Rants and musings from the magazine team
Bolton 9(W 5-0, Stoke H)The Trotters busted the ghosts of last season's FA Cup semi-final thumping by reversing the score on the side who beat them at Wembley in April. In doing so, they won only their second game in ten. Kevin Davies and Klasnic a handful throughout while Eagles finally looks like he might fulfil his undoubted potential. The winger scored a brace at the weekend and tormented Stoke’s defence all afternoon.
Wolves 8.5(W 3-1, Wigan H)O’Hara inspired Wolves to a 3-1 win against bottom-placed Wigan at Molineux. The home side would have scored more were it not for Ali Al-Habsi’s heroics in the Wigan goal. A first win in nine was well-received by Mick McCarthy, who even enjoyed the support of the sometimes hostile Molineux crowd on Sunday. A potentially huge mental boost.
Arsenal 8(W 3-0, WBA H)The Gunners cruised to a 3-0 win, with Van Persie again on the scoresheet. The flying Dutchman is the division’s form player this season and added two assists to his goal on Saturday. Elsewhere Ramsey and Arteta impressed in the middle of the park while the welcome return of Thomas Vermaelen produced a clean sheet and a first goal of the season for the defender.
(W 2-1, Everton H)
Despite having to re-jig their midfield with Tiote still out injured and Cabaye hobbling off after half an hour, Newcastle performed well. They were lucky to take the lead through a Heitinga own-goal but there was nothing lucky about their second, Ryan Taylor slamming home from 30 yards in off the crossbar. The Newcastle bubble remains intact.
Swansea 8(D 0-0, Liverpool A)Swansea had goalkeeper Michael Vorm to thank for a point at Anfield, with the Dutchman keeping his fifth clean sheet of the season as Brendan Rodgers’ side frustrated Liverpool. And they had the chances to win the game, with Mark Gower blazing the best of them over the bar. Rodgers will be delighted with a point as Swansea remain in the top half.
Aston Villa 7.5(W 3-2, Norwich H)Agbonlahor was the best player on the pitch at Villa Park this weekend, scoring one and assisting both of Bent’s goals as his side struggled to overcome a resilient Norwich side. Villa looked comfortable going forward through Bent and Agbonlahor but conceding two at home is never ideal. A first win in four eases the pressure on McLeish and moves Villa up to eighth.
Manchester City 7(W 3-2, QPR A)Many are running out of superlatives to describe David Silva this season, and despite having a relatively quiet game, his goal in the second half was the best moment in the match. Yaya Toure rose highest to score the winner, and while the three points were the priority, City will be concerned at their record of just one clean sheet in their past seven games, and how much they struggled at the back without the suspended Kompany.
Tottenham 7(W 3-1, Fulham A)A Redknapp-less Spurs can count themselves lucky to come away from Craven Cottage with all three points after being outplayed by Fulham. A deflected Bale effort, followed by a fantastic goal from Lennon gave Spurs a 2-0 lead at half-time, but the second half was far less comfortable. Defoe secured the points in the 93rd minute with a firm volley that flew past Schwarzer, meaning Spurs remain in fifth with a game in hand.
Chelsea 7(W 1-0, Blackburn A)Frank Lampard scored his fifth goal in five games to give Chelsea the win at Ewood Park. Chelsea were disappointing though, and were fortunate that Blackburn couldn’t finish on a number of opportunities - though the best chance was spurned by Torres at the other end. Chelsea stay in fourth place, ahead of Spurs on goal difference.
Manchester United 6.5(W 1-0, Sunderland H)Fergie’s anniversary was celebrated with a 1-0 win at Old Trafford, United old-boy Wes Brown scoring an own-goal to hand his former team all three points. Rooney was again influential in a midfield role, with Welbeck and Hernandez lining up ahead of him. An unbelievable series of saves from Westwood limited the score to 1-0, with Rooney and Evra both having efforts saved late on.
Queens Park Rangers 6(L 3-2, Manchester City H)QPR gave City the closest league game of their season so far at Loftus Road. Jay Bothroyd was again on the scoresheet and continues to excel in the absence of Adel Taarabt, while the central midfield partnership of Joey Barton and Alejandro Faurlin fought well against City’s normally dominant midfield. QPR are definitely a club on the rise.
Liverpool 5(D 0-0, Swansea H)More dropped points at home for Dalglish’s side. Despite being unbeaten at Anfield, four of those six games have ended draws, including games against newly promoted Swansea and Norwich. Dalglish rightly criticised some of his expensive signings following the game, as Liverpool have now scored just 14 goals in 11 games, the joint 10th worst record in the league.
Fulham 5(L 3-1, Tottenham H)A superb second-half performance that included 24 shots on goal was not enough for the Cottagers as their best attacking efforts were thwarted by an inspired performance from Friedel. Zamora and Dembele looked to strike a decent understanding upfront while the midfield duo of Murphy and Sidwell also impressed.
(L 2-1, Newcastle A)
After going 2-0 down Everton did well to score minutes before half-time after a fine Drenthe cross found an unmarked Rodwell in the Newcastle area. Everton didn’t play badly, they just didn’t create enough clearcut chances, with too great a gap between Louis Saha up front and the midfield behind him. Moyes’ men have now lost five out of their last six league games.
Norwich 4.5(L 3-2, Aston Villa A)Norwich are quickly becoming one of the division's most entertaining teams, with their first eleven games yielding 34 goals. Pilkington scored a fantastic free-kick to give the Canaries the lead on Saturday but they were then outclassed by Villa’s in-form strikers. Having conceded six in their last two games it is clear Lambert needs to work on his defence in the weeks to come.
Sunderland 4.5(L 1-0, Manchester United A)Bruce has now failed to win in all 18 games he has managed against his mentor, and the manner of this defeat will have been particularly hard to take. Wes Brown’s own goal proved the difference, with Bruce seething that Sunderland were denied a penalty late on. The early loss of Connor Wickham was a blow to the visitors, as the youngster had looked sharp in recent games, and they will hope he does not face a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Sunderland are now 15th, hovering dangerously above the relegation zone.
Blackburn 4(L 1-0, Chelsea H)Despite a banner ban at Ewood Park inventive Blackburn fans hired a plane to fly a ‘Kean out’ banner over the ground, and this result will not have helped the beleaguered manager. Yakubu and Hanley both missed easy chances, while Gael Givet also struck the crossbar late on. Blackburn should have got a point from this game against a lacklustre Chelsea side. Their winless streak is now extended to six games.
WBA 4(L 3-0, Arsenal A)West Brom looked bereft of ideas going forward at the Emirates despite lining up with a midfield of Thomas, Morrison, Dorrans and Brunt, all creative players. They have started to drift towards the relegation zone after just two wins in their last 8 and Hodgson will look to address this slump during the international break.
Wigan 3(L 3-1, Wolves A)Martinez’s men have now lost eight consecutive games, with no other club in the Premier League’s history going on such a run and avoiding relegation. Wigan have a huge task on their hands and could really do with Hugo Rodallega finding some form after the striker endured yet another horrid performance in front of goal.
Stoke 2.5(L 5-0, Bolton A) The absence of Etherington, the poor finishing of Crouch and Howard Webb’s refereeing decisions cost Stoke dearly as they were trounced by Bolton. They have now lost in each of the four league games they have played following Europa League fixtures and this defeat also makes it four consecutive losses in the league.
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