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Debutants Shine In EPL

  • Guardian, Monday, August 18, 2008 1 PM
Looking at the best performances of the English Premier League's opening day, Paul Doyle pinpoints Hull City's Brazilian striker Geovanni, who scored in the newly promoted team's 2-1 victory over Fulham. Spurned by Manchester City, where he was rarely used by previous manager Sven Goran Eriksson, Geovanni could turn out to be "the bargain of the season."

Geovanni was "elusive and inventive," writes Doyle. "Most encouragingly of all for Hull, he was truly up for the fight, constantly geeing up his teammates and the crowd as the Tigers clung to victory. [New Manchester City manager] Mark Hughes could have done not only with his talent yesterday, but also with his leadership." City lost 4-2 to Aston Villa.

Another promising start was made by the new Blackburn Rovers manager Paul Ince, whose side won 3-2 at Everton, "overcoming reports of mutiny in his depleted camp." But there were other debutants who thrilled -- Wigan's Egyptian striker Amr Zaki "showed real class," Chelsea's Deco was "an ingenious delight," and Johan Elmander of Bolton's "goal and all-round performance (against Stoke, admittedly) went some way to confirming expectations that he'll be a significant upgrade on Kevin Davies." Meanwhile Arsenal's new French forward Samir Nasri "hinted that he could turn out to have a longer-lasting impact than any of them."

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