While Newcastle United FC were the surprise side among a trio of 6-0 victors in England, there was a touch of the familiar elsewhere, with FC Bayern München leaving it late to grab the points in their Bundesliga opener and France's big names finally clinching wins. UEFA.com looks back over the weekend's action.
It was Newcastle's turn to shine on Sunday after being shown the way by more recognised big-hitters 24 hours earlier. Champions Chelsea FC recorded their second consecutive 6-0 win away at Wigan Athletic FC and Theo Walcott struck a hat-trick as Arsenal FC downed ten-man Blackpool FC by the same margin, but despite that glut of goals few could have anticipated Chris Hughton's promoted side making similarly light work of Aston Villa FC. "It was a great game," said Andy Carroll, who struck three times. "Getting a hat-trick in the first game of the season at home was fantastic."
Less impressed with the day's events was Manchester United FC manager Sir Alex Ferguson after Nani missed a penalty and Brede Hangeland headed an 89th-minute equaliser to earn Fulham FC a 2-2 draw in London. "To miss a penalty kick to make it 3-1, you're throwing two points away there, I'm afraid," he said.
The first round of action in the new Bundesliga season had a recognisable feel to it as titleholders Bayern snatched a characteristically late 2-1 triumph against VfL Wolfsburg thanks to an added-time winner from Bastian Schweinsteiger. The biggest victory belonged to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, however, as they downed UEFA Champions League play-off hopefuls SV Werder Bremen 4-1, while Ruud van Nistelrooy scored twice in Hamburger SV's 2-1 defeat of FC Schalke 04 and their new signing Raúl González.
Another high-profile player under the microscope was Michael Ballack, and his Bayer 04 Leverkusen kicked off with a 2-0 success at BV Borussia Dortmund. "What I'm still lacking is power, but I'm happy I played the full game," said the veteran midfielder.
Ligue 1's leading lights finally found their feet at the third time of asking, with FC Girondins de Bordeaux grabbing a 2-1 win at Paris Saint-Germain FC to round off a successful weekend for the division's big names. Defending champions Olympqiue de Marseille began their own revolt by seeing off FC Lorient 2-0 to end a run of two straight losses on Saturday and Olympique Lyonnais also took maximum points by edging Stade Brestois 29 1-0, and that left Bordeaux to triumph in the capital via Michaël Ciani's headed winner deep into stoppage time.
Rafael Benítez has already collected his first silverware as FC Internazionale Milano coach after the reigning UEFA Champions League winners battled back from a goal down to beat AS Roma 3-1 in the Italian Super Cup. Goran Pandev levelled for the Nerazzurri after John Arne Riise had initially put Roma in front and Samuel Eto'o then did the rest, weighing in with two goals in the final 19 minutes. "It was the first competitive game of the season so it's normal not to have fresh legs right from the start, but I'm very happy with the reaction of the team," said Benítez.
Not for the first time, Lionel Messi was the hero for FC Barcelona as the Catalan titans recovered from their 3-1 loss to Sevilla FC in the opening leg of the Spanish Super Cup to prevail 5-3 on aggregate. Messi found the net three times in a 4-0 victory at the Camp Nou to earn Barça the prize for the ninth time in their history, Konko notching the other goal.
Rest of Europe
SL Benfica lost for the second time in two weeks in Portugal after going down 2-1 at CD Nacional on Saturday. The Liga champions have yet to post a single point this term and already find themselves six behind rivals FC Porto, who excelled in a 3-0 handling of SC Beira-Mar. Benfica's woes will nonetheless be familiar to Galatasaray AŞ as the Istanbul outfit have also suffered two straight reverses, this time succumbing 2-0 at home to 2009/10 Turkish Super League rulers and current leaders Bursaspor.
Like Bursaspor, Glasgow giants Celtic FC and Rangers FC are up and running as well, although they find themselves joined on six points by Aberdeen FC, who prevailed 1-0 at Saint Johnstone FC. Boasting nine points from three outings, lastly, are PSV Eindhoven, who overcame AZ Alkmaar 3-1.
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