It's halftime at Goodison Park where Everton are taking on Manchester United in today's only Premier League game, and the conclusion to the first round of fixtures. The halftime score might be 0-0, but it's a very open game with Everton just about having the slightly better of things so far.
Starting at a ferocious pace, it was Luis Nani who first tested the Everton defence. After Leighton Baines misjudged the flight of the ball the Portuguese winger sprinted clear of the chasing Sylvain Distin, but last season's Player Of The Year at Goodison Park recovered to clear - much to the chagrin of Nani, who's revengeful foul on Baines after three minutes earned the game's first yellow card.
The first real sighting of the exciting Shinji Kagawa came after seven minutes when he expertly turned Phil Neville in central midfield before playing a lovely ball in to Wayne Rooney with the outside of his boot. Unfortunately for the visitors Rooney's return ball lacked the necessary zip to trouble the Toffees defence too much as Phil Jagielka cleared.
Paul Scholes was next to enter Andre Marriner's notebook for a horrendous foul on former teammate Darron Gibson. Pushed deep into the Everton half, the once retired midfielder made what could only be described as a 'very Scholesian tackle'.
Everton's first real chance came just a few moments later when Marouane Fellaini wriggled into the United penalty area. Having fended off the challenging defender, the Belgian inexplicably chose to shoot rather than tee up the well placed Nikica Jelavic, as Fellaini's shot came back off the post from the most acute of acute angles.
What followed was a period of relative inactivity given the busy start to the game with both teams looking to settle down a little. Thing perked up when Nani tried his luck from distance, but Everton swiftly countered with a delicious passing move which lead to Jelavic firing off the legs of David De Gea for a corner - from which Steven Pienaar further tested De Gea as the Spaniard tipped the recent arrival's header over.
A foul on dsdsds in the 27th minute proved to be dangerous for Everton. Placed dead center, Wayne Rooney hoisted the ball up and over the Everton wall to force USA International Tim Howard into a fine low save, picking up where he left off following midweek heroics against Mexico.
In the 32nd minute it was Pienaar once more who tested De Gea in what was the best chance of the game to this point. Picking up the ball on the edge of the area from Baines, the South African took a touch out of his feet and curled the ball low through a crowd of bodies towards the bottom corner, De Gea doing very well to scramble away what looked like it could have been the opening goal.
As we rumbled though to half time both teams squandered chances. Yet more great interplay between Baines, Fellaini and Pienaar lead to Baines seeing a chance foiled. This triumvirate enjoyed themselves against United's makeshift right-hand side of defence, and it was beginning to show.
Baines also had a penalty appeal turned down moments later following a robust but fair challenge in the area from Michael Carrick, while at the other end Danny Welbeck felt aggrieved to not receive a penalty following a tap from Phil Jagielka when he latched on to Kagawa's through ball.
Rooney fired weakly at Howard and Leon Osman at the other end drew a tremendous reaction save from De Gea following yet another Fellaini knock down.
To draw a curtain on the half and merely add to Everton's great play during the first half, Leighton Baines curled a freekick over the Manchester United wall, only to see De Gea once again equal to things as he denied the left back a fine goal with a superb one handed save.
As things stand though, it's 0-0 and there's everything to play for in the second half.