After a slow and inconsistent start, the standout Premier League teams showed what they are made of this week, as the top six are beginning to form.
What was previewed as the ‘title decider’ definitely proved to be the most dramatic. A turbulent last few years for Fernando Torres will almost certainly follow him around now when it comes to judging performances, and Sunday’s late kick off certainly had it’s ups and downs for the Spaniard. After a first 30 minutes with the best chances falling to Chelsea, Fernando Torres mistakenly thought that he was offside, and a one-on-one with the Joe Hart led to a rushed and unbalanced shot on the volley – what can fairly be labelled as a “sitter”. However, not long after, the striker made a powerful run down the right hand side, brushing off Gael Clichy as he slid a bullet of a pass into the penalty area for Andre Schurrle to slot home, getting his first goal for the Blues. Sergio Aguero’s impressive performance for the Manchester side got them back in the game with a second half goal, and even though Man City had the better of the possession, it was the winner in injury time that sealed it. Chelsea had 12 chances compared to City’s 9, and managed to take 2 of these to secure the victory. A pressured and confusing mistake from Joe Hart and Nastasic lead to, man of the moment, Fernando Torres racing to force the ball over the line and take Chelsea up to 2nd in the table.
Even though it’s Halloween, David Moyes won’t have been expecting the scare he got at Old Trafford on Saturday against Stoke. After going behind twice in the first half, you wouldn’t be mistaken for hearing moans, groans and worries around the ground. However, late headers from strike duo Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez rescued the Champions, and spared the blushes for their new manager. Moyes did later claim that he’d take any win, but with the home side having 67% of the possession, and 223 final third passes, he would have thought it should have been a more convincing win.
Liverpool were trying to find some consistent form as they look to remain at the top end of the table. Although recently a bogey team for The Reds, Steve Clarke’s West Brom were pushed aside by Suarez and Sturridge yet again, as the Uruguayan netted a hattrick and Sturridge scored a stunner. The Baggies did manage to grab themselves a goal with a penalty, although with Suarez releasing a shot every 11 minutes, it was hard to keep the striker at bay, and the final score was 4-1 at Anfield.
Andre Villas Boas made his feelings clear about the home fans at White Hart Lane after Spurs converted a late penalty to grab the three points against Hull. The Tottenham manager said that they had “almost no support” as they played in a “difficult atmosphere” on Sunday afternoon. However, it was a frustrating afternoon for them, as Spurs conceded 13 fouls, with their only clear chance being the penalty. A brave point to make after stats like this, but AVB wanted to make it clear that he knows the Spurs fans can do better to inspire the team on days like this.
League leaders Arsenal were in action against managerless Crystal Palace as they looked to keep their place at the top of the Premier League table. A controversial decision to send off Mikel Arteta was the main talking point of the game, although the final 0-2 scoreline to The Gunners wasn’t as comfortable as it sounds. Palace had the same amount of chances as the away side (9) and hit the woodwork once, being close on a number of occasions but lacking that final touch. Arsenal on the other hand, had to thank the ever responsible Giroud for sealing the game 2-0 with a goal late on, which keeps them top of the table for their showdown with Liverpool next weekend.
Another late winner was enough to give Sunderland their first win of the season, as they beat Newcastle 2-1 in the North-East derby. Although Newcastle had an astounding 14 chances, 12 being on target, they could only convert 1, and Fabio Borini, the striker on loan from Liverpool took advantage. The Italian kept his composure as he smashed in a last-gasp winner from outside the penalty area in the 84th minute. Statistically, the star man defensively for Sunderland was Carlos Cuellar, making 9 clearances, all of which were successful. And although there were a few nervous moments at the back with John O’Shea in the last few moments, Sunderland’s desire was enough to hold on for the three points. The result lifts them from the bottom of the table, and the added incentive of beating their bitter rivals will fill new manager Gus Poyet with pride in his first home game.
Next weekend is a clash of the top two as Liverpool take a trip to The Emirates. Who will show the determination in a battle to claim the top spot?