Manchester City 1-0 Swansea
The Champions recover from mid-week disappointment to get another BPL win. Citeh’s midweek UEFA Champions’ league match was horrible. They had their behinds handed to them by Dutch side Ajax and their European future now hangs by a thread. And once again training room sniping has started up again as players are fussing about their roles and playing times again. Thus match was really, really dull and after a very boring, scoreless first half at the Etihad Stadium, restless fans booed off their underperforming side. It was up to Carlos Tevez to break the deadlock in the 61st minute with a stunning strike that went by keeper Michel Vorm’s reach into the corner of the net. Apparently Vorm also injured himself attempting to save the shot as he was unable to continue afterward and had to be stretchered off the pitch. Swans almost got the equalizer a little while later when Jonathan De Guzman tried a long-range effort that was just off target. Late on in the match, Yaya Toure tried to combine with Tevez to create another chance, but his cross was also off target. Citeh also suffered an injury blow when midfielder Micah Richards’s knee collapsed underneath him. There was a considerable about of time to get him onto a stretcher and to get an oxygen mask on him. So it was another win for the champions, but more locker-room fun for Roberto Mancini to sort through as he hope to guide the Champions to retaining the Premiership.
Arsenal 1-0 Queens Park Rangers
Mikel Arteta scores the winner in a goal-line scramble. It’s been a difficult week for the Gunners. After losing to Norwich in their last BPL match, they lost to Scalke midweek in the Champion’s League. But boss Arsene Wenger got a bit of a boost by the return of England midfielder Jack Wilshere who, after more than a year being injured, was finally able to make a start for the home side. He almost had a dream start when he collected the ball in the midfield and charged into the QPR penalty area to drive a low, left-footed shot that keeper Julio Caesar initial fumbled but was able to collect as striker Santi Cazorla was lurking around with intent. There wasn’t really much in the way of attacking traffic in the first half. After the interval, Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker forced a fine save from keeper Caesar. QPR are rooted at the bottom of the table and this match was yet another testament as to why. The only real chance QPR could muster happened when striker Junior Hoilett put the ball in the Gunners’ net, but the chance was ruled out for offside. QPR boss Mark Hughes tried to shake up the visitors’ attack by taking off Bobby Zamora and Armand Traore and replacing them with Djibril Cisse and Nedum Onuoha. But then the moment of the match occurred in the 80th minute. Stephane Mbia was fouled by Thomas Vermaelan, but as the QPR midfielder lay on the ground, his brain and his body got disconnected and he kicked out at the Arsenal skipper. The referee had no choice but to show him a straight red for violent conduct. Arsenal took advantage of the situation in the 84th minute. Olivier Giroud’s header was brilliantly saved by Caesar and after a scramble in front of the QPR goal, Arteta bundled the ball into the net. It was an ugly win, but it was a win nonetheless. Now the Harry Redknapp rumors have descended upon QPR as Hughes has become the gamblers’ favorite to be the first manager sacked for this season.
Reading 3-3 Fulham
A thrilling draw at Madjeski stadium as Reading match Fulham goal for goal in the last 13 minutes. The Royals are also seeking their first win of the season and got off to a good start as former Fulham striker Pavel Pogrebnyak should have scored a fifth minute sitter the he could only head wide of the post from five yards out from goal. Fulham’s first chance came from Dimitr Berbatov when he linked up with Hugo Rodallega but the Bulgarian’s shot was also wide of goal. Rodallega had a chance himself when he headed Kieran Richardson’s cross right into the hands of Royals’ keeper Alex McCarthy. Reading did grab the lead in the 27th minute when Jobi McAnuff made a brilliant run through the Cottagers’ midfield and made a brilliant pass to Mikele Leigertwood who drilled in a fine shot from 20 yards out. There was much joy amongst the home faithful as they saw their side ruling much of the match and they went into the half time interval in the lead. But the Cottagers got the lead in the 60th minute when forward Bryan Ruiz linked up with midfielder Damien Duff and hit a thunderbolt of a shot past keeper McCarthy. They went into the lead in the 78th minute when Chris Baird headed home Ruiz’s corner kick. Reading substitute Garath McCleary equalized for the home side in the 86th minute from close range. Late match goals are Berbatov’s specialty and he grabbed what should have been the winner in the 88th minute. But NAME Robson-Kanu rescued a point for the home side with his stoppage time goal. So while the Royal remain in the bottom three, they are still fighting for well to stay in the Premiership
Stoke 0-0 Sunderland
I swear that Tony Pulis would rather draw a match than win one. His Stoke side are absolutely boring and this match showed it. Sunderland aren’t much better and the two sides together have a combined record of 10 draws from 15 league matches this season. So watching this one was not fun at all. It was a combination of some really poor finishing, some decent goal keeping and one late claim for a penalty kick against the Sunderland that was not granted. Too add insult to injury or insanity, there was eight minutes of stoppage time added to the end of the match, but there was nothing whatsoever worth writing about. Pity.
Wigan 2-1 West Ham
The Latics make a home stand versus the Hammers. It was their first win and it ended a run of six matches without a win. West Ham have been playing some decent football of late and loanee Andy Carroll, who has yet to score for the Hammers, put some early pressure on the home side and the Latic defense was struggling a bit stay with him. But Wigan took the lead in the eight minute when defender Ivan Ramis met Jean Beausejour’s corner kick with a well-struck volley that whistled past keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen. West Ham spurned chance to equalize a little while later when they were awarded a free kick from 25 yards out, but Mark Noble could only curl the free kick into the wall. The one contribution that Carroll has made for the Hammers has been in defense and he rescued his side in the 31st minute when he headed Beausejour’s shot away from the post. The host side looked really well as the first half wound down as both strikers Franco Di Santo and Arouna Kone came very close to scoring. Wigan did double their lead in the 47th minute when West Ham keeper Jaaskerlainen botched a clearance that was eventually made its way to Shaun Maloney, who teed it up for James McArthur to drill into the net. Hammers’ boss Sam Allardyce was left frustrated as he tried to find some combination that would work to make some sort of effort on goal. But it took until two minutes into injury time for West Ham to score as James Tomkins headed in George McCartney’s cross. But it was too little too late.
Aston Villa 1-1 Norwich
Late goal secures a draw for the visitors. It was Villa boss Paul Lambert’s first encounter with Norwich since he left over the summer to take over the Birmingham side. The visiting fans did not seem to bear him any ill will, but the let it be known that they’ve moved on as they changed “There’s only one Chris Hughton” as the teams took the pitch at the beginning of the match. As the match progressed, it looked like American keeper Brad Guzan would be the man of the match for the Villains. He made several fine saves including one in the 22nd minute when Grant Holt put Wesley Hoolahan through on goal and Guzan blocked the shot with his left foot. It looks like Guzan is set to become another US keeper star alongside legends like Casey Keller, and current stars Brad Friedel, and Tim Howard. He’s clearly learned the first lesson of goal-keeping. Keep your side in it until your boys can score. And that finally happened against the run of play in the 27th minute Christian Benteke scored for the Villains. Gabriel Agbonlahor held up the ball in the midfield and released an overlapping Brett Holman whose cross found Benteke completely unmarked. He was able to calmly pick his spot and slot the ball past Canaries keeper John Ruddy and into the net. Villa were reduced to 10 min in the 52nd minute when Joe Bennett received his second booking for grabbing Canaries’ midfielder Elliot Bennett. Lambert appeared to be quite angry at the defender’s brain cramp and he was forced to take off Agbonlahor and put Eric Lichaj into the left of defense. Guzan again stepped up for the Villains when he blocked a close range effort from Hoolahan and later haved a low drive from Holt. But he couldn’t do anything about Michael Turner’s 79th minute equalizer. It came from a quickly taken corner that came to Hoolahan. He hit an in-swinging over to Turner who was able to hit a glancing header into the far corner of the net.
Everton 2-2 Liverpool
Controversy at Goodison Park as the Mersey Side Derby ends in draw. Reds boss Brendan Rogers tried shaking things up on Sunday as he started a young side that included five derby debutants – Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom, Nuri Sahin, Suso, and Joe Allen. Toffees boss David Moyes started two derby debutants of this own in Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith. What followed was one of the most open matches of this, the oldest and longest running cross city rivalry in English Football. You would figure that a star like Luis Suarez would make a statement in a match like this and he did in the 14th minute. Captain Stephen Gerrard’s pass sent Jose Enrique down the left. Enrique floated his cross through the six-yard area and Suarez drilled his shot back across goal and off defender Leighton Baines. The second for the Reds came in the 20th minute when they were awarded a free kick for a trip on Sterling. Gerrard curled in the cross for Suarez to head past keeper Tim Howard into the far corner of the net. Liverpool have had the better derby results of late and most fans were thinking that this would be another Mersey Side win for the Reds. But there is a reason why Everton are in top five this season and they got their act together in the 22nd minute. They earned a corner kick and Reds keeper Brad Jones, standing in for injured Jose Reina, was only able to punch the ball to the corner of the area. Leon Osman controlled the loose ball and volleyed it home for the first Everton goal. It may have been the youth in the Liverpool side, or the occasion, but things got a little weird. From Phil Neville taking a dive, to Howard hurtling out his goal in an attempt to get Sterling sent off for a second bookable offense, things got a bit edgy. But Everton did manage to focus long enough to get the equalizer in the 35th minute. Marouane Fellaini, back from a two match injured spell, was able to cross the ball past defender Martin SKrtel and Naismith was able to beat Enrique to the ball to finish from close range. Everton had a couple of chances to take the lead before the half time interval, but Jones was able to turn away a shot from Mirallas, and Skrtel was able to block another from the Belgian. The second half saw a number of changes made by both sides. Mirallas had to be replaced by Magaye Gueye for Everton. Rodgers made a tactical change by bringing Sebastian Coates and Jonjo Shelvey and changing the formation to 3-4-1-2. But the controversial moment of the match happened when Suarez appeared to score the winner in injury-time. But the goal was ruled out by an incorrect offside ruling by the linesman.
Newcastle 2-1 West Bromwich Albion
Papiss Cisse snatches a late winner for the Magpies. Yeah, it was a deflected shot from Sammy Ameobi’s left foot, but when your luck is in, it’s in. Demba Ba got the home side off to the lead in the 35th minute when he grabbed his seventh goal in nine starts. But the Baggies have shown a lot of fight this season and they got their equalizer in the 55th minute when striker Lukaku headed in Zoltan Gera’s cross. It was shortly after that equalizing goal that Newcastle boss Alan Pardew decided to bring on Cisse for Shola Ameobi and Gabriel Obertan for Danny Simpson. Baggies boss Ian Clark then made a real blunder by taking off Lukaku for Shane Long. With Lukaku’s exit went West Brom’s scoring chances. Pardew was forced to make another chance when he had to substitute Sammy Ameobi for an injured Ba. But it wasn’t until injury time at the end of the match that the goal came for the home side. It secured the win and kept Newcastles fine home record intact.
Southampton 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Garth Bale and Clint Dempsey combine to get a win for Spurs. Spurs have not done well at St Mary’s stadium. They hadn’t even scored in their last five previous visits there, so they were determined to reverse that trend on Sunday. They dominated the first have and Bale grabbed the first goal in the 15th minute as he marked his return to the club since the birth of his child with a wonderful header. They got the second when Southampton defender Jose Fonte made a goal line clearance that fell to Dempsey’s feet. The American striker was very thankful to pass the ball into the empty net and the Spurs went into halftime looking like the much better team. Southampton boss Nigel Adkins is feeling the pressure of being in the bottom three of the table and he got his boys moving a bit better in the second half. They managed to half the deficit in the 66th minute when Jay Rodriquez scored his first Premier League goal. They continued to press for the equalizing goal but just couldn’t make it happen.
Chelsea 2-3 Manchester United
Controversial refereeing dominates this top of the table clash at Stamford Bridge. This was the match that everyone was waiting for. A nice top of the table clash between two of the most recently successful clubs in the BPL was something that anyone would love to see. The sparks starting flying before a ball was even kicked as the teams came out for the warm-up. Rio Ferdinand had decided to wear his “Kick-it-Out” shirt, but the home fans, vented all their hatred for him and his brother Anton by booing and jeering him mercilessly. When the match did get underway, it was the visitors who got the first goal in the fourth minute. Chelsea lost possession to Robin van Persie whose shot crashed off the post and rebounded off defender David Luiz and into the net past keeper Petr Cech. United made it two when Ferdinand carried the ball out of defence and fed Rafael. The right fullback then passed to Antonio Valencia and his hard, low cross was put home by Van Persie. The European champions finally woke up midway through the first have when the first controversial referee decision occurred as Michael Carrick was not booked for chopping down Ramires. The first Chelsea goal came at the end of the first half when they were awarded a free kick after Wayne Rooney was booked for a dumb challenge on Edin Hazard. Juan Mata stepped up and hit a beautiful shot into the corner of the United goal. Mata should have equalized right before the halftime whistle by keeper David De Gea made a brilliant save to keep the visitors ahead. As the half ended, Fernando Torres, who was having yet another ugly match, was booked for a foul on Tom Cleverley. The Blues did get the equalizing goal in the 52nd minute when their best player on the day, Mata, was able to keep the ball from crossing the end line and found Oscar who was able to make a cross for Ramires to head home. Hazard should have put the Blues ahead, but twice was unlucky in front of the United goal. The match had delivered all the drama and excitement that one would expect from a top table clash. Then disaster struck for the Blues. The first catastrophe occurred when Branislov Ivanovic was sent off for bringing down Ashley Young after the midfielder was sent clean through by a brilliant Van Persie pass. Rooney hit the resulting free-kick over the goal and both sides decided to make changes. Javier Hernandez was brought on for Cleverly by United and Cesar Azpilicueta was brought on for Oscar by Chelsea. Chelsea was going to bring on Daniel Sturridge when the second catastrophe struck. Torres was shown a second yellow and sent off for diving. But replays shown that he had actually been caught by defender Johnny Evans. Well Torres wasn’t going off quietly and had a word or two for the fourth official as he went to the dressing room. It wasn’t as if the official had nothing better as he was trying to keep Roberto Di Matteo and Alex Ferguson from punching each other behind the touchline. But that was not the end of Chelsea’s catastrophes. The last insult happened in the 75th minute as United attacked the Chelsea goal. Van Persie’s shot was tipped onto the post and Rafael grabbed the rebound. He squared the ball across the Chelsea goal and Hernandez was able to turn the ball home. Replays showed that Hernandez, who had strayed offside from Van Persie’s shot, was still offside when he scored. Jon Obi Mikel and Sturridge were both booked as they vehemently confronted referee Mark Clattenburg. It was an ugly ending to what started out to be a fine match. But it leaves Chelsea just one point ahead of both Manchester teams.