Colin Armstrong takes us through the weekends English Premier League action and looks at how the new arrivals to the league fared. Do you agree or disagree with Colin? What were your highlights of the weekends action? Let us know in the comments section below, or tweet us @90minutecynic.
Another big weekend in the Premier League has delivered some shock results, terrific goals and the return of part-time vampire Luis Suarez. There was the clash between the two Portuguese men o’ war in the London derby, as the master Mourinho travelled to White Hart Lane to face his former assistant Andre Villas Boas and much more for us to sink our teeth into (I’m looking at you Suarez).
The weekend brought twenty-four goals, controversy, tested the newly instilled goal-line technology system and saw the champions drop out of the top half of the table. This is how it all went down across the nine games.
Albion the Job Centre By the End of the Season…
Manchester United, fresh from a defeat at the Etihad in the Manchester derby, hosted West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford looking to get back on track with a win after overcoming Liverpool in the cup mid-week. In a subdued atmosphere the game looked open from the outset as West Brom found good spells of possession from the early stages.
United came close to opening the scoring through a header from Anderson that struck the bar mid-way through the half but the Baggies stood firm as new-signing Stéphane Sességnon grew into the game showing drive, power and ability on the ball. Despite a few chances at either end it went in goalless at half time.
After the break, counter attacking on a United move, Morgan Amalfitano received the ball in the Baggies half before beating three defenders and coolly dinking the ball over a flailing David De Gea to notch the visitors deservedly into the lead. Question marks will be raised about Rio and the Red Devil’s defending but the goal was absolutely magnificent. One of the best goals the stadium has seen in a while and possibly one of the best goals scored at Old Trafford by an away side in the last decade.
Just three minutes after the opening goal, a fortuitous free-kick from Wayne Rooney found its way into the net bringing the home side back into the game and marking Rooney’s third goal from a free-kick this season. The home crowd were buoyed by the goal and the introduction of Robin Van Persie but would soon have their momentum shunted as West Brom struck again.
After a series of chances 20-year-old Berahino netted his fifth in six games for West Brom with a clinical strike to put the Baggies ahead and seal a massive scalp of an away win, 1:2 it finished at Old Trafford.
It was a terrific all-round performance from the visitors, as their season seems to finally be underway after a slow start. Fans were worried about replacing the presence and goal-threat of Romelu Lukaku but the new signings look to have settled the nerves, with Amalfitano and Sességnon showing great form already.
As for United, it’s back-to-back league defeats and the worst start to a league campaign in over a decade as David Moyes starts to really feel the pressure early in his tenure at the club.
Her Majesty Unhappy as Arsenal Enjoy Beating Swans…
Arsenal are in a rich vein of form, winning 18 of the last 21 games, despite a thin, injury-ravaged squad and widespread media criticism. The deadline day capture of Özil rejuvenated the club and its supporters but the German midfielder has had to share the headlines with the ever-present and determined Aaron Ramsey. The Welsh midfielder has been in stunning form this season, scoring eight in his last nine games (with only ten shots) and successfully completing more tackles than any other player in the Premier League this season.
For the 17th anniversary of Arsené Wenger’s stewardship Arsenal travelled to Swansea to face a City side who themselves are enjoying a great start to the season. It has become apparent already that teams are reluctant to open-up against Arsenal in the league, at least in the first half, this season. The London side are lethal on the counter attack, as demonstrated already this season against Fulham, Swansea confidently kept the ball from the beginning with a secure back-line denying the Gunners’ attempts to breach the defence.
After a goalless first half, Swansea went in search of the opener and fell victim to a swift counter from the Gunners. Becoming the 97th player to score for Arsenal in the Premier League, 18-year-old Serge Gnabry seized his opportunity through the absence of Cazorla, Walcott and the Ox, to slot in the opener from a delicious Ramsey assist after a series of passes to give the visitors the lead.
In a fifteen minute spell Arsenal dominated play, finding a second goal after some great work from Wilshere and Giroud finding Ramsey who coolly struck his fourth league goal of the season with a powerful finish after an intricate passing move to give a two goal cushion. Özil could have scored his first for his new club but saw his effort tuned wide by Vorm.
Swansea were left shell-shocked having played well for the whole game but rallied and scored after a great move from young left-back Ben Davies who’s burst and one-two put him through on goal to slot in from close range and give Swansea a goal back. The last few minutes were uncomfortable for Arsenal fans but the team saw out the result and continued an impressive run of form.
Swansea will be down but will bounce back quickly having played well against the London club. Arsenal will be happy to be sitting top of the league by two points going into a tough Champions League game at home against Napoli.
Goal of the weekend
Bryan Ruiz (Fulham) v Cardiff City: The Welsh side’s winner was a similar goal but the Costa Rican’s strike before half time was a wonderfully struck effort curling in to the top right hand corner from outside the box.
Player of the weekend
Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) v Sunderland: two assists and a hand-of-god goal rounded off a solid performance from the red-hot striker. The Suarez/Sturridge combination will be giving defences around the country sleepless nights this season.
- Aaron Ramsey has completed more tackles than any other player in the Premier League this season (33), completing 29 in six games (88%).
- Yaya Toure has attempted more passes than any other player this season with 479 (a 91% accuracy), 134 in the final third, averaging a pass every two minutes.
- Arsenal have won their last eight away games in the league (12 in all competitions) equalling a club record.
- Eden Hazard spectacularly creates a goal-scoring opportunity every 38.57 minutes (14 in all) leading the table of number of chances created. Paulinho is second with (8), followed by Ramsey (7) and Yaya Toure (6).
Elsewhere in the league
Southampton continued a four match unbeaten run (in all competitions) by comfortably beating Crystal Palace with goals from Osvaldo and Lambert to earn a 2:0 win at St Mary’s.
A needless spat between Vertonghen and Torres overshadowed a good game between Chelsea and Tottenham that saw the teams share the spoils and Fernando see red, goals from Sigurdsson and Terry decided a 1:1 draw at White Hart Lane.
Manchester City gave away a 1:2 lead in a mad five minute spell conceding twice in the second half to Aston Villa, goals from Bacuna and Weimann gave Villa the 3:2 win at Villa Park.
Hull City Tigers secured the points over a flat West Ham side who felt aggrieved by some of the refereeing decisions, Robbie Brady slotted in a soft penalty to give the Tigers a 1:0 win at the KC Stadium.
Liverpool reignited their good start to the season and reunited Suarez and Sturridge who scored three between them (one with a hand, no it was Sturridge actually, I know, weird) against a Sunderland side in limbo, 1:3 it finished at the Stadium of light.
Fulham slumped to their worst home form in their history despite scoring a great goal before half time through Ruiz, a late Cardiff City strike from Mutch gave the Welsh side a 1:2 victory at Craven Cottage.
Norwich secured a much-needed win over Mark Hughes’ apparently tiki-taka Stoke City side on their own patch, a goal from Jonny Howson made sure it finished 0:1 at the Britannia Stadium.
Everton host Newcastle in tonight’s (Monday) final fixture of the week.