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Premier League Weekend Review

The third week of the Premier League season saw lots of goals, cards and new signings. There were only 9 games on this particular weekend, due to Chelsea playing in the European Super Cup. The Champions League winners had already played an extra game against Reading on Wednesday 22nd of August. The Blues won 4-2 against the newly promoted club.

West Ham Vs Fulham

The footballing weekend started with Fulham travelling to rivals and new boys West Ham. The Hammers gave a debut to new signing Andy Carroll, while Fulham gave a debut to Kieran Richardson, but left new signing Dimitar Berbatov on the Bench. West Ham were at it right from the off and got rewarded for their work inside a minute. Andy Carroll headed down to Vaz Te and he picked out Kevin Nolan,  who made no mistake volleying past Mark Schwarzer.

From then on West Ham looked the better side, thanks to Andy Carroll. The England man had many chances to score, but couldn’t find the net. Winston Reid then found himself on the score sheet, with a powerful header past Schwarzer from a Matt Taylor corner. The provider then turned scorer, as Matt Taylor found himself on the edge of the box. The former Bolton man made no mistake in giving West Ham a 3-0 lead going into the half-time break.

The trailing side knew they had to conjure up some magic from somewhere. Manager Martin Jol decided to bring Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov on at the break. However, the deadline day signing had no impact on the game and couldn’t score past an impressive West Ham side. The most notable thing that happened in the second half, was the injury to Andy Carroll. The lanky striker seemed to have a pulled hamstring and was replaced by Carlton Cole in the 68th minute.

Fulham, who had the most shots and the most possession, came into the game more when Berbatov was introduced into the game. After half-time. The best chance Fulham had to score was fellow deadline day signing Kieran Richardson. The winger hit a low shot at Jussi Jaaskelainen , and the Finish international had to palm the shot away to safety.

Swansea Vs Sunderland

The next game of the weekend saw in-form Swansea entertain Sunderland at the Liberty Stadium. Swansea were unchanged from their 3-0 win against West Ham the weekend previously, due to the Welsh club doing most of its transfer window business before deadline day. Sunderland gave a debut to new signing Steven Fletcher. The game didn’t take long to explode into life. The home side having a penalty appeal waved away, after Wayne Routlege was fouled in the box.

The game was slightly overshadowed by Neil Taylor’s injury on 16. The Welsh international was injured in a challenge with Craig Gardner. Many saw it as Gardner’s fault, but after seeing replays many say it was a tangle of bodies and Gardner was not at fault for the injury. After that both sides chances were slim, before Steven Fletcher slotted a shot past Michel Vorm. The goal was down to a back pass from Ashley Williams that was messed up.  The visitors lead was short-lived and Swansea soon responded. Wayne Routledge linking well with Nathan Dyer to flash a volley past Simon Mignolet.

Sunderland took advantage of the long stoppage time to lead into the half-time break. Steven Fletcher punishing Swansea again, this time from a free-kick. The Scottish striker evaded everyone to tap home at the back post, after a good delivery from Sebastian Larsson.

Both teams came out from half-time looking sharp and confident. Swansea had the best of the chances: A Jonathan De Guzman free-kick had to be well saved by Mignolet, as well as Michu just heading over after a cross from De Guzman. However the spanish striker made no mistakes minutes later. The new signing was picked out perfectly by fellow new boy Jonathan De Guzman. The Spaniard rose highest and planted a powerful header into the back of the net, giving Mignolet no chance.

The home team now had the momentum to take all three points from the Black Cats, but their efforts were dealt a blow when Chico Flores saw red because of a wild kick that caught Louis Saha on the head. The referee had no decision, but to send the defender off for the rash and out-of-place tackle. Despite the disadvantage, Swansea could not find a way through the Sunderland defence for the remaining 18 minutes of the game. A win of course would have sent the Swans top of the table on goal difference, but the game ended in a 2-2 draw.

Tottenham Vs Norwich

Tottenham’s season had to turn round soon, if they have any chance of playing in the Champions League next season. Tottenham haven’t had the best start to the season, after losing their opener against Newcastle and a draw against West Brom. The London side find themselves well off the pace early in the season. However Norwich have had a worse start compared to the Whites. First the Canaries lost 5-0 to Fulham and then they drew 1-1 against QPR.

Tottenham leave deadline day signing Moussa Dembele on the bench, as well as fellow new boy Emmanuel Adebayor. Both teams looked ordinary in the first half, and neither side took advantage of poor defending from each other. The best chance falling to Gylfi Sigurdsson of Tottenham. The Icelandic midfielder put a shot wide, after a good cut-back from winger Aaron Lennon. Norwich then had a few chances to lead the game, but good keeping from Brad Freidel prevented the game been 2-0 to Norwich at the break.

Manager Andre Villas-Boas had to inspire his team at half-time, and decided to bring Belgian Moussa Dembele on for the second half. The new boy took no time at all in finding the back of the net. Defoe darting into the box before laying off to the midfielder to fire past goalkeeper John Ruddy, whose sight was partially blocked by Howson.

Villas-Boas was aware he let a stoppage time goal in last week against West Brom. The Portuguese manager brought on midfielder Tom Huddlestone, who brings a more defensive quality to the team. However the move backfired moments later, as Robert Snodgrass seized on a loose ball to fire past Brad Freidel. Tottenham’s agony continued, after substitute Tom Huddlestone was given a straight red, after a tackle on Howson.

Wigan Vs Stoke

Wigan’s new signing Arouna Kone slotted straight into the starting eleven, where as Stoke’s new signings Charlie Adam and Maurice Edu had to settle for the bench. Both sides hadn’t started the season strongly at all. Wigan winning one and losing one. While Stoke have drawn both of their opening games. Like so  many clashes this weekend, the game burst into life from the start. First Wigan applied some pressure, next James McCarthy’s shot hitting Robert Huth’s hand. The referee had no choice, but to point straight to the spot. Shaun Maloney then tucked the resulting spot-kick past Asmir Begovic.

The home side tried to extend their lead even further, before the break, but good keeping from Begovic kept the Potters in the game. The Latics play was then disrupted, after Jean Beausejeur went off injured. He was then replaced by David Jones. Almost immediatly after Wigan’s change, Stoke decided to bring on new signing Charlie Adam. The Scot was called into action right away, a free-kick on the edge of the area. The former Liverpool man caused a goal-line scramble, but somehow Wigan held on.  5 minutes before half-time, Maynor Figueroa gave away a penalty to Stoke. The Wigan defender handling in the box, after pressure from Peter Crouch. Jonathan Walters stepped up and scored the penalty passed Ali Al Habsi.

The second half brought few chances for either side. The first chance came early in the first half, when Arouna Kone was through on goal. The attacker chose to lay the ball to Franco Di Santo, who slotted home for Wigan. Stoke then had a chance to level from Walters. The Irishman couldn’t keep his shot down, so the score was still 2-1 to Wigan. The chances came and went for stoke, but when Peter Crouch got the chance to tie the game on 76, he took it.  The lanky England striker rose the highest in the box to head past Ali Al Habsi, after a good cross from Walters. The momentum was now with Stoke, but they couldn’t finish their chances and the game finished 2-2.

West Brom Vs Everton

Both teams came into this game off the back of very impressive form. Everton had two wins in their first two, including a 1-0 victory over Manchester United. West Brom had one win and one draw from their first two games.

Everton controlled the opening 15 minutes of the game and should have been in front. Nikica Jelavic connecting well with a Leighton Baines corner, but the Croat sent his header miles wide. Everton then suffered a setback, Darron Gibson pulling up with an injury. The Irish international was replaced by Tony Hibbert. Everton continued to press, but couldn’t find a goal against Steve Clarke’s side. The teams went into the break all square, even though the Toffees should be cruising at the break.

Everton started the second half how they finished the first, plenty of chances. Marouane Fellaini had the best chance to put them in front on the 55 minute mark. The midfielder dragging his shot wide, when he was in space. The Belgian was guilty of the same moments later. He sliced a shot high over the bar from 10 yards out, after good work from fellow countryman Kevin Mirallas. The Blues were to pay for their earlier mistakes minutes later. Peter Odemwingie playing a pass across goal, for Shane Long to tap the ball past Tim Howard.

After Long’s goal, chances were at a premium. Everton had a few chances to draw level, but like before in the game, they didn’t take them. Fellaini, Neville and Distin were then all booked in quick succession, as West Brom looked the most likely to score next. With momentum on their side, Gareth Mcauley bulleted a header past Tim Howard, from a Chris Brunt corner. The baggies now have 7 points in the league, while Everton’s 11 game unbeaten league streak comes to an end.

Manchester City Vs QPR

Manchester City come into this game with one win and a draw, while their opponents have a loss and a draw from their first two. City don’t have new signings Javi Garcia or Maicon available, but winger Scott Sinclair starts on the bench. QPR start seven of their 12 summer signings against the Premier League champions, including deadline day signing Estoban Grenaro. It came as no surprise, when City started the more dominant of the two. Rodwell and Silva wasted good chances to put City infront, but when Yaya Toure opened the scoring on 16, you thought the rout was about to begin.

Half-time had been and gone, and City didn’t have that  second goal yet. QPR then took their opportunity to level the game. Bobby Zamora slotted home, after Joe Hart could only parry Andy Johnson’s effort. The champions then woke up and two minutes later Carlos Tevez crossed to Edin Dzeko, for the Bosnian to head home. The game then opened up more. Ryan Nelsen had two guilt edge chances to level the game up for QPR, but the former Blackburn man couldn’t find the net. Fortunately for City, Tevez managed to score in injury time, to make it a nervy win for Manchester City. Just like in May, when City clinched the match 3-2 against the same opposition to win the title.

Liverpool Vs Arsenal

Nuri Sahin makes his debut for Liverpool, but Arsenal have no debutants, due to Arsene Wenger spending money earlier in the transfer window. Both teams have started with bad results. Arsenal have two draws under their belt, while Liverpool have one draw and one loss. Liverpool had a few early chances, but soon looked outclassed by Arsenal. Santi Cazorla looked in another class to every Liverpool player. Nuri Sahin failed to deal with a shot and Reina had to keep the Spaniards shot out.

Arsenal looked capable of catching Liverpool on the break at any moment. Minutes later Gerrard’s wayward pass was cut out by Vermaelen, who passed to Podolski. The German then passed to Cazorla in space, the Spaniard picked an inch perfect pass to Podolski. The summer signing slotted home passed Reina from 10 yards. Giroud could have put Arsenal 2-0 up moments later, when he was clear on goal, but the French striker put the shot wide. Liverpool started to have chances when Stewart Downing was introduced into the game. However the Merseyside club still looked second best to Arsenal.

Liverpool could have easily got a penalty moments later, when Per Mertesacker sent Luis Suarez to the deck, but luckily for the German, the penalty wasn’t given. Almost immediately after the penalty claim, Cazorla played a one-two with Podolski, before firing Arsenal 2-0 up from an acute angle. At the end Vito Manonne kept out shots from Shelvey and Suarez, but Liverpool just didn’t have the firepower needed to beat Arsenal.

Newcastle Vs Aston Villa

Newcastle have had a mixed start to the premier league season. They have won one game against Tottenham, and lost one to Chelsea. Aston Villa have started very badly, with two losses from their opening two games. Newcastle’s summer signing Vurnon Anita starts for them, while Aston Villa’s deadline day signing Christian Benteke was not completed in time to play. Paul Lambert’s men started well and wasted good chances, firstly Darren Bent, then Karim El Ahmadi. Newcastle looked less confident in midfield. The Tyneside club were evidently missing Cheick Tiote. Even star strikers Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba were misfiring.

Aston Villa made Newcastle pay in the 22nd minute. Ciaran Clark heading in Barry Bannan’s cross from the flank. Newcastle then had two penalty claims turned down by the referee, before seeing defender Danny Simpson sustain an injury. Villa looked set to follow-up a Capital One Cup victory, with a victory against Newcastle. However in the 59th minute, Hatem Ben Arfa cut in from the left before unleashing a 25 yard rocket into the top corner of the net. Both sides looked for the winner, but Villa had the first chance to lead through Stephen Ireland. The midfielder had a good volley chance late on, but he hit it off target. Newcastle’s last chance came in stoppage time, when Yohan Cabaye’s free-kick was heading for goal, but Brad Guzan managed to make a flying save.

Southampton Vs Manchester United

Southampton haven’t started the premier league season how they wanted to. First losing to Manchester City, then to Wigan. Manchester United have had a mixed start to the premier League season. They lost to Everton on the first game of the season, but won last week against Fulham. Southampton didn’t complete the signing of Gaston Ramirez in time for him to play. Manchester United start life without injured Wayne Rooney, but have Robin Van Persie, who scored last week.

United got the first chance of the game, Van Persie firing a volley wide, after 6 minutes. Adam Lallana then had a chance for the hosts, but  his shot was just wide. Southampton took the lead in the 16th minute through Rickie Lambert. The striker heading past Anders Lindegaard, after a good cross from Jason Puncheon. Five minutes later Robin Van Persie capitalised on Nathanial Clyne’s slip, to send the teams into the break level.

Southampton came out all guns blazing in the second half, and were rewarded, when a slip by Patrice Evra let Morgan Schneiderlin head home 10 minutes into the second half. Robin Van Persie then had an opportunity to score from the penalty spot. The Dutch striker tried to chip Kelvin Davis, but the goalkeeper saved the poor penalty. The game looked set to end 2-1, but in the 87th minute Ferdinand headed onto the post, and Van Persie made no mistake of tapping home the rebound. The former Arsenal man wasn’t done yet. He headed in from Nani’s cross in stoppage time, to ensure all three points for United.

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