Matchday 4: Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool held, Arsenal rampant and Spurs Slick

John Terry causing a stirThe brief interlude of an international break disrupted the fluidity of Chelsea’s attack on Saturday as QPR secured just their second point of the season in a 0-0 draw. Julio Cesar had a baptism of fire with his first Premier League appearance against a Chelsea side that have started the season in free scoring mode.
 The match’s build-up was dominated by the race row between Anton Ferdinand and John Terry and as expected, neither shook hands before the game. It was a feisty game with plenty of robust challenges and a couple of penalty shouts, but overall QPR deserved their hard fought point. You would expect them to slowly grow more prominent as the season wares on, with Esteban Granero and Julio Cesar, two potentially important players, getting to grips with the Premier League.
Chelsea have often struggled at Loftus Road, winning just two of 18 top flight games there. The race row, which emerged last season at QPR, promises to make encounters lively for some time yet. The result means that Chelsea sit just one point clear, with ten points, at the top of the table and QPR are nestled in the third relegation spot on two points.
Liverpool actually scoringLuis Suarez managed to rescue Liverpool’s second point of the season in a 1-1 draw with a stubborn Sunderland. Steven Fletcher scored his third goal in two games for Sunderland in the 29th minute when he converted a cross straight down the middle of the goal. Glen Johnson powered forward time and time again, causing a lot of problems for Sunderland all afternoon, but it was a Raheem Sterling Cross to Luis Suarez at 71 minutes which drew Liverpool level. Brendan Rodgers said afterwards:

  “The performance was outstanding, both our creativity and our movement, and there was a really good tempo and rhythm to our game. (bbc.co.uk)

The fact of the matter is that Liverpool need to be more ruthless in front of goal. They had 20 shots in the entire game and only nine were on target. Sunderland had just six shots and four on target, yet they scored the same amount of goals as Liverpool in the game.

Despite Sunderland’s excellent defensive displays and attacking threat, they have accrued only three points in four games. With Martin O’Neal at the helm though, the Black Cats should finish in a respectable position this season.

 
Owen for Stoke
In the day’s other draw, Manchester City battled 1-1 with Tony Pulis’ Stoke side, who are undergoing a slight transformation. With Steven N’Zonzi, Michael Kightly and Charlie Adam all starting as Michael Owen was on the bench, Stoke have more variety to their play now, meaning they are far more dangerous. City gave debuts to Scott Sinclair, Maicon and Javi Garcia with the latter scoring the equaliser, but they were out of sorts in the absence of Sergio Aguero. David Silva, who has just signed a new five year deal, though suffering a dip in form, was needed for more creative spark. Peter Crouch scored a controversial goal as he fumbled his way through the City defence, seemed to control the ball with his arm a few times, before slotting home.

City are now on eight points and have failed to keep a clean sheet so far this season. Stoke are now on a ten game streak of failing to win a Premier League game. They’ll have a tough trip against Chelsea next to avoid that increasing to eleven.

Gibbs and GervinhoLevel on points with City are Arsenal, who thumped a floundering Saints side 6-1. Two own goals, both from Kieran Gibbs crosses, A Lukas Podolski free kick, two strikes from Gervinho and a late strike from Theo Walcott leaves Southampton without a single point in their first four games.

Saints though, have scored in every game and it was down to a Wojciech Szczesny spill that let Danny Fox slam a consolation home. Talk of Arsenal as title contenders will either die down or boil over after their next two games; Manchester City and Chelsea away. Southampton have scored against teams who finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Premier League last season which should be an ounce of encouragement for the coming games.

 
Alexander Buttner's debut

Manchester United dispelled any hint that they would struggle without Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie when they trounced a woeful Wigan side 4-0. Alexander Buttner produced a dominating debut as he scored from a marauding run into the box and set up Hernandez for United’s second goal. The imperious Paul Scholes scored on his 700th appearance for United and Sir Alex Ferguson won on his 500th home league game in charge of United.

Wigan were dreadful at Old Trafford and have lost all seven league matches at United, conceding 24 goals, since promoted in 2006. The Latics back four continuously struggled to cope with Nani’s trickery, Welbeck’s runs, Scholes’ passing and Buttner’s weaving runs. If they don’t address their defensive problems soon, this may be their season to go down.

Results

Norwich 0 0 West Ham
Arsenal 6 1 Southampton
Aston Villa 2 0 Swansea
Fulham 3 0 West Brom
Man U 4 0 Wigan
QPR 0 0 Chelsea
Stoke 1 1 Man City
Sunderland 1 1 Liverpool
Reading 1 3 Tottenham
Everton – Newcastle (Kick-off Monday evening)
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About Joe Heywood

English Literature & Creative Writing graduate from Cornwall living in Bath.

One response to “Matchday 4: Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool held, Arsenal rampant and Spurs Slick”

  1. click to read more says :

    Good post. I will be experiencing a few of these issues as well..

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