It was a successful weekend for the Premiership’s top clubs, with each side in the Top 8 that was in action recording a victory.
The weekend’s action kicked off on Saturday afternoon in Liverpool where the Reds easily downed Cardiff City 3-1 behind a brace and an assist from the prolific Luis Suarez, while Cardiff could only muster a Jordan Mutch header as a second-half consolation goal. The game, itself never in much doubt, provided intrigue at the end though with Cardiff manager Malky Mackay wandering over to the away support in an apparent goodbye sentiment following rumors of his departure from the club, although today Cardiff have said that Mackay will retain his post for the foreseeable future.
The slate of late Saturday afternoon kickoffs was both long and deep with 6 matches taking place around the country. At Old Trafford, Manchester United continued their recent resurgence by seeing off West Ham 3-1 with Wayne Rooney collecting 2 assists on the day and Danny Welbeck amongst the scorers for the Red Devils. The Hammers were facing an uphill battle the entire way and having goalkeeper Adrián San Miguel del Castillo make his first ever start on the occasion definitely did not help matters, with their only goal being a late and rather irrelevant Carlton Cole effort.
The other Manchester outfit fared much the same as Saturday faded to twilight, with Man City skirting past Fulham 4-2 at Craven Cottage thanks to late goals from Jesus Navas and James Milner after Fulham came from 2-0 down to level the score. A quite hilarious Vincent Kompany own goal aided the Whites in their comeback effort, but City’s depth and overall skill was just too much for the home side in the end, as City climb to within 1 point of Liverpool at the top while Fulham still sit in the relegation zone.
Meanwhile on the opposite end of the skill spectrum, Sunderland and Norwich played out a drab and dull 0-0 draw at the Stadium of Light with the sides combining for a meager 9 shots on goal throughout the 90 minutes. The only real moments to mention from the match were Sunderland’s Wes Brown’s hitting of the post and his sending off in the 90th minute, marking the 5th sending off for Sunderland this campaign and the 2nd for the English defender.
Next we head to the Midlands for West Bromwich and Hull City with both sides desperate for any points to take them further away from the drop zone. It was the visiting Tigers who struck first though through Jake Livermore as it appeared that WBA’s home struggles would continue, but a late strike from Matěj Vydra claimed a point for the Baggies on the day as it finished all square at 1 at The Hawthorns.
Crystal Palace’s struggles continued as well on Saturday as the London side stumbled to a 3-0 home pasting at the hands of Newcastle United, who have now won 3 out of their last 5 matches and are sitting pretty on 6th place in the table. Goals from Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa did the job for the ‘Toon while a David Gabbidon own goal provided the cap on a dismal and wet day for the home side at Selhurst.
We conclude Saturday’s action in the Potteries and at the Brittania Stadium where Stoke City hosted Aston Villa in a bottom-half of the table clash. All 3 of the game’s goals came between the 50th and 70th minutes with Charlie Adam beginning the goal fest right on the 50th minute mark. It took 16 minutes for Villa to mount a response, but they did pull level through Libor Kozak. The joy for the visitors lasted only 4 minutes though as Peter Crouch won the day for Stoke on 70 minutes, lifting Mark Hughes’ men to a much needed victory while Paul Lambert’s side continues to disappoint after a promising campaign last year, with Christian Benteke only netting 4 goals so far this year and only 2 of them since the opening weekend.
Sunday’s action brought 2 more games to the Premier League’s slate, with the first being an afternoon showdown between Southampton and Tottenham at St. Mary’s. The goals came fast and furiously in this one with Adam Lallana briefly giving the Saints a lead on 13 minutes before Emmanuel Adebayor hit back for Spurs on 25 minutes to mark his first start this year with a goal and tie the match up heading into halftime. It was after the break when things began to crumble for the home side, with Jos Hooiveld recording an own goal to put Tottenham in front only 8 minutes into the second 45. Rickie Lambert got back to his goal poaching ways though and made it 2-2 right on the hour mark, but Adebayor claimed his second of the day 4 minutes later to put Spurs up 3-2 and ultimately win them their 1st BPL match since the dismissing of AVB while Southampton continue to struggle following a very promising start, as they drop to 9th in the table.
Lastly, Swansea City hosted Everton in the day’s ultimate match, which turned out to be a highly entertaining one despite its dismal start, with neither side producing much in the way of quality in a boring first half of play at the Liberty Stadium. The action spiced up in the second half dramatically though and Everton went ahead through a Seamus Coleman strike on 66 minutes, a goal of exquisite quality for the Irish defender. It took just 4 measly minutes for the Welsh side to answer though, courtesy of an own goal from Everton’s Bryan Oviedo (Fun Fact: The leading goalscorer for Swansea this season has been Own Goals, with 5 going the way of Swansea thus far). The match was settled later on though in the 84th minute by Ross Barkley, whose free kick dipped up and over the Swansea wall with enough pace to beat Swans ’keeper Gerhard Tremmel and claim all 3 points deservedly for the Toffees.