Results and Highlights from the Second Weekend of Premier League Matches
The second week of the English Premier League saw the first Robin Van Persie goal for Manchester United and it was a spectacular one, while his old club Arsenal have failed to bag a Premier League goal since his departure.
Van Persie was included in the starting line up for United in their home fixture against Fulham, who were fresh off of their 5-0 victory over Norwich. Things started at a hectic pace with Damien Duff scoring for Fulham in the third minute from Bryan Ruiz‘s clever free-kick. But Van Persie put the hosts back on level pegging only 7 minutes later with a spectacular strike of Patrice Evra’s cross. Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa, who was also signed this summer, extended United’s lead putting away the rebound after Mark Schwarzer saved Tom Cleverley‘s shot in the 35th minute. But United were not finished and there was a frantic 10 minutes before the break where Kagawa hit the post and Rafael had a goal disallowed for offside before the he headed in Ashley Young‘s centre.
In the second half United eased the pace and came a cropper when Matthew Briggs crossed from the left and Nemanja Vidic back-heeled into his own goal. Wayne Rooney was introduced after 68 minutes but was stretchered off after he was caught in the thigh by Hugo Rodallega which opened up a large gash. It looks like Van Persie could be the lone striker for several weeks now.
In contrast there were no goals in Arsenal‘s clash with Stoke. Arsenal dominated most of the play but were unable to put away any of the chances they created through the crowded Stoke defence. This is just the sort of game where Van Persie would have stolen one or two for the Gunners at the end of last season. Podolski, Cazorla and Kieran Gibbs all had good games. But Arsene Wenger pulled off surprise substitutions, replacing Podolski and Cazorla when it would have been more logical to most observers that Diaby and Giroud would have been dragged. Giroud had a spectacular long range shot go just over the bar and missed an attempted scissor kick from inside the box, when he had time to control the ball before striking. The main positive for Arsenal from this game was that the defence is looking more solid than it has for some time and it may not be too premature to say that, newly appointed Assitant Manager, Steve Bould is having a positive influence after only two games. But most Arsenal fans are still wondering “Where will the goals come from?”
The Liverpool Manchester City clash was a lively one with Martin Skrtel scoring with a stunning header from a Steven Gerrard corner in the 34th minute. On the hour, with City still 1-0 down, Roberto Mancini shuffled the pack replacing last weeks man of the match Samir Nasri with Jack Rodwell and Mario Ballotelli with Edin Dzeko. This had the effect of releasing Ya Ya Toure further forward and he obliged with City’s equalizer, only 3 minutes after the change. But Liverpool took the lead again only 3 minutes later when Rodwell was harshly penalized for handball that he could not avoid and Luis Suarez put a 25 yard curling free kick out of Joe Hart’s reach in the bottom corner. But come back kings City did it again with a lot of help from Martin Skrtel. The first half hero turned villain in the 80th minute when he attempted to pass back to his keeper, not realising that Carlos Tevez was in easy reach. Tevez collected the ball and went around the keeper to secure a draw for the reigning champions.
Poor defending was in even more evidence from West Ham in their match at Swansea. West Ham keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen let a straight forward drive across the face of goal go under his body for Swansea to go in front in the 20th minute. As if that wasn’t bad enough James Collins gifted Swansea their second with a terrible short back pass which let in Michu to score. Swansea’s third goal was more of their own making; a fine move saw Danny Graham scoring from close range from Wayne Routledge‘s low cross. Swansea now sit second on the table with 8 goals from their two games.
Everton maintained their 100% record with a 3-1 win at Aston Villa and Chelsea stayed top having played three games and beating Newcastle 2-0 at home. Last weeks 5-0 losers Norwich and QPR faced each other and honours were shared one all. Tottenham were held to 1-1 draw too, at home to West Brom. Bring back ‘arry. Another of Mr Rednapp’s old clubs, Southampton, went down 2-0 to Wigan at home.
There are no mid-week fixtures this week and normal service is resumed next Saturday.