City beat Arsenal as Liverpool thrash Burnley
Blackburn Rovers 3 – 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Blackburn approached their meeting with Wolves desperate to end a 360-minute goal drought. Meanwhile Mick McCarthy was looking to build on the good start his newly promoted side have enjoyed and add to the four points already accumulated.
The first chance fell to centre-back Berra who missed an early opening from a corner to give the away side the lead. Wolves were left to rue the chance not long after. Sloppy play in defence allowed El Hadji Diouf to rob the ball off the toe of Michael Mancienne. The Senegal striker bore down on Wayne Hennessy’s goal. He guided his shot through the legs of the keeper to break Rovers goal scoring duck.
It has been a while since the Premier League was last treated to a Henrik Pederson special. The Norwegian’s free kick struck the post as the home side looked to build on their early lead. Early into the second half it was 2-0. A David Dunn corner was directed towards goal by Gael Givet before Jasoon Roberts got the telling touch to extend the lead for Big Sam’s team.
Pederson, who played well, created the third. His delightful pass sent Roberts through on goal. His initial effort was saved by Henessy. Unfortunately for the keeper the rebound returned to Roberts who touched it on to Dunn who finished off the move.
Wolves did secure a consolation goal through Maierhofer’s late strike from a corner. Despite the lapse of concentration at the end Sam Allardyce was content with the victory which saw his side rise to 14th in the table.
Liverpool 4 – 0 Burnley
With the politics at Anfield still rife and two defeats in four games, a win was a must for Rafa Benitez and his men. Javier Mascherano was rested while Ryan Babel was left out after his midweek comments in the press. Gerrard was dropped deeper in midfield while Dirk Kuyt partnered Fernando Torres up front.
The home side were disjointed in the opening stages off the match. The Anfield crowd were edgy. Torres was isolated in the Burnley half while Gerrard struggled to make an impact on the game. Despite sustained pressure Liverpool failed to get numerous bodies into the penalty area, typified by a dangerous cross by Insua which was met by Burnley defender Carisle unchallenged.
Yet Liverpool did manage to find a breakthrough. Glenn Johnson slotted Benayoun through, with the Israeli tapping the ball through Alexander’s legs and firing across Jensen in the Burnley goal. The Liverpool number 11 had a bright first half and his shot was parried by Jensen directly to Kuyt who put away the simplest of finishes.
In the second half a demoralised Burnley side collapsed under increased pressure from the home team. Liverpool stringed the passes together, cutting open a fragile opposing defence on several occasions. A Torres flick found Gerrard to burst past the first defender and outpace the second, unselfishly squaring to Benayoun who faced an empty net. Another neat Liverpool move involving Gerrard and Voronin saw Benayoun spring up behind the Burnley back four to complete his hat-trick and seal a 4-0 victory for Liverpool.
Man City 4 – 2 Arsenal
It was a match rife with controversy, passion and aggression. Manchester City displayed some of the bruising traits that were attributed towards Blackburn Rovers under Mark Hughes. In the first real test of City’s credentials they passed with flying colours.
The first chance fell to William Gallas who headed over the bar from a fantastic free kick from Robin Van Persie. Moments later a foul by Sagna on Bellamy allowed City to position some of their own heavyweights in the Arsenal penalty area. Thomas Vermaelen was overpowered by Micah Richards whose header crashed against the post before bouncing off the helpless Manuel Almunia into the net.
The only other clear-cut chance of any note before half time fell to Stephen Ireland. The Irishman bounded clear on the right flank, unchallenged as he ventured towards Almunia’s goal, only to be caught in two minds resulting the opportunity drifting away.
Another William Gallas header created panic in the home defence as they failed to clear the ball. It fell to Nicklas Bendtner who flashed a volley across the face of the goal. On 62 minutes the away side pulled level. Van Persie was allowed time to turn and unleash a shot on his weaker foot which caught out Shay Given in goal.
But just over 10 minutes later the home side were ahead again. A strong run from Micah Richards teed up Craig Bellamy who made no mistake in firing past Almunia. It was soon 3-1. Referee Mark Clattenburg played a good advantage when Gael Clichy needlessly took out Sean Wright-Phillips. The right winger continued with his run launching a superb ball into the box which found Emmanuel Adebayor unmarked. The Togo international made no mistake in finishing off the move.
After showing credible endurance minutes earlier, Wright-Phillips made his mark with six minutes left in the game. Bellamy enjoyed the freedom of Eastlands as he strode into the Arsenal half unchallenged before playing in his team-mate to add a fourth. Tomas Rosicky got a consolation goal before the end.
Arsene Wenger will be left perplexed once more when reflecting on another frustrating performance in Manchester. The away side created 19 shots to the home sides eight while enjoying the bigger share of possession.
Portsmouth 2 – 3 Bolton Wanderers
One month into the new season and the clash between Portsmouth and Bolton could have been described as the first six-pointer of the campaign. Both sides were rooted to the bottom of the table with no points in five outings. It was time to get back to winning ways for Paul Hart and Gary Megson.
Tamir Cohen opened his account at the Reebok Stadium with a strike against Liverpool. He continued his good run of form, breaking the deadlock at Fratton Park with a thumping shot. Younes Kaboul equalised for the home side. The defender was unmarked in the box and headed past a host of bodies to level the scoring.
Bolton re-took the lead shortly before half time. Sloppy play by Belhadj put unnecessary pressure on his fellow defenders. Fabrice Muamba robbed the ball and was felled by a lunging Ben Haim challenge. Former Pompey favourite Matt Taylor stepped up to take the penalty. He slotted his shot to the left of David James.
Fifteen minutes into the second half Pompey had an equaliser. Jamie O’Hara’s blocked attempt at goal fell to Kevin-Prince Boateng who struck the loose ball past Jaaskelainen. The match looked to be heading for a draw and an invaluable point for both teams.
Until Gary Cahill headed home to snatch all three points in the dying moments of the game much to the anguish of Paul Hart. It was cruel end to an even match. The win saw Bolton temporarily move out of the bottom three while Pompey remain cemented to the foot of the table.