The “most exciting league in the world” lived up to its billing this weekend as the goals rained in like conkers falling from the autumn trees.
Saturday’s 12:45 kick-off pitted a resurgent Arsenal against table toppers Chelsea at the Emirates. The Gunners were looking to build on last week’s impressive showing at Man City but old habits seemingly die hard as some calamitous defending allowed Roberto Di Matteo’s side to steal the points.
Thomas Vermaelen & Laurent Koscielny started at the heart Arsenal’s defence and the pair endured a torrid afternoon from the get go. The Frenchman looked particularly suspect and it was his error that led to Fernando Torres guiding in the opener from a pin-point Juan Mata set piece.
Gervinho, receding hairline in tow, slammed in the equaliser shortly before the break but the home side’s joy was short lived as Mata’s speculative free-kick somehow found the back of Vito Mannone’s net, courtesy of a deflection off the hapless Koscielny.
Arsenal had their chances but Olivier Giroud continued his uncanny portrayal of Marouane Chamakh, contriving to miss an open goal in the dying seconds, leaving Chelsea sitting pretty at the Premier League summit.
Everton’s sparkling start to the season showed no signs of abating as a flurry of first-half goals saw off stubborn resistance from newly-promoted Southampton.
Uruguayan show pony Gaston Ramirez silenced the Goodison faithful with an early opener but the Toffees responded in fine style when the dictionary definition of unsung hero, Leon Osman, levelled proceedings. A quick-fire double from ex-Rangers striker Nikica Jelavic ensured David Moyes’s side cemented their best start to a season since 2004.
Man City left it late at Craven Cottage, coming from a goal behind to snatch victory against Fulham thanks to an 87th minute winner from perennial super-sub, Edin Dzeko.
Martin Jol’s side were bereft of the talents of Dimitar Berbatov but it was his replacement, Mladen Petric who gave Fulham the lead from the spot after Pablo Zabaleta was controversially adjudged to have fouled John Arne Riise by referee Mark Halsey. Cue Roberto Mancini‘s vehement protestations.
Thereafter, City laid siege to the Fulham goal, only to find Mark Schwarzer in inspired form. The mounting pressure eventually told, with Sergio Augero tapping in the equaliser before Dzeko struck to finally give miserable Mancini something to smile about.
Luis Suarez scored his second successive Carrow Road hat-trick to propel Liverpool to their first Premier League win of the campaign against Norwich.
The much maligned Uruguayan turned in a five-star performance, guiding his first past Norwich keeper John Ruddy with military precision before capitalising on a daydreaming Michael Turner’s mistake to add his and Liverpool’s second. Suarez then turned provider for new boy Nuri Sahin before curling home a stunning third whilst the Canaries defence looked on in admiration.
Captain marvel Steven Gerrard’s deflected effort, sandwiched between consolation strikes from Steve Morrison and Grant Holt gave Brendan Rodgers a comprehensive and much needed victory.
Reading’s winless start to life in the Premier League continued after Demba Ba struck twice to salvage a point for Newcastle at the Madejski stadium.
Despite nothing of any note happening prior, the match sparked into life on 58 minutes when the gangly Jimmy Kebe struck to give Reading the lead. Newcastle’s response was instantaneous when Ba showed magnificent technique to volley Cheick Tiote’s lofted pass beyond Reading keeper Alex McCarthy.
Everybody’s least favourite Irishman, Noel Hunt, restored Reading’s advantage minutes later before Ba, who admitted handling the ball after the game, pounced late on to net his sixth goal in six games and leave Reading manager Brian McDermott rueing his side’s bad luck.
Stoke rolled out the unwelcome mat to off-form Swansea and it proved to be another bad day at the office for the Welsh club.
A first half brace from Peter Crouch that should – but probably won’t – make England manager Roy Hodgson stand up and take notice, put Michael Laudrup’s men to the sword and means that the Potters are now 10 games undefeated at the Britannia Stadium.
Steven Fletcher bagged his fifth goal in four Premier League games to give Sunderland their first win of the season and relegate Wigan to their third league defeat on the bounce.
Fletcher, who continues to infuriate an entire nation over his longstanding feud with Scotland manager Craig Levein, was on target early in the second half, firing an unstoppable drive past Ali Al-Habsi after some fine wing play by Irish whiz kid James McClean.
The history books said it couldn’t be done but Andre Villas-Boas only deals in texts of the tactical variety. The Portuguese charmer defied the odds to steer his Tottenham side to victory against Man Utd at Old Trafford in Saturday’s showcase ESPN encounter.
Ending a 23-year winless drought in Manchester, Spurs edged a five goal thriller to well and truly silence the early season AVB doubters.
First-half strikes from Jan Vertonghen and Gareth Bale gave Spurs a deserved lead at the break before Man Utd upped the ante in the second period.
Nani started the comeback trail early on, only to see Clint Dempsey immediately restore Spurs two-goal advantage.
Utd’s reply was swift and Shinji Kagawa duly cut the deficit less than 60 seconds later, latching onto an exquisite Robin van Persie pass to dink the ball beyond an advancing Brad Friedel.
Spurs battened down the hatches and prepared for the inevitable onslaught that followed. Defending manfully, they hung on, etching their names in the record books in the process.
The following day’s “Super Sunday” was anything but super as Midland’s rivals Aston Villa and West Brom played out a bland score draw at Villa Park.
In a game of few chances, Shane Long converted James Morrison’s cross to give WBA the lead before deposed captain Darren Bent came off the bench to smash in the equaliser and stick two fingers up at Paul Lambert for leaving him out of the side.
“Monday Night Football” brought down the curtain on the weekend’s action as West Ham defeated 10-man QPR in an entertaining match at Loftus Road.
The Hammers were fast out the blocks and took the lead inside three minutes through Matt Jarvis before Ricardo Vaz Te doubled their lead with a toe poked finish before half-time.
QPR improved after the break and Adel Taarabt produced a moment of sheer brilliance to rifle a 30-yard blast into the roof of the net to reduce the deficit.
However, QPR’s growing momentum was all but squashed when Samba Diakite idiotically collected his second booking for a petulant lunge on Vaz Te, resigning Mark Hughes’s side to yet another loss, leaving them firmly rooted at the bottom of the table.