In a cracking weekend of Premiership, teams with ‘fresh’ players clearly triumphed over the ones who had ‘tired legs’ after the midweek fixtures. Manchester United, despite a moderate performance, maintained their position at the top of the table with a narrow win over West Brom. Arsenal and Manchester City registered three points to keep themselves close to the top. Spurs went ahead of their neighbors Chelsea with a 1-0 win as the defending champions failed to earn three points from their tie at home.

In other news, managers who were ‘walking the tight rope’, got a ‘breather’ at least for this week. Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool came from behind to win their game while Avram Grant’s West Ham managed to pull the strings at home. Gerrard Houllier came back home from The Bridge with a point, which would be ‘just enough’ to keep him at the office, at least for the time being. As the teams embark on their new year journey with the transfer window opening up, let us take a look at the best moments of the first round of matches in the new year.

Stars of the Week:

Steven Gerrard/Samir Nasri

A spirited show from the Liverpool captain, an eternal motivator for the Anfield faithful, gave Liverpool a crucial win as they entered the top half of the table, and are not very far from European places. Though, Bolton went ahead with a Kevin Davies goal, Liverpool crawled back with goals from Torres and Joe Cole, the latter being an injury-time one. Both the goals came from picture-perfect crosses from the captain from the right-hand side of the midfield.

Arsenal thumped Birmingham at home and Samir Nasri continued his ‘golden run’ in the Premiership this season. He combined well with Cesc to score a fantastic goal for Arsenal, one of the goals of the weekend. The Cesc-Nasri combination and finish was reminiscent of the days of Henry and Pires. The Frenchman combined yet again with the captain to ‘create’ Arsenal’s third goal, though it eventually ended as an own goal. Nasri has now scored 13 goals for the Gunners this season.

Match of the Week:

Chelsea 3 – 3 Aston Villa

It was a ‘match made in heaven’ from a neutral’s view. Aston Villa, who were thrashed by Chelsea 7-1 last season in this same fixture came to the Bridge, to make amends to their poor season. The defending champions, with problems of their own, were slowly looking to ‘bounce back’ with some important players back in the starting line-up. It all started when Frank Lampard took a customary penalty and gave Chelsea the lead within 20 minutes. Unfortunately, minutes before the half-time break, Aston Villa equalized with a penalty of their own. None other than, Heskey scored with a header after the break to take Aston Villa ahead much to the bemusement of the home fans. Six minutes of madness at the end of the match brought the scoreline to 3-3 in which Chelsea equaled and went ahead through Drogba and Terry, yet Clark gave Gerrard Houllier’s men a chance to start the season afresh.

Goal of the Week:

James Morrison vs Manchester United

United were stunned in the 14th minute when James Morrison hammered a long ranger past Tomasz Kuszczak’s goal, easily the best goal of the weekend. Such was the ferocity of the strike, even Van Der Sar would have failed to come close to it.

Pass of the Week:

Samir Nasri to Cesc Fabregas – Arsenal’s 3rd goal (An own goal)

Samir and Cesc had combined extremely well throughout the match, keeping the ball to themselves for long spells and frustrating the opposition. Arsenal’s third goal came from some artistic football by the Gunners. Samir Nasri dribbled and ran into space inside the penalty box as he made a deft touch to roll the ball to an onrushing Cesc, whose powerful drive was semi-blocked by the keeper but it eventually entered the goal to finish off a fantastic pass and move from Nasri and Cesc.

The Race for the Golden Boot:

League Top-Scorer, yet not good enough for 'big' matches?

  • Dimitar Berbatov – 14
  • Carlos Tevez – 12
  • Andy Carroll – 11
  • Tim Cahill – 9
  • Samir Nasri – 9
  • Johan Elmander – 9

Save of the Week:

City vs Blackpool: Joe Hart

Manchester City picked up important points to stay in the ‘title hunt’ along with their neighbors. Joe Hart dived to his left to make a fantastic save off a Taylor Fletcher close range kick. The English keeper had another ‘smooth’ outing, giving a lot of confidence to the City back-line.

Flop of the Week: Team Birmingham

Having played with almost the same team over the midweek, Birmingham clearly struggled against a very energetic Arsenal side that never gave the home team any space or time to attack. Birmingham are now in ‘troubled waters’ lying dangerously in the 19th position in the league table.

Team of the Week:

The Team of the Week comprises of top performers of the week from all the teams to have played over the weekend. The following players picked themselves with superb performances for their respective teams.

Entire League Results

Chelsea 3 – 3 Aston Villa

Wigan 0 – 1 Newcastle

West Brom 1 – 2 Man Utd

Man City 1 – 0 Blackpool

West Ham 2 – 0 Wolverhampton

Tottenham 1 – 0 Fulham

Sunderland 3 – 0 Blackburn

Stoke 2 – 0 Everton

Liverpool 2 – 1 Bolton

Birmingham 0 – 3 Arsenal