Another great spectacle for us all to watch, savour and enjoy. I hope you enjoy this week’s premier league column, as it’s in a different style to the previous ones. I’d like to know your feedback, so feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the page!
Top three results of the weekend:
Arsenal 5 Tottenham 2
The North-London derby is a much anticipated tie when it reaches us, and it never fails to entertain. This season’s fixture was no different, with eight goals in the 125th meeting between the two rivals.
Tottenham took a deserved lead in the opening ten minutes. Spurs boss André Villas-Boas went against his beliefs, and he started with two up-front, with Jermain Defoe linking up with Emmanuel Adebayor.
It was those two who joined together to create Spurs’ first goal, as Defoe’s initial effort was parried by Gunners ‘keeper Wojciech Szczesny into the path of the on running Adebayor, who tapped into an open net to start the scoring against his former club.
Then, the game was turned on its head eight minutes later. Spurs went from domination, to defeat, and elation to despair. And Adebayor went from hero to zero, as he unfairly challenged Santi Cazorla, and left referee Howard Webb with no other option.
It didn’t take long for Arsenal to grab the game by the scruff of its neck and make the man advantage count, and on 24 minutes, Arsenal centre back Per Mertesacker jumped above all to wonderfully head in to level the scoring. From then on the Gunners never looked back.
Lukas Podolski put the Gunners ahead three minutes prior to the interval, with a shot that deflected off William Gallas and snuck in. On the stroke of half time, Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud doubled their lead with a well taken finish.
Tottenham made some changes come the second half and looked to push on, but it was too little too late for them. Arsenal’s fourth goal came from influential, midfielder Santi Cazorla on sixty minutes, when he converted Lukas Podolski’s cross to give the Gunners a cushion.
Gareth Bale then finished well to pull one back for Tottenham to make the score 4-2 with nineteen minutes left on the clock. I was wondering if they could mount a magnificent comeback, but it wasn’t to be.
Theo Walcott then showed why he should be considered for a more out-and-out forward role by netting from an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain set-up; his ninth goal of the season.
???Star man: Santi Cazorla (Midfielder, Arsenal)
Norwich 1 Manchester United 0
Manchester United again displayed their frailties as they visited Carrow Road for what was their third loss of the season. Sir Alex Ferguson opted to start in-form striker Javier Hernandez from the off, but even he couldn’t rescue at least a point for the Red Devils.
John Ruddy had a terrific game between the sticks for the Canaries, saving two shots from Ashley Young and Robin van Persie, to enable his side to stay in the game.
It was a goalless first half, with United perhaps shading the match, although Norwich took the lead on sixty minutes, with Anthony Pilkington scoring a wonderful header that looped over United ‘keeper Andres Lindergaard’s head and into the top right hand corner of the goal.
Norwich then took control of the match, and withstood some pressure, most notably from Ryan Giggs, Antonio Valencia and van Persie. It was a well-deserved victory, and will probably go down as one of the Canaries’ best ever results.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson congratulated Norwich on their win, “They deserved the win because they worked so hard for it. They defended really well and their goalkeeper made two or three really good saves at vital moments.”
Star man: John Ruddy (Goalkeeper, Norwich)
Manchester City 5 Aston Villa 0
Man City were ruthless against lowly Aston Villa when the Birmingham outfit visited the Etihad. There were glimpses last week that suggested Villa might have something about them after going two nil up against City’s bitter rivals, Manchester United. However, the Citizens gave them a good hiding, and were 5-0 up with fifteen minutes to spare.
City struggled in the first half, and Joe Hart had to keep out an early shot from Villa frontman Christian Benteke. It wasn’t until the stroke of half time when David Silva broke the deadlock, stabbing home after a scramble in the box, after Villa were presented with numerous opportunities to clear.
It wasn’t until the second half that the champions kicked into top gear. Sergio Ag?ero scored his fourth league goal for City after converting a penalty to the bottom right-hand corner of the goal. The penalty was awarded in controversial circumstances though, as replays suggest that it was a harsh decision to give the penalty for handball against Ciaran Clark.
Villa were then penalised again, this time Barry Bannan guilty of handball, and so Carlos Tevez felt up for the challenge and converted the resulting penalty, also striking to the right-hand side of the goal.
Sergio Ag?ero was then presented with another opportunity to make the score 4-0, this time he pounced on a shot from inside the six yard box to add further humiliation on Villa. The final goal of the game came from his Argentinean counter-part, as Tevez tapped in from close range to score his second of the game.
The win was thoroughly deserved, and it will be interesting to see if Aston Villa chooses to add to their squad in January. It could really make or break their season.
?Star man: Sergio Ag?ero (Striker, Manchester City)
The week’s underachievers- Queens Park Rangers
QPR were gifted a wonderful opportunity to get some belief running through the team, but they just couldn’t manage to perform against Southampton and subsequently lost 3-1. Mark Hughes has got a lot to sort out at QPR, and he needs time if he is to do so; however, I feel that the chairman Tony Fernandez is losing patience with him, but he really needs to appreciate the work at hand.
It’s time for the players to stand up and be counted. They have the individuals, but can they work as a collective unit? I’m not so sure. We will have to wait and see though, and it will be interesting to see what happens. I think they’ve got too much about them to go down.
Results in full:
Arsenal 5 – 2 Tottenham
Liverpool 3 – 0 Wigan
Manchester City 5 – 0 Aston Villa
Newcastle 1 – 2 Swansea
QPR 1 – 3 Southampton
Reading 2 – 1 Everton
West Brom 2 – 1 Chelsea
Norwich 1 – 0 Manchester United
Fulham 1 – 3 Sunderland
Team of the weekPublished 20 Nov 2012, 03:15 IST