Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea
Fernando Torres and Juan Mata score to keep the Blues at the top of the league at the Emirates Stadium. It was a hostile atmosphere for this version of the London Derby. Earlier in the week, Chelsea captain John Terry had been found guilty of using racist language toward QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. While he has yet to file his appeal or be sentenced and has always maintained his innocence, that didn’t matter to the Gunner fans. Each and every time he came near the ball, the let him hear their displeasure. There was also some jeering for former Gunner Ashley Cole. But that was about all they had to do in the first half and Torres put an end to that in the 20th minute when he out wrestled Laurent Koscielny to volley the Mata’s free kick into the Gunner goal. Torres almost made it two straight away when Torres got the better of Koscielny again and sprinted into the penalty area. However as the Spaniard was about to shoot, he went over. Replays suggested that he heel may have been clipped by Koscielny. But Arsenal did manage to climb back into the match again and in the 42nd minute, patiently build up the attack fro the right as defender Carl Jenkinson was able to pass over to Mikel Arteta. The midfielder was able to slip a brilliant pass over to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The substitute winger, who had come on for an injured Abou Diaby, squared over to Gervinho. He then went around Terry, turned and blasted the equalizer into the roof of the net. But the Gunners were once again outdone by their poor free-kick defending when Mata’s 53rd minute free kick was allowed to sail into the corner of the Gunner net with no defender making an attempt to clear. The closest Arsenal would come to equalizing again would be in the stoppage time when substitute Olivier Giroud had a chance in the Chelsea area, but was forced wide by keeper Petr Cech and could only hit his shot into the side netting. And so the when the final whistle blew, Chelsea had three more points and secured their spot at the top of the league. It wasn’t spectacular, but it does remind one of another Chelsea team that won things the ugly way.
Sunderland 1-0 Wigan
Steven Fletcher’s fifth goal in four matches ends Sunderland’s run of 12 BPL matches without a win. The Latics, who are looking more and more like they’re relegation bound, did start the first have in a good way. Blackcats’ keeper Simon Mignolet had to make a great save in the 15th minute from Arouna Kone. Sunderland, themselves should have scored in the 26th minute when Sebastian Larsson’s free-kick, which was goal-bound, was cleared away by defender Ivan Ramis. Despite that chance, the Latics finished the half stronger as Kone headed an attempt over the bar and James McCarthy hit a low drive from distance that flew just wide. But fortunes changed in the second half for Wigan. In the 48th minute, NAME Gomez was shown a straight read for a two-footed challenge on NAME Rose. That was all the hosts needed as three minutes later, NAME McClean made a great run down the left towards the Latics’ area and crossed towards the right post. Fletcher was right where he needed to be to drive the ball home beyond keeper Ali Al-Habsi. Sunderland had a couple more chances to add a second goal. The first came from Stephane Sessagnon whose shot was saved by Al-Habsi. Sessagnon had another chance from NAME McClain that he hit wide of the Wigan goal. The match went down hill after that, but Blackcats’ boss Martin O’Neill was quite satisfied with the win and the unbeaten start Sunderland have made so far. Wigan manager Roberto Martinez, on the other hand, may be in a bit of trouble.
Stoke 2-0 Swansea
The Potters get their first win of the season as Peter Crouch gets a brace. Both goals came in the first half with the first coming in the 12th minute. Swansea’s slack defending from Glenn Whelan’s corner allowed an unmarked Crouch to head the ball home. The Swans were guilty of crappy defending again when Crouch fired a shot that was saved by keeper Michel Vorm. But Crouch was able to latch onto the rebound before any of the defenders could react and he grabbed his second of the match. Swans did manage an attack or two and at the start of the second half, Potters’ keeper Asmir Begovic had to tip a shot from Ki Sung-Yueng over the bar. Swans thought they had a penalty claim when midfielder Angel Rangel went down in the Stoke penalty area. But the referee didn’t take too kindly to Rangel’s attempt and booked him for diving. Crouch had a couple more chances to get his hat trick. He hit a header off the bar and tried to score with an overhead kick. He was taken off at the 87th minute to rousing applause from the home fans, many of whom would love for England boss Roy Hodgson to include him as one of the strikers for the national team.
Reading 2-2 Newcastle
Demba Ba’s late, controversial equalizer rescues a point for Newcastle at the Madejski Stadium. Reading really needed a win and nearly scored in the first half when Pavel Pogrebnyak found himself in the Newcastle area with a yard of space. But the ball came awkwardly to him and he could only shin it over the Newcastle goal. Later in the half, Reading worked the ball wide for Jobi McAnuff who made an inviting cross for Pogrebnyak to head, but Newcastle keeper Steve Harper laws able to tip the headed attempt over the bar. Jimmy Kebe finally opened the scoring in the 58th minute. The Reading striker was played in by McAnuff, then ran at the Newcastle defense and scuffed a low shot inside the near post. Newcastle equalized within seconds when Tiote’s pass went to Ba’s feet and he met it with a wonderful running volley. By the time the visiting supporters had finished celebrating Ba’s goal, Reading went back into the lead. McAnuff worked his way to the byline and made a wonderful cross which Noel Hunt headed home to beat keeper Harper at the far post. Ba’s equalizer came in the 86th minute when Shane Ferguson crossed over to the striker and he met the ball with his hand. The Reading supporters, went nuts when the goal was allowed and the newly promoted side were denied their first win. So Newcastle boss Alan Pardew did the right thing by signing his eight year contract extension.
Norwich 2-5 Liverpool
Luis Suarez gets his second hat trick at Carrow Road and helps get the first win for the Reds. A lot of people were not very happy with new Reds boss Brenden Rogers when the season started. Liverpool had made the worst league start in 50 years and were in the bottom three at the start of the match. But Saturday, they were clearly the better team. One of the relevations for the Reds has been the play of the teenagers Raheem Sterling, Suso, and Andre Wisdom. The three of them were the engine for Liverpool and helped to make the Canaries look really ordinary on their home ground. It all started right from the opening whistle when Glen Johnson hit a though ball that was cleared as far as Suarez. The striker happily hit his long drive home from 18 yards out. Canaries’ striker Simeon Jackson almost equalized when his run into the Liverpool area was stopped by a fine save from keeper Pepe Reina. There was a bit of controversy in the 23rd minute when Suarez got hold of the ball from a long pass over the top and raced into the Canaries area. He was about to shoot when defender Leon Barnett barged into the back of the striker and elbowed him in the shoulder. But the referee waved play to continue, much to the displeasure of Liverpool. Suarez did get his second in the 38th minute when he caught Michael Turner napping, nicked the ball off the defender and tapped home from 12 yards. Canaries boss Chris Hughton substituted Grant Holt off for Simeon Jackson at the start of the second half and things seemed to improve for the home side. They should have pulled a goal back in the 46th minute when Jackson’s cross deflected off Robert Snodgrass’ knee and flew over the bar from two yards out. In the 56th minute, Suarez made a run from the flank and passed a fine square ball to Nuri Sahin, who made the score 3-0. It was all pretty shambolic from that point. Suarez got his third when, in the 57th minute the Canaries’ defenders allowed him to hit a brilliant curled shot past keeper John Ruddy. Norwich got a goal back when keeper Reina spilled Russell Martin’s shot in the path of striker Steve Morison and he tapped it home. In the 70th minute, Sterling was able to take advantage of a Javier Garrido slip and square a pass for captain Steven Gerrard. Gerrard scored the fifth goal for his team when his shot was deflected off Barnett and Ruddy was left helpless. Holt was able to get another consolation goal for the home side in the 87th minute, but it really wasn’t their day and the home fans went home angry at the current winless run that has them in the bottom three.
Fulham 1-2 Manchester City
Edin Dzeko comes off the bench to secure the win for the Champions. Earlier in the week, Citeh boss Roberto Mancini had lost his temper in a TV interview. He had been questioned about the poor run of form of the Champions which had seen them surrender last minute match leads. The latest match that happened was their loss to Aston Villa in extra time in the Capital One Cup. So as he fumed at reporters’ questions, he declared that the Champions would retain the Premier League crown. Well, it seemed that fate initially had a different idea in the 10th minute when defender Pablo Zabaleta tripped John Arne Riise and the referee had judged that the foul occurred inside the Citeh area. The replay seemed to suggest that the call was a bit harsh, but Mladen Petric, on for an injured Dmitar Berbatov scored the kick to put the Cottagers in the lead. Petric had a chance to doible the lead in the 15th minute when, after some fine link play with Hugo Rodallega, he scooped his finish over the bar. Citeh nearly equalized in the 25th minute when Fulham defender Brede Hangeland swept clear Zabeleta’s driven ball across the six yard box. It took until first half stoppage time for Citeh to equalize. Carlos Tevez’s deflected shot was turned goalward by David Silva. Silva’s shot was saved by keeper Marker Schwarzer, but the rebound fell for Sergio Aquero to ease into the net. Both sides made substitutions in the 65th minute with Mario Balotelli coming on for Tevez for the Champions and Alex Kacaniklic replacing Petric for the hosts. The battle back and forth continued but it wasn’t until Dzeko was brought on for Gareth Barry that the Champions got the breakthough. It happened when substitute Gael Clichy’s cross wasn’t cleared by properly by Riise. Dzeko was able to latch onto the loose ball and rifle it home from inside the area and the win was secure.
Everton 3-1 Southampton
Two goals by Nikica Jelavic continues Everton’s flying start and secures second place. The Blue half of Merseyside is ecstatic about what they’re sure is David Moyes best squad that the Everton boss has ever put together. This is, by far, one of their best starts in a long time. The match on Saturday didn’t start out that great for the Toffees as the Saints’s Adam Lallana’s 6th minute corner kick found Gaston Ramirez unmarked in the area and he simply headed home his first goal for his new club. Everton equalized in the 25th minute when Kevin Mirallas’ cross wasn’t dealt with properly by the Saints’ defense and the ball fell to Leon Osman. The midfielder was able to smash the loose ball into the roof of the Southampton net from well inside the penalty area. Osman turned provider when he sent a through ball for Jelavic to run onto and fire past goal keeper Paulo Gazzaniga to put the home side into the lead. Jelavic got his second and Everton’s third in the 38th minute when he headed home midfielder Seamus Coleman’s cross inside the far post. The second half saw a lot of domination by the home side, but they failed to score. It didn’t really matter as the Saints never threatened the Toffees’ goal. And so Everton bagged another win and look to continue the trend as their next two matches are against struggling Wigan and QPR.
Manchester United 2-3 Tottenham
In one of the worst performances ever for the home side at Old Trafford, Andres Villas Boas gets the first Spurs away win over the Red Devils since 1989. The first half has simply awful for United. It started from the opening whistle when Jan Vertonghen was able to waltz around the United defense and score the opening goal. He simple asked for Michael Carrick and Luis Nani for the ball in the midfield, which they happily gave. He then drove past defender Rafael and hit a low shot which deflected off defender Johnny Evans’ hand and past keeper Anders Lindegaard. Now most teams would have tried to get themselves together, but that didn’t happen. In fact, Gareth Bale and Mousa Dembele found acres of space in between Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand. Bale’s goal in the 32nd minute was one of those simple storming runs that he is so capable of doing. He ran through the United defense with ease and hit his shot past Lindegaard and the visitors went mad with celebration. Half time couldn’t come soon enough for Sir Alex Ferguson. The camera shots of him on the touchline showed him with steam literally pouring out of his ears. When the whistle did blow, the team was righteously booed off the pitch. The obvious move for Fergie was to get Wayne Rooney onto the pitch and he was substituted for Giggs at the restart. Rooney made an impact right away when he assisted on Nani’s 51st minute close range goal that should have been the start of the Red Devils’ comeback. But I guess the defense wasn’t listening to Fergie’s half time talk because, once again they parted like the Red Sea in the 52nd minute, this time before Clint Dempsey and the American was able to score his first goal in a Tottenham shirt. Sinji Kagawa was able to score a fine reply in the 53rd minute and there was a bit of hope amongst the Old Trafford faithful. But try as they might, there was no equalizing goal for the Red Devils. Rooney hit a brilliant free-kick of the post. Van Persie made a horrid attempt to finsh from a Carrick pass. Spurs keeper Brad Friedel turned away a Scholes thunder shot. Carrick tried a sneak header that rebounded off the bar. So ended an awful day that saw Evans hobble off injured, adding to the long list of defender injuries.
Aston Villa 1 – 1 West Bromwich Albion
Substitute Darren Bent rescues a point for the Villains. Villain boss Paul Lambert made a couple of changes from the side that lost last week. They were also still feeling a little giddy from their Capital City Cup win on Wednesday. So Darren Bent was dropped and Gabriel Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke were started up front. Benteke almost got the home side going into the early lead when he almost connected with Agbonlahor’s dipping cross. But West Brom had the better of the first half and Shane Long should have scored when he headed wide from James Morrison’s header across the goal. West Brom thought they had scored five minutes into the second half when Long was able to put the ball in the Villains’ net. But the goal was disallowed for offside. But Long did score in the 51st minute when James Morrison beat the Villa trap. He ran into the Villa area and sent in a dangerous low cross. Villa centerback Ron Vlaar was not able to clear and Long put the loose ball into the net to make it 1-0 to the visitors. Long should have had his second a little while later when he was again well placed to pick up a loose ball. But the West Brom striker scuffed his shot that was easily picked up by keeper Brad Guzan. Lambert, desperate to fix Villas woeful league scoring record, took off Benteke in favor of Bent in the 70th minute. Ten minutes later, Bent got the Villains’ goal when midfielder Ciran Clark’s volley from a Barry Bannan corner was blocked and the rebound fell to his feet. Bent happily fired the ball into the net and the Villains had their draw.