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Thursday 27 December 2012

2012 Barclays Premier League review: August

In the eighth of our 2012 Days of Christmas review, Van Persie moves and Chelsea make perfect start

  • Van Persie said the little boy inside him was screaming to join United

  • Eden Hazard impressed as Chelsea won their first three matches in the month

  • Mladen Petric scored on his debut for Fulham

  • Mousa Dembele crossed London to join Spurs from Fulham

  • Michu helped Swansea to record a 5-0 openeing-day win over QPR

  • Uruguay midfielder Gaston Ramirez was a club-record signing for Southampton

  • Matt Jarvis signed for West Ham from Wolves

  • Charlie Adam joined Stoke from Liverpool

  • Santi Cazorla was one player who decided to join Arsenal

  • Manchester City were given a shock by Southampton before recovering to win

AUGUST 2012

The 2012/13 Barclays Premier League season started on 18 August, and it was Chelsea who made a perfect start to the season with three wins out of three in the opening month.

Summer-signing Eden Hazard and UEFA Euro 2012 winners Juan Mata and Fernando Torres were proving instrumental as they defeated Wigan Athletic, Premier League new boys Reading and Newcastle United to take an early lead in the title race. Just one position further back were one of the early season surprise packages – Michael Laudrup’s Swansea City. Summer signing Michu proved an instant hit in the Barclays Premier League, netting twice in their 5-0 opening day win over Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road before adding to his tally in the club’s 3-0 win over West Ham United.

Reigning champions Manchester City were given a scare by Nigel Adkins’ Southampton, who were appearing in the top flight for the first time since 2005. Southampton took a 2-1 lead on the opening weekend at the Etihad Stadium, before late goals from Edin Dzeko and Samir Nasri maintained City’s formidable home record.

City made an unbeaten start to their title defence, and they were joined at the top end of the league by West Bromwich Albion and Everton, who secured an impressive 1-0 win over Manchester United, who had given debuts to Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie, an August arrival from Arsenal.

Fulham forward Mladen Petric, who signed from Hamburg on a free transfer in the summer, also hit the ground running with two goals in the Cottagers’ 5-0 success over Norwich City on the opening day. West Ham United were the only newly promoted team to register a win in the first two matchweeks, as Kevin Nolan’s strike gave Sam Allardyce's charges a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa.

As the early season table took shape, a host of Premier League teams were frantically bolstering their squads before the summer transfer window’s deadline passed on 31 August 31. Arsenal, who started the season with two goalless draws, prepared for life without Van Persie and Alex Song, who joined Barcelona, by bringing in Spain midfielder Santi Cazorla from Malaga, joining France striker Olivier Giroud and Germany forward Lukas Podolski as Arsene Wenger looked to reinforce his firepower.

North London neighbours Tottenham Hotspur were particularly busy in the closing stages of the transfer window, as they completed the signings of Bleus goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Fulham duo Clint Dempsey and Mousa Dembele, as well as completing the permanent transfer of Emmanuel Adebayor, who had starred for Spurs in the previous campaign on loan from Manchester City.

West Ham brought in England striker Andy Carroll on loan from Liverpool, as well as Matt Jarvis from Wolverhampton Wanderers. Saints broke their transfer record to lure Uruguay midfielder Gaston Ramirez to St Mary’s Stadium from Bologna. Japan’s Maya Yoshida and Zambian African Cup of Nations winner Emmanuel Mayuka joined Ramirez on the south coast.

Other notable deals included Stoke City's capture of Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam, who Brendan Rodgers replaced with Joe Allen - a star of Swansea's debut season in the Premier League. Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov completed a move to Fulham while Manchester City bolstered their title-winning squad with Fiorentina defender Matjia Nastasic, Everton’s Jack Rodwell, Swansea forward Scott Sinclair and Inter Milan’s Maicon.

Key quotes

"I always listen, in these situations when you have to make a hard decision in life, to the little boy inside of me. What does he want? That boy was screaming for Man United." - Robin van Persie after completing a big money move from Arsenal to Manchester United.

"A lot of pressure was on us. I thought we were the only team that could lose something today. We missed a lot of chances, and Southampton played well, but we are happy with the three points. We have a few things we can improve on, but we always do that." - Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany.

"Yeah, he’s showed all his qualities today. It was a pleasure to watch him today, so we are happy that he is in our team.” Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo is full of praise for new signing Eden Hazard after his impressive debut against Wigan Athletic.

"Well for me, great, and for the team even more. To start with a victory like that, not only the five goals, but to win an away game in the first game of the new season, a very difficult away game, against a team that has always caused a lot of problems for Swansea. Last season Swansea won their first away game in January, so it's exactly what we needed."  - Swansea manager Michael Laudrup after his side’s 5-0 opening-day win over QPR.

"It ended up being a very good a day. One-nil, clean sheet, James Collins back and solid in defence, giving us the platform to win this game today, lots of good performances from the team and very pleasing for everyone at West Ham today to get a very, very good start." - West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce after his side made a winning return to the Premier League.

For August's results at a glance, click here

How they stood

Barclays Premier League on 1 September 2012

    P GD Pts
1 Chelsea 3 6 9
2 Swansea 2 8 6
3 Everton 2 3 6
4 West Brom 2 3 4
5 Man City 2 1 4
6 Fulham 2 4 3
7 Man Utd 2 0 3
8 Wigan 2 0 3
9 Newcastle 2 -1 3
10 West Ham 2 -2 3
11 Stoke 2 0 2
12 Arsenal 2 0 2
13 Sunderland 1 0 1
14 Tottenham 2 -1 1
15 Reading 2 -2 1
16 Liverpool 2 -3 1
17 Norwich 2 -5 1
18 QPR 2 -5 1
19 Southampton 2 -3 0
20 Aston Villa 2 -3 0

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