LONDON: Lukas Podolski, linked this week with a window switch to Schalkek proved his value to Arsenal by scoring twice as the Gunners claimed their opening Premier win by 3-1 at Fulham.
Victory was a further vindication for the patience of manager Arsene Wenger after the midweek win away to Fenerbahce in the Champions League play-off first leg.
Olivier Giround struck the first Arsenal goal from close range, Podolski struck both sides of half-time and Aston Villa loanee Darren Bent scored a tap-in consolation for outplayed Fulham.
Wenger was happy for Podolski, saying: “I’m pleased for him, because he did not always start recently, more for balance of the team than for personal performance.
“He has always a high spirit, he’s a very important player in the team and he can score goals. Everybody loves him in the squad, I want to keep him.”
Aston Villa, who won at Arsenal last week, suffered a sharp reversal of fortune by losing 1-0 at home to Liverpool in the early-evening game. Brendan Rodgers’s team went second in the interim table, trailing Chelsea only on goal difference, courtesy of a strike from Daniel Sturridge .
Stoke recovered from a half-time deficit to beat promoted Crystal Palace 2-1 in Mark Hughes’ first home match in charge at the Britannia Stadium.
Marouane Chamakh’s first Premier League goal since 2011 put Palace ahead in the 31st minute but Stoke turned the game around with two goals in quick succession after the break from Charlie Adam (58) and Ryan Shawcross (62).
Fellow newcomers Hull survived the 27th-minute dismissal of Yannick Sagbo to defeat Norwich 1-0 at home. Robbie Brady’s 22nd-minute penalty, awarded after former Tiger Michael Turner pulled down Sagbo inside the area, put Hull ahead but Sagbo was sent off shortly afterwards following an off-the-ball incident.
Sunderland were within minutes of celebrating a season’s first victory only to be denied by an 88th-minute Jose Fonte equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Southampton.
Summer signing Emanuele Giaccherini, one of the snmallest players in the league at 5ft 6, had headed home a Sebastian Larsson corner after three minutes to give the Black Cats the lead at St Mary’s.
The other two Premier League matches failed to produce a goal, with Everton seeing Marouane Fellaini and Seamus Coleman hit the posts at home by West Bromwich while Sam Allardyce’s West Ham claimed a point away to his former club Newcastle.