The Wear-Tyne derby took us to the Stadium of Light as Sunderland took on their hated neighbours Newcastle United. After an intensely fought derby, the Barcodes emerged with three points as well as the local bragging rights courtesy a “Taylor”-made goal. Ryan Taylor’s sumptuous free-kick would have gone in anyways however Steven Taylor might well have got a tinge of his hair to the ball as well. Big win for Alan Pardew’s men whereas Steve Bruce was left licking his wounds.
In other games at the weekend Andre Villas Boas’ home début ended in a victory although Roy Hogson’s West Brom side gave a good account of themselves in sharp contrast to the 6-0 drubbing they received in the same fixture last season. The Baggies have yet to open their account after two games although it is hard to fault either of their performance.
Stoke broke thousands of Norwich hearts as Kenwyne Jones equalized in injury time heading home from a Whelan cross. Manchester United’s Ritchie De Laet was the villain last time around when he gave away a poor penalty at Wigan. De Laet looked to have earned redemption when he buried home a brilliant flying header, but there was the inevitable twist in the tale.
QPR confirmed Evertons’ reputation as poor starters by beating the Toffees at Goodison Park. Everton had a lot of chances to earn at least a point but Tim Cahill and his team mates just had one of those days. Neil Warnock was at his animated best at the sidelines as usual smiling, frowning and yelling – all in a matter of minutes. Wolves went top of the table as they eased passed Martin Jol’s Fulham side who are known to be rather poor travellers.
Off to Reebok then for the last game of the weekend and easily the most action packed as Man City returned to the top of the table after defeating Owen Coyle’s entertainers. Edin Dzeko and David Silva proved too hot to handle for the Wanderers although Bolton’s fight was admirable.
Here is the look at some of the best and the worst from an action-packed weekend.
Goal Of The Weekend
This award goes to Gabriel Agbonlahor, who opened the scoring for Villa against Blackburn with a brilliant solo goal. The Englishman picked the ball on the left flank and cut back into the area getting past Salgado as if he wasn’t there. Still there was a lot of work to do, which he accomplished and then fired in a wonderful curling shot towards the far corner giving Paul Robinson absolutely no chance.
Gareth Barry also gets an honourable mention, as he unleashed an unstoppable drive from 25 yards out in the top corner of the goal that gave Jaaskelainen no chance. The Bolton keeper did manage to get a hand on the ball but that was not enough to stop the ball going in the back of the net.
Assist Of The Weekend
Jose Bosingwa bags this prize for his sumptuous ball against West Brom that produced the winner to give Andre Villas-Boas his first win as Chelsea manager. The right-back skipped past Morrison and Shorey and fired a low cross across goal at just the right pace to evade two defenders and onto the path of the arriving Florent Malouda at the far post who made no mistake in putting the ball in the back of the net.
Miss Of The Weekend
Tim Cahill was the unfortunate culprit for Everton as his shocking miss proved to be very costly for his team who suffered a home defeat at the hands of newly promoted QPR. Jermaine Beckford delivered a ‘Bosingwa-esque ball from the right side across the goal. Cahill found himself unmarked, three yards from goal, but somehow managed to head the ball wide of the mark.
Manchester City’s new poster boy – Kun Aguero also comes close in this category with his miss against Bolton. Dzeko squared the ball across the goal for the Argentine with no one, not even the keeper, to beat but Aguero somehow lifted the ball over the bar from close range.
Save Of The Weekend
Sebastian Larsson, rather strangely, and illegally one might say, claimed this honour as he stood on the goal-line and threw his arm out instinctively to save a Joey Barton header which looked destined for the top corner. Howard Webb failed to see the handball and only gave a corner thus keeping the score down to 0-0 and making the save good enough for this category.
Steven Reid also gets a deserved mention as he threw his body across rugby style to save Florent Malouda’s shot from 10 yards out. However, his valiant effort went in vain as the Frenchman later had another chance which he duly took giving Chelsea all three points.
Controversy Of The Weekend
Norwich were arguably denied their first win of the season against Stoke by a debatable refereeing decision. Norwich were leading in the second half when Walters got ahead of Barnett and charged towards the penalty box and was fouled subsequently by the defender. The referee not only gave a penalty, for what looked to be a foul outside the box, but also gave Barnett his marching orders much to the shock of Norwich players and the crowd at Carrow Road. With Kieran Richardson escaping red card last weekend, the referee’s decision and the consistency of the officials in the league will be under scrutiny once again. Stoke, although they missed the penalty, equalized deep into stoppage time against ten-men Norwich.
Blooper Of The Weekend
Jussi Jaaskelainen claimed this infamous award this weekend for his contribution in City’s first goal at the Reebok. David Silva hit a speculative shot from outside the box straight at the Bolton keeper, but Jaaskelainen seemed to be day-dreaming as he made a complete hash of it. The ball, arguably taking an uneven bounce, went straight over his arms and he was barely touched it. The Finn might have missed the goal, he certainly earned himself a drink from David Silva.
Moment Of The Weekend
With Alex McLeish moving from Birmingham to local rivals Aston Villa, there was reportedly a lot of anger amongst the Birmingham faithful. However, that was not to be seen at Villa Park as the home fans greeted the manager with a round of applause before the start of their game against Blackburn. That brought a smile on the manager’s face and applause in return as McLeish looked more than relieved. This charged up the home team as well as they put on a brilliant show to outclass listless Rovers.
Bizarre Goal Of The Weekend
Everything related to Arsenal has been bizarre this summer which was summed up by the opening goal in their match against Liverpool. With Arsenal down to ten men and fighting for a draw, calamity struck for the Gunners and their fans at the Emirates. Although Arsenal defence has conceded bizarre goals in the past due to their shabby defending, this one was rather unfortunate even by their standards. After yet another attack from Liverpool, youngster Miquel tried to clear the ball to safety but found Ramsey in his way. The Welshman could do nothing about it as the ball struck his chest and ballooned over a hapless Szczesny and into the net.
Surprise Of The Weekend
Just as everyone thought that Nasri has played his last game in an Arsenal shirt with his move to Manchester City considered done, Wenger named the Frenchman in his starting line-up for the match against Liverpool. There was mixed reactions from the crowd as the midfielder’s name, when announced, was greeted with boos from several section of the Emirates.
Return Of The Boo Boys
Things haven’t been all smooth sailing at the Emirates lately and Arsene Wenger seems to be losing followers like quick sand. Six years without silverware and a steadily regressing home form has brought the worst out among the Gooners. Liverpool heaped further misery by defeating the Gunners in their own backyard as the Emirates reverberated in loud boos. Some rather unsavoury expletives were hurled towards the manager as the fans want reinforcement and that too of proven quality.
Goodison Park showed their disapproval towards the result as David Moyes looked on from the sidelines. Everton haven’t even entered the transfer market this season and there are no indications that will change.
Team Of The Weekend
Michel Vorm(Swansea), Thomas Vermaelen(Arsenal), Daniel Agger(Liverpool), Jose Enrique(Liverpool), Jose Bosingwa(Chelsea), Jon Obi Mikel (Chelsea) Jamie O’Hara(Wolves), David Silva(Man City), Edin Dzeko(Man City), Tommy Smith(QPR) Ross Barkley(Everton)
Premier League Results
Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool
Sunderland 0-1 Newcastle
Swansea 0-0 Wigan
Norwich 1-1 Stoke
Chelsea 2-1 West Brom
Wolves 2-0 Fulham
Aston Villa 3-1 Blackburn
Bolton 2-3 Man City
Everton 0-1 QPR