Premier League Results: Analysis for Arsenal-Norwich and the Weekend's Matches
After the excitement, exultation and, for some, devastation of the recent international break, the Premier League returned on Saturday with some mouth-watering contests.
Newcastle United and Liverpool kicked off the weekend's action with a match at St James' Park that has traditionally produced goals and excitement. Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City were all in action later in the day.
Click on for all the details from every game; this article will be updated as the weekend goes on.
(Statistics via WhoScored, quotes from the BBC. GIFs are B/R's own unless stated.)
Manchester United 1-1 Southampton: Lovren and Lallana Combine for Late Equaliser
David Moyes' frustrating, somewhat inconsistent start to life as Manchester United manager continued on Saturday as he saw his side held to a 1-1 draw after a late goal from an impressive Southampton side.
The Saints have made their best-ever Premier League start with the point, which was earned after Dejan Lovren prodded an 86th-minute corner past David De Gea. However, replays suggested it may have actually been Adam Lallana who got the crucial final touch, as players from both teams scrambled in the goalmouth.
On the day that Adnan Januzaj signed a new five-year contract with United, it was Robin van Persie who got the opening goal of the game—the Dutchman defying pre-match injury concerns to bury a left-footed effort past Artur Boruc.
United had further chances to extend their advantage—Januzaj, starting once again, forced a brilliant save from Boruc with a long-range drive—but it was Southampton that pressed for an equaliser late on.
Osvaldo was guilty of wasting two good openings before the goal, with Lallana nearly stealing all three points in injury time as De Gea scrambled desperately to make the save.
"I want to congratulate my players, it was an amazing effort and they fully deserve the credit today," Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino told the BBC afterwards. "It's not easy to come to a ground like Manchester United's and get a positive result. But we prepared for the match thinking we could win."
On Target: 5-7
Arsenal 4-1 Norwich: Mesut Ozil Gets Brace as Gunners Continue to Set Pace
Arsenal remain top of the table after an emphatic 4-1 victory over dogged but outclassed Norwich City on Saturday, scoring a couple of breathtaking goals in the process.
Jack Wilshere, rounding off an exquisite one-touch team passing move, Mesut Ozil (twice) and substitute Aaron Ramsey all found the net for Arsene Wenger's side, with Jonny Howson's strike to make the scoreline 2-1 briefly raising the pressure around the Emirates Stadium.
Wilshere's finish was arguably the pick of the goals, the Englishman completing a sumptuous one-two with Olivier Giroud after earlier smart work from the returning Santi Cazorla.
Ozil then doubled the advantage for the hosts just before the hour mark, Giroud again the provider as he produced a pinpoint cross for the German to glance home.
Then came Howson's emphatic strike, but it would prove only a consolation as Ramsey—with a blistering finish—and Ozil once again completed the triumph.
"A few weeks ago we lost our first home game here and it was a difficult time but we responded well and since then we have been consistent," Arsene Wenger said afterwards.
"I like the solidarity in the team, of course we have quality, but it's how much we maintain that and sustain that, that will decide our future."
On Target: 11-6
West Ham 1-3 Manchester City: Sergio Aguero Ends City's Poor Recent Away Run
Two goals from Sergio Aguero and a clincher from David Silva ensured Manchester City picked up all three points against West Ham on Saturday evening, ending a poor recent run of away results in the league.
Manuel Pellegrini saw his side open the scoring in impressive fashion, Alvaro Negredo dummying Fernandinho’s measured through ball for Aguero to lash home after just 16 minutes.
The diminutive forward then made it 2-0 soon after, ghosting in unmarked to head home a free-kick at the near post.
West Ham, playing a striker-less system that worked so well against Tottenham before the international break, were looking outmatched and outclassed; but a flash of individual skill from Ricardo Vaz Te—perhaps their most attack-minded option—gave them a glimmer of hope just before the hour mark.
The Portuguese showed great flexibility to power home an overhead kick, one that left Joe Hart absolutely bemused.
City, however, would not be rattled—despite losing on recent trips to Cardiff and Aston Villa. Again it was Aguero at the heart of matters, as he ran into the box and laid off a perfect pass for Silva to accept and curl home the clincher.
Afterwards, Pellegrini was upbeat:
Winning the game was the most important thing for us. We played very well, and the best player for West Ham was their goalkeeper.
We played as well as we did against Aston Villa. Someone asked me if I needed to change the way we played away, and I do not think so.
Before we started the game, Chelsea and Arsenal won. We had to take the maximum. David Silva and Sergio Aguero are very important players. Seeing them playing that way is very important for the whole team.
On Target: 2-9
Crystal Palace 1-4 Fulham: Pajtim Kasami Wonder Goal Sparks Cottagers' Victory
Fulham came from a goal behind to record a 4-1 victory on Monday night, brushing aside a woeful Crystal Palace who remain one place off the foot of the Premier League table.
Martin Jol's team will be delighted at rising to 14th in the standings after their third win of the season, but most of the attention will be on two stonking goals scored by midfielders Pajtim Kasami and Steve Sidwell.
Both players hit stunning long-range strikes to turn the game around by half time after Adrian Mariappa had initially given the home side the lead.
Dimitar Berbatov and Philipe Senderos added further goals after turning home two corners to give Fulham a deserved big victory.
Boss Jol praised Kasami after the game:
It was unbelievably important to get a result. It was a game of importance for Palace too but we needed the three points.
The goal we conceded was sickening but we showed some response and a fantastic Pajtim Kasami goal with his wrong foot. I haven't seen him do that before!
It was better than people think because he had to control the ball on his chest and then put it in the other corner, it was a really good goal from a talented boy. Marco van Basten's goal was totally different and you can't compare the two but this one was better! He had to sprint 30 yards, take a touch and then score, it is one of the goals of the season.
On Target: 4-6
Chelsea 4-1 Cardiff: Cheeky Samuel Eto'o Inspires Home Fightback
Chelsea bounced back after conceding a sloppy opening goal to record a comfortable win over Cardiff, as Samuel Eto'o got his first league goal for the club.
The Cameroon international will be in the news for his part in the Blues' equaliser, however, as he stole the ball from Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall in somewhat dubious circumstances—getting the ball back to Eden Hazard, before the duo exchanged passes and the Belgian drove home.
That cancelled out a similarly odd opening goal, as David Luiz failed to properly get a backpass to Petr Cech, allowing Jordon Mutch to steal in and flick a shot over the stranded Czech.
After Hazard's equaliser it was all Chelsea, with Eto'o putting his side ahead in the second half and then Oscar and Hazard (again) getting in on the act. In between all that, Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands after pestering the fourth official once too often.
After the game, the decision to allow Chelsea's equaliser—seemingly ignoring FIFA rules on the matter—was rued by Cardiff. Malky Mackay said:
The referee is saying that, at the time, he heard from his linesman that he dropped the ball. He said immediately, if the goalkeeper bounces the ball, it's a foul on him.
He obviously bounces the ball and it's a huge mistake. A horrendous error.
They've got it wrong between them and it's cost us. We've gone in one-each at half-time instead of one-nil.
On Target: 7-3
Aston Villa 0-2 Tottenham: Roberto Soldado Scores Crucial Goal for AVB
Tottenham moved back up to fifth in the Premier League table—three points behind leaders Arsenal—with a hard-fought 2-0 victory against Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon.
Andros Townsend continued his rich vein of recent form as he opened the scoring with a first-half cross that evaded everybody as it crept in at the far post, before Roberto Soldado clinched the three points with 20 minutes remaining; clinically converted his first Premier League goal from open play.
The Spaniard’s chipped finish came at a crucial juncture, with Villa looking increasingly dangerous following the introduction of Christian Benteke, returning from a recent injury lay-off as a 60th minute substitute.
There was drama off the pitch too, with linesman David Bryan hit by a flare thrown from the Spurs supporters as they celebrated the game’s first goal.
"We’ve kept ourselves in touch with the top. I think it is the result we deserved," Villas-Boas told Sky Sports afterwards.
"We had to pull our act together [after the first 20 minutes]. The second half was really, really good and after 2-0 we could have scored more. The second goal is always important away from home."
On Target: 2-6
Newcastle 2-2 Liverpool: Daniel Sturridge Steals Late Equaliser for Reds
Daniel Sturridge scored a late equaliser, but 10-man Newcastle United nevertheless held for a point, in a game where Liverpool's Steven Gerrard scored his 100th Premier League goal.
Gerrard converted from the penalty spot after Suarez had been brought down in the penalty box—a foul for which the culprit, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, was shown a red card. The Reds skipper duly erased the deficit created by Yohan Cabaye's opener from range.
In the second half Newcastle went ahead again through the unlikely figure of Paul Dummett. The local lad looking surprised as anyone as the ball reached him in the box to be steered home.
Liverpool continued to press but it needed another good link-up from Sturridge and Luis Suarez, the latter crossing for the former to head home, to secure a point—with Toon goalkeeper Tim Krul ultimately ensuring it would not become all three.
On Target: 4-7
Swansea 4-0 Sunderland: Disastrous Start for Gus Poyet
Swansea welcomed new Sunderland manager Gus Poyet to the Premier League with an emphatic 4-0 win at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.
Goals from Jonathan de Guzman and Wilfried Bony, sandwiched on either side by own goals from Philip Bardsley and Steven Fletcher, ensured the Black Cats remain rooted to the bottom of the current Premier League table.
Afterwards, Poyet said:
It's difficult to take because there were things in the first half that we were able to do. We could not keep doing them in the second half and it is something we will look at.
We have been doing well in first half of games but then not in the second.
It is not a nice welcome to the Premier League but it is where we are and you have to take it.
On Target: 6-1
Other Results: Everton Beat Hull, Stoke Draw with West Brom
Everton 2-1 Hull City: Goals from Kevin Mirallas and Steven Pienaar—mere seconds after he came on as a substitute—saw Roberto Martinez's side win despite Yannick Sagbo's first Premier League goal.
Stoke 0-0 West Brom: A goalless match saw the home side (or perhaps both teams?) booed off at the conclusion.
Still to Come: The Rest of the Weekend's Fixtures
Crystal Palace vs. Fulham