Well one thing that cannot be said of the Premier League is that is does not disappoint. This weekend was again a spectacle to behold, however, this was from sources you wouldn’t have necessarily bet upon before the start of the day. The action was indeed what we were craving after last week’s goal bonanza, so it seemed, and so we were treated to a number of fine strikes.
Champions Manchester City had to battle to a 4-2 away win at Hull City after they let slip a two-goal lead. Frank Lampard again proving has hasn’t lost the knack of being in the right place at the right time as he scored his fourth goal in four appearances for City and indeed seal a first league win in four games for them.
Manchester United also recovered from the shock 5-3 collapse at Leicester City to record a much-needed 2-1 win over West Ham United at Old Trafford. Manager Louis van Gaal chose to give 19 year-old Paddy McNair his debut in the centre of defence alongside Marcos Rojo with another 19 year-old, Luke Shaw, also making his competitive debut at left-back.
After a quick start from United in which Wayne Rooney scored a sublime half-volley and Robin van Persie scored an angled finish, defensive frailties, in particular David De Gea’s feeble attempt at clearing a corner, led to Diafra Sakho heading in from close range to half the deficit eight minutes before half-time. Wayne Rooney was then sent off for a blatant kick-out at Stewart Downing when the midfielder was looking to capture United short at the back. In the captain’s absence, 19 year-old debutant McNair stepped up to the plate with a commanding defensive display that belied his years as well as a superb clearing defensive header from a cross that had looked certain to end up in the back of the net.
The two derbies of the weekend, however, failed to live up to expectation. The Merseyside derby never really sparked into life and only produced some moments when Steven Gerrard scored a 25-yard free-kick that curled beyond the reach of Tim Howard to put the Merseyside Reds 1-0 up with 25 minutes remaining. The scoreline stayed the same until the 90th minute when Phil Jagielka smashed in a 30-yard half volley into the top corner at the Kop end. It was a great end to a particularly disappointing derby.
The North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham was also relatively dull. While quality was short in both boxes, the two sides proceeded to cancel each other out in the middle of the park leading to a unspectacular 1-1 draw.
This award must got to the Everton captain after his stunning injury time equaliser away to Liverpool in the derby. If there was ever a strike and goal that belied a player, this was it. The shot certainly didn’t fit the profile of a 31 year-old centre-back with no history of being able to hit the ball with such ferocity. However, credit must be given where it’s due and fair play to Jagielka who buried the chance and earned his team a much-needed point after a rather indifferent start.
Another captain award, this time Wayne Rooney earns the villain award for his reckless challenge on Stewart Downing left his team having to battle for a 2-1 home win instead of comfortably seeing out the game and perhaps scoring more goals.
He left his team needed to scrape a win that should have turned into a comfortable afternoon; however, the referee Lee Mason wasn’t entirely blameless in the incident.
West Brom managed to secure a big win on Sunday afternoon with sizeable scoreline over newly promoted Burnley at the Hawthorns. They put on a very good team performance, not allowing Burnley any time or space and finishing with aplomb every time they got anywhere near the Burnley goal.
It was an amazing goal from Pelle to put his side back in front and ultimately seal the win. A graceful bicycle kick that sat up behind the striker and the technique required to hook the ball towards the goal with a power and accuracy required a player of suitable talent.
The Saturday derbies were…well, how can I put it, a bit rubbish. Not that we expect endless entertainment or anything! However, on a serious note, they failed to live up to expectations and they were not up to standard in terms of the football produced either. All-in-all it was a bit disappointing to see both of them fail to live up to the hope that they could be potential classics.
Categories: Premier League