Man Utd win derby thriller, Chelsea beat Spurs

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles

Premier League review

Burnley 3 – 1 Sunderland

Turf Moor is fast becoming one of the most feared grounds in the Premier League. The list of casualties extends to champions Manchester United, FA Cup runners-up Everton and now Sunderland.

Anton Ferdinand’s reckless lunge on Wade Elliot allowed veteran Graham Alexander to take the 73rd penalty of his career. His smashed the ball right down the middle of the goal past Craig Gordon to take his penalty tally to 68 out of 73 attempts.

Inevitably Darren Bent got on the score sheet for the Black Cats. A delicate disguised through-ball presented Bent with his easiest goal of the season so far as Sunderland levelled the tie at 1-1.

On 67 minutes Burnley re-took the lead after Elliot’s cross was met by David Nugent. And with four minutes of normal time remaining, Nugent produced a strike that the best strikers in the Premier League would be proud of.

Allowed time to turn on the edge of the box, he whipped the ball past the helpless Gordon to secure Burnley’s third home victory of the season.

Arsenal 4 – 0 Wigan Athletic

This fixture last season was marred by the jeering of Emmanuel Eboue by his own fans at the Emirates. Both the club and player have moved on since. Indeed Eboue received raptous applause when he scored the third goal in Arsenal’s four goal demolition of Wigan.

Thomas Vermaelan is fast earning himself a reputation as a goal-scoring defender. His thumping header opened the scoring after lax marking by the away side allowed the Belgian to thump a header past Chris Kirkland.

If his first goal was a defender’s goal, his second was a strike fitting of a top-flight marksman. He fired a left-footed curling shot into the top corner to make it 2-0 to Arsene Wenger’s side.

Arsenal continued to dominate, and Gael Clichy’s cross was met by the right foot of Eduardo. The Croatian’s volley rebounded of the post, falling back to the striker. His second attempt at goal was deflected into the net by Eboue.

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas wrapped up affairs. He flicked a driven cross by Nicklas Bendtner into the net at the near post. Arsenal are back to winning ways after two straight defeats.

Aston Villa 2 – 0 Portsmouth

The midweek heavyweight clash between Martin O’Neill and Nigel Reo Coker appeared to have no affect on the performance of the squad. Indeed Villa comfortably overcame a struggling Portsmouth side.

Pompey played good football at Villa Park. Their approach just proved ineffective and it’s difficult to see Paul Hart’s side scoring enough goals to strive off relegation.

A rash challenge by Belhadji presented James Milner with a chance to score from the spot. Unlike in this summer’s Under-21 European Championships, Milner made no mistake. He lashed the ball past David James.

It was 2-0 a couple of minutes before half-time. Tal Ben Haim dived in to win a ball played to Agbonlahor. The ball evaded the Israeli centre back allowing the Villa striker to streak clear and beat James.

Portsmouth enjoyed plenty of possession in the second half but failed to make any progress in the crucial final third. David Nugent’s brace for Burnley will only rub salt into the open wounds for the Fratton Park side.

Bolton Wanderers 1 – 1 Stoke City

Despite Matthew Taylor’s last minute equaliser, the Reebok Stadium boo boys still loudly voiced their discontent with Gary Megson at the end of the game. The chorus of jeers have become common place upon the final whistle during Megson’s tenure.

It is credit to the achievements of Stoke City that many were predicting an away side victory in this match. The first half saw Rory Delap and Gary Cahill miss the best chances for their respective sides.

Dave Kitson appears to have finally settled in the top flight. He beat two defenders on the right hand side of the penalty box before passing the ball into the right hand corner of the net with a majestic finish.

The away side will have felt aggrieved not have taken all three points back to Britannia Stadium. Danny Collins felled Croatian striker Ivan Klasnic inside the penalty area. The ever reliable Matthew Taylor levelled the game to providing Megson with a vital lifeline.

Hull City 0 – 1 Birmingham City

Birmingham responded admirably from their disappointing derby defeat to Aston Villa last weekend, meanwhile Phil Brown’s side slumped to a second consecutive home defeat.

McLeish travelled with an injury hit squad to the KC Stadium. The clubs record signing Christian “Chucho” Bentiez was handed his first start of the season.

The Ecuadorian impressed and looks good value for money. His highlight will have been a run which saw him nutmeg the blundering Paul McShane before forcing Myhill into a top notch save.

Gary O’Connor came on thirty minutes before the end to partner Chucho. The Scottish international scored the only goal of the game when he nodded past Myhill.

Hull City’s most memorable opportunity came when the two teams enjoyed a game of headers in the away side box. Hart ended up in the back of the net but the ball bounced off the crossbar from Sonko.

West Ham United 2 – 3 Liverpool

Despite coming from behind on two occasions, Gianfranco Zola’s outfit were unable to contain the prolific Fernando Torres.

Liverpool’s first came after a double stepover from Torres bamboozled the opposing defender Tomkins. The disorientated defender failed to match the Spaniards acceleration, allowing Torres to poke a shot over the head of the diving Green.

But the Hammers levelled the scoring shortly after. Jamie Carragher once again was found wanting. Worryingly for Rafa Benitez the Anfield icon is becoming a liability at the back. His lack of pace resulted in a desperate shove on Hines who was proceeding to streak past the centre back. A penalty was awarded.

The Italian Alessando Diamanti looped the ball into the net. Just over 10 minutes later Liverpool’s lead was restored. Gerrard nodded the ball towards the left corner of Green’s goal. The slightest of touches by Dirk Kuyt ensured his team reclaimed the lead.

But just before half time, Pepe Reina failed to marshal any of his men onto the post. Carlton Cole out-leaped Skrtel to glance the ball into the corner of the net. The teams trudged in at the break with the scores level at 2-2.

Upon 60 minutes Benitez opted for the offensive approach opposed to the cautious attitude which is usually his mantra. Ryan Babel replaced Dirk Kuyt with Benayoun remaining on the pitch.

On the 75 minute Ryan Babel repaid the faith Benitez endowed in him. A deft cross by the Dutchman was headed home by Torres.

Manchester United 4 – 3 Manchester City

The game of the season so far began at a frenetic pace. Within two minutes of the kick off, the City defenders switched off from a throw in allowing Evra to elude the attentions of the away side. He slid the ball into Rooney who stroked the ball home past Given.

Just over 15 minutes later the scores were level. Foster hesitated in clearing and was promptly closed down by Tevez. The Argentine fed Gareth Barry the ball who fired into a vacated net.

United took the lead again shortly after half-time. Darren Fletcher rose ahead of Barry to glance his header past Given. Giggs, who was having a sublime game, was the provider.

The home side’s lead lasted less than four minutes. O’Shea failed to close down Bellamy. The Welsh international cut inside before smashing an unstoppable strike past Foster.

With ten minutes left of normal time, Giggs whipped in a dangerous free kick. An unmarked Fletcher met the cross once again with a thumping header into the net.

Rio Ferdinand afforded City with another chance to take a point away from Old Trafford. His lapse unleashed the sprinting Bellamy who rounded Foster and slotted the ball into the net to stun the home crowd.

Controversially, five and-a-half minutes into added time, Giggs played an inch-perfect through ball into Michael Owen. The English striker’s first touch was good enough to allow him to poke the ball past Given to snatch victory for United to the despair of Mark Hughes.

Everton 3 – 0 Blackburn Rovers

A Louis Saha brace secured Everton’s first home win of the season and saw them rise out of the relegation zone much to the relief of all at Goodison Park.

Saha made up for a silly sending off mid-week against AEK Athens. Miguel Salgado allowed the Frenchman to escape his attention, as he ran round the back of the former Real Madrid star to nod home his first of the afternoon.

Marouane Fellaini provided Saha with an assist for the French international’s second goal. The giant midfielder whipped in a cross which was headed past Paul Robinson by Saha.

Joseph Yobo made it 3-0 shortly before full time. Another Baines set-piece found Yobo who made no mistake with the finish. Blackburn came closest through Diouf’s header which found the crossbar.

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 – 1 Fulham

Mick McCarthy celebrated a long overdue home victory in the Premier League against Fulham. It took 22 attempts but the Irishman will be relieved to finally banish the old gremlin that has haunted previous campaigns.

Kevin Doyle opened his Wolves account when he combined with Andy Keogh. On the 50 minute mark, Dave Edwards was afforded the freedom of Molineux by the Fulham defenders. He casually smashed the ball past Mark Schwarzer.

Fulham struggled to make their mark on their game in the first half. The second 45 minutes they produced a better display but it proved too late to mount a comeback.

A Danny Murphy penalty after 66 minutes proved a false dawn for the away side. Wolves hung on to win 2-1. Hodgson will be looking to build on solid home form while picking up more points away from Craven Cottage.

Chelsea 3 – 0 Tottenham Hotspurs

Chelsea now boast the impressive title of the only team in the Premier League with a 100% record. Meanwhile Spurs’ top-four credentials took another hammer blow after failing to test the Chelsea rearguard.

The wingbacks enjoyed a fruitful game for the home side. Both Cole and Boswinga provided the crucial width to Ancelotti’s diamond system. Indeed it was the left-back who opened the scoring on 32 minutes.

Drogba’s low cross was met by the diving Cole who headed the goal past former Chelsea favourite Carlo Cudicini. Boswinga’s run on the outside of Drogba have provided the striker with the time to fire the perfect cross in for his team-mate.

After the break Ledley King departed after a couple of minutes picking up a hamstring injury. It was soon 2-0. Lampard reacted the fastest to Cudicini’s save from Drogba. Lampard’s deft cross was bundled into the net by Michael Ballack.

Drogba made it three moments later. Great vision from Boswinga sent Drogba through on goal who outpaced Corluka. He produced an assured finish to make it 3-0.

Tottenham’s injury woes mounted after Bassong had to be strechtered of the pitch leaving Spurs with no natural centre-backs. The perfect day for Ancelotti was spoilt by the injury to Drogba before the end. Nevertheless Chelsea remain in the top spot.

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