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Newcastle 0 West Ham 1
In Sunday’s clash, Sam Allardyce’s West Ham took on Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United. I have been really impressed with the Hammers so far on their return to the top-flight, and manager Allardyce should take the plaudits for the recruitments he has made in signing some physical players that can cope in the Premier League and ultimately win matches.
It was a scrappy first half with many stray passes and shots. The goal came on 37 minutes after Joey O’Brian’s miss-hit shot fell to Nolan who stabbed home against his former club.
Newcastle were not up to their usual best, although Demba Ba thought he had equalised, but the officials decided that Hammers ‘keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen had prevented his header from crossing the line.
On-loan forward Andy Carroll, also playing against his former employers, thought he gave his side some breathing space, and if it was not for Tim Krul’s brilliant save, he definitely would have done.
That save kept the Toon’s in the game, although Ba and Ben Arfa couldn’t capitalise on the chances they were given.
Aston Villa 2 Manchester United 3
Paul Lambert’s Villa haven’t had the season they would have wanted and expected so far, and the amount of injuries the club have suffered has been a large contributor to the under par performances.
However, after some impressive breaks of play in the first half, Lambert’s men took the lead just before the break through Andreas Weimann’s wonder goal. He then doubled their lead five minutes after the interval, to send the Villa into a position they haven’t felt this season.
Just before the second goal, Javier Hernandez, arguably Manchester United’s in form striker,was sent on for a game he will never forget. He halved the deficit via a low, hard strike to give the red devils some hope, and to rattle the Villa supporters’ nerves.
Hernandez then saw his 68th minute effort deflected in to level the scoring and then they really kicked into gear. They kept on testing Villa, and van Persie hit the bar on a couple of occasions to send warning signals to the opposition.
Three minutes from time, Hernandez headed in from close range to seal united top of the table.
Arsenal 3 Fulham 3
Olivier Giroud opened the scoring on 11 minutes with a superbly guided header, which Mark Schwarzer probably could have kept out. Arsenal looked in top form and were dominant in the early stages as Fulham struggled to settle into the game, and they then went further behind through Lukas Podolski’s close-range finish.
On 29 minutes, Dimitar Berbatov injected some belief into the Fulham players through his well taken goal. Then, substitute Kacaniklic levelled on 40 minutes to switch the focus to the Cottagers. Then, Fulham were awarded a stonewall penalty as Mikel Arteta pulled down Bryan Ruiz. Berbatov never looked likely to miss, and he slotted home the spot kick in cool fashion.
The lead didn’t last long though, and Olivier Giroud made amends from his shot which hit the post seconds before by netting his second goal of the game through a superb header. It was a close game in the end, but the drama didn’t stop there.
Bryan Ruiz played a long diagonal ball which played in Arsenal forward Andre Arshavin who then earned a dubious penalty as Chris Baird allegedly committed handball.
Justice was done, as Mikel Arteta’s penalty in the last second of the game was saved by the Fulham ‘keeper.
Manchester City 2 Tottenham 1
Man City’s second half display was a vast improvement on their first.
They looked lacklustre, and were very poor when it came to defending set pieces. They were punished by their own zonal marking system as Steven Caulker ran through unmarked to head home and give Tottenham a deserved half time lead.
The second half was an improvement for the Citizens, and that was partly because of Mancini’s decision to bring on Maicon and covert to three at the back, which I felt hasn’t worked for them and it has cost them games. Sergio Agϋero levelled for Man City with a brilliant left footed effort which guided past Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel.
Then it was time for the super sub! Edin Dzeko was brought on to do some damage which he has delivered time in time out this season. On 88 minutes, David Silva, who didn’t have the best of games, chipped a delightful chipped pass which fell to Dzeko who swiveled and struck a left footed volley to send AVB’s Tottenham back to London empty handed.
Bale, Adebayor and Lennon were all disappointing and were the reason why they didn’t collect at least a point.
Everton 2 Sunderland 1
Everton continued their impressive start to the campaign against a Sunderland side that have had a very different start to the season.
However, it was the Black Cats that got their noses in front thanks to an Adam Johnson goal. Prior to the game Sunderland had only one league goal scorer, and it surprised me what a shocking and uneasy start to the season they’ve had.
Everton came back fighting and scored two goals in as many minutes to make sure they didn’t slump to an embarrassing defeat. Midfield powerhouse Fellaini levelled with a good strike, and Jelavic sealed the three points on 79 minutes.
Chelsea 1 Liverpool 1
I thought this was easily Liverpool’s best performance under Brendan Rodgers. They moved the ball fluently and really look like they want to play in the philosophy that the manager enforces.
They went behind though on 20 minutes as John Terry made his return to the team after sitting out four games due to being found guilty of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. Terry rose above all to thump a header past ‘keeper Brad Jones who could only stand and watch.
Terry’s game was cut short though as he collided with Liverpool forward Luis Suarez, and at a first glance it looked like he had done some damage to his knee ligaments. Since the game, it has been reported that Terry has suffered “No significant damage”.
On 73 minutes, Luis Suarez headed home from a yard out to earn Liverpool a point, although they had numerous chances to score at least another two, and their performance merited a win.
Wigan 1 West Brom 2
West Brom have been brilliant so far this season, and Steve Clarke has done a superb job with the team. Morrison opened the scoring on 31 minutes with a well-timed header, and then their second came two minutes from time as Billy Jones’ strike took a deflection off Gary Caldwell who put the ball past his own ‘keeper.
1 minute later, Kone halved the deficit to rattle a few nerves, although the Baggies saw the game out to record their first away win of the season.
Stoke 1 QPR 0
QPR slumped to the bottom of the league with only four points from a possible 33 points after another lacklustre performance.
QPR seem to have too many individuals, and lack a leader who can change the game and keep the team motivated. It was a goalless first half, and it took a Charlie Adam strike, his first goal for the Potters, to separate the two sides.
Both had chances, although the score line doesn’t really reflect Stoke’s dominance.
Southampton 1 Swansea 1
The Saints showed yet again that they simply cannot hold onto lead. Morgan Schneiderlin scored his second league goal for Southampton with a header from close range with 64 minutes played. Nine minutes later, Nathan Dyer converted from just inside the penalty area to send the Swans back to Wales with a deserved point.
January will be a big opportunity to change the Saints’ fortunes, but it will have to take a big signing to do so with their frailties that glisten week in week out.
Reading 0 Norwich 0
Reading were perhaps the better of the two teams, although Canaries striker Grant Holt headed over a great chance in the second half.
Both teams have been poor, and I’m sure they will also have one eye on January.
Team of the week
Written by Adam May
Follow him on Twitter @Amay132
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