Malouda’s late flourish spares Villas-Boas’ blushes
Villas-Boas had been heading for his first league defeat for more than 16 months when Shane Long continued his dream start to life at Albion by giving them a half-time lead but Nicolas Anelka equalised with a deflected shot before Malouda pounced.
Alex McLeish savoured the applause of the fans after a 3-1 win over Blackburn Rovers, his first home victory as Aston Villa manager. Goals from Gabriel Agbonlahor and Emile Heskey put Villa 2-0 ahead at half-time and, while Morten Gamst Pedersen pulled one back for Rovers after the interval, Darren Bent made the game safe in the 67th minute.
A dispiriting week for Everton came to a dismal conclusion with a 1-0 home defeat to Premier League new boys Queens Park Rangers – the London side’s first top-flight victory since 1996 and a perfect start to the reign of new club owner Tony Fernandes. With manager Davie Moyes having admitted earlier in the week that the club were in no position to make any signings, Everton fell behind to a goal by veteran Tommy Smith just after half-time, and while Tim Cahill came close to levelling, they were unable to find a way back.
It was a also a good afternoon for the other promoted side, Swansea City, who shook off the pain of a 4-0 defeat by Manchester City to pick up their first point of the season thanks to a 0-0 draw at home to Wigan Athletic. However, they required a second-half penalty save from Michel Vorm to deny Wigan victory. Vorm kept out Ben Watson’s low spot kick after Jordi Gomez fell under Ashley Williams’ rash challenge.
Swansea had dominated most of the game, but Wigan found their attacking instincts with 20 minutes to go and Victor Moses and Gomez both struck the bar. Substitute Stephen Dobbie had a couple of late chances.