Premier League Round-Up Week 6

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Updated: October 1, 2013

Before this weekend’s round of football, there were some big questions that were going to be asked. Could Man. United recover from their 4-1 thrashing by the noisy neighbours Man. City? What was to become of Sunderland without Di Canio in charge? …and was that complete and utter waste of space Modibo Maiga going to play for West Ham again? Well ok, only I was asking that question.

Tottenham 1-1 Chelsea

Tottenham: Sigurdsson 19′

Chelsea: Terry 65′

Unfortunately, this London derby featuring best friends Andre Villas boas and Jose Mourinho will most likely not be remembered for the football. Instead, people will remember the latest in a long line of stupid incidents involving players wanting to tear each others faces off. It’s strange to think that Tottenham fielded a side that included 3 new summer signings against a Chelsea side that fielded none, usually it has been the other way round. Juan Mata was once again forced to make up the numbers on the bench for Chelsea behind Oscar, as Fernando Torres was given a start after his impressive mid-week performance against Swindon. Tottenham opened the scoring with a very well worked goal which started from a Christian Eriksen move leading to Soldado laying off the ball for Sigurdsson who skipped over the diving Terry to put a lovely finish past Cech. An Ivanovic clearance was all that could prevent a tap-in from Paulinho after Soldado put in a ball across the box that seemed certain to be put away, although replays did show that Ivanovic may have pulled back Paulinho before making the challenge. Paulinho himself also had a chance to put Spurs 2-0 up just before half-time but hit the post from a tight angle. It was at the beginning of the second half where the feud between Torres and Vertonghen seemed to start, after the defender was brought down by Torres and faced up to the Spaniard. Torres then seemed to scratch or gauge at Vertonghen’s face and recieved a yellow card for it, although the FA may take further action over this. War then broke out between the two as they seemingly went for each other at every chance. Vertonghen was then booked for a tackle on Ramires, and to rub more salt into Spurs wounds, John Terry managed to connect to Juan Mata’s free kick (after coming on at the second half) with a header straight past Lloris to equalise. It was then Chelsea to feel the pain of bad luck when Schurrle missed a one-on-one with the keeper, followed by an aerial challenge from Torres on Vertonghen that led to the Spanish striker being sent off, a very strange decision in my view as there seemed to be hardly anything in it. A wide Sigurdsson volley 3 minutes from full-time ended a very controversial derby that sure we’ll be talking about in the coming days.

Man of the Match: John Terry (Chelsea)

Aston Villa 3-2 Manchester City

Aston Villa: El Ahmadi 51′, Bacuna 73′, Weimann 75′

Man. City: Toure 45′, Dzeko 56′

After City’s incredibly derby win last week, no-one could have predicted how their follow up match with Aston Villa, who had yet to win at home, would turn out. Kozak, the striker who scored on debut last week against Norwich, would replace both Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor up-front (both who are out with injury), so Paul Lambert decided to go for a rapid formation change to 3-5-2 with starts for Yacouba Sylla and Nathan Baker. Man City were also without their star striker Sergio Aguero who was replaced by Edin Dzeko, as well as James Milner starting against his old side, who had the first attempt on goal, shooting wide of the far post from a Kolorov cross. City should have had the match in the bag by half time after shots from Nasri, Toure and Dzeko all failing to score, plus a penalty shout on Zabaleta by Lhuna being turned down by the referee. However, Villa couldn’t keep them out for long as City’s 8th corner of the half was played straight into the feet of Yaya Toure who just couldn’t miss for his 6th of the season. Villa equalised dramatically after half time when El Ahmadi seemed to find acres of space in the penalty area when he recieved a pass from Bacuna and fired past Joe Hart in their first serious attack of the match. City retook the lead from another Nasri corner when the ball appeared to bounce off Dzeko’s back into the Villa goal, but it was long before Bacuna curled a beautiful free-kick into the top corner to put Villa back on level terms, and 2 minutes later Andreas Weimann was celebrating after putting Villa into the lead from a freak defending error following on from a Villa goal kick that put Weimann one-on-one with Hart who simply slipped it past the England international. A late attempt by Jovetic which was comfortably caught by Brad Guzan wasn’t enough to prevent Aston Villa from achieving their first home win of the season and into the top 10.

Man of the Match: Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa)

Fulham 1-2 Cardiff City

Fulham: Ruiz 45′

Cardiff: Caulker 12′, Mutch 90′

It really didn’t look like it would be Fulham’s day after Scott Parker was subbed off after 7 minutes with what seemed to be a calf problem, and Cardiff’s Steven Caulker pushed them further into the deep end when he latched onto a Peter Whittingham corner with a free-header to score his first goal since joining from Spurs in the summer. Karagounis who had replaced the injured Parker had a good attempt blocked by Marshall, but Cardiff’s number 1 could do absolutely nothing to stop a beautiful curving effort from Bryan Ruiz gliding into the back of the net just before half time. Frazier Campbell missed glorious opportunity to put his team ahead by placing Mutch’s cross well over the bar from about 4 yards out, but Jordan Mutch didn’t as he scored a stunning goal that was incredibly similar to Ruiz’s earlier in the match. Another defeat for Fulham and Berbatov still failing to score means that Martin Jol’s side may be starting to come under some pressure soon.

Man of the Match: Peter Whittingham (Cardiff)

Hull City 1-0 West Ham United

Hull: Brady (pen) 12′

Without being biased (please believe me), I can safely say that West Ham were cheated out of 3 points. Within 12 minutes, Robbie Brady went down from very little contact by Joey O’Brien (Sam Allardyce would later accuse Brady of simulation), but the referee strangely gave the penalty which was scored by Brady himself. James Tomkins, who had replaced James Collins in the starting 11, then a header cleared off the line by Elmohamady amongst shouts of handball from Figueroa which were not given (and probably rightly so). This was followed by two Hull corners which were cleared off the line by Maiga and well saved at the near post by Jaaskelainen respectively. Then came the big moment. Jake Livermore, who had just hit the post at the other end, cleared a Ricardo Vaz Te cross with his elbow putting it out for a corner. The blatant penalty was turned down by the referee to the shock of practically everyone who saw it. As a West Ham fan, I can safely say that this isn’t the first time this season that a referee’s decision has cost us then points, and the feeling of injustice is evident from the players, the staff and the fans. And yes, that is my best attempt at being unbiased.

Man of the Match: Curtis Davies (Hull)

Manchester United 1-2 West Brom

Man. United: Rooney 57′

West Brom: Amalfitano 54′, Berahino 67′

Less than a week on from their 4-1 hammering at the hands of Manchester City, United were desperate for three points and West Brom appeared to offer the perfect fixture, with the Baggies without a win over United since 1984 and none at Old Trafford since December 1978. But they were to be outdone by Steve Clarke’s side, who ensured United remain on seven points after six games, ensuring their worst start to a league campaign after six games since 1989-90. The opener came through the magic of Morgan Amalfitano, who ran through the United defence before he sent David De Gea to ground with a clever faked shot then lifted the ball stylishly over the Spaniard. United were still struggling to create chances but got some fortune when Rooney’s free-kick found its way to the net after it was missed by all the red shirts in the area and caught Myhill out. However, De Gea could do nothing to stop Berahino from putting West Brom back into the lead as the striker’s low strike nestled into the bottom corner soon after. United pushed for an equaliser in the final stages but Fellaini was adjudged to be offside from Nani’s cross before fellow substitute Adnan Januzaj blasted wide. Manchester United have become only the second Premier League champions, after Blackburn in 1995-96, to begin the following season with three (or more) defeats in their opening six matches.

Man of the Match: Morgan Amalfitano (West Brom)

Southampton 2-0 Crystal Palace

Southampton: Osvaldo 47′, Lambert 49′

Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway called on his side to come out fighting like Muhammad Ali ahead of this game, as he returned from a two-match touchline ban. However, Holloway watched Marouanne Chamakh waste their best chance by choosing to go to ground when rounding Saints keeper Artur Boruc rather than shoot. Chamakh was booked for diving with Palace failing to trouble Boruc during a disappointing first half. Southampton were equally toothless up front with Joel Ward heading Morgan Schneiderlin’s looping header off the line, while Rickie Lambert went close with a side-foot shot from inside the area that flew just wide of the angle. Julian Speroni was forced into action only once in the first half as he got down low to punch Lambert’s driven free-kick away. However, the Saints broke the deadlock two minutes after the restart from £16m summer signing Osvaldo, who showed great strength and quick feet to find the net from just inside the area with a low finish. It was Southampton’s first goal from open play this season and within minutes they doubled their lead in spectacular fashion when Lambert, without a Premier League goal since the opening day of the season, scored with a free-kick which went in off Speroni’s right-hand post. Jay Rodriguez was then brought on for Lambert and had a goal ruled out for offside after Luke Shaw’s initial shot hit the post. It was the last action of the match, with the Saints comfortable winners against a Palace side who failed to muster a single shot on target and who have not scored in four of their six league games this season.

Man of the Match: Rickie Lambert (Southampton)

Swansea City 1-2 Arsenal

Swansea: Davies 82′

Arsenal: Gnabry 58′, Ramsey 62′

Coming into the weekend Swansea had the best pass completion rate in the division this season (87.3%) – and they again showcased their slick passing game, but lacked a cutting edge in the final third. Jonjo Shelvey’s early strike from distance, which fizzed over the bar, was the hosts’ only meaningful effort of a first half. There was a scare for Arsenal when Wojciech Szczesny struggled to clear a backpass, but it was the visitors who went closest as Olivier Giroud dragged wide after being released by Gnabry. The 18-year-old German himself had the first attempt on target as Arsenal began the second

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half positively, and it was the young winger who broke the deadlock. The move was orchestrated by Ozil and included touches from Bacary Sagna, Giroud and Jack Wilshere before Aaron Ramsey played in Gnabry to slot his first goal for the club with a crunching finish. Mr. Consistency (Ramsey) doubled the lead by shooting through a number of bodies after impressive link play from Wilshere and Giroud. Michael Laudrup introduced Wilfried Bony and gave the Swans fresh impetus, with Nathan Dyer and Bony himself drawing saves from Szczesny. When Davies exchanged passes with Bony and got in behind Mertesacker to finish with his knee on the volley, Swansea were back in contention. But Arsenal dug in to mark Arsene Wenger’s 17th anniversary as manager with what could prove to be a crucial three points.

Man of the Match: Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)

Stoke City 0-1 Norwich City

Norwich: Howson 34′

It took 32 minutes for Stoke to muster their first attempt on goal, with their erratic passing making it near impossible for them to mount any sustained pressure. Marko Arnautovic, a transfer deadline day signing from Werder Bremen, went close for the hosts when he blazed a shot just wide of the angle, but moments later Stoke were behind. Jonny Howson picked the ball up 25 yards out and his low strike dipped and swerved in front of Asmir Begovic who could not keep it out. Stoke introduced Jermaine Pennant and Stephen Ireland at half-time in an attempt to liven up their attack, but it proved fruitless. Kenwyne Jones claimed a penalty after he was dragged to the ground by Leroy Fer but his appeals were waved away. At the other end, Anthony Pilkington cut inside but sliced his shot well wide, while on the other flank Robert Snodgrass did likewise before curling his effort past the angle. With 11 minutes remaining, Steven N’zonzi finally forced Ruddy into a notable save, the Norwich stopper keeping out the Stoke’s midfielder’s tame effort from 25 yards. Snodgrass came close to doubling Norwich’s lead with a curling shot on the spin that was superbly kept out at full stretch by Begovic. It was the last action of a lacklustre encounter as Norwich picked up their first away victory of the season and only their second away clean sheet in 42 Premier League matches.

Man of the Match: Jonny Howson (Norwich)

Sunderland 1-3 Liverpool

Sunderland: Giaccherini 52′

Liverpool: Sturridge 28′, Suarez 36′, 89′

Sunderland’s first league match of the season without Paolo Di Canio in charge, started with energy and desire. Under caretaker manager Kevin Ball, they passed and moved without confidence and posed a constant threat when going forwards. But for all of their positive play, the hosts lacked pace and cutting edge in the final third and looked vulnerable on the counter-attack. Luis Suarez, returning for his first Premier League game of the season after returning from his ban, threatened with an early drive before Martin Skrtel’s strike was disallowed for offside after a Steven Gerrard free-kick was parried. Sunderland replied with a Sebastian Larsson set-piece that struck the bar, but Liverpool’s pressure told when an unmarked Daniel Sturridge converted Gerrard’s corner from close range. Replays showed the ball went in off his arm, but the goal was allowed to stand by referee Howard Webb. It was a blow that silenced the home supporters – and Sunderland’s afternoon took another turn for the worse as Liverpool hit a second. Sturridge collected Gerrard’s brilliant cross-field pass with a stunning piece of control, eased past Carlos Cuellar and squared for Suarez to roll home a sixth goal in as many Premier League appearances against Sunderland. Simon Mignolet, against his old side, spilled Ki sung-Yueng’s drive early in the second half to Giaccherini for a routine finish, but the points were sealed as Suarez led a breakaway, fed Sturridge and then took his return pass to fire into an unguarded net. Despite Sunderland’s pressing and Jozy Altidore testing Mignolet, Liverpool were just too good for them and they remain bottom of the table with just one point.

Man of the Match: Luis Suarez

Everton 3-2 Newcastle United

Everton: Lukaku 5′, 37′, Barkley 25′

Newcastle: Cabaye 51′, Remy 89′

Everton’s unbeaten start to the Premier League season continued as they moved up to fourth with an excellent display against Newcastle. Loic Remy’s late strike ensured a nervy finish for Everton, who deserved the win after taking a 3-0 first-half lead. Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring at the near post and prodded in the third, either side of feeding in midfielder Ross Barkley for his well-taken goal. Yohan Cabaye’s superb shot made it 3-1 before Remy poked home, and the French striker then almost levelled for the Magpies with a stoppage-time strike that flew just a foot above the Everton bar. Had he scored and rescued a point for Newcastle, it would have been a bitter and unjust blow for Everton, who were outstanding, especially during the first 45 minutes. They remain the only unbeaten team in the Premier League under Roberto Martinez, who succeeded David Moyes in the summer, ahead of a trip to Manchester City on Saturday.

Man of the Match: Romelu Lukaku (Everton)

Team of the Week: Wojciech Szczesny, James Tomkins, Curtis Davies, John Terry, Jonas Olsson, Leandro Bacuna, Morgan Amalfitano, Aaron Ramsey, Rickie Lambert, Luis Suarez, Romelu Lukaku

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