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Barclay’s Premier League Week 4 Wrap-Up

 Posted by on September 18, 2013 at 10:01 pm  Blogs/Media, England, EPL
Sep 182013

Aston Villa 1 – 2 Newcastle

Yoan Gouffran’s second half strike is good enough for the win for the Magpies.  There was a lot of yelling and screaming by Geordie fans coming into this match. They had started the season so badly when they got spanked by Manchester City and later drew against West Ham.  But after beating Fulham in their last match and winning on Saturday, the pressure may have eased a bit from Magpies’ boss Alan Pardew.  Villa, on the other hand, have really lost their way since their amazing opening day win over Arsenal.  Saturday’s defeat is their third in a row.  The problem the Villains seem to be having is in their defending and it happened again in the 18th minute when Karim El Ahmadi lost the ball to Loic Remy.  Remy was then able to elude Matthew Lowton and hit a cut-back pass for Papiss Cisse.  Cisse then poked the ball over to Hatem Ben Arfa and the French midfielder slotted the ball home for the opening goal.  Villa were able to respond in the 38th minute Christian Benteke’s shot on goal was blocked by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.  As the first half wore down, both Ciaran Clark and Andreas Weimann had opportunities to equalize, but each shot on goal was shot wide of the net.  As the second half got underway, Antonio Luna had a great chance to equalize, but decided to hit a centering pass that was cleared by Davide Santon.  USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan had to make a save from Ben Arfa in the 60th minute and Villa boss Paul Lambert had seen enough.  He took off an ineffective El Ahmadi and replaced him with Libor Kozak.  The change injected a bit of life into the Villa midfield and they got a good attack going when Magpies’ defender Fabricio Coloccini was forced to clear a Lowton cross away for a corner kick.  Ashley Westwood took the kick that was headed home by Benteke for the equalizer.  But just when Villa thought their bad luck had gone away, Guzan fumbled a Ben Arfa shot right to Gouffran’s feet that was poked home for the winning goal.  With that result, one can’t help wondering if Villa are going to struggle with relegation again this season.

Fulham 1 – 1 West Bromwich Albion

Gareth McAuley’s stoppage time goal rescues a point for the Baggies.  It was the first goal of the season for the Baggies and it was needed to cancel out Steve Sidwell’s 22nd minute half-volley shot from Alex Kacaniklic’s corner kick.  There wasn’t a whole lot to this match and Fulham thought they were on the way to ending their five match home winless streak when Sidwell scored.  Dimitar Berbatov thought he had gotten a second goal for the home side when he found the net in the 32nd minute.  But the goal was disallowed for offside and the replay showed that the striker was clearly in violation.  Chris Brunt tried to get the visitors going in the 38th minute when he lined up to takethe free kick after Scott Parker fouled Youssouf Mulumbu.  But the midfielder’s shot went well wide of the Fulham goal.  And so it went for the Baggies.  They seemed doomed to defeat as not even Nicolas Anelka could get a goal for them as David Stockdale blocked his 74th minute strike on goal after Victor Anichebe got him in on a good run on goal.  The miracle for the Baggies came from Brunt’s corner kick when McAuley managed to out jump everyone in the area and head the ball into the net for the equalizer.

Hull 1 – 1 Cardiff

The Tigers and the Bluebirds share the spoils at the KC Stadium.  It was the result that could be expected from both newly promoted sides from the Championship.  Both sides would rue missed chances throughout the match.  Danny Graham had a chance to put Hull into the lead in the sixth minute, but he knocked his shot over the goal.  The home side dominated most of the first half possession, but James Chester nearly gave away a penalty kick in the 16th minute for his challenge on Kim Bo-kyung.  Luckily the referee waved away any penalty claim.  It took until the 30th minute for Cardiff to get anything of significance on goal.  Peter Whittingham Was able to find Gary Medel’s run toward the Tigers’ goal, but the Chilean’s first touch was a bit heavy and keeper Allan McGregor was able to make the save.  The first goal finally came in the 39th minute when Curtis Davies headed the Tigers into the lead from Tom Huddlestone’s cross.  Cardiff nearly equalized in the 50th minute when Jake Livermore did well to block Aron Gunnarsson’s shot on the Tigers’ goal.  The Bluebirds did level the score in the 59th minute when Don Cowie was able to hit a great pass that Whittingham poked home with his left foot.  They should have taken the lead in the 62nd minute when Gunnarsson missed his header to the right of goal.  So with the score deadlocked, neither side was able to make any critical breakthrough.  Graham’s stoppage time header went right to Cardiff keeper Joe Lewis and that was that.  Both coaches afterward felt that was a fair result.  Let’s see if both sides will be able to maintain this level of play.

Stoke 0 – 0 Manchester City

The Potters hold Citeh to a goalless draw at the Britannia Stadium.  From the look of things in this match, Citeh boss Manuel Pellegrini is still trying to find some sort of spark to get his side going.  He made several changes coming into this match as he started Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo in place of Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko.  He also started Javi Garcia in place of Joleon Lesscot.  They should had an early goal from Aleksandar Kolarov, but his second minute shot was nowhere near the goal.  Potters’ boss Mark Hughes was looking forward to playing against his former employers.  He had made some major changes in the style the Potters would play and even had the fans singing about their passing.  They had their own chance to score in the 13th minute when Charlie Adam’s brilliant cross was headed just wide of the goal by Jonathan Walters.  They had another chance in the 32nd minute when Kenwyne Jones’ shot was parried away from the goal by Citeh keeper Joe Hart.  The second half saw the Potters’ continue their domination.  Though they dominated most of the play, they just couldn’t score.  First Jonathan Walters missed his chance in the 49th minute when he misconnected on Geoff Cameron’s cross.  Next was Francisco Javi Garcia’s gift to the home side when the defender failed to take care of the ball.  Lucky for Citeh, Pablo Zabaleta was able to clear it away from danger.  Citeh had a chance to steal the victory in stoppage time, but Negredo flubbed his shot.  So the frustration continues for Pellegrini.

Sunderland 1 – 3 Arsenal

Aaron Ramsey gets a brace in Mesut Ozil’s Arsenal debut.  This was a match that Black Cats’ boss Paolo Di Canio is probably still angry about.  It was supposed to be all about former Real Madrid star Ozil and his new role in Arsene Wenger’s formation.  The German international was the key in the first goal when he got on the end of Carl Jenkinson’s long pass in the 10th minute and with a deft touch was able to find Olivier Giroud’s run into the area.  Giroud was able to poke the goal home with his left and it looked like the start of Arsenal domination.  But the one good thing Di Canio has been able to instill into the Black Cats is a never quit attitude.  They nearly equalized in the 13th minute when defender Modibo Diakite hit the bar with his header of Charis Mavrias’ corner kick.  Sunderland keeper Lee Westwood did his part to keep his side in the game during the first half as he twice denied Theo Walcott to keep his side in the match.  They got their chance to level the score in the second half when, in the 47th minute, Gunners’ defender Laurent Koscielny brought down Craig Gardner in the box.  Gardner scored the spot kick to lift the home side.  They thought they had taken the lead in the 59th minute when Steven Fletcher got the ball into the net.  The goal was ruled out for offside and Gardner’s 61st minute free-kick bounced off the post.  The Gunners took the lead back in the 67th minute when Ramsey volleyed home Jenkinson’s cross from the right.  The Black Cats thought they had equalized again two minutes later when USA International Jozy Altidore wrestled away from Bacary Sagna’s grip on his shirt and managed to roll the ball into the goal.  But the referee disallowed the goal and brought the ball back for a free kick and a booking for Sagna.  Di Canio was ranting by this time and his mood got worse Ozil and Giroud linked up to create Ramsey’s opportunity to score his second in the 75th minute.  Di Canio vented his frustrations to the fourth official and shortly afterward was banned from the touchline for the rest of the match.  Not much else happened as the Gunners coasted to the win.  Di Canio is sure to receive some punishment from the FA again.

Tottenham 2 – 0 Norwich

Gylfi Sigurdsson’s brace helps Spurs to the win at White Hart Lane.  And so, the Post-Bale era has begun.  The Welsh winger is gone to Spain and the question for boss Andre Villas-Boas was how would the team cope without him.  “Just fine, thanks” appeared to be the answer Saturday as they got over their painful North London Derby loss to Arsenal from last week.  They seem to have found a new talisman in Christian Eriksen as he showed time again a great turn of pace and great vision.  It didn’t take too long for the home side to open up the Canaries defense as Eriksen wriggled through in the 11th minute and hit a shot on goal that keeper John Ruddy parried into the path of Roberto Soldado.  Alas Soldado’s strike bounced off the post and Javier Garrido was able to clear for the Canaries.  Eriksen was the orchestrator again when his 25th minute corner kick fell to Soldado’s feet again.  This time, the Spaniard’s shot was blocked by Sebastien Bassong.  Spurs finally got their goal in the 27th minute when Eriksen took Danny Rose’s pass and fed Sigurdsson who slotted home past Ruddy.  Rose had a chance to score in the 31st but his shot went just wide right of the goal.  Spurs nearly gave up the lead in the 34th minute when Ricky van Wolfswinkel took advantage of some slack defending to get in on goal.  Fortunately Rose was able to block the shot and the hosts finished the half with the lead.  The second goal came in the 48th minute when Erikson picked up a loose ball in the midfield, fed Paulinho whose shot rebounded off Ruddy’s hands and onto Sigurdsson’s left foot which he calmly poked home.  That goal pretty much ended any opposition from the Canaries and although Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris had a brain cramp in the 84th minute when he was booked for handling outside of his area, it was an easy win for the home side.

Everton 1 – 0 Chelsea

Roberto Martinez’s Toffees get the win at home over “The Special One”.  This one was supposed to be an easy win for Chelsea as they were on the path to obtaining the BPL Championship under the direction of the legendary Jose Mourinho.  Surely a team coached by the man who couldn’t keep Wigan from getting relegated wouldn’t be able to put together any sort of opposition, right?  I mean, after all when Mourinho was in charge back in 2004, the wins were easy.  Well, someone forgot to tell the Toffees about the Mourinho Legacy because they fought very well in this scrappy match on Saturday.  It was Samuel Eto’o’s debut match for Chelsea and the striker had the chance to score in the fifth minute from Ramires’ cross. But his header missed off to the right of the goal on what should have been an easy finish for the Cameroonian international.  He had another chance in the 17th minute but totally mishit his shot.  The Blues were almost gifted a goal in the 28th minute when Toffees’ keeper Tim Howard made an awful pass out of his own penalty area.  The ball landed at Andre Schurrle’s feet and he squared for Eto’o.  Gareth Barry rescued his goal keeper when he was able to block Eto’o’s effort on goal and the score remained 0-0.  In the 30th minute, Howard made up for his earlier gaff by pulling off an amazing save from Ramires shot from close range.  It looked like the match would go into the half time interval deadlocked when, in stoppage time, Leon Osman hit a cross to the far post that Nikica Jelavic stretched for with all he had and managed to head across for Steven Naismith to head home.  Although the Blues came out from the break with more aggression, the Toffees had an answer for everything that was thrown at them.  Right from the start, Ramires played in Schurrle, but his effort went into the side netting.  In the 65th minute, Ramires missed another chance when his effort from a Branislav Ivanovic cross missed the goal.  As the match wound down toward the end, Chelsea seemed to get more and more frustrated.  David Luiz was booked in the 82nd minute when he grabbed Kevin Mirallas at the half like when the Everton forward looked like getting on the end of a Sylvain Distin clearance with a possible one-on-one chance on keeper Petr Cech.  Leighton Baines almost made it two goals to the good when his free-kick bounced off the bar.  The last Chelsea effort came from substitute Fernando Torres as he made a weak attempt on goal that missed off to the right.  So the final whistle condemned Mourinho to only 7 points in four matches.  Maybe he isn’t so special anymore.

Southampton 0 – 0 West Ham

Hammers Keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen saves a point for the Hammers at rain-soaked St. Mary’s Stadium.  There wasn’t going to be any bubble-blowing in the South of England on Sunday.  The rain had been going all weekend and continued to be factor throughout the match.  The Saints however seemed to thrive in the conditions.  They had a chance to take the lead in the 10th minute of the match when Jay Rodriguez hit a cut back pass for Pablo Osvaldo.  But the Italian’s shot was blocked smartly by the West Ham keeper and he was able to get quickly back to his feet to block the rebound shot from Rickie Lambert.  The Hammers thought they had scored in the 30th minute when Matthew Jarvis got through one-on-one with Saints’ keeper Artur Boruc.  Jarvis was able to get the ball into the net past Boruc, but the goal was disallowed for offside.  That was pretty much the extent of the attacking in the first half.  The second half saw the home side increase their pressure on the Hammers’ goal, but Jaaskelainen was equal to every challenge that came his way.  The best chance came when Morgan Schneiderlin tried to hit a volley shot on goal and the Hammers’ keeper was able to beat it away around the post.  A bit later, he also was able to get his finger tips to a Lambert curling shot.  So it ended with a point for each side.

Swansea 2 – 2 Liverpool

It’s a Monday thriller at Liberty Stadium.  And the main character Monday was former Red Jonjo Shelvey.  Shelvey had left Liverpool for the South Wales club over the summer and was looking to get a bit of revenge on his former employers.  Liverpool were always going to be tough to beat as boss Brendan Rodgers seems to have his boys on a tear.  They have yet to lose this season and have done all this without their Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez.  Suarez has two more matches to serve from his ban from last season, so the burden of the Reds’ attack has fallen onto Daniel Sturridge and now Victor Moses.   Shelvey opened the scoring for Swans in the 2nd minute when he was able to get ahold of Jordan Henderson’s clearance, dance past Mamadou Sakho and shoot at goal.  Although Reds’ keeper Simon Mignolet was able to get the block in, Shelvey poked home the rebound.  No sooner had the Swans’ fans started singing their praises for their new hero, he gaffed up an incredible brain cramp.  He played an absolutely blind back pass that Sturridge gladly gobbled up and slammed home the equalizer.  Things went from bad to worse for Shelvey and the Swans in the 35th minute when he hit another loose pass that Moses pounced on.  The new Liverpool signing then glided through the Swans defense and his right foot put his side into the lead.  Half time couldn’t come soon enough for Shelvey and Swansea and boss Michael Laudrup knew he had to find a way to get his new guy to get focused back on playing football.  Whatever was said at the interval didn’t seem to take right away as in the 55th minute, Shelvy and former teammate Lucas Leiva squared up to each other.  Shelvey was lucky to receive only a booking and that seemed to calm the midfielder down a bit.  He reclaimed his hero status in the 63rd minute when he was able to head a cleared ball forward into Michu’s path and the Spanish striker was able to hit the equalizer underneath Mignolet.  Swansea almost grabbed the victory toward the end of the match when substitute Jonathan de Guzman’s shot was tipped away by Mignolet.  But the match finished as a draw and Liverpool, undefeated in their first four matches, maintain their perch on top of the BPL table.  I’ll bet Mr. Paisley is pleased with what’s gone on so far.

Lanny Short

  2 Responses to “Barclay’s Premier League Week 4 Wrap-Up”

  1. Chelsea’s start isn’t really very surprising at all. We have an extremely different team then the one which won back to back prem’s some years back. Mou, has a big job at hand with a very young team and he himself has said he is working with “young eggs who need a mum”. I have confidence in the man to get this team jelled and it’s very early days indeed. I agree he’s not the special one anymore, however he is the “happy one”. Nice write up’s Lanny..

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