Premier League Review – Gameweek 4

Newcastle 0 – 1 Arsenal

Arsenal continued their unconvincing start to the season in Saturday’s early kickoff. Newcastle new boy Aleksandar Mitrovic was sent off just 16 minutes into the game for a rash challenge on Francis Coquelin, who had already been on the receiving end of a number of tough tackles.

This effectively ended their chances of scoring, and they went through the whole match without working Petr Cech.

But Arsenal should have done better. It took a Fabricio Coloccini own goal to break the deadlock early in the second half, and they didn’t have many other good opportunities to score for the remainder of the match. Olivier Giroud was ineffective when he came off the bench, and Theo Walcott put the ball over when he should have scored, serving to highlight Arsenal’s need for a world class striker.

Aston Villa 2 – 2 Sunderland

Sunderland continued to improve on their dismal start to the season when they secured a point at Villa Park in a surprisingly entertaining match.

Yann M’Vila scored a superb free kick to put Sunderland ahead for the first time this season, but Scott Sinclair’s converted penalty 3 minutes later made their lead short lived. Sinclair added his second of the game shortly before half time to make it 5 goals in 2 matches for the winger. Jeremain Lens converted Ola Toivonen’s ball in after the break to level the match though.

Aston Villa were by far the better team on Saturday, and Carles Gil should have probably won a penalty and put them ahead, but instead was booked for diving. Their huge advantage in possession and attempts on goal illustrates the dominance they enjoyed, but they just couldn’t find another goal.

Bournemouth 1 – 1 Leicester

Leicester couldn’t get the better of a Bournemouth side high on confidence, and it took a late Jamie Vardy penalty to secure a point for the away side.

Callum Wilson made it 1-0 to the home side as he followed on from his hat trick last weekend. A well finished bicycle kick resulted in the goal. Jamie Vardy was sent tumbling in the box four minutes from time and stepped up to convert the penalty.

It was generally a well matched game, although Bournemouth will be worried by the three injuries they incurred in the match. Neither team seemed to be able to break the defence of the opposition down, and the measly 9 shots on goal in the entire match wasn’t what was expected after the thrillers last weekend.

Chelsea 1 – 2 Crystal Palace

Jose Mourinho’s 100th home league match in charge of Chelsea could have gone better for him. Crystal Palace performed admirably throughout the match, and few could argue that they deserved their win against a sub-par Chelsea side.

It took 65 minutes before Crystal Palace found the net to open the scoring, with Bakary Sako getting another crucial goal after his late winner last week. Radamel Falcao got his Chelsea tally up and running with his headed equaliser, but two minutes later the Eagles were back in front thanks to another header from Joel Ward. Yannick Bolasie then missed a sitter, but Palace held on to resign Jose Mourinho to only his second loss at Stamford Bridge.

It’s not getting any better for the Premier League champions. They are in desperate need of a defensive overhaul, and Everton’s stubborness regarding the transfer of John Stones means they are likely to have to wait until January. Pedro was the standout player for them, with Hazard failing to make an impact yet again. Crystal Palace, on the other hand, look like a really good side this season. They are good going forward and organised at the back, and seem to have a determined attitude as well.

Liverpool 0 – 3 West Ham

Liverpool somehow managed to concede three goals at home to West Ham after going the first three league games without conceding any. This was West Ham’s first win at Anfield in over 50 years, and it was well deserved after a shambolic defensive performance from Liverpool.

Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren were the culprits behind the first two goals, allowing Manuel Lanzini to get a goal and then set up Mark Noble for the Hammers’ second. Mark Noble was later sent off somewhat harshly after Phillipe Coutinho picked up a second yellow card in equally harsh circumstances. Diafra Sakho rounded off the victory in injury time, taking a deserved 3 points from a Liverpool team who only managed one shot on target.

West Ham continued their inconsistent start to the season, but the fact they managed to score three goals with almost all of their strikers injured is an impressive feat. Liverpool’s defence was much maligned last season, and despite their impressive performance in the opening weeks Brendan Rodgers will be concerned that that sort of performance lurks within them.

Manchester City 2 – 0 Watford

Watford put up a spirited display against the in form Premier League challengers, but it was only a matter of time before Manchester City opened the scoring and collected the three points.

Watford’s solid display in the first half may have mustered up a bit of hope of them continuing their unbeaten start to the season, but Manuel Pellegrini’s tactical change at half time soon dismantled the Watford defence. David Silva’s switch with Raheem Sterling was instantly rewarded as Sterling got himself off the mark for City 2 minutes after the break. Fernandinho added another under ten minutes later thanks to a David Silva pass.

Manchester City’s attack may have struggled to get past the Watford bus at first, but their defence was as concentrated and organised as ever as they stopped Watford having a single shot on target. With Chelsea and Manchester United losing, it’s looking really promising for Manchester City.

Stoke 0 – 1 West Brom

Stoke struggled to mount any serious threats on the West Brom goal as they played for over an hour with nine men.

Ibrahim Afellay was sent off for an impetuous slap on Craig Gardner, and was followed down the tunnel by Charlie Adam after he appeared to stamp on Craig Dawson. To be fair to Stoke, they did well to contain West Brom when they were two men down, but eventually new signing Saloman Rondon headed in to claim his first goal of his West Brom career.

Despite West Brom picking up their first win of the season after an impressive but fruitless performance against Chelsea, there is still cause for concern. They struggled to break through the Stoke midfield and defence, but will be happy that they secured the victory in the end.

Tottenham 0 – 0 Everton

A goalless draw continued Tottenham Hotspur’s disappointing start to the Premier League, and their need for a partner for Harry Kane is becoming increasingly apparent.

Harry Kane had the best chance of the game when he was sent through on goal against Tim Howard, but the Everton keeper was quick off his line and denied Spurs’ star striker. It was a relatively uneventful game, with the key talking point being Tom Cleverley’s seemingly serious injury after he tangled with Eric Dier saw him signal to the bench and get stretchered off with a suspected ligament injury.

Southampton 3 – 0 Norwich

Southampton finally got their Premier League campaign up and running by beating a disappointing Norwich at St Mary’s in Sunday’s lunchtime game.

Steven Whittacker was sent off in the first half for Norwich after picking up a quick succession of needless bookings. Graziano Pelle mounted the attack after this and converted a Sadio Mane pass to put the Saints 1-0 up on the stroke of half time. Mane got his second assist of the game 20 minutes after the break when Dusan Tadic hammered home. Tadic then notched another three minutes later to complete a comprehensive victory.

It’s always going to happen that newly promoted sides are on the wrong end of a thrashing, and I don’t think Norwich will be too concerned by this result. They played for most of the match with 10 men and Southampton looked good for the first time this season. This could do Southampton the world of good after boring and winless start to the campaign.

Swansea 2 – 1 Manchester United

Swansea ended Manchester United’s unbeaten start to the season when they came from a goal behind to expose the United defence for the first time this season.

Swansea were perhaps the better team in the opening 45 minutes, but the first half ended goalless. But Luke Shaw went on a run that was trademark of his time at Southampton before setting up Juan Mata to open the scoring. But those Swansea attackers reared their head yet again, with Andre Ayew and Bafetimbi Gomis scoring in five minutes to put the Swans 2-1 up.

Sergio Romero showed his vulnerabilities when he saw Gomis’ shot go straight through him, and the defensive ability of Daley Blind was called in to question when he failed to mark Ayew for Swansea’s opener.

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