Blog by: GB Vish
Six fixtures kicked off across England yesterday, with Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton all in action across Blighty. Here is how they and the rest of the 12 teams fared.
Norwich City 0-1 Aston Villa
Aston Villa produced one of the day’s upsets when they beat the Canaries 1-0 at Carrow Road, a stadium where Chris Hughton’s men have always had the home advantage, but a combination of poor finishing and ill luck meant Paul Lambert’s Villa will go back to Birmingham with three points.
Libor Kozak’s nascent Premier League campaign got off to a dream start when he scored less than two minutes after coming off the bench to replace the injured Christian Benteke.
He fired straight at John Ruddy, who could only parry it out to Gabriel Agbonlahor. The Englishman unselfishly cut the ball back to his Czech team mate and the former Serie A striker made no mistake when presented with the opportunity.
That goal came after Robert Snodgrass had seen his penalty saved by United States international Bradley Guzan at the other end.
Liverpool 0-1 Southampton
In a game which saw Luis Suarez return to the Liverpool fold, many expected the talented Uruguayan to play some part, especially after midfielder Philippe Coutinho was ruled out because of a shoulder injury sustained previously.
In the absence of the talented Brazil international and with no natural fullbacks in the home lineup, Liverpool struggled to create chances. Southampton, however, made the few chances they created count.
In the 53rd minute, a left-wing corner found Dejan Lovren in the box and the Croatia centre-back headed past Daniel Agger to plant home a header that Steven Gerrard could only put into his own net.
Liverpool were indebted to Simon Mignolet for keeping the score at 1-0. Steven Davis did well to bypass two Red players and the Belgium international excellently parried his effort before following that up with two astute saves to deny the Scottish midfielder.
Chelsea 2-0 Fulham
Oscar 52’, Mikel 84’
Juan Mata did not make the match day squad for yesterday’s game and with Frank Lampard on the bench, it was Oscar who was handed the play maker’s role in the middle of the park. The hosts however struggled to break down a resolute Fulham side, who threatened early on via Steven Sidwell’s header that ballooned over the bar.
Fulham could have taken the lead when Pajtim Kasami’s delicious through ball found Darren Bent, but the man who has scored thrice in his last three games against Chelsea could only shoot straight at Petr Cech.
A rejuvenated Chelsea came out of the tunnel for the second half and seven minutes after the restart, they took the lead. It came via Oscar, Jose Mourinho’s chosen play maker when Andre Schurrle roared past Sascha Riether and his goalbound effort was parried by David Stockdale and found Samuel Eto’o. The Cameroonian flicked straight at Stockdale and fell to Oscar, who plundered the game’s opener.
The second goal came from a somewhat surprising source. John Obi Mikel has played more than 180 games for Chelsea and had never managed to score until last night, when John Terry’s header found the Nigerian, who fashioned an excellent goal with a volley that would have made a striker proud as Chelsea climb to the top of the league table.
Newcastle United 2-3 Hull City
Remy 10’ and 44’; Brady 26’, El Mohamady 48’, Aluko 76’
The first of two five-goal thrillers on Saturday, Hull piled on more misery on a Newcastle side that have really struggled to get going this season.
New loan signing Loic Remy opened the scoring ten minutes into the game with Papiss Cisse’s knockdown from Moussa Sissoko’s cross being glanced home by the France international.
But in the 26th minute, Robbie Brady fired a low drive past Tim Krul to restore parity.
A minute before half time, Yohan Cabaye saw his effort blocked by the Hull rearguard. Remy showed his predatory instincts as he pounced on the loose ball to put the Magpies 2-1 up at the break.
After break, Hull scored two. Egyptian midfielder Ahmed El Mohamady headed Brady’s inswinging corner off the upright and Sone Aluko crashed home a volley after excellent work from George Boyd to give the Tigers a memorable win.
West Ham 2-3 Everton
Morrison 10’, Noble 76’pen; Baines 62’ and 83’, Lukaku 85’
West Ham United have had one of the lowest shots on target to shots attempted ratios in the Premier League and that was clear against Everton.
They did, however, take the lead through former Manchester United midfielder Ravel Morrison with his shot taking a sizeable deflection en route to beating Tim Howard. They would maintain that lead until the 62nd minute, when Leighton Baines curled home a gorgeous free kick to draw Roberto Martinez’s team level.
Mark Noble scored from the spot in the 76th minute, only to emphasise Sam Allardyce’s team’s inability to score from open play but that status would only last seven minutes. Baines converted another delicious free kick to draw the Toffees level and two minutes later, Romelu Lukaku scored a goal on his debut to plant home a powerful header and give the visitors three valuable points.
West Bromwich Albion 3-0 Sunderland
Sessegnon 20’, Ridgewell 76’, Amalfitano 90’+3
Stephane Sessegnon returned to haunt Paolo di Canio’s team after he was deemed surplus to requirements at the Stadium of Light and just hours after getting a work permit, opened the scoring for his new team when he snaffled home Nicolas Anelka’s rebound after Kieran Westwood had saved the Frenchman’s effort.
The score stayed that way until deep into the second half, during which time Craig Gardner saw himself denied and Jozy Altidore had a shout for handball.
Morgan Amalfitano then found Liam Ridgewell in the 76th minute and the centre-back thumped home a goal to make it 2-0 to the hosts. Three minutes into stoppage time, the on-loan Marseille midfielder got himself on the score sheet when he blasted his drive into the top corner.
What stood out most from this game though was Di Canio’s reaction to the Sunderland fans who had travelled for this game. Making a ‘chin up’ sign to ask his supporters to take this defeat in their stride, it was met with derisory gestures from the travelling support.