Saints keep flying high
By now, the fact that Southampton defeated Fulham at home probably should not raise too many eyebrows. Mauricio Pochettino’s men have been a revelation this season and continued their fine form with a comfortable victory over the side from West London. Arthur Boruc kept yet another clean sheet – their sixth in nine games – while Ricky Lambert and Jay Rodriguez bagged a goal each at the other end as Southampton retained their place in the top five heading into the month of November.
Pochettino deserves plaudits for the way he has turned things round at the south coast club in a short while. Defensively they look a completely different outfit from last season. The high pressing style deployed by the new manager has paid rich dividends as opponents have found it difficult to get shots on goal, let alone score, against them. New signing Dejan Lovren has been a rock at the back till now and has even come up with a winner at Anfield. On that note, perhaps the most impressive feature about Southampton’s season so far has been their performance against the so called big teams. The surprise victory at Anfield was followed by a well-deserved draw at Old Trafford. In neither game can Southampton be accused of parking the bus against their vaunted oppositions but instead gave as good as they got. Towards the end of November, trips to Arsenal and Chelsea lie in store. If Southampton maintain their current run of form, more upsets may well be on the cards.
Sublime Suarez puts Baggies to the sword
In a week when Zlatan Ibrahimovic staked his claim for the title of the best striker in Europe with a virtuoso display against Anderlecht, Luis Suarez reignited that particular debate with a majestic performance of his own against West Bromwich Albion. The Uruguayan hitman had one of those afternoons – the good variety – when he is simply unplayable. Steve Clark’s men were his hapless victims, as Suarez ran riot with a hat-trick and could even have added a fourth, only to be denied by a brilliant save from Boaz Myhill. Daniel Sturridge too joined the party late on with a delicious chip as Liverpool ran out comfortable winners by a 4-1 margin.
With Suarez in such scintillating form, Liverpool can dare to dream of a top four finish this season. The turbulent summer seems a thing of the past as the Uruguayan is apparently enjoying playing at Anfield once more. Credit must also go to the Liverpool top management for being resolute in their stance over Suarez in the summer when selling their star appeared to be the more convenient course of action. However, as Suarez demonstrated on Saturday – and hopefully for Liverpool will continue to do so for many more Saturdays to come – he is one of those rare talents in world football who can be termed as irreplaceable. No matter the amount of money that was on offer for him, accepting it would have undoubtedly weakened Liverpool. Instead with Suarez firing on all cylinders, Liverpool can look forward to a season ripe with wonderful possibilities.
Late show at Old Trafford gets Moyes bailed
Manchester United added the latest chapter in the annals of their Old Trafford comebacks, only this time it was not presided over by Sir Alex Ferguson. Instead the man who has managed to ruffle quite a few feathers with his new autobiography watched on from the stands as his successor took a leaf out of his playbook to retrieve a game that seemed slipping away from the champions with a quarter of an hour left. As Ferguson had done time and again through his long distinguished reign, Moyes too threw caution to the wind with a number of attacking substitutions that saw United finishing the game with three strikers and three wingers on the pitch. In the end though, the gamble paid off as both Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez headed home in quick succession to turn the game against Stoke City on its head.
The relief around Old Trafford was palpable but it would have been nothing in comparison to the relief to Moyes, who would have been preparing himself to face another round of grilling from the media. Moyes will be the first one to admit that things have not gone according to plan in the first few months of his reign. After a disappointing transfer window, results on pitch have failed to match the expectations set at the club. Even the three points on Saturday cannot mask some of the obvious deficiencies in the team as the defence looked utterly shorn of confidence. There is still a long way to go before it can be said with some reasonable confidence that United under Moyes have turned the corner. But often it takes some sort of spark to get the team going and Moyes will fervently hope that Saturday’s stirring comeback is one such event.
Chelsea came out top against title rivals Manchester City in Sunday’s big match at the Stamford Bridge thanks to a late winner from Fernando Torres. The Spaniard had earlier missed a glorious chance but did not let that affect him as he ran City defence ragged all afternoon and was the deserving candidate for bagging the clincher.
It was Sunderland and their new manager Gus Poyet’s day in the north-east as the Black Cats picked up their first victory of the season in the derby against Newcastle. The game seemed heading for a stalemate only for on-loan striker Fabio Borini to come up with a special strike to send the fans into delirium.
At the top of the table, Arsenal maintained their stranglehold with victory over strugglers Crystal Palace. While the result was expected, the fact that the Gunners had to play almost the entire second half with 10 men after Mikel Arteta was controversially sent off, makes it impressive achievement nevertheless. The result nicely sets up the headline clash for next weekend as Arsenal hosts Liverpool in first versus second in the league.
Premier League Results
- Aston Villa 0-2 Everton
- Chelsea 2-1 Man City
- Crystal Palace 0-2 Arsenal
- Liverpool 4-1 West Brom
- Man Utd 3-2 Stoke
- Norwich 0-0 Cardiff
- Southampton 2-0 Fulham
- Sunderland 2-1 Newcastle
- Swansea 0-0 West Ham
- Tottenham 1-0 Hull
Goal of the Week
While honourable mention must go to Sergio Aguero for his instinctive strike, it’s his fellow South American striker Luis Suarez who bags this particular accolade with brilliant solo goal – the first of his three – against West Brom.