May be the best gameweek so far for this season in the Premier League as drama unfolded on all the stadiums hosting football matches during the weekend.
The most awaited 2 games were the Manchester derby, where United hosted City in the battle on who is the king of Manchester, while in London, Chelsea were receiving Tottenham Hotspur in another battle of London.
Manchester United versus Manchester City, an epic battle between two ‘enemy brothers’ if we could call it, and a galore of goals and mistakes to add some spice to the game 🙂
From kickoff, United were in possession of the ball and compelled City to defend, and with the pressure mounting, Wayne Rooney managed to score inside 2 minutes of play, a dream start! But then United somehow allowed City back in the game, and a costly mistake involving O’Shea, Ferdinand and Foster, gifted the equalizer, as Tevez pounced on Foster’s indecision to clear the ball, slipped the ball to Barry who scored on the 16th min. Then it was all City until half-time, and somehow it was 1-1, as Tevez clipped the left post in front of the Stretford end but the ball bounced out for a goalkick.
Second half yet again saw United pushing forward, and Fletcher scored on the 49th minute from a Giggs assist, only to see Bellamy equalize from a Tevez pass 3 minutes later. United were lacking composure, but Fletcher was again the scorer on 80th minute with yet another pass from Giggs. Yet, as the match was coming to the end, in the 90th minute a howler by Ferdinand gifted another goal to Bellamy as the latter collected the ball which Ferdinand kindly laid to him and swept past Foster. 3-3, everyone was hoping the match would end a draw. But in injury time, Owen managed to scrap a winner for United, after yet again Giggs claiming the assist, and it was 4-3 United, and first defeat for City, with one game in hand however.
However, it has to be noted that there was some controversy about the added time, with 4 minutes initially shown, but since according to rules these added times are minimum ones, any delay occurring during that period are accounted and added as well, so with Bellamy scoring in the ending seconds of the 90th minute meant 1 more minute was added due to the celebrations, and with United subbing Carrick on costed another 30 seconds or so, the total time eventually came to 5.30 minutes, while Owen managed to score in the 5.28 minute (reported by many websites, not by me :P) of stoppage, so still valid in the added time + the game went on to nearly 97 th minute, since the celebrations yet again were added to the time. So anyone who ignored this, the added time is always a MINIMUM time, which means it can be extended if more delays occur during that period.
This time, United managed to win the battle of Manchester, but the return match could turn out to be a more tougher game for them as City by that time will recover the players who were either injured or suspended for yesterday’s encounter, and will also have home advantage and larger fans support.
Another battle which took place yesterday, but this time in London, between Chelsea and Spurs, saw the Blues easily winning, while Redknapp must be having a head-ache as his team slumps yet again after starting the season brilliantly.
Chelsea were never troubled as they took the game to Spurs since kickoff, although Defoe looked menacing and could have easily scored a couple in the opening minutes but Cech was present to deny him, and Chelsea were more dangerous with Drogba and Anelka leading the attack. Chances came and it was eventually Ashley Cole who headed in the opener on 32nd minute after a cross from Drogba, and former Chelsea keeper, Cudicini, was helpless.
Chelsea kept piling the pressure with Spurs seemingly losing their way without the injured Modric, and Ballack doubled the lead on 57th minute after Cudicini could only parry a shot from Drogba, but just some minutes earlier, Robbie Keane was denied a penalty after he was tripped by Carvalho at the other end. Chelsea were at ease, and Drogba made the breakthrough on 62nd minute to calm down any nerves and sink Spurs. Cudicini had to be alert ten minutes later as Mikel’s shot bounced off him and nearly went in, but he somehow managed to claw it out for a corner. Convincing win for the Blues as they remain unbeaten in 6 games played.
On Saturday, both Arsenal and Liverpool were in action, the former at home against Wigan, while the latter away at West Ham.
Arsenal hosted Wigan at their Emirates stadium, and it was Vermaelen who scored the opener from a Van Persie corner kick. He outjumped the two markers and powered the header past Kirkland, 25th min. In the second half, on 48th minute, Vermaelen was again on hand for the Gunners as he doubled their lead with a brilliant shot after a pass from Eboue. The 3rd came just before the hour-mark, as a shot from Eduardo just deflected off Eboue and into Kirkland’s left corner. Wigan were almost out of ideas, and Arsenal’s third keeper, replacing the injured pair, Almunia and Fabianski, was not really tested throughout the game. Arsenal’s fourth was scored by Fabregas in stoppage time after Bendtner fired a cross across goal into his path. 4-0 an easy win for the Gunners, and a rise in confidence as well.
Liverpool were away to West Ham, and it turned out to be another hell of a match as both teams gave their best, but Liverpool eventually managed to win the 3 points. Torres was the scorer on 20th minute for the Reds as they mounted pressure on the Hammers, but Diamanti levelled rather fortunately from the spot for West Ham on 28th minute as he slipped while taking the shot, and replays even suggested he touched the ball with his right foot as well as he slipped, but the goal stood. On 40th minute Kuyt gave Liverpool the lead once again as he dived and poked the ball past Green from a Gerrard’s header. but 4 minutes later, Carlton Cole rose to beat Reina at the other end from a corner kick, and both teams were levelled yet again at half-time. For the first half West Ham were very busy, with Hines leading the attack with his pace, but in the second half, they were already out of steam and Liverpool were playing mostly in the Hammers’ half. Eventually, Torres scored the winner on 75th minute after a cross from Babel, and West Ham by that time were already out of energy to try anything.
In other games, Wolves managed a win over Fulham, 2-1, with Doyle and Edwards, 18th and 50th min, scoring for Wolves, while Murphy scored on a penalty on 66th minute for Fulham.
Everton easily won against Blackburn, 3-0, with goals from Saha (22nd & 54th min) and Yobo, 58th min. Burnley won 3-1 against Sunderland, goals from Alexander 13th min from the spot, for Burnley while Bent replied for Sunderland on 39th min. But it was eventually 2 goals from Nugent, 67th and 86th min which saw Burnley clinch another 3 points.
Aston Villa piled more misery on Portsmouth as they won 2-0, goals Milner on 34th minute and Agbonlahor on 43rd minute. Portsmouth have yet to win a single point this season, and hopefully things will change for the better for them in the coming games. Bolton and Stoke shared the spoils as they drew 1-1, goals scored by Kitson on 53rd min for Stoke and penalty by Taylor on 89th min to earn his team a point. Finally, Hull lost at home to Birmingham, O’Connor the scorer on 75th min as Birmingham won 0-1.