Kevin Coleman reviews this weekend’s Premier League action as Tottenham stay top of the table, Burnley win again, Villa surprise Liverpool and Wigan suffer a thrashing at the hands of Manchester United.
Arsenal 4-1 Portsmouth
Diaby 18, 32, Gallas 50, Ramsay, 68; Kaboul 37
Arsenal continued their free scoring run by putting four past Portsmouth on Saturday afternoon. After scoring six against Everton last week, Abou Diaby kicked off things in the 18th minute – striking the ball in the top right corner after Eduardo cut it back to him into the “D”. The Frenchman doubled the score soon later, Emmanuel Eboue broke along the right despite calls for offside, knocked the ball centrally for Diaby who slotted home his second. After the break William Gallas made it three in three for himself this season, after a header against Everton, and a deflection off his back against Celtic it was his mouth that did the talking this time from a yard out. Aaron Ramsay made it four, he was put through the Pompey defense to score his first Premier League goal.
Birmingham City 0-0 Stoke City
Birmingham played out a hard-fought goalless draw with Stoke at St. Andrews. On paper, this fixture did not give the impression it was going to be a classic and, sadly, it lived up to those expectations. Neither side created any clear cut chances, Dave Kitson heading well over the bar while Ricardo Fuller brought out a save in Joe Hart. The biggest test for Thomas Sorensen came when Franck Quedrue ventured forward, rifling a 25-yard shot which the ‘keeper palmed away. Stoke suffered a blow when James Beattie was stretchered off with a leg injury, while sub Kitson failed to score his first goal since his £5.5m move last year.
Hull City 1-0 Bolton Wanderers
Hull put their midweek hammering against Tottenham behind them with a win over Bolton on Saturday. A dominant display from Bolton had seen Kevin Davies, Matt Taylor, Johan Elmander and ex-Tiger Sam Ricketts all come close to scoring. But Bolton were unable to put away their chances and Ghilas’s goal secured Hull’s first win in 12 games. Substitute Jozy Altidore made the crucial impact when he came on during the second half, and immediately clicked with new strike partner Kamel Ghilas. The ball fell to Altidore, whose acrobatic pass looped over the defense for Ghilas to hammer down the middle, giving Jaaskelainen no chance. This is Hull’s first win in twelve, while Bolton haven’t won away in twelve.
Manchester City 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Emmanuel Adebayor struck again to continue Manchester City’s winning ways this season. The £30m striker made it two in two for him after linking up with Carlos Tevez, but nobody thought that his early opener would be the match winning goal. The home side created a host of chances, but the multi-million pound attack line failed to capitalize. Boss Mark Hughes gave a full debut to Carlos Tevez, who delivered with his trademark work rate and enthusiasm. Adebayor should have doubled the lead soon later, after fantastic work down the right from Shawn Wright Phillips. Stephen Ireland had possibly the best chance to add a goal, but scuffed his shot wide from close range. Meanwhile, Giovanni Trappatoni was a spectator at Eastlands, perhaps to pick up discussions with Stephen over a return to the Irish national team. Wolves’ best chance fell to Matt Jarvis, whose long range shot was saved majestically by Shay Given. Andy Keogh nearly levelled late on, his strike hit the crossbar.
Sunderland 2-1 Blackburn Rovers
Jones 32, 53; Givet 21
Kenwyne Jones scored a brace as Sunderland came from a goal down to overcome Blackburn at the Stadium of Light. Blackburn striker was unlucky to have a header disallowed as the visitors bombarded Sunderland with attack. Frenchman Gael Givet buried home the opener from long range, his low strike managed to avoid the box full of players. Sunderland equalised soon later, Steed Malbranque but the Trinidad & Tobago striker through who rounded the ‘keeper and tapped in to put the game level. Jones doubled the scoreline after the interval, powering in a header from a Lee Cattermole’s cross. Blackburn’s £6m striker Nicola Kalinic missed three good chances, as Sunderland make it two wins from three this season.
Wigan Athletic 0-5 Manchester United
Wigan survived a goalless first half before a Manchester United hurricane of goals after the break. As neither side failed to pick up on any chances in the first half, the visitors hit Wigan for five in the second half. Wigan defended admiringly, Titus Bramble coming to the rescue on more than one occasion, while Chris Kirkland was called into action regularly. Wigan couldn’t create many chances as they were on the back foot for most of the opening 45. Wayne Rooney broke the deadlock in the 56th minute, heading in from an Antonio Valencia cross. Dimitar doubled the scoreline ten minute later, he struck into the empty net from close range after some great close control to beat Kirkland. Rooney made it 3-0, his shot deflecting off Melchiot and past helpless Kirkland. Michael Owen came off the bench and scored his first Premier League goal in classic fashion, a deft touch lifted the ball over Kirkland and it went in off the post. Nani made it five in stoppage time, taking on the free kick responsibilities.
West Ham United 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Cole 49; Defoe 54, Lennon 79
Tottenham made sure they’d finish top of the league by the end of the weekend with a hard fought win over West Ham. But it was the visitors who struck first after the break, Carlton Cole connected with Luis Jiminez and struck an awesome volley from the edge of the box into the top corner, something from literally nothing. However it was Cole’s lapse in concentration which gifted Spurs the equaliser. Cole’s poor back pass put England partner Jermain Defoe straight through on goal, and the hat trick hero from Wednesday night duly punished. Aaron Lennon put the visitors in front, coming in from the right to put the ball in the left hand corner.
Burnley 1-0 Everton
Burnley shocked Manchester United during the week, but beat a side closer to their level in Everton on Sunday. Everton were coming on the back of a 6-1 trashing from Arsenal, and went bottom of the league as a superb Wade Elliott strike gave Burnley the lead, and eventually won the game. Everton failed to trouble Jensen in goal, Louis Saha hitting it wide once or twice. Everton’s best chance came when Tony Hibbert was taken down in the box after a long run, but replays show Burnley were hard done by. Louis Saha stepped up to the spot, but dragged his penalty to the right of the goal. The second missed penalty at Turf Moor within a week shows Lady Luck is shining on the newcomers at the moment.
Fulham 0-2 Chelsea
Drogba 39, Anelka 76
Didier Drogba and Nicholas Anelka scored the goals that gave Chelsea their third win from three this season at Craven Cottage. Fulham’s best chance came immediately after kick-off, but Clint Dempsey failed to keep his shot down. The two Chelsea strikers linked up for the opener, Anelka put Drogba through who struck low into the bottom left corner. In a game of few chances, Mikel came the closest but his long range striker fizzed away from goal. Chelsea doubled their lead midway through the second half, this time Drogba put Anelka through who rounded Schwarzer to tap in.
Torres 72; Lucas OG 34, Davies 45, Young (pen) 75
Aston Villa surprised all this evening after beating Liverpool 3-1 at Anfield. After a quiet opening, neither side had any clear cut chances but Villa went ahead in the 34th minute when Ashley Young’s free-kick hit Lucas and went past helpless Pepe Reina. The visitor then shocked everybody ten minutes later, Curtis Davies heading in at the near post from a corner. Liverpool managed to pull back a goal mid way through the second, Fernando Torres converted Emiliano Insua’s cross into the roof of the net. But the one goal deficit didn’t last long. At the other end, Steven Gerrard fouled Reo-Coker in the box, and Young buried the resulting penalty. Nobody can argue with the result, Liverpool failed to capitalize on their chances while Villa defended doggedly.