Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Barclays Premier League Week 2 Review

Week 2 of the Premier League season followed up on the debut with possibly the biggest upset in recent Premier League history. This second week shows you that money can not buy you everything and how evenly matched two English titans are.

Wednesday, August 21

Eden Hazard gives the Blues the early lead
Chelsea  2-1 Aston Villa (Luna OG 6, Ivanovic 73, / Benteke 45)
The first time these two squads met since the 8-0 demolishing by Rafa Benitez's former side. Aston Villa looked much better this time, and were very unlucky to not gain a penalty after a John Terry handball.  At the start, an Oscar excellent pass led Eden Hazard to put the Blues ahead, the shot was credited as an Antonio Luna own goal after the ball ricocheted off the Spanish fullback. Christian Benteke leveled up just before halftime to make the score 1-1. There was earlier controversy in the 73rd minute as Brainislav Ivanovic elbowed Villa forward Christian Benteke before converting the eventual match winner after a Frank Lampard cross. Aston Villa having benefited from the referees against Arsenal, faced the wrath of them against Chelsea and is rather unfortunate to lose after playing really well against a bigger side.

Saturday, August 24
Last year's signings; Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski(left to right) proving why Arsenal does not need another striker.
Fulham 1-3 Arsenal (Giroud 14, Podolski 41,68)
Following a disappointing loss against Aston Villa in which the fans backlashed against Arsene Wenger urging him to buy more players, Arsenal responded pulling off two straight wins against Fenerbache and Fulham. The game could have got called off as it was pouring in Craven Cottage but it did not stop Olivier Giroud  from continuing his goal scoring run after the ball fell right inyo his feet before he gained the composure to give Arsenal the 14th minute goal.The inclusion of German Lukas Podolski worked wonders as the German responded in a magnificent way scoring in the 41st and 68th minute. Darren Bent who came off the bench and erased a clean sheet for Szczesny in what proved to be only consolation for Fulham. Despite the win for Arsenal, there is a cause for concern if the Gunners have enough depth at center-back with Sagna playing out of position in the backline with Vermaelen and Koscielny injured.
Robbie Brady clinches the only goal for Hull as they manage to hang on with only 10 men
Hull City 1-0 Norwich City (Brady pen 22)
Hull manages to gain their first win in the Premier League season and it is vital for the Tigers to make their home a fortress if they want to stay in the first division. A foul by Michael Turner in the box gave the former Manchester United striker Robbie Brady the opportunity to score a nice left footed finish to erupt the Hull crowd. Center forward Yannick Sagbo was given red card for an attempted headbutt but did not affect The Tigers frpm acquiring the victory over Norwich City.

The 5'6 Giaccherini scores his first Premier League goal off a corner.
Southhampton 1-1 Sunderland (Giaccherini 3 / Fonte 88)
Two mid tier Premier League clubs faced off head to head in a match that would prove to be a stalemate. Many wondered how Sunderland was able to get Emanuele Giaccherini from Italian superteam Juventus and the diminutive Italian was able to score in a big way off a corner over the tall walls to give Sunderland the early lead. The young Southhampton side dominated possession and dominated the match and would of been frustrated if they lost this one and better late than never for center-back Jose Fonte scoring an 88th minute header to equalize. It was a pinpoint cross from 18 year old James Ward Prowse as the future is bright for this Southampton squad.

A defensive display for Coloccini(left) and Newcastle
Newcastle 0-0 West Ham
These two clubs might be fighting from relegation this season and there was nothing to decide between the two.  Newcastle's defense played excellently but was largely disappointing in the attacking side of the field as Papiss Cisse had a game to forget. Same can be said for West Ham although they should be the happier of two sides avoiding defeat at St. Goodison Park. Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye again did not make an appearance and his future with the Magpies seems questionable. With the transfer window ticking down, Newcastle needs to make a late signing if they ever want to regain their European level form from two years ago.

A better showing for Stoke as Ryan Shawcross seals the winning goal.
Stoke City 2-1 Crystal Palace (Adam 58, Ryan Shawcross 62 / Chamakh 31)
Both teams were win-less and scoreless before this match and it was Stoke City to come back from behind to grab the home win. Former Arsenal man Marouane Chamakh looked lively and enjoyed his finish in the 31st minute and it is interesting to see where this new lifeline at Crystal Palace will bring him. Stoke City fans were not amused and let the players hear it just before halftime. Charlie Adam responded to the fans call, scoring in the 58th minute and Ryan Shawcross completed the rout in the 62nd. Stoke manager Mark Hughes has to be credited for the team's second half improvement and it will be interesting to see if Stoke can finish in the mid-table this season.

Marouane Fellaini and Youssouf Mulumbu(right to left) battle it out in a goal-less draw.
Everton 0-0 West Brom
Everton will be upset not the win this one with various clear cut chances from Steven Pienaar and Kevin Mirallas alike and West Brom could consider themselves fortunate. Their goalkeeper Ben Foster was partly to blame with Everton's struggles to find the net. However, Foster had picked up an injury in the 78th minute still Luke Daniels managed to pick up the slack and hold off the Toffees to get an away draw. Youngster Ross Barkley has been rewarded for his nice start with a chance at the England international level with a World Cup qualifier.
Suarez who? Daniel Sturridge is the name on every Liverpool fan's lips.
Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool (Sturridge 21)
After fearing the wrath of the referees, Aston Villa now felt the wrath of the schedule falling to hands of a Daniel Sturridge goal with the third game in two weeks. The English international scored the goal in terrific fashion out dribbling goalkeeper Brad Guzan before blasting the ball through the back of the net. Liverpool had quite a few chances to deepen the scoreline but was parried by American goalkeeper Brad Guzan. Christian Benteke in the face of the tough schedule was determined to not let the Villains lose with a scorching shot towards the end of the match that was blocked well by Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet who followed up on his impressive debut. Villa fans still have the last laugh, at least they can keep their star striker from being unhappy. 

Sunday August 25

What do you do when you host your first Premier League game in half a century?
Beat Manchester City, it's that simple.
Cardiff City 3-2 Manchester City (Gunnarson 60, Campbell 79, 87 / Dzeko 50, Negredo 90)

Somewhere in Wales, Cardiff is still celebrating their earth shattering upset against money bags Manchester City, proving that money can not buy you the willpower that the whole Cardiff town possessed. Few outside of Cardiff predicted this marvelous upset especially with Edin Dzeko scoring a powerful effort outside of the box to give Man City the first dent in the scoreline. Cardiff fans were still cheering strong and the team was feeding off of it, ten minutes later, South Korean international Kim Bo-Kyung drilled a deadly cross into the box that was parried by Joe Hart in the first effort but was equalized by Icelander Aron Gunnarson as the Cardiff fans lifted off their seats to commend the team's determination.  It was not over yet and Cardiff's no. ten Frasier Campbell was not to be denied in the air to score two headers from corners that gave the severe underdogs a two goal lead. Man City newcomer Alvaro Negredo scored his first Premier League goal for City in what was only consolation for the Citizens and a dream for Cardiff City.
Spurs again win by a result of a penalty and Soldado is the man to take it again.
Tottenham 1-0 Swansea (Soldado Pen 58)
More of the same for Tottenham as they win again through a penalty although the wrong penalty from referee Neil Swarbrick. Earlier in the match, former Liverpool player Jonjo Shelvey took out Tottenham's Andros Townsend's legs just inside the box. The fans let Neil Swarbrick hear it as he waved it off for a free kick just outside of the penalty area.. After halftime, Neil Swarbrick decided to make amends to Spurs fans giving Tottenham the penalty at the result of the same two players. In this case, Andros Townsend committed an obvious dive and Shelvey was just trying to get out of the way. Nothing that Swansea can do and Spanish international Roberto Soldado scored his fourth goal in three games and Tottenham fans must be delighted by his outstanding debut so far. Fans must also be delighted by Andros Townsend who won man of the match playing in Gareth Bale's presumed right wing position and earning a call up in England's World Cup qualifiers.

Monday, August 26

Jose Mourinho could not find his pen and the English giants could not find the back of the net in this goal-less draw.
Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea
A night of emotions for Manchester manager David Moyes making his first Premier League appearance at Old Trafford since the legend Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down. An interesting pre-match highlight was the lineups of both squads; Manchester United featured Wayne Rooney in the lineup against the team that made two bids for him and Chelsea playing without a true striker as Andre Schurrle took the role and Juan Mata left out for the third straight game. This comes as no surprise with the self proclaimed "Special One"  not afraid of benching star keeper like he did with Iker Casillas during his time at Real Madrid. This match was a nice audition from Wayne Rooney who was a problem in both offense and defense playing behind Van Persie and gaining the love and support of the fans in Old Trafford. Manchester United dominated possession but failed to convert any chances due to Mourinho's trademark defensive style and Welbeck missing a clear chance from a Rooney pass. Also controversy with a Frank Lampard handball that was denied by Martin Atkinson. Jose Mourinho must be the happier of the two managers avoiding defeat in the Theater of Dreams and gaining the top spot in the standings with a game ahead.

Barclays Premier League
Standings
#
Team
GP
W
D
L
GF
GA
PTS
1
3
2
1
0
4
1
7
2
2
2
0
0
2
0
6
3
2
2
0
0
2
0
6
4
2
1
1
0
4
1
4
5
2
1
1
0
2
0
4
6
2
1
1
0
2
1
4
7
2
1
0
1
6
3
3
8
2
1
0
1
4
4
3
9
3
1
0
2
4
4
3
10
2
1
0
1
2
2
3
11
2
1
0
1
3
4
3
12
2
1
0
1
2
3
3
13
2
1
0
1
1
2
3
14
2
0
2
0
2
2
2
15
2
0
1
1
2
3
1
16
2
0
1
1
1
2
1
17
2
0
1
1
0
1
1
18
2
0
1
1
0
4
1
19
2
0
0
2
1
3
0
20
2
0
0
2
1
5
0
Best Player: Frasier Campbell - Cardiff City
Best 21 and Under: James Ward-Prowse - Southampton

If you missed last week's offering check out the Barclays Premier League Week 1 Review.