The opening game of the weekend took place at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester where Roberto Mancini’s side took on their nemesis of recent times in the form of Everton. After withstanding intense City pressure for more than two-thirds of the game, the Everton rearguard finally gave way as super sub “Super Mario” broke the deadlock and City climbed to the top of the table. After six games, City have 16 points which represents their best start to a league campaign.
Man United were dealt a huge blow even before they stepped foot on the Britannia Stadium as man of the moment Wayne Rooney was ruled out because of a hamstring injury. Further bad news for the Red Devils came in the form of an injury to Johnny Evans during warm up as Fergie’s men had to make do with Valencia at Right back. Things turned to worse as Javier Hernandez was subbed off early on after he collided with Stoke keeper Begovic. At the end of it all United came home with a point after Nani’s opening goal was cancelled out by a Peter Crouch header.
Arsene Wenger and Arsenal got three vital points on the board propelling them away from the relegation zone and heaping further misery on Owen Coyle’s Bolton. Liverpool got their campaign back on track after two consecutive defeats had threatened to derail their season with a hard-fought victory against resilient Wolves.
It’s fair to say Newcastle have exceeded expectations so far and with yet another victory against a beleaguered Rovers side, Alan Pardew’s Magpies are flying high; unbeaten so far and looking better than they have been for some seasons. Another side hitting a purple patch at the moment is Harry Redknap’s Spurs, the North London outfit displayed composure and maturity in coming away with three vital points from a tough away game at Wigan. Wigan on the other hand know for sure, they will yet again be involved in the relegation dogfight come the end of the season.
Fulham and West Brom played out a dull draw at the hawthorns, a result that didn’t neither time much good in their bid to climb up the table. Martin Jol’s Cottagers are now the only side not to have won a single game so far, cause for concern perhaps. QPR hosted Villa for the only game of the Super Sunday, but despite dominating the game for large periods the Londoners failed to capitalize, in the end however they managed to equalize via a wicked deflection after Barry Bannan had given Villans the lead from the spot. Alex Mcleish’s Villa side are rather boring for the neutrals and the feeling is shared by the Villa faithful.
Here is a look at the talking points of the weekend:
Race For 4th Spot:
It seems quite likely that the two Manchester teams along with Villas Boas’ Chelsea would occupy the top three places come May. However the race for the fourth and the last Champions league place is sure up for grabs. Liverpool will be there and there about and another win at Anfield made sure they stayed in touching distance. Arsenal on the other hand have begun horribly but with the depth in their squad and the experience to always finish in the top four could stand them in good stead. Impressive win over Bolton might finally kick start their campaign. Tottenham have got their season going and look serious contenders for that elusive fourth spot. All the three teams staked their claim with contrasting wins; consistency however is what they are all striving for.
Stars Of The Weekend:
David De Gea (Man United) – The Spaniard has been under massive media witch hunt ever since his multi -million dollar move to the Champions with his each and every move discussed and dissected in all quarters. However the youngster has improved his performances with every game and looks to be worth every penny the Old Trafford club paid for him. Against Stoke, probably the most difficult of away fixtures in contemporary English football, De Gea produced at least four brilliant saves to deny the Potter their first ever win over the Red Devils and in the process kept his side at the top of the table.
Demba Ba (NewCastle United) – Senegalese international produced a fine hattrick against Steve Kean’s Rovers side that guided Newcastle United into heady heights of fourth and maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign. Demba Ba and Leon Best have so far combined well and provided the much needed thrust to the Barcodes who feared where the goals would come from after no major additions to the striking department.
Goal Of The Weekend:
Luis Suarez (Liverpool): Anfield’s new hero and the scourge of the opponents Luis Suarez is fast making a habit of achieving the ridiculous. The Uruguayan was in sublime form all afternoon against Mic Mcarthy’s Wolves and his splendid goal eventually turned out to be the difference between the two sides. Enrique’s lofted ball over the top of the Wolves defence sliced them upon as Suarez latched on to the pass. The little magician dropped his shoulder to send the defender the wrong way and drilled an unstoppable shot past Wolves keeper Hennessey. Brilliant control, great footwork and a finish to boot makes this goal well worthy of the accolade.
Nani (Man United): The Portuguese winger has been quite sensational now and for some time. His maturity and decision making have vastly improved and consequently the goals and assist have shot up. After last weekend’s sumptuous strike against Chelsea, the twinkle-toed Portuguese wizard produced a finish of highest quality that left Begovic dumbfounded.
Assist Of The Weekend: David Silva (Man City)
Silva has always had an eye for a pass and his ability to thread the needle is perhaps second to none as far as the Barclays Premier league goes. After Mario Balloteli had broken the dead lock for the Citizens, David Silva calmed all nerves inside the City of Manchester Stadium (Etihad) as his quite astonishing pass was finished off easily by James Milner. Probably the pass of the season so far and would take some beating. If Silva continues to produce this kind of magic, it wouldn’t be a surprise if City go all the way this season and that sure wouldn’t go down well in the other half of Manchester. For now all that can be said is: “David Silva – what a player!”
Save Of The Weekend: David De Gea (Manchester United)
The Spaniard made some stunning saves against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium to earn his side a point with two of those saves worthy of winning this award this weekend – one for his reflexes and the other for his bravery.
In the first half, right-back Wilkinson found himself clear in the 18-yard box and hit a ferocious shot which looked destined for the back of the net. However, De Gea had different ideas as he showed tremendous reflexes to tip the ball onto the bar and out to keep United in the lead.
The second one was more about courage than anything else. Having already pulled Stoke level, Crouch once again found himself in-front of goal in the six yard box with only De Gea to beat. The goalkeeper sensed the danger and rushed towards the bouncing ball, closing the angle by putting his body on the line. His bravery was rewarded as well as the shot from the lanky striker hit De Gea’s body and went over the bar.
In between the two, the 19 year old made another brilliant save to deflect Walter’s shot past the post.
Miss Of The Weekend:
Fernando Torres has elevated the standards of the category after his much publicized gaffe at Old Trafford. This weekend no one came close to replicating the Spaniard’s brilliance. Ryan Giggs should have done better with Nani’s cross late on in the game at Britannia. At the Emirates, Theo Walcott shot straight at Jaaskelainen when he was clean through on goal and should definitely have done much better. Fulham’s big name signing Ruiz failed to take advantage of a chance presented to him when Ben Foster parried a Fulham free-kick, the former FC Twente man should have scored but somehow managed to poke his shot wide.
The Curious Case Of El Nino:
Fernando Torres has surely angered the football gods as the Spanish striker just can’t seem to catch a break. The good news for Nando is that he seems to have got his mojo back after a stunning goal at Old Trafford and another fine finish against Swansea this weekend. The bad news however is that he won’t be playing in Chelsea’s next three games as a result of his horribly mistimed tackle. One step forward and two back – the story of Fernando Torres in a Chelsea shirt, ladies and gentlemen. On the Chelsea front, the ‘Drog’ is back and that’s not a bad replacement to have.
Hundred Up For Robin Van Persie:
The Dutchman lifted some gloom over the Emirates as he scored a fine brace and in the process notched up hundred goals for the gunners. RVP is an invaluable asset in the Gunner cog and his fitness is paramount to the North London club. A fit Van Persie could yet guide Wenger’s side to the all important UCL place.
Manager Sack Watch:
Steve Kean is on the brink and has been for a while now, the win over Arsenal gave him some breathing space, however yet another shoddy display this time at St James Park might turn out to be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back.
Owen Coyle has been much admired for his football philosophy and his revolution at the Reebok, however ever since the drubbing received at the hands of Stoke in the F.A. Cup semi –final, Bolton haven’t recovered. Although the talks of Coyle getting the boot might be premature, but the table never lies and Bolton are rock bottom and a change might not be too farfetched an idea.
Frank Lampard left the Chelsea bench after the manager made his third and final substitution in the 83rd minute against Swansea. The midfielder has started just one out of the last four games for the Blues and that game was at Old Trafford where he was substituted at half-time. Although, the manager has deflected all speculations, all is certainly not good at Stamford Bridge as far as Lampard is concerned.
Team Of The Weekend:
De Gea (Man United), Shawcross (Stoke), Mertesacker (Arsenal), Terry (Chelsea), Ramires (Chelsea), Silva (Man City), Song (Arsenal), Bale (Tottenham), Suarez (Liverpool), Van Persie (Arsenal), Ba (Newcastle)
Premier League Results
Man City 2-0 Everton
Stoke 1-1 Man United
Chelsea 4-1 Swansea
Arsenal 3-0 Bolton
Liverpool 2-1 Wolves
Newcastle 3-1 Blackburn
West Brom 0-0 Fulham
Wigan 1-2 Spurs
QPR 1-1 Aston Villa