BPL: Week Eight Review
Barclays?s Premier League pace setters Arsenal continued their excellent run of form with a 4-1 home victory over Norwich City. The Gunners opened the scoring in sublime style as Jack Wilshere volleyed one home after brilliant link-up play between himself, Olivier Giroud and the returning Santi Carzola. The strike is a contender for goal of the month, and was Wilshere?s first in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal?s record signing Mesut Ozil added two more in the second half and Aaron Ramsey scored his fifth goal of the campaign with a fine solo run and finish. This time last season, The Canaries beat Arsenal 1-0 at Carrow Road, but there is a new self-belief around the Gunners this season. Arsene Wenger?s side possesses tremendous creativity in the midfield, and I expect the combination of Ozil, Carzola, Ramsey, and Wilshere will continue to cause havoc with opposition defenses.
Fellow Londoners, Chelsea, also recorded a 4-1 win as they thumped Cardiff City at Stamford Bridge. ?However, the Blues did have to fight back from going a goal down, Jordon Mutch put the Bluebirds into a dream lead after a David Luiz mistake. Chelsea scored a controversial equalizer after Samuel Eto?o stole the ball away from the Cardiff keeper as he bounced the ball, which according to FIFA rules is a foul. Eto?o then set up Eden Hazard to smash home to bring them on level terms. The Blues never looked back, goals from Hazard, Eto?o and Oscar sealed the three points for Jose Mourinho?s team. Chelsea sits second in the table, two points behind Arsenal.
Adam Lallana?s last-gasp equalizer condemned David Moyes to another afternoon of frustration as Manchester United drew 1-1 with Southampton at Old Trafford. Teenager Adnan Januzaj, fresh off signing a new five-year contract, provided a brilliant pass to help Robin Van Persie open the scoring for the champions.
The Saints did dominate possession for long periods of the match, and were deservedly rewarded for their effects when Lallana stabbed home from a yard out with just one minute of normal time remaining. The result underlined Southampton?s progress under manager Mauricio Pochettino. They currently occupy 6th spot in the table and boast the best defense in the league so far. United, on the other hand, sit in 8th, and have endured their worst ever start to a Premier League season.
Manchester City moved up to 4th in the table after they picked up a 3-1 away win over West Ham at Upton Park. Sergio Aguero found the net twice for City before an outstanding acrobatic finish from Vaz Te frayed the nerves of the away side. David Silva finished off the Hammers to secure Manchester City?s first away win of the season. City?s away form has been the biggest worry for the Blues so far this season, so the solid display was a much needed result for manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Liverpool was forced to settle for a draw as they were held 2-2 against ten-man Newcastle United. The Reds twice had to fight back from a being a goal down to grab a point. Yohan Cabaye?s 30-yard strike was cancelled out by a Steven Gerrard penalty only for Paul Dummett?s first ever goal put Newcastle back in the ascendency. Daniel Sturridge headed home his seventh goal of the season to level matters, the England man is currently the league?s top scorer. Liverpool dropped to third in the table, and manager Brenden Rodger?s would have been disappointed not to take maximum points after having an extra man for much of the match.
Steven Piennar scored the winner 10 seconds after coming off the bench to give Everton a 2-1 victory over Hull. The South African had been out since August with a hamstring injury. Elsewhere on Saturday, Guy Poyet?s first game in charge of Sunderland ended in misery as they were thrashed 4-0 by Swansea. The Black Cats have now lost six on the bounce, have only picked up one point so far this campaign and sit rock bottom of the BPL table. Poyet has a serious challenge on his hands if he is going to be able to keep Sunderland in the top flight this season. Stoke City and West Brom played out a dull 0-0 draw at the Britannia Stadium. After a solid start to the season, Stoke manager Mark Hughes will be concerned that his side has only scored once in their last five matches.
In Sunday?s only matchup, Tottenham bounced back from their shock defeat by West Ham to beat Aston Villa 2-0 at Villa Park. England?s man of the moment, Andros Townsend continued his excellent form to open the scoring for Spurs. Roberto Soldado wrapped up the win after he finished off a neat passing move in the 69th minute. The match was largely overshadowed in the English media after linesman David Byran was struck by a smoking flare which was thrown onto the pitch by celebrating Tottenham supporters. Spurs moved up to 5th place with the win.
In Monday?s game, Pajtim Kasami and Steve Sidwell both scored brilliant volleys to help Fulham beat struggling Crystal Palace, 4-1. Kasami?s effort was particularly stunning and will be a contender for goal of the season. The victory meant Fulham had won consecutive matches for the first time this season. Palace however has now lost five in a row and sits second from bottom on only three points.
Source: BBC Sport, sportsmole.co.uk