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All of the nine Premier League fixtures survived the snowy conditions, and it certainly didn’t put a dampener on the games. Towards the end of the week, Southampton sacked boss Nigel Adkins, who brought the Saints into the top-flight with two successive promotions.
The footballing world has deemed the decision as harsh and unfair, and I have to agree. Their performances had improved under the former physio, and the sacking came as a shock.
His successor, Mauricio Pochettino, has to win over a lot of people, and it is perhaps too soon to judge him, although I think that the Argentine, who doesn’t speak English, will find it incredibly hard to win over his critics. Welcome to the Premier League, Mauricio!
Here are my top three games of the weekend-
Chelsea 2 Arsenal 1
This was truly a game of two half’s. Arsenal’s first half performance was sloppy, lacking passion, drive, and their players were non-existent. Young midfielder Jack Wilshere was the standout performer for the Gunners, and their defence was shaky at the best of times. Sagna had the worst game I think I’ve seen him play, and Santi Carzola went missing throughout the first forty-five minutes.
Chelsea, on the other hand, looked threatening with every attack. Hazard’s trickery, Mata’s dribbling and Ramires’ energy and drive was a joy to watch. It didn’t take long for the hosts to get over their 2-2 midweek draw at home to Southampton when they let slip a two goal lead.
Juan Mata’s driven shot sailed past ‘keeper Szczesny to send the hosts in front on six minutes, although the Gunners should have had a free-kick during the build-up. Ten minutes later, the home side were awarded a penalty after Ramires was brought down by the outstretched leg of Szczesny, although replays suggest that the Brazilian midfielder took a dive. Frank Lampard stepped up and slotted coolly into the bottom right hand corner to send out a message to the club that he’s not finished yet.
Torres struggled throughout the game and had a couple of chances to send Chelsea out of sight, but he didn’t take them and the second half was a different story.
Arsenal were a different team in the second half, they looked more up for it and were winning far more second balls, and they forced Chelsea to concentrate. Walcott halved the deficit on 58 minutes with a clinical finish, but it wasn’t enough to take a share of the points. Chelsea put in some terrific last ditch tackles, and based on their first half display, thoroughly deserved the three points.
Arsene Wenger reflected, “We gave them too much room in which to play in the first half. We had the first chance but missed it. I thought Coquelin was injured for the first [Chelsea goal], and I’m not convinced at all that it was a penalty on the second one.”
Liverpool 5 Norwich 0
It was a comfortable victory in the end for Liverpool against a team who they have memorable experiences with in recent outings. It took twenty-six minutes for the home side to break the deadlock, and it was Jordan Henderson’s top corner strike that separated the two sides.
Ten minutes later, Luis Suarez then netted at the far post to double their lead after he ran through on goal after Daniel Sturridge cleverly left the ball, and from that moment on, the Canaries were just left chirping. Suarez and new boy Sturridge linked up well throughout the game, and they seemed to just understand each other’s movements and playing styles right away.
Sturridge then converted himself on 59 minutes, becoming the first player since Ray Kennedy in 1974 to score in each of his first three games for Liverpool. Steven Gerrard’s drilled effort seven minutes later made the score 4-0 before Raheem Sterling’s cross-cum-shot ricocheted off of Ryan Bennett’s leg and into the empty net.
A game that Norwich will want to forget quickly and it will be interesting to see how they re-group next week when they play host to Non-League side Luton Town in the F.A Cup, although I expect a much changed Canaries side.
West Ham United 1 Queens Park Rangers 1
Okay, perhaps not the most glamorous of ties, but it was certainly an entertaining match. It was a much needed point for Harry Redknapp’s QPR, and it was debutant Loic Remy who popped up with the goal from outside the box to give Rangers some much needed impetus.
West Ham continued to fight, and had around forty-six crosses in the match, and their persistence finally paid off as former Hammers’ player scored his first goal on his return to Upton Park, after he pounced on a re-bound.
A point dropped, maybe, for the Hammers, and with the amount of chances they had, they could have won 10-1, but it wasn’t to be.
Team of the Week
Results in full:
Liverpool 5 – 0 Norwich
Man City 2 – 0 Fulham
Newcastle 1 – 2 Reading
Swansea 3 – 1 Stoke
West Ham 1 – 1 QPR
Wigan 2 – 3 Sunderland
West Brom 2 – 2 Aston Villa
Chelsea 2 – 1 Arsenal
Tottenham 1 – 1 Man United
Written by Adam May
Follow him on Twitter @Amay132
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