REVIEW: Premier League Gameweek 11
Arsenal and Fulham gave Gameweek 11 an entertaining start playing at the Emirates. Oliver Giroud started it for Arsenal in the 11th minute, heading home a Walcott corner and then Podolski doubled Arsenal’s advantage in the 23rd minute. By half time however, Fulham pulled two back themselves with Kacaniklic scoring the first and Ruiz later assisting Berbatov to make it two-all. Fulham then went into the lead for the first time in the match, when Berbatov scored from the spot in the 67th minute. His goal however, was equalled only two minutes later by Giroud who could have gotten his hat-trick but was denied by a superb save from Mark Schwarzer late in the game. Schwarzer again proved to be the hero for Fulham, saving a stoppage time penalty from Mikel Arteta. The game finished 3-3.
Everton had to come from behind at Goodison Park to beat Sunderland, who led from an Adam Johnson goal. Everton scored twice in three minutes with their talisman Marouane Fellaini involved in both of them. Fellaini drew Everton level in the 76th minute, and then provided a cheeky flicked pass to Jelavic inside the box to make it 2-1. Everton dominated most of the match and came out deserved 2-1 winners. A little known fact is that Sunderland have not been able to defeat Everton in the Premier League for 11 years.
Reading and Norwich played out a lacklustre draw at Madejski Stadium, with neither goalkeeper troubled too much.
Southampton finally moved up from last spot, thanks to a 1-1 draw at the St. Mary’s stadium, with Morgan Schneiderlin getting his 2nd goal of the season for the Saints which was negated by a poached goal from Nathan Dyer, who took advantage of Maya Yoshida’s failure to control a pass from his goalkeeper with a clinical finish.
Charlie Adam’s 52nd minute strike from a set piece was enough to seal the victory for Stoke at the Britannia Stadium against QPR. Stoke, however, had plenty of chances against the weak QPR defense with Armand Traore the only QPR defender who came out with a solid display. Esteban Granero did come close to equalising, but his shot was tipped around the post by a brilliant save from Asmir Begovic.
Surprise top half team West Brom continued their superb form with a 2-1 win against lower half team Wigan thanks to an own goal from Gary Caldwell. All the three goals were scored in the first half. This was West Brom’s first away win of the season. West Brom captain Chris Brunt was a rock in midfield, and set up the winner for Morrison to give West Brom the victory.
In the last match of Saturday, Manchester United lived up to their tag of ‘The Comeback Team’ as they came from 2-0 behind to defeat Aston Villa 3-2. Aston Villa were the surprise leaders in the match for about 65 minutes, with Andreas Weimann scoring both goals in either half, until Javier Hernandez scored with a perfect run to meet Paul Scholes’ pass in the 58th minute, and an own goal from Vlaar made it two-all in the 63rd minute. Villa seemed nervous after the two-goal lead, and paid the price in the 87th minute, when Hernandez scored his 2nd of the match to give the visitors a 3-2 win.
Sunday was full of cracking fixtures, with Manchester City in action against Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle facing West Ham and Chelsea against long time rivals Liverpool. However, only the City game lived up to expectations, as the Champions came from behind against Spurs. The game was also full of debatable decisions from both teams against the referee’s calls. Spurs took the lead from a Huddlestone free kick in the first half with a fine header from Caulker. The second half of the match was more open, with Manchester City pushing harder to get a goal, and their efforts were rewarded when Aguero scored in the 65th minute after a subtle turn to beat his defender in the box and slotting coolly past Brad Friedel. Edin Dzeko, who came as a substitute was again on target for City, as he scored the winner in the 88th minute with a superb lofted pass from David Silva.
At St. James’ Park, Kevin Nolan scored against his former club to give West Ham a 1-0 win over Newcastle United. Demba Ba came closest to scoring for the home team, but his header produced a good save from Jaaskelainen. Newcastle could have been two or three goals down had Tim Krul not pulled off a couple of difficult saves from Nolan and former Newcastle man Andy Carroll. The win took West Ham to 6th position in the table.
In the last match of the day, Chelsea faced Liverpool at the Stamford Bridge, a game which was surprisingly lacklustre. John Terry scored on his return for the Blues in the first half with a brilliant header from a Juan Mata cross. This was JT’s first goal of the season and 50th goal for the club. Terry was later stretchered off the field after a collision with Luis Suarez, which did not seem to be intentional, to be fair to the Uruguayan. He will undergo an MRI scan on Monday to determine the extent of his injury. Former Liverpool man Fernando Torres was once again missing from the score-sheet after he missed a clear-cut chance to score from an Eden Hazard pass. Juan Mata too came close, but his shot went well above target.
This status quo was maintained in the match till the 73rd minute, when Luis Suarez continued his brilliant run to score a header from a Jamie Carragher attempt on goal from a Liverpool set-piece. He then ran to the corner flag to celebrate his goal, but surprisingly, did not find a team-mate to celebrate with. Both Jose Enrique and Eden Hazard then came close to snatching a winner, but Enrique’s shot was well saved by Cech and Hazard fired wide in the last few minutes.