English Premier League: Chelsea hold top

Chelsea 1-0 Stoke
Another game, another win for Chelsea. Both sides went into the game after hard fought draws the week before. Stoke had held on for a valuable draw against champions Man City while Chelsea failed to win at Loftus Road. The first real chance came on twenty minutes, when Walters smacked a header onto the crossbar, leaving Petr Cech helpless. Mata and Oscar both had opportunities at the start of the second half, with Oscar testing Begovic, before Mata missed after poor defensive work from Stoke. Oscar continued to dominate as he was once again denied by Begovic. Chelsea did finally get a breakthrough on eighty-five minutes, a fantastic flowing move ended with Ashley Cole flicking the ball over a hapless Begovic. Stoke had numerous chance late on for a quick counter attack, but were to slow and often tried to pass their way through the Chelsea defence. Another good result for Chelsea, as they remain on top having won four of their first five games. Stoke still seem to be struggling, as they’ve still only won one of their first five and are stranded on four points.
Man of the Match: Oscar. The little Brazilian was quite brilliant for the Blues, was full of energy and the only Chelsea player that didn’t stop running all day.

Swansea 0-3 Everton
With both sides going into the fixture of the back of disappointing results, they were both eager for a win. Everton were especially desperate after they threw the game away last week at home to Newcastle. Everton certainly dominated early and never really looked back, as Vorm was forced into several saves in the opening five minutes. Everton took twenty-one minutes to open the scoring, after Fellaini appeared to control the ball with his upper arm, got it to Anichebe, who scored from seven yards. Everton then made it 2-0 just before the break when a wonderful flowing move involving; Neville, Fellaini and then Pienaar who teed up Mirallas to score, after his first effort was saved onto the crossbar. Swansea were effectively finished on fifty-eight minutes, when Dyer was sent off after only being on the field for thirteen minutes. The winger received two yellow cards in the space of five minutes. Fellaini sealed the win for Everton with just under ten minutes to go, when he headed home Leighton Baines’ cross from close range.
Man of the Match: Marouane Fellaini. The Belgian was once again brilliant, set up two of the goals and scored one himself.

Wigan 1-2 Fulham
Wigan were coming off the back of being demolished in the second half at Old Trafford last week, while Fulham were beginning to fire since the departure of Dempsey and Dembele, as they travelled to Wigan off the back of a 3-0 win against West Brom. Fulham certainly started the better of the two sides, with Berbatov testing Al-Habsi several times in the first half, with a darting header and a shot with the outside of his left foot. Fulham did get the goal just after the half hour mark, as Berbatov crossed to find Rodallega, who headed home for his first goal for Fulham. Jordi Gomez nearly equalised for Fulham on thrity-eight minutes, when his left foot bullet rattled the underside of the crossbar. Wigan lifted at the start of the second half, as both Watson and Kone failed to score when the opportunity was presented. On sixty-five minutes, Schwarzer was forced into a desperate save from McCarthy’s shot from the edge of the area, Boselli got to the ball first, but somehow missed from five yards. The miss was made to pay a mere three minutes later, when Ruiz teed up Duff who smashed the ball into the bottom corner. Wigan almost got one back on seventy-three minutes when Schwarzer fingertipped Ramis’s header onto the bar. Wigan did eventually get their goal in stoppage time through Arouna Kone, but it was too little too late for the home side. Another good win for Fulham, who find themselves in sixth place now after a first three games. Wigan would feel unlucky not have rescued at least a point from the game. Man of the Match: John Arne Riise. The former Liverpool man was superb at left-back for Fulham, Wigan hardly found decent attacking options on their right flank all day.

West Ham 1-1 Sunderland
With West Ham coming off an away draw at Norwich, while Sunderland held on for a home draw against Liverpool, both sides were hoping for a win at Upton Park. The away team started the better of the two sides, as Steven Fletcher scored his fourth goal since becoming Sunderland’s record signing during the summer on nine minutes, as he took advantage of some poor Hammers defending. West Ham almost found an equaliser after twenty-three minutes through Vaz Te, when his header went just wide of the far post. Sunderland broke away latter in the first half to find a three on two opportunity, but McClean elected to shoot from distance, an easy save for Jaaskelainen. Late on in the half, Mark Noble had a shot from close range go just wide, before Kevin Nolan had his very acrobatic effort was saved my Mignolet moments before half time. Jarvis came on just before the hour mark and instantly caused problems for the Black Cats, as his crosses were proving a constant threat to the Sunderland goal. Collins almost found an equaliser for West Ham from a Noble corner, but could only rattle the crossbar with his darting header. It took until the ninety-fourth minute for the home side to find an equaliser. Jarvis catapulted himself at the ball heroically to keep it in play, the ball fell to Maiga who headed down to Nolan whose volley on the turn was to powerful for Mignolet. West Ham will be happy to have escaped with a point, as they’ve only lost one of their first five back in the big time. Sunderland will be disappointed to have thrown the game away so late, as they’ve now drawn their first four league games of the season are without a win in twelve.
Man of the Match: Kevin Nolan. The West Ham star was once again influential as he proved to be Sunderland’s biggest threat all day. Eventually got his goal.

West Brom 1-0 Reading
With both sides having been overly disappointing and having conceded three goals the week previous, both sides were desperate to make amends for last weeks’ dismal performances. West Brom started the better of the two sides, as Romelu Lukaku was producing early chances in and around the penalty area. West Brom kept up the pressure throughout majority of the first half, with McCarthy pulling saves from both Brunt and Lukaku. The deadlock was almost broken right on half time, when Olsson’s header smacked in the post. West Brom continued their dominance in the second half. Early in the second half, with McCarthey saving a dipping volley from Morrison as Albion became desperate. West Brom’s moment did come in on seventy-one minutes, when Long knocked the ball to Lukaku whose low drive escaped the diving McCarthy. Reading’s only real chance came late on when Robson-Kanu failed to get his header on target from McCleary’s cross. Three consecutive home wins for West Brom sees them in fourth place after five games, while Reading a rock bottom, having only drawn one of their first four games.
Man of the Match: Romelu Lukaku. The influential forward once again proved to be the difference. Could’ve scored two or three.

Southampton 4-1 Aston Villa
With Aston Villa travelling to St. Mary’s after their first win of the season, they wanted another win. Southampton were still yet to have won a point after they were hit for six at The Emirates. After a mainly quiet first thirty-five minutes, Bent scored a simple goal to open the scoring from Ireland’s mis-hit shot. Bent and Benteke then both had opportunities after the break when they both came close to breaking the deadlock from corners. Southampton took the lead on fifty-eight minutes, when Lambert controlled the ball under immense pressure to sensationally smash the ball into the bottom corner. Just five minutes later, Southampton had taken the lead, as Ramirez found him brilliantly as he slotted home from close range. Clark’s own goal on seventy-two minutes finished off Villa at St. Mary’s, before Lambert made it four in the ninety-fifth minute from the penalty spot. Southampton finally got their first win on the board, in emphatic style to get themselves off the bottom of the table. A horrible day for Aston Villa, as they may well be in for a long season if they struggle away from home. Man of the Match: Rickie Lambert

Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United
With Liverpool having only managed two points from the first four matches of the season, they were in dire need of a point against their biggest rivals, while Manchester United were beginning to fire, after they smashed four second half goals past Wigan the week prior. The biggest rivalry in England, maybe in the world took a major twist before a ball had even been kicked, when United captain and star center back Nemanja Vidic, was ruled out with a knee injury, he’ll be sidelined for two months. Both sides payed tribute to the Hillsborough tragedy before the match, as Ryan Giggs and Steven Gerrard released ninety-six balloons. Apart from a Gerrard effort going just wide, the first half was lifeless until the match exploded after thirty-nine minutes. Jonjo Shelvey was given a straight red card after he lunged in with a poor two-footed challenge on Jonny Evans, as the pair contested a loose ball. Remarkably, fifty seconds into the first half, Liverpool took the lead. Scholes’s tackle on Johnson looped the ball up to Steven Gerrard, who had time and space to bring the ball down off his chest before drilling it into the bottom right corner, out of Lindegaard’s reach. The Anfield crowd was silenced just several minutes later, when Rafael scored a wonderful equaliser. The young Brazilian collected the ball from Kagawa’s knockdown before wonderfully curling the ball past Reina. After the goal, United really began to take advantage of the extra man, heaping constant pressure on Liverpool. Liverpool were eventually caught out though, Valencia terrifically stole possession in his own half before running sixty yards when fouled by Johnson. Robin Van Persie stepped up and slammed the ball into the right corner, despite Pepe Reina getting fingertips on it. Another disappointing performance for Liverpool in arguably their biggest game of the season, while United still perhaps haven’t hit full form quite yet.
Man of the Match: Rafael Da Silva. The Brazilian fullback was wonderful for United. Majority of Liverpool’s attacks came on his side, and he dealt with them well, and scored a terrific goal.

Newcastle 1-0 Norwich
Both sides were coming off the back of draws. Norwich needed points, as they risked falling into the relegation zone early in the season, while Newcastle knew a win would see them in the top half of the table. Newcastle started the better of the two teams and it took them nineteen minutes to open the scoring. Ben Arfa split the Norwich defense with his pass to Demba Ba, who finished past an advancing John Ruddy. Snodgrass almost found an equaliser, only for his header to be well cleared off the line by Williamson. Later on in the first half, Cisse, Ba and Cabaye all missed opportunities to double the Magpies lead. In first half stoppage time, Newcastle won a penalty. It looked as if Ben Arfa was going to step up and take it, but instead handed the ball to Cisse, who smacked his effort over the bar. Surman should’ve equalised for Norwich two minutes into the second half, after he was one-on-one, but Harper saved heroically. Newcastle had numerous opportunites in a quick spell before the hour mark, with Ben Arfa, Taylor and Cabaye all came close to doubling the home sides lead. Newcastle held on to record a valuable win. A good win for Newcastle which keeps them in the top half of the table, while Norwich drop to sixteenth. Man of the Match: Hatem Ben Arfa. Once again the Frenchman was wonderful and influential for the Toon Army.

Tottenham 2-1 QPR
QPR were coming off the back of a well earned point at home to Chelsea, while Spurs were coming back from an impressive display against now bottom of the table Reading, who were desperate for their first league win of the new season. Reading perhaps started the better of the two sides, with Friedel forced into two saves in the opening ten minutes from Hill and Hoilett. The deadlock was broken thirty-two minutes though, as the ball fell to Zamora who shot into the roof of the net from close range. The game changed completely on the hour mark, as Spurs scored twice in the space of ninety-one seconds. First, Caulker’s header went in off a clumsy Faurlin, before Defoe scored a simple goal after Bale’s shot deflected off the bar to him. After Spurs took the lead, the match became end-to-end. QPR were constantly threatening through Hoilett and Cisse, while Dempsey and Defoe were being major threats for the home team. Defoe perhaps should’ve made it 3-1 in the last minute when he got through, only for Cesar to deny him wonderfully. Another win for Spurs, as they begin to climb the table after poor showings in their first three games, while QPR sit in nineteenth, with just two points in five showings. Man of the Match: Jermain Defoe. Was always there for Spurs, a constant attacking threat with his energy and pace. Scored the winning goal.

Manchester City 1-1 Arsenal
Both sides played well last week, although City were held away at Stoke, while Arsenal were rampant as they crushed Southampton 6-1 at home. Sergio Aguero had the first chance of the game when his curling shot was saved by Mannone after fourteen minutes. The opportunity of the half fell to Gervinho, when he escaped the City defence, only for a shocking touch to go straight to Joe Hart. Arsenal continued their pressure with both Podolski and Gervinho shooting over and wide of the target. Manchester City did find the net on thirty-eight minutes, when Joleon Lescott, in his four hundredth premier league appearance smashed home a header from David Silva’s corner. City could’ve finished the game after eighty minutes when Aguero’s shot was well saved by Mannone. Cazorla went straight down the other end and nearly scored, Cazorla’s good shot forced Joe Hart into hit first real save. From the resulting corner Arsenal finally got their equaliser on eighty-two minutes, when the ball fell to Laurent Koscielny who smacked it past Hart, from Cazorla’s corner. Manchester City almost won the game, when Mannone pulled off another save from Vincent Kompany’s bicycle kick, the rebound fell to Aguero who somehow missed. Gervinho had a chance to snatch it for the Gunners, but his shocking effort went well over from the edge of the area. Roberto Mancini commented on his disappointment after the game, as he said they needed to improve if they want to keep in touch with the top of the league. A good result for Arsenal, as they remain undefeated after five games. Although they do host Chelsea next week.
Man of the Match: Santi Cazorla. The little Spaniard was once again effective in attack for the Gunners. No doubt that if he didn’t perform, Arsenal wouldn’t have left the Etihad with a point.

About Thomas Clarke

Currently in year 10 at Coburg Senior High School. Love my sport, in particular football (soccer). Play in a seniors indoor team on Wednesday nights at Box Hill indoor sports centre. Diehard Manchester United fan. Support the Bulldogs in the AFL.

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