The action shifted back to the Premier League after a hectic Champions League qualifying round midweek. While Tottenham spanked The Young Boys to set up a date with the likes of Inter Milan and Werder Bremen in the Champions League, Liverpool and Manchester City prevailed in their Europa League clashes with Aston Villa the only English team failing to enter into the group stages. But there were quite a few surprises in store for Europe’s new boys.
English Premier League Round-2 Results:
Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Arsenal
Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Wigan Athletic
Blackpool 2-2 Fulham
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 Newcastle United
Chelsea 2-0 Stoke City
Manchester United 3– 0 West Ham United
Bolton Wanderers 2 –2 Birmingham
Sunderland 1-0 Manchester City
Liverpool 1–0 West Bromwich Albion
Aston Villa 1–0 Everton
The White Hart Pain
Cast your minds a year back at this corresponding fixture. The final scoreline read an emphatic 9-1 with Spurs decimating a hapless Wigan side. With Tottenham finally joining the big boys in Europe and Wigan letting in a combined 10 goals in their first two defeats, you could be forgiven for not putting your money on the Latics. But the ecstatic faces of the Spurs’ fans midweek sported a rather grim look after their team once again failed to capitalize on their chances at home and lost 1-0 to the mighty Wigan Athletic, courtesy Hugo Rodallega’s 80th min strike. If this remains the trend, Inter Milan would sure be a scary prospect.
Tangerine Tangerine / Living reflection from a dream
Blackpool have been like a breath of fresh air with their lovely football and passionate play and there was a feeling that their first home game would be special. And boy, didn’t they serve up a treat? The Tangerines played Fulham in a match that had more ups and downs than the famed rollercoaster at the Blackpool Amusement Park. Bobby Zamora’s opener was cancelled out by John Pantsil’s own goal before Luke Varney finished off a beautiful move to give the hosts the lead. However Dickson Etuhu showed his class with a neatly chipped goal and saved Fulham from an embarrassing defeat. The Tangerine Army was in full force too and the 15,529 fans created an atmosphere which belied their stadium capacity. Note to the neutrals- Games at Bloomfield Road are not to be missed.
Young Guns Grow Up
The customary war of words between Allardyce and Wenger regarding each other’s style of play was followed by a downpour at Ewood Park to give this clash of the opposites a real edge. Theo Walcott obviously hasn’t heard of the saying, “You don’t need to bust the net to score”, as his thunderous goal required extensive repairs to the Blackburn goal net during halftime. The goal was however against the run of play and Rovers quickly equalized with the two Dioufs combining to finish off a neat move. But an Arshavin strike in the 51st minute sealed a win for Arsenal that the players and the manager would be pretty proud of. An injury to Van Persie was the only area of concern in an otherwise satisfactory day for the Gunners.
The Reebok Stadium is hardly a place renowned for free flowing football. However Bolton and Birmingham conspired to produce an absolute thriller of a match which included the sending off of Jussi Jaskalainen for a slap on the face of Roger Johnson. The game certainly looked over with Bolton 2-0 down with ten men. But with 20 minutes to go, who else but the old warhorse Kevin Davies secured and scored a penalty and veteran Robbie Blake equalized with a stunning free kick in the 81st minute.
Villa Park also witnessed a fascinating encounter with the visitors, Everton, enjoying 68% possession but still ending up on the losing side. Luke Young’s determined foray into the Everton box coupled with an equally sweet strike was the decider in a match which went down to the wire. Wave after wave of the Blue Tide was absorbed by the Villa defence and produced a result which provided some much needed relief for Kevin MacDonald.
Torres, Rooney Off The Mark
A must win game for Liverpool was in the end won in a very tense manner (typical Liverpool) with El Nino opening his account for the season with a sublime volley against a resilient West Brom side. But the difficulty in opening up the defence against whom Chelsea put six past, a couple of weeks ago, is definitely a concern. Chelsea went about their usual business and soundly beat Stoke City 2-0, with the only talking point being the penalty miss by Lampard, apparently only his third in 27 attempts.
Wayne Rooney got the monkey off his back by scoring a penalty in United’s 3-0 win over West Ham. Although his strike did look awfully similar to Lampard’s missed one and had the keeper dived the right way, it could have been a disaster for the already under pressure Rooney. Well at least the press wont call him Nostradamus for a while now for predicting his own downfall in the Nike Ad.
And We Have The Miss Of The Season!
Manchester City’s joyride came to a halt when a Darren Bent injury time penalty condemned them to their first defeat of the season. But tomorrow’s water-cooler talk would be centered on the astonishing feat accidentally achieved by Carlos Tevez. Yaya Toure did ever so well on the counter attack; made the initial block, ran the length of the field, lured the keeper out and squared it to Tevez for a a tap in. And what does the Argentine do? You guessed it; a classic lob over the net.