After an opening two weeks that saw a ridiculous amount of blowouts, we were treated to a relatively even weekend this time around, with most matches ending up as pretty close affairs.
Saturday, August 28 – Blackburn Rovers 1, Arsenal 2
In recent years, Ewood Park has been somewhat of a fortress for Blackburn, as this writer’s beloved Everton found out earlier this season, but thanks to a pair of goals from Theo Walcott and Andrei Arshavin, Arsenal was able to escape for their second win of the year. Walcott opened play with a powerful strike 20 minutes in, but the relentless attack from Rovers eventually resulted in a goal for Mame Diouf after a brilliant set up from El-Hadji Diouf. Arshavin put in the game winner on a rebound off a Cesc Fabregas blocked shot.
Saturday, August 28 – Blackpool 2, Fulham 2
For the second consecutive week, Fulham utilized a late goal to earn a draw, this time coming from the feet of Dickson Etuhu. Bobby Zamora opened up the scoring for Fulham in the 35th minute when Moussa Dembele received a nice through ball and sent to the head of Zamora in the box, burying it past goalkeeper Matt Gilks. Blackpool evened up the affair when John Pantsil inadvertently sent a rebound into the net, the second FFC own goal in as many weeks. The Tangerines took their temporary lead in the 76th minute on a Luke Varney strike before Etuhu equalized with a chip shot in the 87th.
Saturday, August 28 – Chelsea 2, Stoke City 0
Another week, another dominating Chelsea victory. Something tells me this storyline may continue for a good while at Stamford Bridge. The Blues may not have won 6-0 this week, but they did manage to control possession for almost three quarters of the match while outshooting the Potters 21-10. Frank Lampard missed an 11th minute penalty before Florent Malouda found the back of the net for the opening goal in the 32nd minute. Didier Drogba put the match out of reach for good in the 77th with a PK, his fourth goal of the young season.
Saturday, August 28 – Tottenham Hotspur 0, Wigan Athletic 1
Despite the fact that Tottenham destroyed Wigan last season 9-1 and the fact that Wigan had been outscored 10-0 in their first two Premiership matches, Spurs found themselves looking for answers after a home defeat to the Latics. In what will be looked back at as one of the true upsets this season, Tottenham battled complacency after Wednesday’s Champions League victory over Young Boys, and an unfortunate 80th minute goal from Hugo Rodallega made them pay for it. Spurs keeper Carlo Cudicini likely makes the stop on the relatively weak attempt on most days, but managed to help in sending it in for the game winner.
Saturday, August 28 – Wolverhampton Wanderers 1, Newcastle United 1
In a match marred by 12 yellow cards and abundant physical play, Newcastle United secured a draw with Andy Carroll’s fourth goal of the last two matches. Wolves was definitely the lesser of the sides for much of the match, but a 43rd minute Sylvan Ebanks-Blake goal proved enough to secure a point. Carroll supplied the equalizer for the Magpies in the 62nd minute with a header off a Joey Barton free kick.
Saturday, August 28 – Manchester United 3, West Ham United
If Tottenham-Wigan was the most shocking, the Red Devils-Hammers result was certainly the least. Wayne Rooney netted his first goal in five months with a 33rd minute penalty kick for the clearly superior Man U side. Nani played a role in each of the following Man U scores, netting his on a nice individual effort in the 50th minute and setting up an impressive leaping volley for Berbatov in the 69th.
Sunday, August 29 – Bolton Wanderers 2, Birmingham City 2
A pair of late scores from a ten-man Bolton side helped manage a draw with Birmingham. Bolton went down early in the match thanks to a fourth minute score from Roger Johnson. An apparent slap to the face of Blues defender Roger Johnson by Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen resulted in the keeper’s ejection from the game in the 36th minute. Craig Gardener would double the lead with a 50th minute score where it appeared he may have been offside. However, the Trotters would bounce back thanks to a 71st minute Kevin Davies PK and an 81st minute goal from Robbie Blake.
Sunday, August 29 – Liverpool 1, West Bromwich Albion 0
Fernando Torres netted his first goal in what seems like ages as Liverpool notched their first win of this season’s Premiership campaign, albeit against newly-promoted West Brom. Pepe Reina recorded his first clean sheet of the season after a decidedly lackluster start for the keeper against Arsenal and Manchester City.
Sunday, August 29 – Sunderland 1, Manchester City 0
Carlos Tevez muffed a golden opportunity early in the match, and a last minute Darren Bent penalty kick sealed an unlikely three points for Sunderland, who fell to West Brom just last week. Man City, who entered the match after a dominating performance against Liverpool, dominated play in much of the first half. After being dragged down in the box in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Bent provided the game’s lone goal from the penalty spot.
Sunday, August 29 – Everton 0, Aston Villa 1
It’s going to be hard for me to maintain an objective view on this match, as Everton completely, utterly, totally dominated this game in every single way in the second half, but just couldn’t find a goal. Everton is now off to their worst start through three matches in years, perhaps none as heartbreaking as Saturday’s. Luke Young found the back of the net in the ninth minute thanks to a fantastic strike converted from an Everton defensive miscue. The Blues looked destined to get the equalizer in the second half, controlling the ball for what seemed like weeks in the Villa attacking third and peppering Brad Friedel with 23 shots while earning 18 corners only to come up empty in the end.