Chelsea go top, Pompey win, United stumble
A look back at all of this weekend’s Premier League action.
Bolton Wanderers 2 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur
Bolton were searching for their first home win of the season after an unbeaten September. Yet despite twice taking the lead, Gary Megson’s men stumbled to a 2-2 draw with Spurs.
The home side took the lead after just three minutes. Lee’s effort was blocked by Carlo Cudicini but the rebound was rifled home by Ricardo Gardner. Spurs equalised with a simple goal from Niko Kranjcar. Palacios’ long ball was headed into the path of the Croatian by Crouch, with the midfielder guiding the ball into the net.
On 69 minutes Bolton went ahead once more. Lee’s majestic back heel sent Tamir Cohen clean through. The midfielder crossed for Kevin Davies who beat Cudicini to the ball and nodded the ball home.
Corluka found himself in unmarked from a Spurs corner and his thumping header flew past Jussi Jaaskerlainen. Peter Crouch came close at the end but the game ended in a fair result for both sides.
Burnley 2 – 1 Birmingham City
Burnley are yet to drop points at home. A 2-1 victory over Birmingham City made it four straight wins at Turf Moor.
A rapid counter attack by the home side saw record signing Steve Fletcher open the scoring after 53 minutes. They doubled their lead less than ten minutes later.
Bikey recklessly conceded a penalty away to Spurs last week but the defender made up for his error as he added a second to Fletcher’s opener. A smart one-two with David Nugent sent Bikey through and he fired past Joe Hart.
Sebastian Larsson claimed a consolation goal for Birmingham City late on with a marvellous free kick which beat Jensen. The home win saw Burnley rise to 9th in the league while Birmingham fell to 14th.
Hull City 2 – 1 Wigan Athletic
The Tigers helped themselves to a much needed success at home with pressure relenting slightly on Hull boss Phil Brown.
Vennegoor of Hesslink glanced a Geovanni header wide in the best chance of the second half. The Dutchman did score though after 60 minutes. The striker emphatically headed home a corner past Chris Kirkland.
Geovanni doubled the home side’s lead. Zayate’s strong run and chipped cross was stroked home by the right foot of the Brazilian winger. Wigan did test the nerves of Phil Brown’s men when Scott Sinclairs header left the score at 2-1 with minutes to go.
But Hull hung on to move up on place into 18th place.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 – 1 Portsmouth
Portsmouth’s miserable run of seven games without a point came to an end at Molineux with a hard earned victory against newly promoted Wolves.
Ryan Jarvis threatened early on for the home side before Pompey took the lead. Boatang’s cross was nodded home by the diving Yebda. Wolves turned up the pressure on the club bottom of the table with Doyle and Jarvis both creating chances but both were denied by brilliant defending.
The away side hung on in the second half. Wolves were denied a blatant penalty when Wilson handled the ball in the penalty area but no award was given. James beat away Greg Halford’s inventive free kick to secure a vital three points for Paul Hart’s men.
Manchester United 2 – 2 Sunderland
The visitors enjoyed an early extended spell of dominance and less than seven minutes into the game, Steve Bruce’s men took a deserved lead through a spectacular Bent effort. The striker’s immaculate first touch, allowed him to pivot on to his right, and escape the attentions of John O’Shea.
It was a frustrating first half for United. Despite the home side enjoying the majority of possession, the likes of Rooney, Nani and Welbeck were unable to find the final deft ball to cut open a resolute Sunderland defence.
In the 51st minute they had their long awaited equalizer. Nani and Rooney combined again to force Gordon into another save. Unfortunately for the keeper his save fell into the path of John O’Shea. The Irishman’s cross was met by a speculative overhead kick from Dimitar Berbatov that found the back of the net.
Less than ten minutes later the away side took the lead once more. Reid’s floated cross was met by the leaping Jones and the giant striker out-jumped and outmuscled the desperate Foster. The ball promptly trickled into the gaping net.
The game seemed to be trickling away from United’s grasp when their relentless pressure finally paid off in the second minute of added time. Sunderland failed to clear their lines adequately and the loose ball fell to Patrice Evra whose drilled effort deflected off Ferdinand and into the net past the motionless Gordon.
Arsenal 6 – 2 Blackburn Rovers
Games involving Arsenal are fast becoming the best advertisement for English football as always matches rife with plenty of goals and attractive attacking football. Blackburn Rovers twice took the lead in the match through a looping Nzonzi header on 4 minutes and a David Dunn solo run on the half hour mark.
A superb finish from goal scoring centre back Thomas Vermaelan levelled the scores at 1-1 before Robin Van Persie restored parity at 2-2 with a low left footed finish past Paul Robinson. Andrey Arshavin edged Arsenal in front shortly before half time with an identical finish to his Dutch team-mate.
The second half saw Arsenal extend their lead. Captain Cesc Fabregas produced a deft left footed volley to make it 4-2. Theo Walcott returned from injury and was on hand to finish off a sweeping Arsenal move. Bendtner rounded off an impressive Arsenal shooting display with a thumping effort which deflected in off the post.
Everton 1 v 1 Stoke City
Stoke City are becoming difficult opposition in the Premier League. Tony Pulis has a team equipped with aerial superiority while having big and bustling strikers like Dave Kitson, Ricardo Fuller and James Beattie up front.
Everton struggled to break down the solid Stoke side. In the first half they were resigned to attempts outside the area. A frustrated home side fell behind shortly into the second half. A Stoke set piece was headed home by the robust Robert Huth to put the away side in the lead.
However their advantage lasted less than five minutes. Toffee captain Leon Osman produced a wonder strike which flew past Thomas Sorenson in goal. A Tim Cahill header and a Yakubu effort represented the best chances for the home side to snatch a win but it ended 1-1.
Chelsea 2 – 0 Liverpool
The away side started brightly, forcing Chelsea back for the opening ten minutes. Gerrard swung some teasing crosses into the Hilario’s box. Benitez had clearly instructed his players to test out the inexperienced deputy.
On the 25 minute mark Anelka’s cross was met by Drogba who barged in front of the onrushing Michael Ballack but headed straight at Reina. Just before half time, Reira’s free kick seemed to be destined for the net, Hilario threw out a desperate hand and palm the effort wide.
On the 59th minute, Frank Lampard stole the ball of the dogged Mascherano, with Essien playing the ball to Deco. The Portuguese international found Drogba whose dangerous cross was turned into the net by Anelka.
Chelsea added a second before the end, adding gloss to their victory. Drogba’s cross was poked home by substitute Florent Malouda. Benayoun missed the best opportunity for Liverpool when the Israeli international’s deft movement saw Hilario flat on his bottom by the Liverpool player edged his shot wide of the post.
West Ham United 2 – 2 Fulham
West Ham slumped to their worst start in the Premier League but were offered hope in the statistic that they have only suffered a single loss to Fulham since the Premier League was formed.
Carlton Cole continued his sequence of scoring against Fulham. The striker out-jumped Bred Hangeland and promptly guided his header into the net to put the Hammers into a 1-0 advantage.
The game seemed to be trickling away from Fulham when debutant Dikgacoi was dismissed somewhat harshly in the 42nd minute. Yet it seemed to propel Roy Hogdson’s men forward.
Camara was felled by Upson in the box. The ever reliable Danny Murphy fired his right footed penalty past Robert Green. Ten minutes later, Gera converted Konchesky’s corner into the vacated net by Green.
Stanislas saved the blushes of the home side when he equalised against the ten men of Fulham. The midfielder was allowed to navigate onto his left foot outside the box and his deflected shot beat the despairing Mark Schwarzer.