EPL Week 3: A Look Back

VanPersieVidic (Reuters)  

By TRAVIS CLARK

Matchups between the vaunted can border on dull at times — two great teams yielding nothing, failing to find the net, and ending in a draw. But the meeting of Arsenal and Manchester United had none of that: a brilliant goal from Andrey Arshavin, a clever penalty won and scored by Wayne Rooney, and a "what were you thinking" own goal from Abou Diaby making up the difference. Throw in Wenger's dismissal at the end, and it was far from boring at Old Trafford.

For all the stir caused by Eduardo in mid-week, Arsenal fans are now whinging over Rooney's penalty. Replays from one angle show the striker heading to ground a moment before Almunia makes contact. History can't be rewritten, but that doesn't account for Diaby's gaffe — no one around him and he heads into his own net. Inexplicable.

The defending champs were lucky to come away with a win, having played rather poorly for much of the first half. They showed fight in the second, and good teams come away with results. Fortune was on their side.

Arsenal fans can take heart from the performance, and need to remember the title won't be won against the big four. It'll come down to how Wenger's kids play against a side that comes to the Emirates, bunkers down and plays for a draw. Turn those into wins, and silverware could be in sight in North London. But that's getting a little bit carried away.

The rest of the weekend's action is accounted for after the jump.


Chelsea 3, Burnley 0

Having already shocked Manchester United and Everton, new boys Burnley were out to prove to Chelsea that they aren't to be penciled in for automatic relegation. Sides that could be fighting relegation can't miss the chances that they did, and after spurring early chances, Chelsea's class took over. Once again, Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka proved to be too much, and it took some goalkeeping heroics from Brian Jensen to prevent this one from getting really ugly.

Aston Villa 2, Fulham 0

Both clubs entered this match with a built-in excuse, coming off Europa League second legs on Thursday. Fulham had to head to Perm, Russia to narrowly escape with a win. And while Roy Hodgson refuses to blame on it, his Fulham side failed to show up against Villa, and an early own goal was enough for three points.

Liverpool 3, Bolton 2

Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres to the rescue once again. It was another slow start for Liverpool, going down 2-1 to a Bolton side that was struggling for goals and wins on the season. While the Reds escaped with the win, serious defensive problems cropped up that nearly ensured a point for the Wanderers. Rafa Benitez has his work cut out for him — but shouldn't go overboard by implying that a result this early in the season puts the title out of reach.

Blackburn 0, West Ham 0

Not much to see here, other than Carlton Cole's wastefulness. The striker is really pushing for a spot in Fabio Capello's World Cup squad.

Manchester City 1, Portsmouth 0

There's good news and there's bad news for Manchester's Millionaire's. No goals conceded in three games. Even better are three wins from three, and three goals from Adebayor. But they haven't played anyone significant yet, and have yet to run anyone off the pitch. That being said, it's full points from them so far, and their next two are against Arsenal and Manchester United. Grinding out results from the beginning is a good start. We'll know more about them when those are played out.

Tottenham 2, Birmingham 1

How long can Spurs keep this up? After gaining two points from their first eight, this year has been their best since the 60's. The Juande Ramos disaster isn't even on their minds. The flying start continued at White Hart Lane, with desperate defending keeping Tottenham at bay in the first half. After trading early goals, a calamitous slip allowed a late winner from Aaron Lennon to win their fourth straight. Birmingham had a legitimate shout for a penalty turned down and could full slighted at not coming away with a point. Bad news for Spurs in this one is that they'll have to deal without Luka Modric, who suffered a broken leg early in the second half.

Everton 2, Wigan 1

It had all the makings for yet another disappointment result for Everton. Tim Howard's defense once again opened up for Wigan, and just as the fixture seemed destined for a draw, Brazilian striker Jo was hauled down in the box. Leighton Baines dispatched the penalty with ease, bringing a tremendous celebration and sense of relief from David Moyes.

Stoke 1, Sunderland 0

This just in — Stoke to crash the top four. While there's a better chance of Manchester City going bankrupt this season, the Potters are enjoying a Hull-esque start to their sophomore campaign in the Premier League. A victory over Sunderland has them in fifth place, and they'll have to hope that Dave Kitson netting that first goal will cue a scoring streak. Thomas Sorenson has been a stalwart in the nets, and if they can put in consistent form

Wolverhampton 1, Hull City 1

It's difficult to imagine these two sides finishing anywhere near the bottom come May. They both fought hard for a point on Sunday, and goals from Geovanni and Richard Stearman canceled each other out. Wolves will perhaps feel like they dropped points, as Hull's Michael Turner blocked Kevin Doyle to prevent a late winner for the home side.

——

What did you make of this weekend's EPL action? Think Tottenham or Man City can continue their hot starts? Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to EPL Week 3: A Look Back

  1. Jorge says:

    Ives,

    Let us be honest here. Diaby’s header was beautiful but wrong side, unfortunately. :-)

  2. NATO says:

    Torres and Gerrard should have kids. They would make an uber footballer.

    I’m hoping they lead The Reds to the title and the CL title. Crazier things have happened ;)

  3. K-ATL says:

    Aston Villa recover from week one debacle against lowly Wigan to beat Liverpool and Fulham. UP THE VILLA! It’s been an exciting start to the Prem. Man City look like the real deal. Will be very interested to see how they fare against the big 4 . . .

  4. gel65 says:

    if i didnt know better,i would say diaby was on the take!!

  5. IreneIsNotMyGod says:

    Daniel Agger is back from injury and training. He should be ready to start by October. Great news for the Reds.

    Villa is a pretty decent team but lacking depth, but luckily O’Neill picked up some quality players this off-season. But I can’t see them finishing higher than 7th.

  6. CT says:

    I thought the penalty kick award to Rooney was unjustified. He deliberately took a dive when contact occurred. Otherwise, it was a fair challenge by the keeper.

  7. CT says:

    I went back and watched the foul on You Tube. It was a 50-50 ball that Rooney reached a split second before the keeper. Rooney’s first touch blasted the ball beyond the endline, so he never had any realistic chance at possession. The keeper was sliding hands first and Rooney’s foot clipped the keeper’s outstretched hands. I’m not sure how other refs in the EPL would call that one but I’m pretty sure most, if not all, of MLS refs would have not called a foul/penalty.

  8. K Bone says:

    First off, you can’t say City looks like the real deal yet when they’ve played three poor teams, and have only scored 4 goals total. And it sounds like Shay Given has kept them in some of the games with some great saves. Anyway, only after they play Arsenal and United will we have a better idea if they are the “real deal”. Second, as a United fan, I do think the penalty was harsh, but Almunia should not have come out like that and made contact. Especially with the ball going out, there is no way he should have committed himself like that, and he put himself in that position for a penalty to be decided…

  9. Strider says:

    After Eduardo’s dive last week I can’t believe any of the Gunners are crying about this penalty. What goes around comes around. Man U!!

  10. Andy says:

    As a Man U supporter, I have to say that game was enjoyable. I actually wasn’t expecting a win so when my brother in law (a Liverpool supporter) said after the O.G. that Diaby was United’s best player, I couldn’t help but laugh.

    I love Wenger. He just cracks me up so much…and his shennanigans at the end were so classic! The crowd behind him seemed to be enjoying it as well! Glad that football is entertaining again haha!

  11. Almunia is to blame for Arsenal’s defeat. He should never have come. And the important thing: there was contact. So it was a penalty, no matter if The Roon was anticipating it.

    That got United back in a game that Arsenal were lording over: they were playing beautifully, even without Cesc. Still think they can take a lot of positives out of the game…all the Big4 will take points off each other. Arsenal will do better this year against The Blackburns/Boltons than in years past because they have a more robust midfield with Diaby, Song, Denilson adding a but more tackling/steel.

    On a separate note: Foster is absolutely crap. “Chocolate wrists,” as they say.

  12. Richie B says:

    Kinda b.s. that Rooney’s dive is clever but Eduardo’s is sinister.

  13. BCC says:

    United, Arsenal, and Liverpool have NO chance this year, and I say this as a Man U fan. The loss of Ronaldo has made MU into a very vulnerable team — they have no one to make something out of nothing when things look bleak. Scraping by in an early-season game means little.

    Can’t stand Chelski, but the title is theirs to lose.

  14. Jorge says:

    BCC,

    I too feel the same way. Chelsea looks mighty dangerous.

  15. Leonardo says:

    i’m watching more EPL action this season and i’m excited. i’m doing well in Fantasy too: top 10 in SBI league!

    for some reason i can’t come to like arsenal all that much. fabregas is a bit of a sissy – easily injured. but scoring 6 goals and not beating a top team or even tying? they’re hard pressed to argue that they are a dominant team. i think the Special1 has influenced me to not like them. FYI: i have no EPL favs, just root for USA players baby!

    Man City or Spurs? i say Man City. their depth is ridiculous. Adebayour Tevez Robinho. Barry Ireland. Lescott Toure. Wow.

  16. madmax says:

    If SAF can get 10 points from the officials like last year, United will challenge Chelsea.

    So far, 3 and counting.