Premier League Week-5 Results
- Stoke City 1-1 West Ham United
- Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Aston Villa 1-1 Bolton Wanderers
- West Bromwich Albion 3-1 Birmingham
- Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Fulham
- Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal
- Everton 0-1 Newcastle United
- Manchester United 3-2 Liverpool
- Chelsea 4-0 Blackpool
- Wigan Athletic 0-2 Manchester City
Berbaflop – No More
It took more than two years, but when the day Dimitar Berbatov did justice to his price tag of £30.75 million and Sir Alex’s unwavering confidence finally arrived, it was against bitter rivals Liverpool, in a match that will undoubtedly be dubbed as a Classic. The Bulgarian was at his splendid best, producing a performance filled with moments of genius and uncharacteristic intent, as he single-handedly outscored The Reds with a superb hat-trick.
The match itself was unusually lacking in much action in the first half with Manchester United dominating the attacking play. Liverpool’s lack of creativity was all too familiar as their spell of possession only involved neat little interchanges in the middle of the park. Fernando Torres, who has unfairly been labeled as “diabolical” in the past few weeks did himself no favors when he let Berbatov score the easiest of headers from a Ryan Giggs corner. Equally at fault was Paul Konchesky, who was inexplicably standing behind Pepe Reina instead of his assigned goal-post where the ball went in.
A frenetic second half started with a moment of genius from the Bulgarian forward. He controlled the ball off his thigh and unleashed an overhead shot that kissed the underside of the bar to double United’s lead. David Ngog’s introduction sparked Liverpool into life and Torres was clearly enjoying not being the sole point of attention for the United defense. It took less than two minutes after substitution for him to earn a penalty which sparked a Liverpool comeback. Gerrard coolly converted from the spot, and Johnny Evans’ temperament will surely incur the wrath of Fergie for his rash lunge.
The match served up its inevitable moment of controversy when John O’Shea brought down Torres when the Irishman looked to be the last man in defense. Webb decided not to produce a red which could have potentially decided the outcome with more than 20 minutes to play. Gerrard’s well placed free-kick leveled the scores but with six minutes to go Berbatov out jumped Carragher to become the first man since Stan Pearson in 1946 to score a hat-trick in this fixture.
Boring Boring Chelsea
You know a team has risen to quite a high pedestal when they get criticized after winning 4-0. According to the pundits Chelsea were boring, lackluster and too laid-back in the second half and wondered why Ancelotti had probably told his team to step off the peddle. So what if they have a midweek fixture against Newcastle and then travel to Manchester to take on City this Saturday and probably thought it’d be better to lay off the gritty challenges. They better buckle up. That attitude is not gonna help them if they want to top last season’s goal tally which is surely their main priority.
The opposition was a fearless Blackpool, by the way, who are one of the few teams who stick to their style of play irrespective of the battering they receive. But it is making the chant, “We want one”, quite popular among the Tangerine Army. However, in all likelihood, they would prefer to sing with a tongue in cheek attitude rather than just out of desperation.
A Skier, A Pat on the Back And A Freaky Goal
Arsenal fans may have debated quite a lot on ‘which is the best goal by their talismanic captain?’ but at The Stadium of Light, they definitely saw his freakiest one. Anton Ferdinand used all the time in the world, combined it with his vast experience and pedigree and produced a moment which ensured that his family and friends will always have one up their sleeve,anytime they want to get back at him. His clearance, if you can call it that, struck the underside of Cesc’s boot and looped over an unsuspecting Mignolet to give Gunners the lead in the 13th minute.
The game seemed to be in Arsenal’s control but Alex Song’s deliberate body check on Malbranque earned him a second yellow that left Arsene Wenger furious at the referee and Arsenal with ten men for the rest of 35 minutes. But they still created chances and forced Elmohamady to concede a penalty. However, Rosicky joined John Carew to put his name in contention for the “Baggio Miss of the Season” award when he smashed the ball over the bar.
The Black Cats spurred into life and in the 95th minute, few seconds after the minimum injury time to be played had expired, who else but Darren Bent pounced on a loose clearance by Clichy to snatch a point, to the utter delight of the home fans. Wenger’s zestful complaint to the fourth official included a sarcastic pat on his back and he now faces a one-match touchline ban for his improper conduct.
Steve Bruce must be rising through the ranks. He’s getting Fergie Time now.
Ben Arfa ‘Toons’ It Up A Notch
Everton’s determination to carry on the good form shown by them last week against Manchester United was shattered with a 0-1 defeat to the travelling Magpies courtesy a thunderous left foot drive by the new recruit Hatem Ben Arfa. The Frenchman drilled the ball past a hapless Howard on a day where he threatened to become the new Toon favourite with his overall classy display. David Moyes admitted that had he been a supporter in the stands, he would have booed his team’s performance.
Meanwhile, fellow newcomers West Bromwich Albion came back from a goal down to beat Birmingham in an eventful derby clash at The Hawthorns. After dominating the first half and leading 1-0, Birmingham were on the end of a spirited Albion retaliation. Scott Dann’s own goal was followed by a Lee Bowyer mistake that resulted in Odemwingie putting the Baggies ahead. Jonas Olsson then scored with an unmarked header from a corner to finish The Blues off before there were reports of object throwing incidents from the traveling supporters.
Late Surge Sees Tottenham Through; City Cash In On Errors
Tottenham left it late against an inspired Wolves side that took the lead at White Hart Lane with a Steven Fletcher goal at the stroke of half-time. Rafael Van der Vaart was the orchestrator of a late comeback by Spurs that started with Robbie Keane and Peter Crouch upfront . Alan Hutton came on for Younes Kaboul after the first half and was instrumental in winning the penalty which was converted by Van der Vaart with just 15 minutes left on the clock. Pavlyucheko, who replaced Keane, scored the second while Hutton was on hand to bundle the ball home in stoppage time to seal the Tottenham’s first Premier League home win of the season.
Few defensive mistakes by Wigan, coupled with some wonderful contributions from Carlos Tevez, allowed Manchester City to register a 2-0 win at the DW Stadium. Wigan, however were hardly spectators in this one and they matched the visitors with some good attractive football of their own. Roberto Martinez’s men were however left to rue a couple of defensive errors. The first one saw Diame head the ball right into the path of Tevez, following a goal kick from Hart. The Argentine expertly chipped the ball over the onrushing Al Habsi for City’s opener in the 43rd minute. Figueroa’s failed clearance in the 70th minute landed for Tevez who flashed the ball across the box for Yaya Toure to nudge the ball home.
Jose’s Heir Apparent?
No, we don’t mean in terms of describing himself as some kind of godman providing special joy to football fans, although that would be quite suitable as well. This is in reference to how Mr. Sam Allardyce quoted in an interview, that he would be more suited to be the Manager of Real Madrid or Inter Milan and that he would win the double every year with them. Allardyce also added, “”Give me Manchester United or Chelsea and I would do the same, it wouldn’t be a problem.” A day before, he had aimed his verbal jibes at Arsene Wenger on how he was manipulating the referees by complaining about them before Arsenal matches.
So being fired up, all by himself, Big Sam was expected to deliver the goods this weekend when Fulham came visiting to The Ewood Park. So was it a thumping of the Londoners we saw or a tactical masterpiece by the self appointed future Real Madrid manager? It turned out to be a struggling 1-1 draw that saw a header being scored by Christopher Samba with the expert assistance of El-Hadji Diouf who held the keeper at bay from a long ball launched by Robinson.
So after hardly displaying Champions League-winning tactics, how does Allardyce explain his side being dominated for over 61% possession?
“The only person that made the game difficult was the referee.”