What We Learned From the Weekend – Barclay’s Premier League Round Up
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.
The transfer window is finally closed after an eternity of speculation, rumour and nonsense on the Internet and in the newspapers. The deals have been done and the Premier League managed to replace the (eventual) deadline day transfer of Bale to Real Madrid with the spectacular capture of Mesut Özil and Samuel Eto’o, not bad at all. With all the new additions raring to go the season can officially begin as the serious business of club football returned from the distraction of international qualifying matches.
The weekend brought 20 goals across ten games that saw Liverpool retain top spot and remain unbeaten, marking the best start for the Merseyside-club in well over a decade. There was controversy at Old Trafford (surprise surprise) and in the Stadium of Light, as the referees came under scrutiny from the stands and the dugout for their decisions.
With the fixtures starting pile up, this is how it all went down..
Özil Lights-up the Stadium of Light…
In a spectacular deadline-day £42m capture, Arsenal signed Real Madrid and Germany playmaker Mesut Özil. The 24-year-old international has provided more assists than any other player in the last 3 seasons (more than Messi, and Fabregas) and after just ten minutes on the pitch the German looked to be the best piece of business done this summer. Bringing down the ball with an exquisite first-touch Özil put the ball on a plate for Giroud who gladly slotted the ball home first-time to hit his fourth goal of the league campaign already, a clinical goal on the counter, 1:0.
Arsenal were in complete control, Özil provided two clear-cut opportunities for Theo Walcott who should have scored a hat-trick in the first half but couldn’t manage to find the net. Sunderland, presumably roused by a half-time berating by Paulo Di Cannio, came out firing in the second half and earned a penalty after a clumsy challenge by Laurent Koscielny, who needs to learn to stay on his feet, Gardener dispatched the spot kick as the Black Cats stirred, 1:1.
Arsenal found their feet again and took the lead through the ever-present Aaron Ramsey who comfortably volleyed a Carl Jenkinson cross into the net first-time to put the North London Club ahead. The Black Cats battled and controversy followed. Sagna held back Altidore outside the box in a tussle, the referee blew his whistle before the American striker muscled past the right back to slot the ball in from a tight angle. Pulled-back for a free kick, the fans, players and Di Cannio were left fuming as Gardener blasted the resulting free-kick over the bar and the goal did not stand.
Adding salt to the wound, superb interplay between Özil, Giroud and Ramsey put the Welshman clean through on goal to slot in with an accomplished finish sealing the game at 3:1. Arsenal got away with it in terms of the decisions but played Sunderland off the park at times and deserved their win. Sunderland will be worried as the team sits rock bottom of the league with a single point. Fourteen players have joined the club in the summer, it may take time for them to settle but it needs to happen soon as the manager faces a touchline ban for being sent off.
José do you think you are?
Everton boss Roberto Martinez has done what many pundits agree as the ‘best business’ during the transfer window this summer. Keeping hold of Leighton Baines and selling Fellaini to United for a cool £28m allowed the Toffees to purchase James McCarthy from Wigan and bring in Gerard Deulofeu from Barcelona, Gareth Barry from Manchester City and Romelu Lukaku from the weekend’s opponents Chelsea on loan.
Seemingly having put all his striker-eggs in a Wayne Rooney-shaped basket, Jose Mourinho has struggled to settle on a striker for the Blues. Schurrle, Ba and Torres have all been ‘filling-the-gap’ for Jose to bring in a new no.9. And Chelsea did. Samuel Eto’o joined the London club on a free transfer, reuniting with his former Inter boss, starting the game at Goodison park, leading the line for Chelsea.
In a match that saw Juan Mata get a start under the new Chelsea boss, Eto’o got a few good chances but looked a little off the pace. The Cameroonian striker is prolific and will surely start to find the net as he regains full fitness. But today was not the day for Chelsea’s multi-talented front line. In a tactical battle that showed the skill and philosophy of Martinez, Everton were defensively solid and used the ball well despite having less possession.
On the counter attack a great passing move found Jelavić in the box who nodded it on the Steven Naismith to score what was the winning goal from three yards with a dinked-header, 1:0. Everton looked comfortable throughout but were unable to stamp their authority on the possession as Chelsea’s skilled midfield and forward line mustered the majority of the ball.
Despite going close to a second goal through Baines and Mirallas, Everton held out to win the match and leave Chelsea frustrated and thinking what could have been if they had taken their chances. Ross Barkley produced another eye-catching performance in midfield for the home side and may knock on the door of a World Cup place if he continues his form for the season.
Player of the Weekend: Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal): The midfielder has made tremendous progress in the last 12 months after recovering mentally and physically from a horrific leg break suffered two years ago. He produced an excellent defensive midfield performance enhanced by two great goals.
Goal of the Weekend: Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) v Sunderland on 67’ a sweet first time volley.
Elsewhere in the League:
Jonjo Shelvey produced a hero to zero performance in the first half to score for Swansea and inadvertently provide an assist for a Liverpool goal. A second half strike from debutant Victor Moses was cancelled out by Michu to tie the game but it was not enough to keep Liverpool of the summit of the league, 2:2 at the Liberty Stadium.
West Ham worked hard to earn a point against a good Southampton side that couldn’t find a goal and were denied a penalty after a Kevin Nolan handball in the box, 0:0 it finished at St Mary’s.
Bargain-buy and one-to-watch Christian Eriksen produced a magnificent debut performance as Tottenham saw of Norwich with a brace from Sigurdsson, 2:0 at Carrow Road.
Manchester United on third-attempt were awarded a penalty (for a tackle outside of the box), Crystal Palace went down to ten men and conceded a late Wayne Rooney free kick to lose 2:0 at Old Trafford.
Newcastle grabbed an away win with a god performance against a rated Aston Villa side, goals from the influential Ben Arfa and Gouffran cancelled out Benteke’s equaliser to give the Magpies a 2:1 win at Villa Park.
A first start for Stevan Jovetic in a Manchester City shirt was not enough to beat a developing Stoke City side who each drew blank, 0:0 it finished at the Britannia Stadium.
Hull City Tigers and Cardiff City shard the spoils on a pitch that would make Arsené Wenger weep, goals from Davies and Whittingham made it 1:1 at the KC Stadium.
Fulham conceded a late goal to West Bromwich Albion after two Berbatov goals were ruled out, the Baggies first goal of the season was a bit of a smash-and-grab but will give Steve Clarke’s men momentum, 1:1 at Craven Cottage.
What’s your thoughts on this weekends games? Comment below or tweet us @90minutecynic
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