Premier League Column: Robin scores in a convincing win against Arsenal
Robin van Persie showed Arsenal what they are missing. Not creativity, they have that in abundance, but a proven goal scorer. Arguably they have two in Lukas Podolski and Gervinho, but in recent weeks they haven’t been firing, and that’s because of poor performances and injury.
Van Persie made an instant impact, pouncing on Thomas Vermaelen’s slip to slam home the goal in just the third minute.
United then took control of the match, missing numerous chances, but luckily they weren’t made to rue those chances as the Gunners didn’t turn up. Manchester United missed the best chance in first half injury time, as Wayne Rooney dragged a penalty wide after Santi Cazorla hand-balled a shot.
United’s second goal came from left back and captain Patrice Evra, his second goal of the season. Wayne Rooney’s cross looped over the head of Arsenal centre back Per Mertesacker, and left Evra to head home to give the Red Devils a comfortable cushion.
Two minutes later, Arsenal were finished, as Jack Wilshere was shown red by referee Mike Dean for two yellow cards. However, Cazorla netted a mere consolation goal as he shimmied to his right to curl a shot into the top corner.
Fulham 2 Everton 2
A game packed with drama and plenty of goals! It was truly an end to end game. The visitors didn’t have the best of starts as they went 1-0 down inside the first seven minutes. The Everton ‘keeper failed to keep out a Brian Ruiz free-kick, as he could only tip it onto the post, where it inadvertently cannoned off his back and into the goal.
Everton didn’t get back into the game until ten minutes after the interval when Kevin Mirallas used the ball well to set up powerhouse Fellaini, who slotted home to give the travelling fans something to cheer about. Fellaini then put the Toffees in front, leaving three quarters of Craven Cottage with something to chew on.
However, Steve Sidwell had other ideas, and levelled in the last minute for Fulham. Everton had numerous chances to seal the three points, but couldn’t take advantage of some sloppy Fulham defending, leaving manager Martin Jol to say:
“Everton dominated us and all we could do was try to be positive. But it doesn’t mean anything in football if you don’t score the goals, we just never gave up.”
Norwich 1 Stoke 0
Bradley Johnson’s solitary strike was the only difference between the Canaries and the Potters, leaving manager Chris Hughton pleased.
He told Norwich’s official site:
“It’s satisfying. It was a real tough game, and irrespective of whether you play Stoke home or away, they are a team of quality.”
Stoke will no doubt be disappointed that they wasted numerous opportunities, most noticeably from Kenwyne Jones, who scuffed a chance early on in the second half.
Sunderland 0 Aston Villa 1
Sunderland have been dependent on main striker Steven Fletcher this season, but he couldn’t deliver the goods for the Black Cats, who currently sit one place ahead of the Villa in 16th, as it was the lower placed outfit that took home the three points.
The score was goalless at half-time, and it took until the 57th minute to seal the points. Gabriel Agbonlahor had previously gone an incredible 28 games without a Premier League goal, so of course, he scored to send the Villa faithful home in delight.
Aston Villa are the lowest scoring side this season, and that was another reason for more celebration. The hosts had a penalty decision turned down, perhaps wrongly, as Benteke looked to have handled John O’Shea’s glancing header.
Swansea 1 Chelsea 1
Chelsea were enjoying their impressive start to the season, but Michael Laudrup’s side halted the celebrations. However, Chelsea took the lead after the break. Victor Moses’ impressive performance in their 5-4 Capital One Cup victory against Manchester United merited a start for the Nigerian international.
He grabbed the opportunity with both hands, and put the Pensioners in front on 61 minutes with a header. I think Moses is a superb talent, and if given game time, which could be unlikely, with the depth of the Chelsea attack, he could be one of their main men.
Chelsea failed to see the game out, and with Oscar, Hazard and Torres all playing, you would have thought that they would pose much more of a threat. However, Swansea looked to have gained some confidence from their Capital One Cup victory against Liverpool at Anfield, and they eventually equalized two minutes from time.
Pablo Hernandez slotted past Chelsea custodian Petr Cech from the edge of the area to give the home side a share of the spoils.
Tottenham 0 Wigan 1
André Villas-Boas’ reign as Tottenham took a step backwards. Spurs were booed off at full time after their second successive defeat at White Hart Lane. The deadline was broken 10 minutes after the interval, as Brad Friedel could only get his hands to the ball when he was behind the line, seeing Ben Watson run away in jubilation.
Tottenham fans were left even further frustrated as AVB brought off Jermain Defoe, who is the club’s top scorer this season with five league goals, to bring on struggling forward Adebayor.
West Ham 0 Manchester City 0
Manchester City were held to a stalemate after a goalless game at Upton Park. The home side should have been in front as Kevin Nolan’s early strike was wrongly ruled out for offside. Man City had the best chances to take the three points back to Manchester, through Gareth Barry and former Hammers star-man Carlos Tevez.
However, the Hammers defence stood strong and earned a respectful point, one that boss Big Sam will no doubt be pleased with.
Queens Park Rangers 1 Reading 1
It was a battle at the bottom, and neither team has recorded a win yet, so a point doesn’t really do either team any justice. Reading took a deserved lead sixteen minutes in, with former QPR centre back Kaspars Gorkss netting on a half-volley, although the Rangers ‘keeper Julio César won’t want to look back at it again, as it was a shot that should never have troubled the Brazilian international.
QPR had to find some inspiration, and that came on 66 minutes, as Djibril Cissé scored his first goal since May to earn the Mark Hughes led side a draw.
Rangers threatened again, and Cissé could have bagged the three points, however the best chance fell to Adel Taarabt, who dribbled past numerous Reading players to shoot straight at impressive ‘keeper McCarthy’s legs.
Liverpool 1 Newcastle 1
Liverpool were forced to a draw at Anfield, and had to come from behind to do so. Newcastle dominated the majority of the match in truth, and went ahead two minutes before the break in spectacular fashion. Hatem Ben Arfa dribbled the ball to the by line, before pulling back a cross which found French midfielder Yohan Cabaye, who thumped the ball past Brad Jones.
It took a bit of individual genius for Liverpool to grab a point, after Luis Suarez controlled a long pass from Enrique to dribble round ‘keeper Tim Krul to leave himself with a tap-in on 67 minutes.
Newcastle centre back Fabricio Coloccini saw red seven minutes from time, which I feel was wrongly given.
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