Blog by: Anirudh
Stoke City 2 – 1 Crystal Palace
A pair of second-half goals four minutes apart helped Stoke to a come-from-behind victory over promoted Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The guests, who had given a good account of themselves in a 1-0 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, opened the scoring in the 31st minute when summer acquisition Marouane Chamakh took advantage of some uncharacteristically sloppy play from the Potters defense before slotting his first of the season past goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
But Stoke continued to force the issue (Palace didn’t earn a single corner at the Britannia) and restored level terms just shy of the hour-mark when Charlie Adam, having received the ball from Jonathan Walters following a Peter Crouch knock-down, beat Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni from in close.
Just four minutes later the hosts were in front. Ryan Shawcross scored the eventual winner after Chamakh, suddenly wearing the goat-horns, failed to clear the ball from the goalmouth, allowing the defender to score a rare goal.
Newcastle United 0 – 0 West Ham United
Newcastle have failed to find the back of the net in two matches to start the season. The fact that they also didn’t concede on Saturday will have come as some solace to manager Alan Pardew, whose side has yet to be strengthened following the bizarre appointment of Joe Kinnear as the club’s director of football.
In the 13th minute the Magpies quite nearly took the lead when Vurnon Anita’s misplaced through-ball to Papiss Cisse caused all sorts of problems for Hammers defender Winston Reid, who quite nearly deflected the ball into his own net.
Stewart Downing, recently acquired from Liverpool, came close to getting West Ham on the scoresheet following a good run in the 48th minute and attempting a shot that Tim Krul did well to save. On the stroke of the hour-mark, Kevin Nolan somehow failed to open the scoring when he missed a free header from in close.
But the best opportunity of the afternoon fell to Newcastle forward Yoan Gouffran, who somehow missed a wide-open net after Sammy Abeobi’s initial ball fell to him after hitting the post.
Aston Villa 0 – 1 Liverpool
Aston Villa put up a fight in their 2013-14 Premier League home opener but could just not find the back of the net against a Liverpool outfit that recorded its second 1-0 win in as many games.
Having beaten Arsenal on opening day and given Chelsea everything they could handle during the week, Villa again went toe to toe with a high-profile opponent but found themselves behind after a superbly worked Liverpool goal in the 21st minute.
Exquisitely controlling Jose Enrique’s pass from the left, Daniel Sturridge weaved his way between three Villa defenders before rounding goalkeeper Brad Guzan and stabbing the ball into goal with his left foot as he lost balance.
Three minutes later Steven Gerrard had a chance to double the guests’ advantage, but he couldn’t quite get himself onto Philippe Coutinho’s through-ball.
Villa’s best chance of the first half came in the 41st minute when Belgium striker Christian Benteke forced a superb save out of countryman Simon Mignolet. Midway through the second half, Benteke was left to rue another missed opportunity when his header from a corner went just wide of goal.
Fulham 1 – 3 Arsenal
A Lukas Podolski brace helped Arsenal to a much-needed win away to Fulham—their Premier League season having started with a dismal 3-1 defeat at home to Aston Villa.
It took just 14 minutes for the Gunners to get the first goal of the day, and it came from Olivier Giroud, who also found the back of the net against Fenerbahce in Wednesday’s Champions League playoff first leg in Istanbul.
Aaron Ramsey, who also starred against the Turkish giants, set up the play with the initial ball, but Giroud still had a lot to do to bring it under control before beating Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale for the opener.
Podolski’s first of the afternoon came shortly before the interval and was due in large part to Theo Walcott’s run into the area and shot that Stockdale could only parry onto the Germany international’s feet. The 28-year-old made no mistake as he slammed the ball into the back of the net.
Eight minutes after the hour-mark Podolski had his second—Giroud again doing ever so well to control the ball before laying it off to Santi Cazorla, who found Podolski on the left-hand side of the 18-yard box.
Fulham managed to pull one back in the 77th minute when new acquisition Darren Bent tapped the ball past Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny following Dimitar Berbatov’s ball across the face of goal.