The Tyne-Wear derby never fails to entertain, and this tie was no different. Newcastle were the pace setters in the match, with Frenchman Yohan Cabaye scoring from fifteen yards out after only three minutes on the clock. The game was at a constant high tempo, with tackles flying everywhere, shirts being pulled, top class passing, and of course, a red card.
Toon midfielder Cheick Tioté was shown red, perhaps harshly, for a challenge where he looked to half pulled out of. However, referee Martin Atkinson deemed it malicious enough to send the power-house midfielder off. It didn’t ruin the game whatsoever, thankfully.
Newcastle centre back Fabricio Coloccini was absolutely superb, his heading, tackling and calmness on the ball was a great spectacle, and when he was forced off through injury, that’s when Newcastle fell to pieces.
The pressure was showing, and it took a rather unfortunate Demba Ba own goal to earn Sunderland a point they will no doubt be thankful for.
Swansea 2 Wigan 1
Micahel Laudrup’s Swansea earned a well needed three points at the Liberty Stadium, and all three goals took place within four minutes. The Swans took the lead through midfielder Pablo Hernandez’s well taken goal on 64 minutes, and then they doubled their lead through £2 million summer signing Michu two minutes later, his seventh of the season.
Wigan then pulled one back through Boyce on 69 minutes. Wigan were denied a second, as striker Kone headed in, for it to be wrongly ruled out for off-side.
West Brom 1 Manchester City 2
Another pulsating game to savour and enjoy. Unless you support West Brom, of course. The Baggies welcomed the champions to the Hawthorns on Saturday, and they were left pointless at the end of the ninety minutes when they thought they had done enough. James Milner was shown red for the Citizens after he brought down Shane Long on 24 minutes.
Apart from a piece of individual brilliance from controversial front man Mario Balotelli, where he perhaps should have scored, the score was goalless as referee Mark Clattenburg blew for half time. Shane Long tapped in a Peter Odemwingie through-ball, with shouts for off-side, although replays suggested it was a well-timed run from the Irishman, on 67 minutes.
Then, the game was turned on its head. Edin Džeko was brought on from the subs bench on 79 minutes. He levelled a minute later from a brave header. He wasn’t finished there. A superb save from apparently cocky ‘keeper (according to Roy Keane) Joe Hart kept out a Lukaku overhead kick which enabled the Citizens to break. Sergio Agϋero served Džeko with a perfectly weighted pass which he then converted past helpless Baggies ‘keeper Foster to seal the three points for Manchester City.
Džeko told BBC Sport after the game, “I don’t want to be called a super sub. I want to start.”
Tottenham 2 Chelsea 4
This game was more than just a London derby. Andre Villas-Boas faced his former employers Chelsea, and more importantly, his former assistant manager, Roberto Di Matteo. For one reason or another it just didn’t work for AVB at Stamford Bridge and, I was one of those doubters of whether he could perform at White Hart Lane. So it was time to see.
It wasn’t the best of starts for AVB, put it that way. England centre-half Gary Cahill thumped in a volley, albeit with a deflection, to send the Pensioners crazy! 1-0 was how it stood at the interval. Of all the possible scorers, Willam Gallas probably wouldn’t have sprung to mind, but he headed in to equalise. Seven minutes later, Defoe finished well to give Tottenham the lead. However, Juan Mata had other ideas of how the game should pan out. He was involved in all of Chelsea’s next three goals.
On 66 minutes, he drilled home to make the score level once more. Three minutes later, he netted again to put AVB back to route one. At this point there was no way back for Spurs. Juan Mata then set up Daniel Sturridge after England full back Kyle Walker dithered on the ball to seal the three points, and it was well deserved.
Norwich 1 Arsenal 0
Arsenal were dire to say the least. Every player in yellow outplayed those in red. Carrow Road was not expecting much, I feel, as Chris Hughton hasn’t had the best of start to his reign as Norwich boss.
Despite Arsenal’s 62% possession, they failed to penetrate with dangerous balls throughout the match, Olivier Giroud came the closest. Grant Holt opened the scoring when Gunners ‘keeper Vito Mannone parried Alexander Tettey’s shot into the path of the Englishman, who calmly tapped in from less than six yards.
Holt could have doubled their lead, but he thought about it for too long, and then lost his chance. The opportunity came after Thomas Vermaelen slipped, but Holt failed to capitalise.
Fulham 1 Aston Villa 0
I have a funny feeling that Paul Lambert’s managerial career at Villa could be over in a short while. It’s been a poor season for them, and they currently only have five points out of a possible twenty-four. Martin Jol’s Fulham left it late to seal the win though.
Baird netted to send the Cottagers fans home happy, and these are the sorts of games Fulham need to win if they are to meet their targets at the end of the season.
Liverpool 1 Reading 0
Liverpool recorded their first win at Anfield this season, and a win Brendan Rodgers will be thankful for, I’m sure. Liverpool were in utter control throughout the match, something that the score line shouldn’t suggest. Liverpool youngster and England hopeful Raheem Sterling scored his first ever senior goal, and a well taken goal it was too.
He will be a superb asset to the England set-up in years to come, but Liverpool boss Rodgers, and Roy Hodgson for that matter, need to be careful about when they play him. He shouldn’t have too much pressure piled onto him now at only seventeen years of age, otherwise he could flop.
I hope not, as in five or six years he could be the first name on the Three Lions’ team sheet.
Manchester United 4 Stoke 2
This was a strange game that summed up United’s season, unsteady. Wayne Rooney put Stoke in front with an own goal with only eleven minutes played. Welbeck, van Persie and Rooney scored (the latter twice to net his 200th club goal) to earn the three points for United. Rooney equalised on 26 minutes, van Persie a minute before half time, Welbeck then a minute after the interval with Rooney rounding the game off after 65 minutes after Michael Kightly ran through the United defence on 58 minutes to net.
West Ham 4 Southampton 1
West Ham were prolific against the Saints, although with their recent defensive form, it’s no surprise that the Hammers shipped in four goals. Ricky Lambert started on the bench, why, I am not entirely sure. It was a pretty non eventful first half, with chances restricted, so I’ll just write about the second half!
A minute after the interval, Mark Noble dispatched a free kick from 40 yards out, only for it to deceive all and bounce into the net to put the Hammers 1-0 up. Two minutes later, Kevin Nolan tapped in a cross from on-loan midfielder Yossi Benayoun to double their lead. Southampton tested the Hammers resolve when they Adam Lallana thumped into half the deficit.
Despite that setback, the Hammers carried on, and were rewarded as Saints centre back Fonde (who was in my last team of the week!) pulled down Andy Carroll needlessly to give away a penalty, which Mark Noble calmly slotted home as ‘keeper Boruc dived the wrong way. Maiga then rounded off with a curling shot which ended up in the top corner.
QPR 1 Everton 1
All in all, a poor game. QPR took the lead after only two minutes, as Junior Hoillet’s shot deflected off Leighton Baines to wrong foot goalkeeper Tim Howard. Everton then scored from a slice of fortune, as a shot hit the post and cannoned of the back of Juilo Cesar’s back to trickle into the net. Everton winger Steven Pienaar saw red for two mistimed tackles.
My team of the week
Written by Adam May
Follow him on Twitter @Adam132Football
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