Manchester City 3 – 0 Sunderland
Aleksander Kolarov, Sergio Aguero, and James Milner help the BPL Champions make it look easy at home against Sunderland. This one was never close and for Citeh fans it was a continuation of the good vibes that Mario Balotelli started on Wednesday when he saved their Champions’ League match result. The fans will also be feeling good about the first clean sheet of the season. The first goal came when Carlos Tevez was brought down by Carlos Cuellar. The Citeh striker had gotten clear with his usual hard work and Cuellar chopped him down with a late tackle. There was some question about whether the referee was being lenient by showing just a yellow card, the fans weren’t complaining when Kolarov took the free kick and hit a wonderfully hit curling shot into the top left corner of the Sunderland goal in the fifth minute. Citeh had several chances to increase the lead in the first half. The first came when Balotelli was able to drive through the Black Cat’s defense, only to fire his shot over the bar. Tevez was also able to drive through the defense and his shot was deflected to Pablo Zabaleta, but the midfielder’s point blank shot was saved by keeper Simon Mignolet. The second half saw the Champions continuing their domination as the best that Sunderland could muster were ineffective shots from James McClean and Steven Fletcher. Citeh boss Roberto Mancini, who was a little disappointed with the lack of goal scoring, decided to bring Aguero for Balotelli in the 56th minute. The change worked as Aguero was able to latch onto a rebound from Kolarv and put home the second goal in the 60th minute. That was pretty much all she wrote for Sunderland as they were pretty much played off the park. Milner’s free-kick from the left side of the penalty area at the 89th minute capped an effective performance by the Champions. Could this be the start of their climb back up to the top BPL table?
Chelsea 4 – 1 Norwich
The Blues stroll onto another care-free win to make themselves more at home at the top of the BPL table. Things didn’t start too well at Stamford Bridge for the home team. Who could blame them after all the off field distractions that the side have had to endure? The visiting Canaries’ fans, who had spent the opening moments of the match ragging on Blues captain John Terry, went nuts in the 11th minute when striker Grant Holt finished off Leon Barnett’s one touch pass to put the visitors in the lead. That turned out to be the kick in the pants that the home side needed. An unmarked Fernando Torres, who had missed a sure chance earlier, headed home a cross from defender Branislav Ivanovic in the 14th minute to make the score level. Poor defending again bit the Canaries when they failed to properly clear their lines in the 22nd minute from Torres’ overhead kick. Frank Lampard’s first time drive put the Blues in the lead and they never looked back. The Canaries were made to look really bad in the 31st minute as the Edin Hazard slotted home after Juan Mata ran 60 yards by himself and threaded a pass to the midfielder’s foot. The fourth goal should have been scored when Cole had his shot blocked and the rebound landed at Oscar’s feet. The midfielder made a couple of neat moves, only to hit his shot straight at keeper John Ruddy. Ruddy was called on a couple more times in the first half. The best was when he was there to make the save after winger Juan Mata was put onto goal by Hazard’s brilliant pass. The second half had the visitors spending much of the time in front of their own goal. Goal keeper Ruddy was able to win one more one-on-one battle with Torres. But he was not able to stop Ivanovic’s 76th minute volley from Mata’s layoff.
Swansea 2 – 2 Reading
Reading are left with no BPL wins this season after they mess up a two goal halftime lead. Swans boss Michael Laudrup hasn’t seen his side with a win in their last five EPL matches either. So each side had a reason to press hard for a result on Saturday. The home side started the brighter as new Wales captain Ashley Williams nearly scored as he headed Sung-Yeung Ki’s cross just wide of the Reading goal. Danny Graham had his header pushed over the bar by Reading keeper Alex McCarthy. It looked like Swans were going to dominate the match until the 31st minute when Pavek Pogrebnyak was put through on goal by Jobi McAnuff. Swans keeper Michel Vorm should have made the save, but the ball managed to get by him and into the net to open the scoring. Swans nearly had a reply from Ki, but his shot from distance went straight into the hand of keeper McCarthy. Reading got their second when in the 44th minute a McAnuff shot was deflected into the path of Noel Hunt who hit the ball past Vorm. That should have been enough to see Royals gain their first win, but the second half Laudrup managed to rally the Swans and brought on Luke Moore in place of Graham. Moore nearly scored when he was through one-on-one with the keeper, but McCarthy was able to make the save with his foot. Moore later hit a headed that keeper McCarthy was barely able to push off the post. McCarthy was called into action again when he saved from Ki’s low shot and a William’s header. But he couldn’t do anything in the 71st minute when Michu scored from a diving header from a deflected Wayne Routledge cross. The equalizer came in the 78th minute when Ki was able to win possession in the midfield and start a forward break that ended when with Routledge’s firm finish. Swans though they had a penalty claim when defender Nicky Shorey appeared to block Pablo Hernandez’s shot with his arm in the penalty box, but the referee did not agree. Reading nearly had the win for themselves when Williams was able to nod away Jem Karacan’s header after yet another mistake from keeper Vorm.
West Bromwich Albion 3 – 2 Queens Park Rangers
Mark Hughes is in trouble. Five defeats in the last seven matches leaves Rangers at the bottom of the BPL table and the boss’s job in serious jeopardy. The Baggies grabbed the early lead after five minutes when Shane Long got past defender Clint Hill and delivered a cross from the right wing that was headed home by James Morrison. That was the start of the Baggies domination and they should have had their second goal when Long fired his shot over the bar after being picked out by a wonderful cross from Morrison. The second goal did come in the 22nd minute when Morrison once again hit a great cross which defender Anton Ferdinand flubbed into the path of Zoltan Gera and the midfielder made no mistake from 10 yards out. Rangers were given a lifeline in the 35th minute when Esteban Granero played the ball into the path of Adel Taarabt on the edge of the Baggies’ penalty area and he brought it under control before volleying past keeper Ben Foster. But that goal didn’t seem to deter the Baggies and they almost restored their two goal lead when QPR keeper Julio Ceasar had to make a fine save to deny Gera a second goal after the Hungarian was expertly found by Peter Odemwingie’s pass. After the interval, QPR tried to step up their attack as Taarabt hit a low drive that keeper Foster managed to save. But they really couldn’t make any real headway and gave up the third goal in the 85th minute when Youssuf Mulumbu scored from an exchange of passes with Jara Reyes. QPR did manage to get a consolation goal in injury time from Esteban Granero. And so they sit. Could this be Harry Redknapp’s next job?
Wigan 2 – 2 Everton
A late penalty kick by Leighton Baines rescues a point for the Toffees and denies the Latics their first home win for this season. The Latics started out well and opened the scoring in the 10th minute when Shaun Maloney got past Seamus Coleman from the left side of the penalty area and crossed for Arouna Kone who nodded home past keeper Tim Howard. But that lead lasted only a minute. Steven Pienaar floated a header in from the left and Nikica Jelavic headed in the equalizing goal in the 11th minute. The Toffees tried to reassert their authority on the match. But the Latics, who are a hard side to beat at home, went back into the lead in the 23rd minute when Kone dribbled in along the right touchline and beat Baines before cutting the ball back for Fanco Di Santo to slam into the roof of the net. Wigan should have had their third goal and Di Santo his second in the 26th minute when he hit a wonderful 25-yard strike that keeper Howard managed to tip around the post. Everton should have equalized in the 40th minute when Baines wacked a shot against the base of the goal post from a tight angle. The rebound rolled around the six yard box, but no one could get to it for Everton. There was a bit of controversy at the end of the half when Marouane Fellaini made an aerial challenge on Maynor Figueroa and appeared to have caught the midfielder with his elbow. Fellaini was booked for the foul, but the Latics felt that he should have been sent off. The second half saw both sides pressing hard for more goals. It looked like the home side was going to win the match Figueroa blatantly nudged over Kevin Mirallas in the Latics’ penalty area. Baines took the penalty kick to equalize and that should have been that. But Wigan almost got the winner in the first minute of injury time when Kone played in Maloney, whose deflected shot looped over keeper Howard and dropped on the roof of the net.
West Ham 1 – 3 Arsenal
Olivier Giroud gets his first BPL goal as the Gunners come from behind to beat the Hammers at Upton Park. Before the start of the match, the late former Hammers’ defender John Bond was honored with a minute’s applause. Once the match got underway, it was Arsenal who nearly opened the scoring when Giroud’s low shot from 20 yards forced keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen into a fine save. West Ham, did score first in the 21st minute as Diame got inside Aaron Ramsey and fired a curling drive into top corner of the Gunners’ goal. But that would be about all the Irons could muster on Saturday. Giroud started the move in the 41st minute that resulted in the first Arsenal goal after winning the ball in the midfield. He then found Lukas Podolski running on the left. The German sprinted to the byline and cut the ball back across goal to the sprinting Giroud who slotted home. The second half saw more Arsenal dominance, but they had an injury scare in the 55th minute when Cieran Gibbs limped out of the match to be replaced by Andre Santos. A bit later Theo Walcott came on for Gervinho. Walcott put the Gunners into the lead in the 77th minute when he was fed by Giroud, darted into the penalty area, and beat the keeper with a low shot into the near post. The victory was sealed in the 83rd minute when Santi Cazorla hit a left-footed effort into the right upper ninety from 25 yards out.
Southampton 2 – 2 Fulham
Jose Fonte secures a point for the Saints. It was another bold start by the Saints and midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin and Rickie Lambert both had early chances to but the home side into the lead. Fonte did put the Saints into the lead in the fourth minute when he met Adam Lallana’s floated free kick with a glancing header that looped over keeper Mark Schwarzer and into the far corner of the Cottager’s goal. Frazer Richardson had to be substituted in the 8th minute and replacement central defender Jos Hooiveld forced defender Maya Yosida out to the wing. This allowed Fulham an opportunity to equalize and Southampton striker Rickie Lambert had to block Aaron Hughes from a corner forcing the header over the bar. Saints’ winger Jason Puncheon twice came close to scoring the second goal from two 22nd minute corners. He was also had a shot cleared off the goal line by Sascha Riether and had a goal disallowed after being judged to have fouled keeper Schwarzer. Fulham almost got a halftime equalizer as both NAME Hughes and Hugo Rodallega got in to attack the Southampton goal. The second half saw Fulham pressing hard for the equalizing goal which came in the 70th minute. Cottager defender John Arne Riise drilled a low shot from the left and Saints’ Hooiveld could only direct the ball into the back of his own net. Fulham substitute Kieran Richardson put his side ahead in stoppage time when his shot on goal was deflected off a hapless Hooiveld’s leg. That should have been good enough for the win, but Richardson went from hero to goat when he gave away a last second free kick which Fonte headed home to earn the draw for the home side.
Liverpool 0 – 0 Stoke
Brendan Rodgers endures another disappointing result at Anfield. There are rumors around that things are not rosy in the Reds Boot Room. Rodgers, who was visibly angry after their side was beaten at home by Udinese in the UEFA Europa League match last Thursday, made eight changes from that side. He had been quoted on Thursday calling his players “lazy” and one of the targets of his wrath, Stewart Downing, did not even dress, nor was he on the bench for Sunday’s match. But that’s not the only problem the Reds seemed to have as they just looked lost. Everyone was making mistakes. Twice keeper Jose Reina attempted to pass the ball out to a midfielder and twice Stoke, sensing weakness, pounced on each pass and only Reina’s great keeper reactions kept the Reds net empty. After those two initial chances, Stoke reverted back to their mid-table ways of launching long balls forward and stopping opposition attacks by any means, legally and otherwise. The half ended with a dull thud and the Stoke fans chanting “You’re not famous anymore”. There was a little life seen in the second half as Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez tried to inspire the Kopp faithful. First the two tried to combine together and nearly scored. Then Gerrard made a terrific pass to pick out the run of Glen Johnson, but the defender could not keep his shot on target. Then Suarez made a brilliant run on his own, but bent his stop wide of the Potters’ goal. The best chance to score came from Raheem Sterling when he collected from Agger’s driving run, but as he tried to hit the inside of the near post, all he managed to find was side netting. Martin Skrtel also could have scored the winner as he hit Joe Cole’s pass back across the goal, only for it to drop on the wrong side of the post. So, being Liverpool is once again a test in fan patience and Reds fans know that getting Liverpool back toward the top is going to take a lot of work.
Tottenham 2 – 0 Aston Villa
Spurs are flying high as they ascend into the top five. Who would have ever thought Andres Villas Boas would be able to get Tottenham to reach the level they’re currently at? They have four straight wins and Sunday saw them playing some of the best football they’ve played in a while. Villas Boas, ever the micromanager, made a surprise decision when he sat keeper Brad Friedel in favor of new signing Hugo Lloris. It ended Friedel’s run of 310 consecutive BPL starts but the new kid looked really solid during the match. Not that he really had much to do. Spurs dominated early and often and Gareth Bale nearly scored right from the opening whistle when he curled Jermaine Defoe’s lay-off just wide of the Villains’ goal. Jan Vertonghen then busted a gut down the left flank and cut back to Defoe, but he missed over the bar. A couple of minutes later, Villains’ keeper appeared to have brought down Bale after the winger successfully beat the offside trap, but the referee saw nothing wrong and waved play on. Villa were barely able to hold the hosts goalless until the half time interval but they were almost given a gift from Lloris when his throw-out to Vertonghen was intercepted and Gabriel Agbonlahor crossed over to an unmarked Christian Benteke who could only head wide of the post. The Spurs’ breakthrough finally came in the 60th minute when Defoe’s shot from Bale’s cross deflected off Stephen Caulker’s heel and past keeper Guzan. The second goal came from Aaron Lennon as he latched onto Clint Dempsey’s square pass and hit a precise stop past a diving Guzan into the far corner. Dempsey should have scored himself in the 75th minute when he missed a free header from eight yards out from goal. But the result is part of Spurs best start to the season in a while and once again Villas Boas looks like a genius.
Newcastle 0 – 3 Manchester United
The Red Devils finally get a clean sheet as they master the Magpies at St James’ Park. Last season, Newcastle had shocked then BPL Champions Manchester United at home and away to contribute to the Red Devils’ inability to retain the Premiership. But this side that played on Sunday seemed like they were more like the side that had been relegated three years ago. The first goal was the result of some really poor marking as central defender Johnny Evans scored from a Robin van Persie corner kick in the 8th minute. The second goal came from the same awful Newcastle marking in the 16th minute when Patrice Evra, also unmarked, headed home from a Wayne Rooney corner kick from the left. That seemed to wake the hosts up a bit and Jonas Gutierrez nearly scored with an 18th minute shot. Demba Ba nearly scored a bit later when he turned a Djbril Cisse cross over the bar and Cisse headed wide from a NAME Cabaye free-kick, but United keeper David de Gea was not really tested in the first half. That changed after the interval. At the start of the second half, Ba had beaten De Gea to a Shane Ferguson cross, but he could only hit the bar with his effort. A bit of controversy when Cisse headed the rebound towards the goal and it looked like it crossed the line, but De Gea managed to divert it onto the post. Replays showed that the ball did not cross the line but came really, really close. United ended the match as a contest in the 71st minute when Tom Cleverly hit a brilliant curling shot from the left into the top opposite corner. So as the international break approaches, the Red Devils march back to second place in the BPL table.