ENGLAND: Premier League review – Week 4


Thank God, the Premier League has returned after a frustrating and boring international break. There was controversy, great performances and some cracking goals, with wins for the likes of Arsenal, Spurs and Manchester United.


After losing out to Liverpool in their previous Premier League match, United were back to winning ways with a victory over Premier League new boys Crystal Palace. Palace had competed rather well, but on the stroke of half-time, they suffered a major set-back. Ashley Young took control of Jedinak’s sloppy pass and surged towards goal, Palace midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi intervened, giving away a penalty, though in fact the contact was outside the box. Robin van Persie duly dispatched the spot-kick. Wayne Rooney clinched the win with a beautiful free-kick in the 81st minute.


Yoan Gouffran was the hero upon Tyneside, as his 73rd minute strike earned Newcastle their second successive win. It all started nice and bright for the Magpies at Villa Park, with Hatem Ben Arfa opening the scoring in the 18th minute. Yet in the second half, Christian Benteke put Villa on level terms with a header. Shortly after however, sub Gouffran tapped home the win after Guzan could only parry Ben Arfa’s fierce strike.


It was a bizarre game at Craven Cottage, where Fulham and West Brom played out a 1-1 draw. Steve Sidwell put the Cottagers ahead in the 22nd minute, then Dimitar Berbatov had two goals disallowed, and Hugo Rodallega also had one ruled out. Brian Ruiz also hit the crossbar. It all came back to haunt Fulham because in added time, towering Centre-back Gareth McAuley equalised for West Brom, and the points were shared.


It also finished all square at the KC Stadium, where two promoted sides locked horns, as Hull entertained Cardiff. The Tigers got off to the better of starts and all their efforts were rewarded in the 40th minute, through Curtis Davies’ header. Cardiff came out in the second half much better, with more urgency and grabbed a goal in the 59th minute from Peter Whittingham; a lovely volley from the former Villa man. It remained 1-1 as the two got a share of the points.


Gylfi Sigurdsson was the hero at White Hart Lane, netting a goal in either half as Spurs produced arguably their best display of the season. Sigurdsson’s first goal came in the 28th minute, debutant Christian Eriksen played him in and the Icelandic playmaker finished with aplomb. Minutes into the second period, Spurs doubled their lead. Paulinho’s low cross from the right flew past the stretching John Ruddy and Sigurdsson once again put the ball in the net. Spurs climbed to third after that win.


A dull game at the Brittania Stadium, as Stoke and City fought out a boring draw. Stoke were the more dangerous side but couldn’t find that all-important goal, despite some glorious chances, including a missed sitter from Jonathan Walters. The Blues are still yet to win away from home in the Premier League, and the two sides are now on the same number of points.


Mezut Ozil was the main talking point leading up to this game, but it was another man who produced a stirling performance; Aaron Ramsey, who grabbed two brilliant goals, either side of a strike from Giroud. It didn’t take long for Mesut Ozil to adapt to life in the English, with him showing superb technique to bring down Gibbs’ pass and square it for Giroud for the opener. Craig Gardner equalised from the spot shortly into the second half after Koscielny was adjudged to have brought down Johnson in the box. Then Ramsey made his mark on the game, scoring twice. The first was an excellent volley which left Westwood stranded and the second was a neat finish after a flowing Arsenal move. A great three points for Arsenal, which means they are now 2nd only to Liverpool in the table.


The day’s late kick-off featured Everton and Chelsea, with the home side emerging victorious with a narrow win. Steven Naismith’s solitary goal in first-half stoppage time was enough for the Toffees to claim all three points, denying Jose Mourinho and Chelsea a third win. Gareth Barry was absolutely superb for Everton and produced a stunning block to deny Eto’o a clear goal, a great debut from him. Everton stay unbeaten while Chelsea suffered their first Premier League loss.


Southampton and West Ham played out a 0-0 draw at St Mary’s in an uneventful game in the South Coast. Jussi Jaaskelainin took the plaudits and very rightly so, producing a plethora of fine saves to keep Saints at bay. 0-0 it finished.


League leaders Liverpool travelled to North Wales on Monday night to play out an enthralling draw with Swansea City. Jonjo Shelvey fulfilled the roles of both hero and Villain in the game, with him being involved in all four goals. He scored the first in the 2nd minute, after several ricochets it fell to the midfielder and he slotted him the opener against his former employers. But not long after, Shelvey let Liverpool back in. He played a backpass right into the path of Daniel Sturridge, who placed the ball into the corner.

Later in the opening period, Shelvey miscued a pass again and Moses took advantage, racing towards goal before firing the Reds ahead. But Liverpool couldn’t hold on and in the 64th minute, were pegged back. Yet again Shelvey had a part to play, flicking the ball onto the onrushing Michu who hit home the fourth goal of the night. It remained 2-2, with Liverpool remaining at the top of the table, and Swansea are now 13th.


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Josh Lawless

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