ENGLAND: PREMIER LEAGUE – WEEK FOUR ROUND-UP

RESULTS
Norwich City 0-0 West Ham United

Arsenal 6-1 Southampton

Aston Villa 2-0 Swansea City

Fulham 3-0 West Bromwich Albion

Manchester United 4-0 Wigan Athletic

Queens Park Rangers 0-0 Chelsea

Stoke City 1-1 Manchester City

Sunderland 1-1 Liverpool

Reading 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur

Everton 2-2 Newcastle United

 

In Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off, Norwich City enjoyed the better of the first half hosting West Ham United, and felt they should have been awarded a penalty when James Collins upended Andrew Surman.  Unfortunately for the Canaries, referee Chris Foy correctly ruled the challenge was just outside the area. West Ham also had their chances, with Carlton Cole’s early chance blocked and John Ruddy saving from Kevin Nolan. Both sides, though, seemed to run out of ideas as the match wore on though on-loan Tottenham youngster Harry Kane could have won it for the Canaries in stoppage time, only to scuff his shot straight at the goalkeeper.

Arsenal smashed new boys Southampton 6-1 at the Emirates. The Gunners went ahead through a Jos Hooiveld own goal before Lukas Podolski arrowed a free kick into the top corner to double their lead. Gervinho, starting in place of Theo Walcott, justified his selection with a well-taken third before a Kieran Gibbs effort deflected off Nathaniel Clyne and into the Saints net. Danny Fox pulled one back for Southampton before the break, but that was as good as it got for the south-coast side as Gervinho and Walcott both struck in the second half to complete the rout. The result leaves Southampton rock bottom of the table without a point.

Swansea City suffered their first Premier League defeat under Michael Laudrup to miss out on the chance to go top of the league. Goals from Matthew Lowton and Christian Benteke gave Paul Lambert his first win since taking over as Aston Villa boss in the summer. Lowton’s stunning first half volley looked to be the only goal of the game before substitute Benteke capitalised on an Ashley Williams mistake late on to clinch the three points for Villa. Swansea had started well and almost broke the deadlock on 10 minutes but Williams’ header was brilliantly pushed away by goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

Dimitar Berbatov enjoyed a fantastic home debut for Fulham as he bagged a brace in a 3-0 win over previously unbeaten West Bromwich Albion. Fulham had lost their way following their opening day demolition of Norwich but with Dimitar Berbatov making his home debut they always looked to be in more control. In what was a pretty slow start it was the hosts who were enjoying plenty of the ball and Ben Foster had to be alert to deny Berbatov on two occasions before the Bulgarian finally broke the deadlock just after the half hour. The former Manchester United striker brought the ball under control and unleashed a curling effort that even the in-form Foster could get nowhere near. The task was made harder for the visitors five minutes later when Peter Odemwingie aimed a needless kick out at Sascha Riether and was rightly given his marching orders. Then, right on half time, it was game over as Billy Jones felled Alex Kacaniklic in the box and Berbatov stepped up to slot home from 12 yards. The Baggies could offer no fight in what was a poor second half and Fulham finally put the icing on the cake in the dying minutes with Steven Sidwell following up to tap in from three yards.

The evolution of Manchester United combined as Paul Scholes marked his 700th appearance for the club with a goal and debutants Alex Buttner and Nick Powell also scored in a 4-0 win over Wigan at Old Trafford on Saturday. But the victory threatened to be overshadowed by United and England forward Danny Welbeck’s blatant dive. Welbeck’s controversial move won United an early penalty, missed by Javier Hernandez, although that only delayed the inevitable as the home side scored three times in 15 minutes early in the second half.

QPR held Chelsea to a 0-0 draw but once again it was John Terry and Anton Ferdinand that grabbed the headlines as Loftus Road. Chelsea’s 100 per cent league record came to an end at the home of their West London rivals, where Ferdinand, Terry and Cole took centre-stage following last season’s race allegations which culminated in a not guilty verdict for Terry in July. QPR’s Brazilian debuting goalkeeper Julio Cesar impressed with a string of solid saves while Bobby Zamora had an effort cleared off the line in the second half after a horror back pass attempt by John Obi Mikel. But a heated affair did not ultimately produce any goals and Roberto Di Matteo’s side remain top of the league on 10 points despite victories for Manchester United and Arsenal elsewhere. The Hoops, meanwhile, remain near the foot of the table, still without their first league win.

Champions Manchester City was unable to give manager Roberto Mancini something to celebrate on his 1000th day in charge of the club as it was held to a 1-1 draw by Stoke City. The champions were in complete control of the game for the opening 15 minutes but it was Stoke which opened the scoring through Peter Crouch, the lanky striker scoring a fairly scruffy goal from five yards out after breaking through three challenges. The visitors were level after a neat set piece beautifully delivered by Carlos Tevez for Javi Garcia to mark his debut with a goal. Chances followed for both sides but neither were able to convert and the points were shared for a fourth successive fixture at the Britannia Stadium.

Striker Luiz Suarez grabbed a second-half equaliser from close-range to secure Liverpool a share of the spoils and deny Martin O’Neill’s side a hard-fought first three points of the campaign. In the end both sides were left waiting for their maiden three-point hauls of the season with Sunderland breaking down in the final third too often and Liverpool found wanting in front of the net. Sunderland took the lead inside half an hour when Steven Fletcher finished from close-range before Suarez’s second-half equaliser at the second attempt.

The in-form Jermaine Defoe hit a double and a Gareth Bale tap-in handed AVB his first win as Spurs manager and capped a convincing display at the Madejski Stadium as Spurs ran out 3-1 winners over Reading on Sunday afternoon. A well-worked move on the right flank saw Gylfi Sigurdsson slide Aaron Lennon in behind the hosts’ defence and his pull-back was clinically converted by Defoe from ten yards, before a 71st minute tap-in from Bale was followed by a brilliant counter-attack that saw Defoe double his tally for the afternoon with a fine finish.  The Royals took until the 85th minute to register their first shot on target and a late Hal Robson-Kanu goal proved to be nothing more than a consolation for a side that were outplayed for vast chunks of the fixture.

Everton drew their first game of the season after an entertaining but controversial 2-2 stalemate with Newcastle United in an end-to-end game at Goodison Park. The impressive Leighton Baines gave his side a deserved lead in a dominant first half for Everton, but half-time substitute Demba Ba pegged them back immediately after the break with the Magpies 1000th Premier League goal. Substitute Victor Anichebe thought he had won the game late on, only for Ba to equalise again for a second time moments later.
WILL BURNS
@WillBurns6
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