BPL: Week Nine Review
Fernando Torres capitalized on a terrible mix up in Manchester City’s defense to give Chelsea a late 2-1 victory over their title rivals on Sunday. Torres played a key role in the encounter, the Spanish forward set up Andre Schurrle, who opened the scoring for Chelsea in the 33rd minute. The goal was the German’s first for the club since his summer move from Bayer Leverkusen. Sergio Aguero provided a moment of brilliance for City when he equalized with a stunning left footed strike four minutes into the second half.
Torres was then on hand to pounce after a calamitous breakdown of communication between City keeper Joe Hart and defender Matija Nastastic. The 90th minute winner set off scenes of jubilation around Stamford Bridge as Jose Mourinho’s team moved up to second in the table, just two points behind league leaders Arsenal. Mourinho also continued his remarkable record of never having lost a Barclay’s Premier match at Stamford Bridge. City, on the hand, slipped to seventh in the table and were condemned to their third loss of the season already.
Arsenal overcame manager-less Crystal Palace 2-0 on Saturday to remain top of the Premier League table, despite being reduced to ten-men after Mikel Arteta was sent off. The Eagles defended doggedly in the first half, and would have been buoyed going into the break at 0-0. However, Arsenal found their breakthrough when Serge Gnabry was brought down inside the area just minutes into the second half. Gunner’s captain, Mikel Arteta, stepped up to put Arsenal into the lead. Arteta was dismissed 17 minutes later after referee Chris Foy adjudged that he had denied Palace’s Marouane Chamakh a clear goal scoring opportunity. Olivier Giroud finished the game off after he headed home a neat Aaron Ramsey cross with just minutes remaining. Crystal Palace now finds themselves bottom of the table and have lost six matches on the bounce.
Manchester United fought back from 2-1 down to rescue a dramatic victory over Stoke City at Old Trafford. The visitors shocked the home support when Peter Crouch took advantage of sloppy United defending to poke home the opening goal after only four minutes. Robin van Persie leveled from close range before Marko Arnautovic’s curling free-kick restored Stoke’s lead on the brink of half time. David Moyes introduced Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and teenager Adnan Januzaj in the second half as the champions chased the game.
United were staring down the barrel of a second home defeat of the season, but with 12 minutes remaining Wayne Rooney headed home a corner before Chicharito grabbed the winner moments later. Relief was the overriding emotion around Old Trafford after the final whistle as United grabbed a badly needed victory.
Luis Suarez scored a spectacular hat-trick as Liverpool dismantled West Bromich 4-1 at Anfield. The Uruguayan forward was in majestic form and opened the scoring in the 12th minute when he single handedly tore the Baggies defense to shreds before finishing with a superb low shot. Suarez headed home two more for the Reds, before Daniel Sturridge chipped in with his eighth goal of the season. This deadly partnership has now combined to score 14 goals between them so far this campaign. The Result means Liverpool sit third in table, level on points with Chelsea and two points behind Arsenal.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Southampton recorded their eighth clean sheet of the season after they beat Fulham 2-0 at St Mary’s. Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez were on target to lift the Saints to 5th in the table. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have been hugely impressive so far this season and boast the meanest defense in the BPL, conceding just three in nine matches. Romelu Lukaku scored his fifth goal of the season as Everton continued their excellent run with a 2-0 victoty over Aston Villa at Villa Park. The Toffees have now won five of their last six games and currently occupy 6th spot in the table. Finally, Norwich City and Cardiff City played out a nil-nil draw at Carrow Road. The Canaries were unlucky not to take all three points after being denied thanks to a fabulous goalkeeping display from Cardiff’s David Marshall.
Sunderland and new manager Gus Poyet picked up their first win of the season as they beat bitter rivals Newcastle 2-1 in the Tyne-Wear derby. Fabio Borini’s stunning late strike sealed the victory for the new boss and gave Sunderland bragging rights over Alan Pardew’s men. The Black Cats moved off the bottom of the table with the win and Poyet will hope this victory can be a catalyst to help turnaround their season. In Sunday’s other action, Roberto Soldado’s late penalty gave Tottenham a 1-0 victory over Hull and lifted Spurs to fourth in the Premier League. Finally, Swansea and West Ham played out a dull 0-0 draw at a rain drenched Liberty Stadium.BPL: Week Nine Review by Craig Smith