Wes Hoolahan the schemer as Norwich ease past Sunderland
Leicester City top the league after West Ham win while Swansea dominate Newcastle
Nathan Redmond scored Norwich City’s third goal as they picked up the first win of their return to top flight football away at Sunderland. Photograph: Getty
The Republic of Ireland international was the architect of a 3-1 victory at the Stadium of Light, his side’s first on Wearside since 1997 against the opposition which had presented the Canaries with their last Barclays Premier League victory.
First-half goals from defenders Russell Martin and Steven Whittaker and a third after the break from Nathan Redmond left the home fans among a crowd of 41,379 singing: “Are you watching, Ellis Short?”
The Black Cats are desperately short of the quality they need to avoid yet another relegation scrap.
It was Hoolahan’s invention — he played key roles in the second and third goals - which repeatedly tore the home side apart and helped to pave the way for Norwich’s first win of the new season despite substitute Duncan Watmore’s late consolation strike.
Advocaat shelved his retirement plans to accept the job of head coach after initially turning down chairman Short’s offer of an extended stay, and he could have been forgiven for regretting his decision by the time the break arrived.
Having seen his team capitulate horribly in the first-half at Leicester last weekend, he looked on as they shouldered arms once again as a lack of cutting edge going forward and an inability to defend once again cost them dearly.
Norwich, who had also emerged from their opening day fixture empty-handed, were far sharper and exploited their hosts’ frailty at the back in ruthless fashion, if initially with a touch of good fortune when keeper Costel Pantilimon could only push Robbie Brady’s 26th-minute shot against the shins of Martin and ultimately into the back of the net.
Whittaker added to Advocaat’s misery eight minutes before the break when he played a one-two with the excellent Hoolahan with full-back Patrick van Aanholt, who was at fault for the opening goal, once again marooned, and fired past the helpless Pantilimon.
Advocaat changed it at the break, sending on striker Danny Graham for midfielder Sebastian Larsson, and his side returned with greater purpose, Lens smashing a 47th-minute shot into the midriff of keeper John Ruddy, who had not previously had a save to make.
But the respite was short-lived and Redmond wrapped up the win with 33 minutes still to go when he exchanged passes with Hoolahan and slid a shot past the stranded Pantilimon.
Watmore produced an exciting late cameo, which included an 88th-minute goal on his Premier League debut, to give the home fans something to shout about, but it was all too little, too late.
West Ham United United 1 Leicester City 2
Claudio Ranieri’s perfect start to life as Leicester boss continued as his side outshone 10-man West Ham to win at Upton Park for the first time in 15 years.
Both sides started the new season with opening weekend victories but it was the Foxes who extended that run to top the early Barclays Premier League table on Saturday evening, as first-half goals from Shinji Okazaki and Riyad Mahrez were enough for a 2-1 win.
Slaven Bilic had seen his side impress in winning at Arsenal but tasted his first league defeat as manager of the Hammers, who reduced the deficit through Dimitri Payet’s first goal for the club only to have goalkeeper Adrian sent off in the closing stages.
Swansea City 2 Newcastle United 0
Gomis opened the scoring in the ninth minute with a composed finish before Ayew, who was also on target in the opening-day 2-2 draw at Chelsea, scored with a powerful second-half header after Newcastle full-back Daryl Janmaat had been sent off for a second bookable offence by referee Mike Jones.
Janmaat was booked after clattering into Jefferson Montero twice and the Dutchman’s luck ran out in the 41st-minute when he pulled the Ecuadorian back to stop him launching a Swansea attack from deep.
The defender’s departure left Newcastle with a mountain to climb and Steve McClaren’s decision to withdraw Moussa Sissoko — the Magpies’ best player in the first half — and Papiss Cisse revealed a preference for damage limitation rather than offering any real hope of getting back into this Barclays Premier League contest.
Watford 0 West Bromwich Albion 0
West Brom registered their first point of the season after frustrating Watford in a goalless stalemate at Vicarage Road.
Tony Pulis’ side put their 3-0 opening defeat by Manchester City behind them with a typically belligerent display against the newly-promoted Hornets.
They very nearly nicked all three points towards the end but Saido Berahino, still being linked with a move away before the end of the month, fluffed his lines in front of goal.
But that would have been harsh on Watford, who were for long periods the only team interested in attacking.
Sadly, for all Watford’s style there was very little substance as time and again, following some neat build-up play, the final ball or finish was lacking.