What we learned from the weekend: Premier League Round-up
Colin Armstrong gives his views on another exciting weekend in the English Premier League. What did you make of the action?
Week two of the 2013-2014 English Premier League season has been and gone. With nine matches across Saturday and Sunday, Manchester United host Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea at Old Trafford on Monday night for David Moyes first home match as the Red Devils manager to finish off this round.
There were seventeen goals across the fixtures as each side furiously attempt to bring in one or two players before the window shuts on September 2. Now only one more round of fixtures will take place before we know the squads that will compete in the Prem until January.
Will Suarez stay at Liverpool? Is Rooney happy to sit on the bench at United? Will Cabaye say Cabyebye to Newcastle? Will Bale take his smug face and trademark celebration to Spain? Will Jose sting Spurs again? There is sure to be some additions and departures over the next fortnight, anything could happen. Football is madness. Cash will be splashed.
This is how the weekend went down…
Citizens beaten by Bluebirds or is it Red Dragons?
Manchester ‘Millions’ City had another summer of big spending adding to an already bulging squad. Negredo, Jovetic, Fernandinho and Navas have been added to the side at a combined (estimated) £84m, laughing in the face of financial fair play. New boys Cardiff are just happy to be here. After years on the cusp the Welsh newcomers are looking merely to survive in the top-flight and preserve their ‘Premier League status’ (and bank a lot of TV money for their troubles).
But it’s not all about money, on their day any eleven men can beat another, how did Cardiff cope against Manchester City this weekend? It started well for the home side, Malky Mackay’s men stifled the City midfield and attack managing to keep the game level going into the break.
However, early in the second half Edin Dzeko found the net after a nice back-heel from Sergio Agüero gave the Bosnian the opportunity to drive City ahead from outside the box. Cardiff rallied and with half an hour to play drew level with a scrappy but vital goal from Aron Gunnarsson. The home crowd willed the team on and Cardiff took advantage of terribly poor Manchester City defending to score twice in quick succession, through Frazier Campbell to pull two goals ahead.
It wasn’t over there, Manchester City new-boy Negredo notched a league goal for the visitors but with only stoppage time left to play, Cardiff held off to take the points. A fantastic way to start your home games in the Premier League for Cardiff and a warning for Manchester City that it wont all go their way this season.
All Gunners Blazing at Craven Cottage…
Arsenal started the season losing 3:1 at home to Aston Villa, the first loss in a long unbeaten run in the league. Wenger survived a ‘poisonous atmosphere’ at the Emirates to go on and see his Arsenal side cruise to a 3:1 win in Istanbul over Fenerbahce. Back on British shores the gunners faced Fulham in a London derby that produced yet another 3-1 result.
The match was played in the midst of a torrential downpour or what would be referred to as a light drizzle in Glasgow. The match endured and there was some great football played, despite being underwater. Arsenal looked different from the outset, both mentally and tactically. Defending in numbers and looking to break with pace.
After a good spell in possession the ball broke kindly to Olivier Giroud who found the back of the net with a delicate finish to put Arsenal ahead in the derby. After a spell of Fulham pressure Arsenal broke again through Ramsey and Walcott as the ball broke to Lukas Podolski, who marked his return to the starting eleven by blasting it into the net to give Arsenal a two-goal half-time lead.
Looking confident, with inspired performances from Santi Cazorla and the tireless Aaron Ramsey, a delightful touch and run from Giroud allowed Podolski the space to rifle in his second goal of the game and Arsenal’s third. The gunners were in complete control but managed to concede after a deflected Dimitar Berbatov shot broke to Darren Bent who notched home on his debut for the Cottagers.
3-1 it finished again, as people flock to the bookies to stick 3-1 as the result for the North London Derby next weekend. The win means Arsenal become the first side to win 100 top-flight derbies. A few additions expected at the Emirates including ex-gunner Flamini before the window closes.
Goal of the weekend: Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) Vs. Cardiff City.
Player of the weekend: Santi Cazorla (Arsenal) – pass completion rate 94% vs. Fulham.
Elsewhere in the league:
Daniel Sturridge made it eight goals in his last seven Premier League games with a terrific goal that saw Liverpool steal the points from a solid Aston Villa side at Villa Park, 1-0.
Mark Hughes got his and Stoke City’s first points of the season with a home win over Crystal Palace. Charlie Adam and Ryan Shawcross got the goals after Chamakh (no, really) scored for Palace at the Britannia, 2-1.
Southampton’s first home game of the season didn’t go all to plan after they conceded early to a headed Giaccherini goal for Sunderland. The Saints pushed hard and finally found a late equalising goal through Jose Fonte at St Mary’s, 1-1.
Newcastle failed to find the net in their first home game of the season against Sam Allerdyce’s West Ham United. Luckily for the magpies the hammers were equally inept at scoring at St James Park, it finished 0-0.
Hull earned their first win of the season at the KC over a much-fancied Norwich City side. Yannick Sagbo played both the saint and sinner after winning the penalty that Liam Brady dispatched; he was shown a red card for a stupid off the ball incident, 1-0.
A fluent and attacking Everton side failed to break down West Bromwich Albion as keeper Ben Foster pulled off some great saves to earn the Baggies a point at Goodison Park, 0-0.
Manchester United host Chelsea at Old Trafford on a newly laid pitch tonight (Monday).