We’re back to look at the biggest fixtures of the week in this week’s Premier League Review.
Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal
It was both Arsène Wenger’s and Arsenal’s first return to the Bridge since their diabolical 6-0 defeat last season, which saw the Blues run rampant and left the Arsenal fans questioning Wenger’s future. It took a while for Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea to make an impact on the game, but Arsenal’s resilience was somewhat short lived; Laurent Koscielny’s infringement on Eden Hazard cost Arsenal a penalty, which resulted in Hazard breaking the deadlock, confidently dispatching from the spot. The game was heavily fought and I don’t just mean between the players; Mourinho and Wenger nearly coming to blows on the touchline as things heated up. Sadly for the Gunners, Diego Costa was there to cool things down. A perfectly executed pass by Cesc Fabregas saw Costa effortlessly guide the ball over Wojciech Szczęsny’s head to put Chelsea out of sight and to leave Mourinho’s undefeated record against Arsène Wenger unblemished.
Liverpool 2-1 West Brom
After having a shambolic beginning to the season, the 2013-2014 runners-up restored some belief and pride to the Anfield faithful, beating West Brom by a one goal deficit. Jordan Henderson’s goal was eventually the difference. The match was closely contested and the teams were evenly matched for the majority of the game. Both teams traded blows through Adam Lallana and Saido Berahino who added their names to the score sheet. Unfortunately for the ferocious West Brom side, Liverpool’s class paid dividends; a neat pass back by Raheem Sterling saw Jordan Henderson calmly slot the ball home to secure the Reds a well fought three points.
Swansea 2-2 Newcastle
Having been sacked by the Newcastle fans, but not by the owner, Mike Ashley, Alan Pardew remained in charge for the tie with Swansea. Despite the endless criticism Pardew has publicly received by well-renowned footballing icons as well as the general public, he has done noticeably well not to lose his head (no pun intended) in this incredibly hard period. In contrast, Swansea have been flying high in the Premier League this season. Having only lost two games, Garry Monk’s side have been battling it out at the top with the ‘big boys’. Swansea took the lead twice in the game, once through Wilfried Bony and then Wayne Routledge, yet for both of Swansea’s goals, Newcastle produced answers and eventually shared the spoils at the Liberty Stadium.
Manchester United 2-1 Everton
This was United’s and Louis van Gaal’s second win on the bounce after a worrying start to the season. Ángel Di María scored his second goal of the campaign to make it 1-0 to the Red Devils, but Steven Naismith levelled the scoring in the 55th minute with a good effort to beat the exceptional David De Gea, who put in a flawless display. Radamel Falcao eventually got the winner to decide the clash, giving United the three points going into the International break. Everton have had a somewhat inconsistent season so far and will be seeking to improve on recent performances with young Ross Barkley yet to make a return.
West Ham 2-0 QPR
The Hammers have been a force to be reckoned with recently, cruising past Liverpool, and narrowly losing to Manchester United; it wasn’t going to be easy for the struggling QPR side who sit in the bottom three. West Ham went into this game oozing confidence; their new style of impressive football has kept their demanding, and previously frustrated fans, happy and entertained. Nedum Onuoha’s fifth-minute own goal put The Claret and Blues in front, and then in the 59th, Diafra Sakho put the East Londoners 2-0 up, leaving the hoops of West London a lot to do. A comeback was clearly not on the cards for Redknapp’s side who have been deficient in the goals department this season having only scored a mere four in eight games.
Sunderland 3-1 Stoke City
Having not recorded a win yet this season, Gus Poyet’s Sunderland were desperate to prove their critics wrong. The Mackems’ strike force has received much criticism over the past few weeks, Steven Fletcher still yet to score in 2014 and Connor Wickham yet to get off the mark this season having been an integral part of Sunderland’s revival last term. After four minutes, Wickham was on the end of Fletcher’s sweetly timed cross, which put the hosts a goal to the good. The away side soon shared spoils at the Stadium Of Light as Charlie Adam dribbled through the Sunderland defence with ease to slot the ball past Vito Mannone. It was to be another Scotsman though, who would put Sunderland 2-1 up: Steven Fletcher with his first goal of this calendar year. Stoke relentlessly pressed Sunderland, and the tension built around the Stadium, but Wickham and Fletcher combined put the Sunderland fans at ease as Fletcher, assisted by Wickham, made it 3-1 and helped clinch Sunderland’s first three points of the season.
Leicester City 2-2 Burnley
This game was tipped to be a rather one-sided affair, Leicester were going into the game with their tails up coming off the back of a shocking win against Manchester United only two weeks previously. Burnley were on the other end of the spectrum building up to this game, looking to get back on track after a humiliating 4-0 defeat at the hands of West Brom. There were three goals in the space of seven minutes. Leicester took the lead as expected half an hour in, but Burnley equalised shortly after, before Leicester regained the lead a minute later. It wasn’t until the 91st minute that Sean Dyche’s Burnley stunned the King Power stadium, with a last minute, last gasp, sublime equaliser, with Ross Wallace sending a free kick into the back of the Leicester net.
Hull City 2-0 Crystal Palace
Both teams had enjoyed decent starts to this campaign; Palace hadn’t lost a league game under their new boss Neil Warnock, and Hull had been scoring goals for fun – eleven in total. Hull looked considerably dangerous in attack; Abel Hernández and Nikica Jelavić have been on top form and unthreatened throughout the game. Crystal Palace never seemed to make a real impact and as a result, Hull took advantage. Mo Diame scored his third goal since his arrival from West Ham to make it 1-0 and then Jelavic coolly placed the ball past Palace keeper, Julián Speroni to win the game comfortably – 2-0. The visitors left with their unbeaten record under Warnock tarnished, and Hull recorded their first clean sheet of the season.
Aston Villa 0-2 Manchester City
Although going into this game Manchester City were the favourites, Aston Villa were on terrific form of recent weeks beating the likes of Liverpool at Anfield. Villa supressed much of City’s early pressure, despite the League holders coming close to scoring, with City’s Pablo Zabaleta having his shot cannoning off the post. Aston Villa made it hard for the Champions to break them down and it wasn’t until right at the death that Man City clinched victory, Yaya Touré squeezing in a goal with admirable ease, and then Sergio Agüero with a typical trademark finish to see the sky blues go into the International break with a hard earned win at Villa Park.
Tottenham 1-0 Southampton
It was a fairly tight game in North London between two sides who have had good starts to the season; Southampton have thrived under new manager Ronald Koeman and sit third in the Premiership having only lost two games. This was the first meeting for Mauricio Pochettino with his former club whom he had achieved much success with. The game was evenly contested until Christian Eriksen broke the deadlock with a great strike to hand the Tottenham the win.
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