Last week, followers of the 20 teams in the Barclays Premier League were left with plenty to talk about as the action returned for a new season in the English top flight. With Gameweek 2 now finished, it already feels like the season is in full swing with plenty of memorable encounters having already taken place and a host of talking points being discussed over a pint or two in the pubs of England.
Saturday 24th August 2013
FULHAM 1 – 3 ARSENAL
The early kick off on the second Saturday of the Premier League season saw Arsenal travel to fellow London side Fulham after a good win in Istanbul during the week. Arsene Wenger has come under serious criticism for the lack of signings at Arsenal, but the majority of those critics were silenced – albeit temporarily – when striker Olivier Giroud got his third in three games. Lukas Podolski then added another with a strong finish just before the break, before getting his second mid-way through the second half. Fulham’s Darren Bent came off the bench to get his first for the club with a consolation in the 77th minute, yet it was ‘The Gunners’ who came away from Craven Cottage with the three points.
HULL CITY 1 – 0 NORWICH CITY
Hull’s first home game back in the Premier League is one that will be fondly remembered by fans of ‘The Tigers’, as he they fought to take the three points off of Norwich City who had gained a good point the prior week against Everton. Hull went in front midway through the first half when Brady calmly converted a penalty won by Yannick Sagbo who promptly got himself sent off only a couple of minutes later after he was judged to have attempted to headbutt Norwich captain Russell Martin. Norwich didn’t make it easy for the ten man Hull after that, as Alan McGregor made a fine save from a Ricky van Wolfswinkel header and Nathan Redmond went close with a free kick, but ‘The Tigers’ held out for the three points to send their supporters home happy and get off the mark in the Premier League this season.
ASTON VILLA 0 – 1 LIVERPOOL
Aston Villa have started the season looking much improved from last season, but they were undone for the second game running by a Liverpool side that also look a step above from the previous campaign. The deadlock was broken during the first half as a Jose Enrique cross picked out Daniel Sturridge on the edge of the box, and some neat footwork from the England striker saw him round Brad Guzan and send the ball into the roof of the net with a good finish. Villa went close through their Belgian powerhouse Christian Benteke forcing a good save from Simon Mignolet not much later, though the fluid Liverpool side outplayed Villa for most of the first half. Villa improved during the second half and had a penalty claim turned down by Mark Clattenburg as Benteke and the impressive Kolo Toure collided in the area, whilst Liverpool were also denied a penalty when Guzan appeared to bring down Sturridge, but the spot-kick wouldn’t have been needed as Liverpool took the win at Villa Park in the day’s late kick-off.
EVERTON 0 – 0 WEST BROMWICH ALBION
West Brom travelled up to Merseyside hoping to come away with something after a disappointing performance the previous week against Southampton, and they will be pleased to have shut-out ‘The Toffees’ on their home ground. Everton forced some fantastic saves from Ben Foster prior to his injury-induced substitution in the 78th minute, with the England keeper pulling off a great stop to deny Kevin Mirallas in particular. Albion looked to try and hit Everton on the break with the pace of Shane Long and Matej Vydra in the second half, but Everton remained solid and came very close to getting a winner when Marouane Fellaini hit the post late on, however neither team could break the deadlock and the score remained at 0-0 until the final whistle.
STOKE CITY 2 – 1 CRYSTAL PALACE
In their first Premier League away game since 2005, Crystal Palace travelled to Stoke City with hopes of three points and found themselves 1-0 ahead through Marouane Chamakh’s first goal for the club since joining from Arsenal this month. On the 58th minute however, ‘The Eagles’ were stopped mid-flight when Charlie Adam swept a shot into the back of the net to equalise, and only four minutes later it was Ryan Shawcross who seized the ball and slotted in at the far post. Steven N’Zonzi hit the post for Stoke in attempt to extend their lead, but when the clock ran down it was still 2-1 to Stoke and the hosts took the three points to send Palace back to London empty handed.
SOUTHAMPTON 1 – 1 SUNDERLAND
An early goal from Sunderland’s Emanuele Giaccherini saw ‘The Black Cats’ maintain a 1-0 lead for the majority of the game – until Southampton’s Portuguese centre back Jose Fonte popped up in the box to head home in the 88th minute to rescue a point for ‘The Saints’. Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio stated after the match that Southampton deserved all three points based on their performance in the game, and they certainly had the chances with record signing Dani Osvaldo having a good chance to win it for his new club on his debut. However, it remained level and sides had to share the spoils at the full time whistle at St. Mary’s.
NEWCASTLE UNITED 0 – 0 WEST HAM UNITED
Ex-Toon boss Sam Allardyce returned to his former stomping grounds with hopes of heaping more misery onto ‘The Magpies’ following a heavy 4-0 defeat to Manchester City in Gameweek 1, however neither side could break the deadlock at St. James’ Park. The chances were there for the home side who registered sixteen shots in the game, but couldn’t get a single one on target whilst West Ham only had one effort challenge Tim Krul themselves. It all resulted in a 0-0 stalemate on a rainy day in the North East that both sides will be looking to move on from quickly.
Sunday 25th August 2013
CARDIFF CITY 3 – 2 MANCHESTER CITY
It was a game that City fans will remember for the disappointing result, whilst Cardiff fans will look back on it with the brightest of smiles – it is certain that nobody can deny this is what football is all about. Cardiff hassled City from the very beginning and never stopped inside the electric Cardiff City Stadium, but a great strike from Edin Dzeko threatened to spoil the day in Cardiff’s first ever Premier League home game. ‘The Bluebirds’ swarmed back with a vengeance however, and they found themselves 2-1 up when Aron Gunnarsson and Frazier Campbell got two goals back for the Welsh side. However, eight minutes after his first, Campbell headed home from a corner and sent Cardiff on their way to victory. Alvaro Negredo got his first goal for City late on, but it wasn’t anything more than a consolation as Cardiff emerged triumphant.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 – 0 SWANSEA CITY
On the other end of the spectrum to their fellow countrymen, Swansea City were left feeling deflated after losing to a Tottenham side that are certainly one to watch this season. Without Gareth Bale as he edges closer to a record move to Real Madrid, Spurs still look more than capable going forward, however their only goal came from a penalty on the 58th minute following a foul on Andros Townsend by Jonjo Shelvey. Replays judged it to be a soft one, and Swansea fans may feel the ref was making up for not awarding Spurs a penalty when Shelvey had fouled Townsend in the box in the first half, but the better team left victorious as Spurs carried on their 100% record for this season with another good showing.
Monday 26th August 2013
MANCHESTER UNITED 0 – 0 CHELSEA
When Jose Mourinho’s men arrived at Old Trafford on Monday night, there was plenty of anticipation for the first meeting between two title frontrunners this season. However, the game didn’t pan out as many would have hoped with it being a rather drab goalless draw: Chelsea transfer target and Manchester United’s want away striker Wayne Rooney was arguably the best performer but could not find a goal for his side, with decent chances coming few and far between. Both sides lacked that little spark that’s needed in games such as these, and neither could capitalise on fellow title-chasers Manchester City dropping three points away at Cardiff when chances did fall their way. With it still being so early into the Premier League season, the game would hardly crown a definitive title winner, but it was a good chance to get some vital points on the board for the title race and both teams will no doubt be looking to fix this in their next games.
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