Swansea 3 – 0 West Ham
Could Swansea be a contender this season? Well, it’s a bit early for that conversation, but Michael Laudrup has Swans flying high at the top of the BPL table. Now they have played two of the lesser London sides in QPR last week and West Ham on Saturday. They’ve look great doing it last week and they made it look easy against West Ham. Now here is the weird part, they’re doing it by scoring lots of goals. They’ve score the most goals of all the teams so far this season with eight goals in two matches. Last season, they were one of the least goal scoring teams with 44 goals in 38 matches. What’s the difference? Miguel Michu. The man is the engine for Swans. He was instrumental in winning the ball in the midfield and creating the Swans’ attacks. But it was a fluke goal from Angel Rangel in the 19th minute that opened the scoring. Rangel was put into the area by Michu who then dribbled wide toward the goal line. He then hit a blind square ball that bounced off keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and into the West Ham net. The rest of the first half saw the Irons chasing Swans’ shadows with Michu dominating play. He got the second Swansea goal in the 28th minute when he latched onto a very loose back pass from Irons’ defender James Collins. The second half was more of the same domination and Wayne Routledge, in the 60th minute, made a telling pass to Danny Graham who then scored the Swans third goal to secure the match. If West Ham intend to stay in the Premiership, they will need to do more than blow bubbles.
Aston Villa 1 – 3 Everton
Oh man, I would hate to be an Aston Villa supporter just now. They haven’t started well at all and got humiliated by three first half Everton goals in front of their home fans at Villa Park. Boss Paul Lambert could end up being as hated as former boss Alex McLeish if he can’t get the Villains back to winning ways. The match went downhill for the Villains early in the 3rd minute when Steven Pienaar hit a superb strike for the first goal of the match. Steven Naismith, just signed from Glasgow Rangers, made a great cut-back pass and Pienaar hit a great curler past Shay Given into the top right corner of the net. The Toffees laid siege to the Villain goal all day and the in the 31st minute a Shay Given error allowed Marouane Fellaini to grab the second goal. Toffee captain Phil Neville almost got the third shortly there after when his shot went high and wide of the Villa goal. Leighton Baines’ cross from the left found an unmarked Nikica Jelavic in the 44th minute and Jelavic grabbed the third goal. The second half saw more Everton dominance and Pienaar twice carved up the Villa defence and made opportunities for Naismith and Jelavic. Only the intervention of defender Nathan Baker on both occasions prevented further humiliation. In the 58th minute, the Villains were reduced to 10 men when Claran Clark was sent off for bringing down Jelavic and, as the last defender, stopping a goal scoring opportunity. Villa did manage to get a consolation goal in the 75th minute when Karim El Ahmadi’s long shot managed to get past Tim Howard. Substitute Andreas Weimann hit the post in stoppage time, but Villa were never really in this match. I think it’s safe to say that the Villains will be one of the sides fighting relegation this season.
Manchester United 3 – 2 Fulham
Robin Van Persie, Shinjin Kagawa, and Rafael Da Silva finally get the Red Devils march started, albeit with a stutter step or two. The make shift United defense still has holes in it and Damien Duff found one in the third minute as he got past Rafael to grab the opening goal. But United got going when in the tenth minute Patrice Evra put over a fine cross which Van Persie met and put away with a wonder strike. Then he and Kagawa began linking up in really fine fashion and put the Cottager’s goal under great pressure. Kagawa got his first goal as a Red Devil in the 35th minute when he latched onto keeper Mark Schwarzer’s rebound from Tom Cleverly’s hard distance shot on goal. Kagawa later hit the post and Rafael had a goal disallowed for offside, but the right back later scored in the 41st minute when he headed home Ashley Young’s left wing cross. Fulham could have pulled one back right before half time when United keeper David De Gea turned back Mladen Petric’s shot onto the bar and Brian Ruiz fired the rebound over into the crowd. United should have marched on for an easy win, but once again the Red Devils took the foot off the gas pedal and in the 64th minute a mix-up between Nemenja Vidic and De Gea saw Matthew Briggs’ cross rebound off Vidic’s foot and into the United goal. That inspired Moussa Dembele who started driving hard through the United defense. De Gea was forced to make two fine saves from Dembele and stop a late Ruiz header. Vidic also made up for the own goal with a fine block from Hugo Rodallega. The win was dampened when Wayne Rooney was stretchered off in the 83rd minute after receiving a horrible gash after Rodallega caught his cleats on Rooney’s thigh. Reports are that Rooney will be out for at least four weeks. And so the growing injury list has a lot of Red Devil fans worried. Maybe this early injury bug will turn out to be a blessing as it is happening at the beginning of the season and not at the end?
Norwich 1 – 1 Queens Park Rangers
The Canaries and Rangers each get their first BPL points in a draw at Carrow Road. While it’s not a complete recovery from their respective beat downs that each suffered last week, it will do for a start. The Canaries took the lead in the 11th minute when Anthony Pilkington’s cross has headed in by Simeon Jackson from point-blank range. Eight minutes later, new Canary signing Sebastien Bassong was judged to have tripped Djbril Cisse in the penalty area. Replays of the incident made the referee’s decision appear to be a bit harsh as Cisse looked like he had fallen on his own. But a penalty kick was awarded. Cisse took the spot kick, which was saved by keeper John Ruddy. But the rebound was put home by Bobby Zamora. But replays of the kick showed that Zamora was in the area well before the kick was taken. The second half saw a bit of controversy when Robert Green appeared to handle the ball outside his area. The referee saw nothing wrong and play went on. Both sides pressed for and advantage, but the Canaries should have scored as Pilkington made great crosses for Robert Snodgrass, who headed his attempt over the goal, and Chris Martin, whose headed attempt rebounded off the cross bar. But on the whole, Canaries boss Chris Hughton and Rangers boss Mark Hughes should be satisfied with the recovery of each of his respective teams.
Southampton 0 – 2 Wigan
The Latics get two past the Saints weak looking defense. The crowd at St. Mary’s stadium saw their get off to a decent start and they controlled much of the early match. In the 14th minute, Adam Lallana had his shot from 25 yards out saved onto the crossbar by Latics keeper Ali Al-Habsi. Jay Rodriquez ad Danny Fox both had efforts blocked as the Saints continued to press the Latics. And then the rain started. The match got a bit scrappy when the second half started but livened back up when the Latics got a 51st minute lead. It started when keeper Al-Habsi made a great save from a looping, goal bound Rickie Lambert header. The Latics countered and Maloney played Di Santo through onto the Saints goal and Franco Di Santo smashed the ball into the top right-hand corner. To their credit, the Saints tried to immediately respond, but Al-Habsi was equal to the 25 yard volley from Daniel Fox. But the Saints gave the ball away a lot and we all know that is something that you cannot do if you intend to stay in the Premiership. Wigan secured the win when defender Jose Fonte lost the ball to Arouna Kone, who then ran the the length of the pitch and calmly slotted past keeper Davis. There was some question as to whether Kone had tripped Fonte to get possession, but the referee refused to hear any appeals from the Saints. Lesson for the day: if you cherish your place in the BPL, you’d better cherish the football.
Sunderland P – P Reading
Umm… It rained a bit and the pitch got waterlogged. This one got postponed.
Tottenham 1 – 1 West Bromwich Albion
James Morrison gets a stoppage time equalizer to deny Spurs and boss Andreas Villas-Boas their first win of the season. Spurs were quire wasteful in this match. Defoe came the closest to scoring at the end of the first half. He was given a neat square ball from Christian Bale, but made a weak attempt on goal that was easily saved by goalkeeper Ben Foster. That’s how it went for most of the match. Bale would do his usual hard running down the Spurs left wing. Crosses would go into the Baggies penalty area, but the finishing just was not there for Spurs. Beniot Assou-Ekotto finally got Spurs a goal in the 74th minute when his 25 yard shot was deflected past keeper Ben Foster. That should have been that and Villas-Boas should have been able to count his first victory as Tottenham boss. But someone forgot to tell West Bromwich Albion. They pressed and pressed for the equalizer. It finally came in stoppage time from James Morrison. The ball kept pinging around Spurs’ penalty area and defender William Gallas managed to clear it off the line. But Spurs failed to clear their lines and Morrison had the ball fall kindly to his feet and he eased it by keeper Brad Friedel for the equalizer. Jan Vertongen thought he had won the match for Spurs when he volleyed past keeper Foster. But the goal was ruled out for offside. It’s a long season and Villas-Boas should be able to get Spurs going. But it doesn’t look good so far.
Chelsea 2 – 0 Newcastle
The Blues made it looks easy as they get goals from Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres and ascend to the top of the BPL table. Hazard looks like a wonderful buy as he constantly exploited gaps in the Magpie defense. It looks like Torres has found the partnership that he’s been longing for since leaving Liverpool. The two of them made a great combination in the 22nd minute and Torres practically walked around defender David Santon who tripped the Spainard in the Magpie penalty area. The resulting penalty kick had some Blues fans a bit worried as the normal penalty taker, Frank Lampard, was on the bench. But Hazard stepped up to the spot and used the occasion to get his first goal as a Chelsea player. The Belgian midfielder was later provider for Torres as he set the Spainard up for his 45th minute wonder strike past keeper Tim Krul. Newcastle almost got one back before the half time whistle blew when Papiss Cisse let loose with a hard shot straight at keeper Petr Cech. To their credit, the Magpies did try to get a goal back after the half-time break. Hatem Ben Arfa an Jonas Gutierrez both put shots wide of the Blues goal and later Cech pulled off a fine save with his legs after Demba Ba made a fine run into the penalty area. But this was one of those matches that make Stamford Bridge the place where opposing teams come away with nothing but misery. So the European Champions were able to cruise to three easy points ahead of their UEFA Super Copa match on Friday.
Stoke City 0 – 0 Arsenal
Yawn. I think we can bring back the old chant of “Boring, boring Arsenal”. The match at the Britannia Stadium was quite mind-numbing affair. I know it’s a bit unfair to expect the Gunners to pick up where they left off last season, but they really are not very easy to watch. Neither are Stoke City and so the Sunday match plodded on and on. The Potters were the first to attempt an effort in the 6th minute when Jonathan Walters had his goal ruled out for offside. New Gunner boys Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski did try to lift the team out of the doldrums, and the Gunners did dominate much of the possession during the match. But they really didn’t look like making any real dent until boss Arsene Wenger put on Theo Wallcot and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Podolski and Gervinho in the 71st minute. The Gunner attack seemed to pick up a bit, but they never really troubled the Potters’ goal. In the post match interview, Wenger moaned that his attack was missing something. Well, yeah Mr. Obvious. Arsenal have not scored yet, so perhaps the attack is missing a goal scorer? Potters’ boss Tony Pulis seemed more than satisfied with the goalless draw, although he was a bit angry when Jermaine Pennant appeared to have been pushed over by Kieran Gibbs in the Arsenal penalty area and nothing was given. Wenger has a lot of rebuilding to do if the Gunners mean to challenge for silverware this season.
Liverpool 2 – 2 Manchester City
An exciting draw happened at Ainfield as Liverpool took on the Champions. This one was easily the match of the week. The Reds had a lot to play for as they pressed really hard to overcome the drubbing they got last week. It looked like a disaster for the Reds was coming when Lucas had to be substituted in the fourth minute with an injury. But that didn’t dampen the team spirit. There is a reason why Liverpool are so hard to beat at home and you could see that boss Brendan Rogers and captain Steven Gerrard have picked up the team spirit. Both new boys 17 year old striker Raheem Sterling and midfielder Joe Allen looked good and the Reds dominated much of the match. Martin Skrtel got the Kopp on their feet cheering when he headed home Gerrard’s corner kick in the 34th minute. That should have been the start of Liverpool’s win over the champions, but in the 63rd minute a defensive mix-up in the Liverpool area allowed Yaya Toure to scramble an equalizer for the Champions. But before Citeh fans could really get going singing about “Blue Moon” and start doing their backwards dance, Gerrard got hold of the ball and forced new Citeh substitute Jack Rodwell into a hand-ball gaff at the 66th minute. The free kick was placed about 25 yards from the Citeh goal and Luis Suarez hit an amazing free kick that had keeper Joe Hart clawing nothing but air and the Reds had the lead again. But once again, Liverpool’s defending let them down in the 80th minute when Skrtel went from hero to goat by making a horrible back pass that went right to Carlos Tevez. Tevez easily went around keeper Pepe Reina and slotted home the equalizer. It looked like Citeh were going to steal yet another stoppage time win as they pressed the Liverpool goal. But the Reds managed to successfully shake off the effects of Skrtel’s brain freeze and saw out the draw to claim a much deserved point. One Citeh player who seemed to be missing in action was Mario Balotelli. The Reds successfully kept him in check and never allowed him to do any real damage. Boss Roberto Mancini was really angry when Carlos Tevez’s effort on goal, which bounced off the cross bar and along the goal line, was lamely watched by Balotelli who probably could have hustled to push the ball over the line. Citeh’s comeback seemed to be sparked when Mancini hauled off Balotelli in the 62nd minute and put on Edin Dzeko. Could Balotelli still be a tired from this summer, or will he finally be sent packing?