Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs maintain 100% starts

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Arsene WengerKieran Beckles takes a look back at this weekend's Premier League clashes

Arsenal 4 – 1 Portsmouth

Arsenal made it 10 goals in two games as a demoralised Portsmouth offered little resistance to the rampant Gunners.

Midfielder Abou Diaby had got Arsenal underway when Eduardo showed a burst of pace to beat his man on the right wing and teed up Diaby who drove the ball home past the despairing David James. Three minutes later it was 2-0. After good defending from a Pompey corner, Arsenal broke rapidly with Eboue set free down the right and turned the ball into the box where Diaby appeared unmarked, presented with the simplest of finishes.

Former Spurs defender Kaboul got one back for the South coast club out-jumping Almunia and nodding into the empty net. Arsene Wenger will be undoubtedly worried over the fitness of captain Cesc Fabregas after he was forced off at half time with a hamstring injury. Soon after Gallas had escaped punishment for a questionable challenge on Utaka, he scored his third goal in as many games much to the fury of Pompey manager Paul Hart who felt the Frenchman shouldn’t have been on the pitch.

An almost perfect day was rounded off when Aaron Ramsey was played through by Robin Van Persie and fired past James with the Welshman scoring his first goal in the Premier League. In the post match interviews Wenger was quick to praise the “fantastic attitude” of his team while Hart lamented the failure of the referee to dismiss Arsenal’s number 10.

Birmingham City 0 – 0 Stoke City

Birmingham City looked to continue from their mid week win against Portsmouth with a winnable home tie against a resolute Stoke City side.

Stoke threatened from set pieces but the injury of James  Beattie  will come as a blow to Tony Pulis. The best opportunity for the visitors to score came through Ricardo Fuller when his effort was cleared off the line. The save of the day came from Thomas  Sorenson, who to produce a full stretch save to keep out Gary O’ Connors effort.

A 0-0 draw meant the two sides played out the first stalemate of the Premier League season, with a point satisfactory for both sides with  Pulis  content to keep a clean sheet after a mid week four nil drubbing at the hands of Liverpool.

Hull City 1 – 0 Bolton Wanderers

Phil Brown may have missed out on Real Madrid striker Alvaro who snubbed a move  to the KC stadium earlier this week but the Spanish striker soon became a forgotten memory when Hull’s two new signings, Gihilas and Altidore, combined to help Hull to a first home win of 2009.

In a tight first half it was Bolton who had the best chances with Elmander stearing wide after a good through ball from Fabrice Muamba. Kevin Davies wasted an opportunity to put Gary Megson’s men in the lead when he squandered the chance to shoot instead choosing to square the ball.

American substitute Altidore made an immediate impact when his flick over the heads of the Bolton defence allowed Gihilas to smash the ball home. The pair went on to torment the away sides defence for the duration of the last thirty minutes and could have doubled or tripled the Tigers lead. The game finished 1-0 and should provide a kick start to Hull’s season with their next opponents newly promoted Wolves.

Manchester City 1 – 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

A dominant Manchester City side failed to put the game out of the reach of Mick McCarthy’s side as they edged to a narrow 1-0 victory.

The signs looked good for City when a flowing passing move resulted in Emmanuel Adebayor’s second goal for his new club after Robinho, Bridge and Tevez all combined to set up the Togo international who beat Wayne Hennessy at the near post. Going forward the team in light blue looked irresistible as they strung the passes together as Wright-Phillips raced down the wing, finding Stephen Ireland whose delicate touch found Adebayor but on this occasion the giant striker could only guide the ball into the hands of the Wolves keeper.

In the first half a rare excursion into the opposition half saw Shay Given produce a World class save from a Ryan Jarvis shot which looked destined for the top corner. After half time City continued to live on the edge as substitute Kevin Doyle failed to glance a header past Given. Andy Keogh provided Mark Hughes with a real scare just before the end when Dunne and Toure failed to deal with a long ball towards Andy Keogh with the Irishman releasing a furious shot which crashed against the cross bar.

City looked rampant in attack, showing great invention, while Barry provided security in midfield, but defensively Dunne and Toure looked edgy. Nevertheless Hughes will be more than content with their 100% record so far.

Wigan Athletic 0 – 5 Manchester United

In Mid-week Burnley caused a massive upset when they defeated Manchester United at Turf Moor providing a welcome upset.  

At the DW Stadium, the first half proved a cagey affair with both sides swapping jabs but no real punch to the attack. It was United came closest to opening the scoring but Darren Fletcher failed to slot the ball past Kirkland after hard work by Rooney on the right wing.

Titus Bramble was proving immense at the back, as his large frame made it difficult for Rooney and Berbatov to escape his attention with Bramble coming to the home side’s rescue on more than one occasion exemplified by the last ditch tackle on Berbatov just before half time.

The second half proved a completely different affair as United proved that there is life after Ronaldo. Ten minutes after the break, Rooney broke the deadlock as he headed past Kirkland. Wigan almost hit back immediately through Rodallega after a divine cross from Jason Koumas forced United keeper Ben Foster to palm the ball over the bar.

Moments later the Koumas and company were left to rue the miss as Berbatov deceived Kirkland with a delicate job eluding the Wigan keeper allowing the Bulgarian to apply a simple finish. United were in cruise mode as Rooney made it 3-0 securing a brace and 101 strikes in 250 plus appearances. However Ferguson hauled his number ten off the pitch shortly after allowing Owen to gain some additional match fitness.

The Scot’s faith in the striker was shortly repaid as he opened his account thanks to a disguised ball from former Wigan star Valencia left him with only the keeper to beat. Owen produced a deft chip to extend United’s lead further. A Nani free kick in the 92nd minute flew past the paralysed Kirkland rounding off an accomplished second half display by the visitors as the post Ronaldo hangover seems to have well and truly come to an end.

Sunderland 2 – 1 Blackburn Rovers

A cruel defeat for Blackburn Rovers who were left bemused as they returned to Lancashire empty handed despite dominating at the Stadium of Light.

As expected from a Sam Allardyce side, Blackburn utilised dead ball opportunities and put Sunderland under pressure from set pieces. Jason Roberts having a goal ruled out before the away side seized the lead with Gael Givet driving home through a host of players after a poor clearance from the Sunderland defence. Chris Samba proved a constant threat all afternoon twice coming close to extending the Rovers’ lead. However very much against the run of play, Kenwenye Jones eluded the away side’s defence, tipped the ball past the onrushing Paul Robinson and promptly levelled the match after 32 minutes. Jones sealed a brace twenty minutes into the second half as he firmly headed the ball past Robinson after an excellent cross from the Black Cat’s new signing Lee Cattermole.  

Sunderland manager, Steve Bruce, was quick to acknowledge his sides good fortune after the escaped with all three points despite increased pressure from the away side. Steve Nonzi looping header crept in under the crossbar and looked like it had levelled the game until it was scratched out due to Samba interfering with the goalkeeper. New £6 million signing Kalinic has the chance to claim a deserved draw for the visitors but he typified a frustrating afternoon for Big Sam has he pulled his shot well wide of the post much to the despair of Allardyce.

West Ham United   1 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur

The match at Upton Park was very much a tale of two England forwards vying for a place in England’s squad in front of the pensive Fabio Capello.

Carlton Cole looked in bullish mood up front as he caused Bassong and King problems with his large muscular frame. He unleashed a few pot shots at goal before he finally found his range in the second half. He showed wonderful skill as he took down the ball with his right foot swivlled and fired a firebolt past the helpless Carlo Cudicini in the Spurs goal. In the first 45 minutes the visitors had threatened through Tom Huddlestone and Luca Modric efforts but Tottenham required the help of Cole to regain parity in the match.

A suicidal back pass from Cole found its way to the clinical Jermaine Defoe who blasted the ball into the roof of the net. Harry Redknapp’s side threatened to make it two when Croatian Modric had a free header at the back post but misguided his header at limped into the side netting. On 79 minutes Aaron Lennon ensured his team would make it three wins out of three after his perseverance on the right wing allowed him to win the ball of West Ham defender James Collins and fire into the far corner despite the best efforts of Robert Green to palm it wide, sealing a 2-1 victory for Tottenham.

Burnley 1 – 0 Everton

Burnley continued their fine home form in the Premier League backing up a 1-0 victory over champions United with another narrow victory, this time over Everton.

The home side looked in uncompromising mood as they fired in some early dangerous crosses to test the Everton defence. The visitors replied with a few marauding runs from full back Tony Hibbert who fizzed in some awkward balls. Jack Rodwell headed straight at Jensen from a well struck corner. Just before half time, a diagonal ball into the box was ineptly cleared by the Toffee defence. The ball fell to Wade Elliot who fired a curling shot which crept past Tim Howard in goal.

Louis Saha proved the only threat for Everton in the second 45 minutes. He blasted a shot over the bar before Hibbert was dubiously fouled in the area by Burnley’s McCann. The French striker fired past the right post and wide much to the anguish of David Moyes. Saha had one final chance before the end of the game, when he fizzed a well struck shot wide. Burnley will be ecstatic with 6 points from 9 games while Moyes will be looking to recover from a torrid week on and off the pitch.

Fulham 0 – 2 Chelsea

Last season in this tie, Roy Hodgson had guided Fulham to a famous 1-0 victory over a Chelsea side struggling under Luis Scolari.

The home side failed to create a repeat on this occasion as Chelsea contained Fulham’s rare furrays into their half and dominated the 4pm kick off. A Zoltan Gera cross fell to Dempsy who fired his effort over the bar. The Anelka-Drogba partnership seems to be flourishing with the pair creating both of Chelsea’s goals. Anelka played the Ivory Coast international through who calmly slotted past Mark Schwarzer to make it 1-0 to the visitors after 39 minutes.

Fulham’s new signing from Newcastle, Damien Duff, unleashed a tame effort on goal, which proved to be the home sides only shot on target. With 15 minutes left to go, Drogba slipped in Anelka, who rounded Schwarzer and rolled the ball into the empty net to maintain the perfect start in English football for Chelsea’s Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti.

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