Wenger refusing to get carried away

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The Independent Football

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is refusing to get carried away after his team's 6-1 win at Everton, just as he ignored those who said the Gunners were set for a season of struggle before the campaign kicked off.

Arsenal were the biggest winners on the opening day of the Barclays Premier League season as Denilson, debutant Thomas Vermaelen and William Gallas put them 3-0 up at half-time - with Cesc Fabregas' two second-half goals and a late Eduardo strike completing the rout. Louis Saha grabbed the smallest of consolations for the Toffees.

Wenger has had to listen all summer to pundits questioning whether his team are good enough to finish in the top four, let alone win the league, following the sale of key players Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure.

"People have been writing us off. But what is important is not what others say, but what we do," the Frenchman said.

"From being told we were not competitive before the game to now being told we are super-favourites is strange. But it is right to say that this is just the first game, and we aim to continue to give our best.

"We have matured, and this is a good basis to continue like that and to show what we want to do.

"Before the game we were seemingly being ruled out by everybody, and now we have won 6-1 there are two very big extremes.

"We are told we do not have the squad. Well, we want to show that we do have the squad."

Everton boss David Moyes said: "There was too much wrong to mention. It was a disappointing result and it has knocked our confidence."

Arsenal's London rivals Chelsea also opened with a win, albeit by a much narrower margin as Didier Drogba's injury-time goal helped them edge past Hull 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.

Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti admitted his side showed signs of early-season rustiness but was relatively pleased with what he saw.

"We have to improve our play and continuity in matches. This game was very difficult, because we went behind," he said.

"But we didn't lose the idea to play and at the end we deserved to win.

"It is good for the team to believe all the time that they could score.

"This is football, a nice part of football. It is important for us to believe."

A disappointed Hull boss Phil Brown said: "We got to 92 minutes and were done by a cross, which Didier has admitted. It was a pleasing performance, and the game plan was to frustrate Chelsea. We knew they had the quality to beat us and turn the game on its head - and that happened in the 92nd minute."

Manchester City got what is sure to be a closely-followed campaign off to a winning start with a 2-0 victory at Blackburn.

One of Mark Hughes' big signings, Adebayor, grabbed the first - and Stephen Ireland added the second.

The manager admitted it was a satisfactory start.

"A lot of people were looking at us to see how it was going to go. It has been a positive afternoon from that point of view," he said.

Rovers boss Sam Allardyce accepts City are trying to break into an elite group that his side cannot compete with financially.

"There has never been a level playing field," he said.

"The big teams have always had more money than the smaller ones. But now the gap is much bigger. You just have to live with it the best way you can."

Aston Villa suffered a 2-0 home upset against Wigan, who were playing their first competitive game under new boss Roberto Martinez.

Villa boss Martin O'Neill said: "After the initial 15 minutes, we were second best all afternoon.

"You can analyse everything. But at the end of it all I thought we looked tired - which was a wee bit of a surprise, considering we've had a pretty decent pre-season."

Goals from Hugo Rodallega and Jason Koumas made the difference for the Latics.

Premier League new boys Burnley and Wolves both suffered opening-day defeats.

Burnley were beaten 2-0 at Stoke after Ryan Shawcross put the home side in front, and a Stephen Jordan own goal sealed the Clarets' fate.

Manager Owen Coyle recognises his team need to adapt quickly if they are to survive.

"We gave away a cheap free-kick and we know Shawcross is good in the air, and he was unmarked," he said.

"That put us on the back foot, but we came out fighting until we shot ourselves in the foot with the long throw and the own goal.

"There are a number of things we have learned. The margins for error are minimal in the Premier League, and I think that has been borne out."

Wolves lost 2-0 at home to West Ham, Mark Noble and Matthew Upson scoring for the visitors.

Molineux boss Mick McCarthy could not fault his players' performance but said: "What it did confirm is that when we play as well as that we have to take our chances - and we have to score.

"If there is anything to learn it is that just playing well is not enough. That is what we should understand."

In Saturday's other matches, Sunderland won their first competitive game under Steve Bruce 1-0 at Bolton and Fulham beat Portsmouth 1-0 at Fratton Park thanks to Bobby Zamora's 13th-minute goal.

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