Gameweek 6 means that each team has played six games, a possible total of 18 points. This can be considered the opening phase of the season, where losses are overlooked and wins are considered simply as wins and not as anything else. But two results this weekend could be highly defining as the title race, although too early to be determined, could make a difference with a tight finish being forecast.
Fulham versus Cardiff City wasn’t without its dose of drama as Fulham owner Shahid Khan listened closely to Cottagers’ fans clamoring for Martin Jol to be removed as his team suffered another late defeat. Steven Caulker put the visitors ahead by a Peter Whittingham corner unopposed as the home side suffered an injury blow to Scott Parker seven minutes into the game, who came off for Giorgos Karagounis.
Bryan Ruiz was able to pull back the game on level terms with a ball infield from Pajtim Kasami and sent it curling into the top corner, while David Marshall simply watched. But the Bluebirds would have been ahead soon with Jordan Mutch coming on for Kim Bo-Kyung and finding Frazier Campbell who fluffed the opportunity during the second half. It took a stoppage time goal to finally put the Prmeier League newcomers for the win when Mutch again got a long ball forward bouncing off Kieran Richardson and curled it into the top corner.
Hull City registered their second consecutive win as Robbie Brady, brought down in the box by a tame and unnecessary Joey O’Brien challenge, converted from the penalty spot sending Jussi Jaaskelainen the wrong way. Ahmed Elmohamady and Liam Rosenior were troubling the Hammers defence but weren’t able to get much shots in. West Ham’s lack of attack with Andy Carroll out because of injury became more glaring as Modibo Maiga and Mladen Petric were lacklustre and barely troubled the Scot goalkeeper, Allan McGregor.
The Saints’ fantastic league run continued as their club record signing from AS Roma, Pablo Osvaldo and England’s newest star, Rickie Lambert scored consecutively minutes after the second half began to give Southampton three points against Crystal Palace. The only notable mention of the first half was a Marouane Chamakh’s dive that deemed a yellow card for the Moroccan international.
The first goal, opening Osvaldo’s account at the club came because of a mistake by Eagles captain Mile Jedinak who lost the ball allowing the Italian international to juggle around Kagisho Dikgacoi and slot past Julian Speroni. The second goal was a landmark as Lambert curled in a perfect freekick courtesy of Dikgacoi’s foul on Osvaldo, bringing his goals tally to 200.
When the master and the apprentice meet after a gap, there can be no love lost. This is exactly what happened at White Hart Lane as the clash of the Portuguese ignited on and off the field with tensions at a high and refereeing decisions at the top of everything. Spurs got the breakthrough in the first half when promising midfielder Christian Eriksen pushed a ball to Roberto Soldado who nudged the ball onto Gylfi Sigurdsson’s path, beating Petr Cech.
The home fans promptly responded with a chant dedicated to Jose Mourinho, “You’re not Special Anymore”. It looked like Chelsea weren’t special when Andros Townsend found Soldado who was looking for Paulinho but ultimately the Serb, Branislav Ivanovic came to the rescue. Chelsea’s dismal play was too much for Mourinho who walked off before the half time whistle. With the second half came Juan Mata and a whole lot of drama.
Fernando Torres on target was denied by Jan Vertonghen but decided to show his disapproval by scratching the Belgian defender’s face which earned him a booking. The tempo of the game reached boiling point when Ivanovic and Vertonghen both were booked after the latter was involved in another spat with Torres and could have conceded a penalty when he brought down Ramires.
Instead it was a free kick where Mata sent in a curling ball to John Terry, who Vertonghen had lost and allowed to beat Hugo Lloris. Finally the game ended with Torres being sent off after apparent contact with Vertonghen again, replays not proving the decision. This only spurred the Spurs with Jermain Defoe and goalscorer Sigurdsson coming close. The fiery match ended with the apprentice acknowledging that he had finally beaten the master, despite their teams’ result.
The first significant result came when giant killers Aston Villa having begun the season beating Arsenal convincingly, again pulled off a stunning win beating Manchester City in remarkable fashion. City, buoyant with the win in the Manchester derby and an upcoming Champions League fixture looked to cruise past the home side when Yaya Toure and Edin Dzeko scored putting the visitors forward on either side of a Karim El Ahmadi goal in the second half.
But while the Citizens didn’t look as threatening as they had looked last weekend, they didn’t do much to trouble Brad Guzan or the rest of Paul Lambert’s men. Goal scoring began in quick succession in the second half as a Samir Nasri corner allowed the powerful Ivorian to tap his sixth of the season from eight yards out before the first half ended. Joe Hart’s despair upped as Villa equalised six minutes into the second half when Leandro Bacuna cleverly tapped in a ball for El Ahmadi to slot past Hart, replays suggesting he was offside but the goal staying nonetheless.
But City responded five minutes later when Nasri’s cross met Dzeko’s head to smash it in past Guzan. But while City controlled possession, they turned off their pace and allowed Andi Weimann to run rampant at their defence, forcing Matija Nastasic to concede a free kick which Bacuna obliged with a curling ball to equalise. Two minutes later when Guzan casually kicked the ball towards Weimann, the Austrian was able to control the ball and tuck it past the England goalkeeper who came forward to meet him. It was the first goalkeeper assist of the season.