season where they ended the last, coming from behind against one of the Premier League's smaller clubs. Southampton almost produced the shock of the opening weekend as they took the lead with 22 minutes remaining. However Edin Dzeko and Samir Nasri scored in the closing stages to secure a win for the champions. "It ended in a breathless victory for Roberto Mancini’s team and the Italian will only hope that the defence of the title won with the final kick of last season will be rather more serene from this point on," said the Daily Mail.

Robin van Persie has dominated the headlines in the build-up to Manchester United's tricky opener against Everton this evening, but he will only get a place on the bench as Alex Ferguson worries more about his defence than his attacking options. Rio Ferdinand, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling are all injured, which means that Nemanja Vidic, who has not played a competitive game for eight months, may be partnered by Michael Carrick in central defence. And it won't be easy for United. "Tonight could be one of their toughest tests," claimed The Times. "David Moyes has been characteristically shrewd in the transfer market this summer and will fancy a crack at United."

Sign up for our daily newsletter