By Ross CraeFollow @JfGpodcasts
“Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!” – words that weren’t on the lips of many football fans this weekend as they travelled to this week’s round of Premier League fixtures. Sadly for them, the weather outside was frightful.
It was delightful for the home fans at Anfield, however, as Liverpool hit five past Norwich with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge starting together for the first time. It was the unlikely source of Jordan Henderson, though, who opened the scoring with a sweet strike from just outside the box after 26 minutes.
The star strike duo struck for the second on 36 minutes, Sturridge may have spat the dummy out at Chelsea but provided a skilful dummy to allow Suarez in to slot past Mark Bunn.
Norwich rarely looked like causing any degree of trouble for a dominant Liverpool, and Sturridge tapped in a cross from Stewart Downing just before the hour mark.
Captain Steven Gerrard got the fourth with a long range strike in the 66th minute and Ryan Bennett’s 74th minute own goal left the Canaries sick as parrots.
David Silva struck gold as Manchester City beat Fulham. The Spanish maestro opened the scoring after just 95 seconds when Edin Dzeko’s long range shot was parried straight to his feet.
The points weren’t secure, however, until he doubled his tally after 69 minutes with a neat finish.
Fulham had few chances in a game where City weren’t even at their best, but the hosts did enough to keep the pressure on United at the top of the table.
Newcastle slumped to a defeat at home to Reading. The Magpies had dominated possession and had found Reading keeper Adam Federichi in fine form, but the Australian keeper was rooted to the spot when Yohan Cabaye fired the Magpies in front with a curling free-kick after 35 minutes. The French lothario has been sorely missed, and showed his worth in an excellent return from injury.
Once again though, Reading had a comeback on their mind and Adam Le Fondre came off the bench in the second half to inspire the Royals to victory. He had only been on the pitch for a few seconds when he scrambled in a cross from Jimmy Kebe in the 71st minute. He doubled his tally in the 77th minute, managing to squeeze a shot past Tim Krul at his near post. The snow continued to fall as Newcastle continue to be stuck in a cold spell.
All of the goals came in the second half as Swansea beat Stoke. In the “clash of styles” derby Ben Davies found himself further up the pitch than usual and opened the scoring on 49 minutes, firing a low shot past Asmir Begovic.
Jonathan de Guzman’s superb 57th minute free-kick doubled the Swans’ lead and he also provided a cool finish for Swansea’s third on 80 minutes – a superbly worked team goal.
Stoke were rarely in the game, but found some consolation as Michael Owen (remember him?) headed in his first Stoke goal in the 90th minute.
Loic Remy scored on his debut as QPR and West Ham shared the points at Upton Park. The Rs debutant scored with his first shot as he latched onto an Adel Taraabt pass in the 14th minute.
QPR looked threatening in the first half, but timid in the second. The Hammers came into the game and dominated, with their recent signing Joe Cole netting a rebound in the 68th minute.
QPR had to hold on as the home side went hot on the trail of all three points, Stephane Mbia and Clint Hill providing superb blocks to preserve a point.
A thrilling game between at the DW Stadium between Wigan and Sunderland (yes, it sounds farfetched) produced five goals.
David Vaughan deflected a Ronnie Stam shot into his own net after just 4 minutes to give Wigan an early lead. Craig Gardner then equalised from the spot on 17 minutes after James McCarthy was penalised for a handball.
Steven Fletcher was the star of the show, netting from close range in the 20th minute and producing an impressive curling strike from the edge of the box just before half time.
The score remained at 1-3 for most of the second half before Angelo Henriquez headed in from close range on 79 minutes, the 18 year old loaned to the Latics from Manchester United scoring on his Premier League debut to give Wigan late but ultimately futile hope.
The late kick off on Saturday was a feisty derby between West Brom and Aston Villa. Christian Benteke’s brilliant strike on 12 minutes gave Paul Lambert’s strugglers an early lead.
The Baggies were carved apart in the build-up to Gabriel Agbonlahor doubling Villa’s lead after 31 minutes.
The second half proved more fruitful for the home side and they found a way back into the game. Romelu Lukaku received the ball in the box and teed it up for Chris Brunt to smash home on 49 minutes.
Peter Odemwingie volleyed in the equaliser from close range in the 83rd minute as the two rivals shared the points and the bragging rights.
It was a super duper slick and snowy Sunday, and Chelsea welcomed Arsenal. Juan Mata opened the scoring after 6 minutes, taking down a superb ball from Cesar Azpilicueta with an impeccable touch before firing past Wojciech Szczesny.
Arsenal were dreadful in the first half and the hosts doubled their lead in the 16th minute as Ramires was brought down by Szczesny and Frank Lampard netted from the spot.
The Gunners started the second half much brighter, and Santi Cazorla threaded a ball for Theo Walcott to pull a goal back in the 58th minute.
Fernando Torres had a couple of chances but, rather predictably, didn’t make the most of them. He was replaced by Demba Ba who almost had an instant impact, with Thomas Vermaelen forced to make a well-timed block to thwart the Senegal striker as Szczesny went walkabout.
Chelsea held on to their lead and for once, Rafa was not booed at the end of the game. Hurrah.
After a late pitch inspection, the game between Spurs and Manchester United went ahead. The falling sleet made for a game that wasn’t the greatest but was to have a thrilling finale.
Robin Van Persie – who else? – opened the scoring after 25 minutes, heading in from a Tom Cleverley cross.
At times United looked in control, but had to rely on a solid defence and David De Gea’s heroics to prevent Spurs getting back into the game.
Just as United looked to have three points in the bag, Clint Dempsey poked the ball home in stoppage time to leave United only 5 points ahead of their City rivals at the top.