Ed Diggins reviews the midweek Premier League action as Burnley shock reigning champions Manchester United by claiming a 1-0 victory, their first since returning to the top flight after 33 years.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Sunderland 1 – 3 Chelsea, 19:45
Bent 18; Ballack 52, Lampard 61 (pen), Deco 70
Chelsea, fresh from their opening day win over Hull, made the long trip to the north west to take on Steve Bruce’s men and came away with all three points. Make no mistake, this is a massive result for Chelsea who now have six points from two tricky opening fixtures. However, they had to come from behind at the Stadium of Light as Darren Bent latched on to Kenwyne Jones blocked effort to shoot past Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal after just 18 minutes. The visitors restored parity seven minutes after the restart from a trademark setpiece as Michael Ballack knocked in from a corner. They then took the lead on 61 minutes when, after George McCartney was deemed to have brought down Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard slotted home from the spot. Deco’s low 20 yard drive after a great team build up sealed the victory for Carlo Ancelotti’s side who have had to battle for their two results so far.
Wigan 0 – 1 Wolverhampton, 19:45
Wigan’s win at Villa park on the opening day of the season was perhaps the result that really took people by surprise the most. On Tuesday night they took on Mick McCarthys men from Moleneux and were suckerpunched themselves. If there was ever a game that would tell you how mad football is, this is it. Can anyone honestly say that they would have predicted this scoreline? Wigan would have been odds on to take the three points here but Wolves had other ideas. Andy Keogh started the game on fire and hit the angle of post and crossbar on four minutes, but he wasn’t denied a 2nd time when he headed in Memad Milijas’s free kick 2 minutes later. Try as they might, Wigan pushed forward and had two great chances, but Wolves hung on for a deserved victory.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009.
Feature Game – Burnley 1 – 0 Man Utd, 19:45
Turf Moor was rocking from start to finish last night with both sets of fans creating a carnival atmosphere in a rip roaring contest that ebbed and flowed from end to end. Robbie Blake’s goal was the only one of the night, a cracking first time rocket volley that smashed its way past Ben Foster just before the 19th minute. It will surely, given the magnitude of the goal also, earn Blake the Goal of the Month award.
United were poor and Sir Alex Ferguson got some key decisions wrong. Michael Owens departure and Gary Neville’s appearance few minutes later was questionable as was the decision to make changes from Sunday’s winning side, with Dimi Berbatov and Antonio Valencia being the notable absentees. Nani and Darren Fletcher were both out, depriving United of some much needed creativity. Owen, who starting up front for the first time, had the game’s opening chance but he failed to make contact from an Evra cross in the 3rd minute, a feat he would repeat moments later. Owen Coyle’s Clarets took the lead soon after when Stephen Jordan’s cross was only half cleared by Evra whose header was hammered past Foster by the onrushing Blake.
United piled on the pressure for the rest of the game and had plenty of chances. Michael Carrick had the best of these just on the stroke of half time, as Evra went down under a Blake challenge to earn a penalty. Burnley keeper Brian ‘The Beast’ Jensen, who was to go on to produce the game of his life, dived to his right to save the effort. He also made a smart save from Park. At the other end, Blake hit a free kick that just went past the post.
As the game ran its course, Wayne Rooney was lucky to stay on the field and, with Jensen denying Giggs and then Berbatov late on, Burnley held on for a famous win.
Birmingham 1 – 0 Portsmouth, 19:45
McFadden 92 (Pen)
Late drama at St Andrews saw Birmingham get all 3 points in a game which lacked any real creativity. James McFadden’s injury time penalty was the difference between the sides, and Portsmouth would be well within their rights to feel aggrieved at the decision. Sebastian Larsson was deemed to have been felled in the box by Pompey keeper David James in the 90th minute and once the protesting from the visitors had subsided, McFadden stepped up cooly to slot home and give Brum their first win of the season.
Hull 1 – 5 Tottenham, 19:45
Hunt 25; Defoe 10, 45, 94, Palacios 14, Keane 78
Phil Brown hailed Spurs as“fabulous” as they continued their impressive start to the season. The game was almost over as a contest after just 14 minutes, as Spurs came out of the blocks to take an early two goal lead. Jermaine Defoe produced a smart turn and shot on 10 minutes to give Spurs the lead and soon after, Wilson Palacios made it two. Irish international Stephen Hunt gave Hull a lift when his free kick sailed into the net, but Defoe restored the two goal advantage 20 minutes later. Robbie Keane’s precise header made it 4-1 on the 78th. Just as the crowds started to leave the KC, Defoe hammered home a hat trick goal to leave it a deserved 5-1 victory for Spurs.
Liverpool 4 – 0 Stoke, 20:00
Torres 4, Johnson 45, Kuyt 78, N’gog 94
Stoke travelled to Anfield more in hope than anything else, but came away with a thumping from a Liverpool side, still smarting from an opening round defeat at White Hart Lane. Fernando Torres got his first for the season when he stroked home a Gerrard cross on four minutes. The lead was doubled before half time, with Glen Johnson cracking home a superb effort. Stoke had a brief period of pressure when Rory Delap brought a fantastic save from Pepe Reina, however, Liverpool took over again and dominated through to the final whistle. Steven Gerrard, the best player on the pitch by quite some distance, produced a moment of sublie skill to set up Dirk Kuyt who prodded home with 12 minutes left and as the game entered the fourth minute of injury time, David N’gog made it 4-0, heading home from close range.