Norwich 0 – 0 West Ham
The Canaries are still without a BPL win this season after a scrappy, goalless draw versus the Irons at Carrow Road. This one was always going to be a bit of a fight. West Ham had the first chance in the 13th minute as Ricardo Vaz Te made a good move down the right of midfield and crossed over to Carlton Cole. His headed effort was cleared off the line by defender Russell Martin. Matthew Taylor hit the resulting rebound wide of the Canaries goal. The Canaries felt they should have had a penalty in the first half as Irons defender James Collins tripped midfielder Andrew Surman. The replay showed that the referee got the call right when he ruled the challenge was made outside of the area. Canaries’ midfielder Bradley Johnson took the free kick which rebounded to Javier Garrido, but his shot on the Irons’ goal missed to the left. That was the best chance of the first half. Norwich nearly started the second half with a goal when Simeon Jsckson hit a 25 yard effort that was tipped over the Irons’ goal by keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen. There weren’t many efforts on goal until the end when striker Robert Sondgrass played through Harry Kane on goal. The loanee from Spurs should have scored, but fluffed his shot. Moments later, Kane got by defender Guy Demel into the Irons’ area and cut the ball back to Snodgrass who should have scored for the win. But the Scotland international has his effort blocked off the line. The last action saw a header from substitute striker Steve Morison go straight into keeper Jaaskelainen’s hands. It was and ugly draw for both sides, but a point is a point in the BPL.
Arsenal 6 – 1 Southampton
The Gunners lay down a home field beat down upon the woeful Saints. You could tell from the opening whistle that the Saints were over match and it showed as they just couldn’t deal with the early Gunners’ onslaught. In the third minute, striker Lukas Podolski’s hard shot was barely turned aside by Saints’ keeper Kelvin Davis. Next Gunners’ winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s dangerous cross was hit high and wide by striker Santi Cazorla. The Saints kept giving the ball away in the midfield and were punished for their bone-headedness in the 11th minute when Podolski got onto a wayward Southampton pass in the midfield and played through Kieran Gibbs. Gibbs hit a low drive that got through keeper Davis’ legs and defender Jos Hooiveld accidentally turned the ball into the Saints goal. It went from bad to worse for the visitors as it tends to happen at the Emirates Stadium when you play like crap against the Gunners. Saints’ boss Nigel Adkins tried to fix things by replacing an injured Hooiveld with Maya Yoshida in the 28th minute, but it didn’t help as Podolski got through the Saints’ defense to score a beautiful curler for the second Gunner goal in the 31st minute. They really looked out to lunch in the 35th minute when Gunner midfielder Gervinho got on the end of a wonderful Mikel Arteta lob over the top. The Ivorian was able to waltz into through the Saints’ defense again and beat keeper Davis at his near post. The 37th minute saw another Saints’ brain cramp as Gibbs’ cross into the area was knocked home by defender Nathaniel Clyne for another own goal to make it four for the Gunners. The Saints did get a consolation at the stroke of halftime when Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny was not able to deal with a cross from the right while being pressured by Saints’ striker Rickie Lambert. Saints’ defender Daniel Fox was able to put home the loose ball for the visitors at the stroke of halftime. The Saints did get a little better in the second half as Adkins brought in Gaston Ramirez for Steven Davis. Ramirez did create a couple of chances and played through Rickie Lambert but the latter could only fire wide of the Gunners’ goal. The fifth Arsenal goal came in the 71st minute when Cazorla played through substitute Aaron Ramsey. Ramsey then made a wonderful turn to get his shot away. It hit the post and the rebound was turned in by Gervinho. Substitute Theo Walcott ended the Saints’ misery when he put home a rebound from keeper Davis. So that ended a miserable day for Southampton. They have no points from four matches and sit firmly rooted to the bottom of the BPL table.
Aston Villa 2 – 0 Swansea
The Villains finally earn boss Paul Lambert his first and end the Swans unbeaten run. American Brad Guzan got another start ahead of veteran Shane Given and he had to prove himself with a great double save. Guzan first had to react quickly to beat away NAME Williams’s header from a Swansea corner kick. Then he had to push away Nathan Dyer’s shot when the Swans winger pounced on the loose ball. The Villains grabbed the lead in the 16th minute when Matthew Lowton hit a great strike from distance by Swans keeper Michael Vorm. The home fans took the moment to cheer their support for midfielder Stillyan Petrov who is currently in remission from leukemia diagnosed last spring. The Swans almost spoiled things shortly thereafter when midfielder Angel Rangel set Nathan Dyer on a great run down the right of midfield. The winger made a great cross over to Danny Graham, but the striker failed to make good contact with the ball. Swans boss Michael Laudrup tried to shake things up in the second half by bringing on record signing Pablo Hernandez for Wayne Routledge. It didn’t do much to tilt the match in Swansea’s favor and Villa’s Belgian striker Christian Benteke pounced on a very weak header from defender Ashley Williams and chipped the ball over keeper Vorm to secure the three points.
Fulham 3 – 0 West Bromwich Albion
Berbatov is loving life back in London as he grabs two goals in the Cottagers’ win. WBA came into this match having conceded just one goal in the last three BPL matches. But one thing that ole Berba is really great at is holding up the ball and bringing teammates into play to pick apart good defenses. The Bulgarian got his first when winger Alex Kacaniklic zoomed past defender Billy Jones and square passed the ball on to Berba. He took one touch then nailed a 15 yard shot beyond keeper Ben Foster. Kacaniklic created Berbatov’s second goal when he got past Jones again and the defender tripped the Swede in the penalty area. Berba calmly took the spot kick and sent Foster the wrong way for the score. It got easier for the Cottagers when WBA winger Peter Odemwingie got himself sent off in the 37th minute. The striker, who did so well last week against Everton, lost possession to defender Sascha Riether and swung his foot wildly from behind. Steve Sidwell added the third goal when he pounced on the rebound from Hugo Rodallega’s header off the crossbar. And so it looks like Martin Jol may have found his replacement for Clint Dempsey after all.
Manchester United 4 – 0 Wigan
Paul Scholes marks appearance number 700 with a goal as the Red Devils make it look easy versus the Latics. Things seemed to start well for United as they usually do at Old Trafford. They should have gone ahead in the 5th minute when they were awarded a penalty kick after Wigan keeper Ali Al-Habsi was able to save Javier Hernandez’s weak penalty kick. I guess without Wayne Rooney to take the spot kicks, conceding them may be a good defensive move for United’s opponents. The Latics did have an attack or two in the first half, but the Red Devils’ defenders, with debutant left defender Alexander Buttner kept things well in hand. Things were relatively quiet until the 51st minute. Luis Nani pushed into the Latics area and hit a low shot that keeper Al Habsi pushed right into Scholes’ path and the “Ginger Prince” easily tapped the gift home. They nearly scored another in the 52nd minute when Danny Wellbeck hit a wonderful bending shot from the left side that narrowly missed the upper right corner of the Latics’ goal. In the 63rd minute, Hernandez grabbed the second goal when he knocked in Buttner’s misdirected shot. I have to say, even though he got booked in the first half for a bad challenge on Emmerson Boyce, Buttner made a wonderful debut in the left of the United defense. The Dutchman showed pace, skill, grit, and most importantly, brains. He only went forward when the opportunity was there and was able to quickly sprint back in to defense to prevent and counter attacks. But his best moment came in the 65th minute. He seized on a misdirected Latics pass and was able to push though the entire defense and bounce his shot easily off keeper Al-Habsi to score United 3rd goal. Scholes took his bow for the fans as he and Ryan Giggs came off in the 70th minute for Robin van Persie and MUFC Academy graduate Nick Powell. Powell marked his appearance in the 81st minute with a wonderful strike from 25 yards out. It was a great day for United supporters at Old Trafford and the win puts them one point behind league leaders Chelsea.
Queens Park Rangers 0 – 0 Chelsea
The latest version of the London Derby had lots of pre-match drama, but little happening on the pitch as the Rangers and the Blues end in a goalless draw. First things first: No, Anton Ferdinand did not shake John Terry’s hand in the pre-match ceremony. He also did not shake Ashley Cole’s hand either. Now, let’s talk about the match itself. Terry almost had a great STFU moment at the start when he nearly got on the end of Frank Lampard’s corner kick. Eden Hazard also should have scored a couple minutes later after he was found with a great cross from the right by Ramires. Hazard’s shot went right straight to new goalkeeper Julio Cesar’s hands. It was a contentious match, just like it had been last season with each side trying to go hard after the other. Ramires may have gotten a little too excited when he was booked for tripping Alejandro Faurlin in retaliation for being tripped himself. Chelsea had a couple of penalty claims waived away in the first half. The first was when Terry went down after being leaned on by QPR defender Ryan Nelson. The second should have been called when QPR winger Shaun Wright-Phillips made a clumsy challenge on Hazard as the Belgian striker cleverly made his way into the penalty area. Substitute James Mackie nearly got Rangers on the score sheet as the second half started when his shot nearly caught Blues keeper Petr Cech napping. Park Ji-Sung nearly scored a while later as his header from Esteban Granero’s cross was also saved by Cech. Chelsea nearly gifted the result to QPR when Bobby Zamora was gifted the ball from a really awful John Obi Mikel back pass. Zamora never was able to find a good shooting angle and when he finally did shoot, Terry was able to block the shot. Hazard should have won the match at the death when, although he was completely unmarked, hit his shot completely over the bar. So I guess the highlight of this match will be the not-handshake.
Stoke 1 – 1 Manchester City
Javi Garcia’s Citeh debut goal earns a point for the Champions at the Britannia Stadium. Real Madrid scout Jose Morais sat in on this match, undoubtedly assessing the Champions ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions’ League clash at the Spanish capital. There wasn’t a whole lot to watch at the start until Potters’ striker Peter Crouch scored in the 15th minute. The goal had a bit of controversy attached as replays show that Crouch appeared to have gotten away with handling the ball with his left hand prior to taking his shot. But the Real Madrid scout will have taken note of Garcia, who came from that club, as he showed real calm as he headed Carlos Tevez’s free kick home in the 35th minute. Most of the drama in this match came toward the end. Garcia nearly won the match at the end for the Champions when his header from the corner kick was brilliantly saved off the post by keeper Asmir Begovic. But the safe of the match happened in stoppage time when Edin Dzeko’s lob over keeper Begovic was chased down and cleared off the lone by Ryan Shawcross. So it’s off to Madrid for Citeh and an attempt by boss Roberto Mancini to beat the guy who replaced him at Inter Milan.
Sunderland 1 – 1 Liverpool
Luis Suarez once again rescues the result for Liverpool as they draw versus Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. This is the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. Many of you may have read the story about the findings and how it looks like the police may have something to answer for. The Sunderland fans showed a bit of class and the flags at the stadium were flown at half mast as a sign of respect. Once the match got underway, Carlos Cuellar almost gifted the Reds a chance when he tamely headed back toward keeper Simon Mignolet who had to block the shot taken by Fabio Borini. Borini almost scored again when stiker Luis Suarez put a pass right into his path. Borini’s shot was again parried away by keeper Mignolet. But then Sunderland grabbed the first goal when Craig Gardner was able to get past Suarez and the defender Glen Johnson and place a low cross for Steven Fletcher who scored his first goal as a Black Cat. An up and coming player for Liverpool showed his stuff in the second half. Raheem Sterling scared Sunderland fans when he was able to dance past defenders and cross over to Suarez. The striker failed in his first attempt but when the ball bounced back to him off defender Titus Bramble, he placed the ball in the lower corner for the equalizer. But the Reds really didn’t make any more headway in this match and, although the draw does see them out of the bottom three, this is their worst start in the last 50 years.
Reading 1 – 3 Tottenham
Jermain Defoe’s brace for Spurs assures that Andres Villas Boas gets to keep his job for another week. It’s his first victory since taking over for Harry Redknapp. There were a lot of questions from Spurs fans about Villas Boas and some hope that when he was gone that perhaps there would be some sort of reconciliation and Redknapp would return. Such talk seems to have been postponed for the time being. Spurs got going in the 17th minute when midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson ran through the Reading defense to find Aaron Lennon. Lennon squared the ball for Defoe who hit a rifled shot from 15 yards out past keeper Alex McCarthy. McCarthy had to be alert a short while later to deny a Spurs second goal from Sandro’s long distance shot. Defoe was clearly Villas Boas best player Sunday as he constantly harassed the Reading defense throughout the first half. The second half saw more Spurs domination. Gareth Bale scored the second goal in the 70th minute. Kyle Walker was able to cut through the Reading defense and pass back to an on running Bale. Although Bale did scuff his shot, it looped over keeper McCarthy and into the goal. Defoe secured the win for Spurs in the 71st minute with a brilliant solo effort. He won the ball at the half line and zoomed past four Reading players and easily slipped past a sprawling McCarthy. Defoe almost got his hat trick in stoppage time, but his volley went over the goal. Reading did manage a consolation goal at the death when Substitute Adam Le Fondre chipped over to the back post and fellow sub Hal Robson-Kanu tapped in. So Villas-Boas, who was booed last week at White Hart Lane, gets his first win in charge of Tottenham. Maybe the fans will give him a break?