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The Sky Six and Newcastle aren't bunched together after two weeks of play. Everton look like a contender for Europe, while Michael Laudrup has Swansea playing gorgeous football.
Liverpool and Manchester City fought it out to a bizarre 2-2 draw at Anfield -- a better wordsmith might refer to this one as 'riveting' -- with the hosts twice taking the lead before gifting the defending champions a pair of equalisers.
The match opened in fairly quiet fashion. Lucas Leiva departed early with what's understood to be a mild injury, but Jonjo Shelvey ensured that the champions didn't take advantage of the midfielder's absence, combining well with Joe Allen to keep City largely at bay.
It took twenty minutes or so for the first chance to appear, and it came from the hosts. Specifically, it came via Radeem Stirling, who sent in an absolutely beautiful cross to the near post for Fabio Borini. However, the Italian striker wasn't able to convert it, sending his effort just wide under heavy pressure from Aleksandar Kolarov. Joe Hart was relieved.
Carlos Tevez nearly made Liverpool pay for Borini's wastefulness, turning something into nothing with an absurd strike from Pepe Reina's goalline which beat both goalkeeper and Martin Kelly before his shot rolled along the line and bounced off the far post to safety. Had that gone in... well, those shots don't go in. This was just a blurrier definition of 'don't' than usual.
Tevez terror aside, the hosts looked like the better side, and they grabbed a deserved lead before the break. Martin Skrtel was the scorer, smashing home a delight of a header from a corner, with Hart completely helpless. It took City until December to be beaten last season, but they were looking at a 1-0 deficit at halftime.
And then, for the champions, a gift! Yaya Toure had been pushed higher up the field in search of an equaliser, and the big Ivorian managed to grab it just after the hour mark, mostly thanks to Reina. The 29-year-old came out for a cross, totally missed it, and presented Toure with an easy finish, which he did.
That scoreline lasted all of two minutes. Jack Rodwell was penalised rather harshly for handball 25 yards from goal. Hart set up his wall while Luis Suarez -- who'd badly mishit the ball list time he'd had a sniff on goal -- surveyed the scene. A weakness was spotted, the ball was struck, sent curling around the line of blue shirts and straight into the bottom corner.
It was an absolute peach of a free kick, and it was well worthy of winning the game. Unfortunately for Suarez, it wouldn't. Skrtel had scored the opener, but he undid his great work with an absolutely stunning error, passing back for Reina without even checking to see whether there was anyone in the way. It turned out that there was, and Tevez was almost trembling with glee as he latched onto the backpass, juked past Reina, and slotted into the open goal.
Both teams smelled victory, and that set the stage for a frenetic finish. But ultimately, neither could get the fifth goal of the match, and the spoils were shared. Liverpool get their first points of the young season, while the champions drop them. Not the worst result for either, all things considered.
Good news and bad news for Liverpool as they take on defending champions Manchester City at Anfield. The good news is that they're winning 1-0, and it's been deserved. The bad news is that their best player is injured. Again.
Lucas Leiva managed just two minutes on the pitch before picking up what looked like a hamstring twinge. The midfielder tried to play on, hopping about in obvious discomfort, but playing through minor injuries is a good way to make them into major ones, and Brendan Rodgers was having none of it, pulling him off for Jonjo Shelvey.
Elsewhere it's been a fascinating and happily competitive match. Liverpool debutante Raheem Stirling, just 17, looks like he'll be a treat on the wing -- he's already set up a great chance for Fabio Borini, who fired wide from close range under heavy pressure from Aleksandar Kolarov.
At the other end of the pitch, Carlos Tevez came absurdly close to scoring one of the all-time great Premier League goals, squeezing past Pepe Reina well outside the six yard box and hitting the far post with a shot that essentially started from the goalline.
But it was the hosts who struck first, winning a corner after Vincent Kompany's left knee deflected a Steven Gerrard diagonal over the bar. Martin Skrtel made it count, beating Pablo Zabaleta and Kolarov in the air to power a header into the back of the net to make it 1-0 Liverpool.
And that's how the first half ended. City have had most of the possession, but Liverpool have looked dangerous on the counterattack and have created more genuine chances. Deserved lead for the hosts, but we'll see if they can keep it up.
Stoke City and Arsenal played out a dull match with few chances at either end.
Manchester City choose Mario Balotelli to replace Sergio Aguero, with Edin Dzeko and David Silva both on the bench. Liverpool, meanwhile, hand a start to youngster Raheem Sterlin.
It's 0-0 at half time at the Britannia Stadium, where Arsenal have had the better of the game but haven't looked like scoring.
Lukas Podolski, Santiago Cazorla, and Olivier Giroud all start for Arsenal as they take on Stoke.
Newcastle United had no answer for Fernando Torres and Eden Hazard on Saturday night, as Chelsea coasted to a comfortable 2-0 victory over the Magpies, the inverse of the result Newcastle dropped on Chelsea last season at Stamford Bridge.
While Torres still hasn't put together a complete performance in a Chelsea shirt, his flashes of brilliance, combined with the excellent play of Hazard, were enough to undo Newcastle's defense. He drew a penalty on Vurnon Anita in the 20th minute, which Hazard buried. The contact Anita made with Torres was minimal, but he could hardly complain at the call, given that he stuck his leg out when he had little chance to win the ball. In first half stoppage time, Hazard set up Torres for an impressive toe-poke finish to make it 2-0.
Chelsea's defense held Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse in check all day, while the midfield pairing of Raul Meireles and John Obi Mikel did an excellent job of cutting off supply to them. Petr Cech was forced into one good save late in the second half on a shot by Ba, but the Newcastle forwards were ineffective for the most part. The Magpies were expected to challenge Chelsea, and they did nothing of the sort.
Chelsea continue to build off the momentum of the two-trophy conclusion to last season, and they're looking excellent against Newcastle United. They're playing so well that Fernando Torres is being made to look good. He drew a penalty and scored his second goal of the year, guiding Chelsea to a 2-0 halftime lead over Newcastle United.
The penalty was a bit soft, but it's tough to blame the referee for giving it. Vurnon Anita gave him a great excuse to point to the spot in the 21st minute, when he took a swing at Torres' legs in the box. He made minimal contact and Torres embellished, but he had no business taking a swing in the first place. Eden Hazard stepped up and converted.
Torres did not play very well for most of the first half and he regularly gave the ball away or stalled attacks by refusing to take on a defender, but he atoned for his errors with a stoppage time goal. Hazard set him up with a pretty back heel, and Torres finished with a nifty toe-poke from just inside the penalty area.
How did Queens Park Rangers recover from a 5-0 thumping at the hands of Swansea last weekend? How about Norwich, who were demolished by Fulham? By battling it out to a 1-1 draw at Carrow Road, of course.
The Canaries were the better side more or less throughout and got off to a great start when Simeon Jackson converted Anthony Pilkington's cross in the 11th minute. But they were undone by a rather odd penalty call, given by Mark Clattenburg after a Sebastian Bassong tackle on Djibril Cisse. John Ruddy saved the initial spot kick, but Bobby Zamora slotted home the rebound to level the score.
Despite Norwich then dominating the rest of the match, that would do it for the scoring. The hosts did manage to hit the crossbar late in the second half as they pushed for the three points, Russel Martin's effort coming off the woodwork in the 83rd minute, but ultimately they were forced to settle for a draw. It's far better than either side managed in the opening weekend, so baby steps.
No Victor Moses? No problem. Wigan Athletic have bounced back from their opening-day defeat by Chelsea -- and the subsequent poaching of their best player by... Chelsea -- with a 2-0 win at newly-promoted Southampton. With both teams expected to be in the thick of the relegation battle, this was as close to a six-pointer as we're going going to get in August.
The hosts dominated the first half, but couldn't make their superiority count against Ali Al-Habsi in the Wigan net. And they were made to pay for it shortly after the break. Shaun Maloney slipped in Franco di Santo with a neat little pass in the box and the Argentinian striker lashed home, nearly taking Kelvin Davis' head off in the process. And the visitors were able to kill the match off as the clock wound down, springing new signing Arouna Kone clear down the left channel. The former Malaga man made no mistake, firing into the bottom corner to secure an important three points.
After an impressive display against Manchester City in the opening match, the Saints will be disappointed to have dropped points at home, especially against the likes of Wigan. They've now lost two on the trot, one of three Premier League teams not to have recorded a point yet this season.
Chelsea again make some adjustments after their hard fought and controversial mid-week win over Reading. Ryan Bertrand and Davis Luiz return to the lineup, while assist machine Eden Hazard gets his third straight start, Fernando Torres again the lone striker at the top of Roberto Di Matteo's formation. The biggest surprise is Frank Lampard on the bench, with , Raul Merieles starting in his place.
Alan Pardew has made two changes to his starting lineup from last week's win. Fabricio Coloccini makes his first appearance of the season after shaking off a nagging injury that kept him out of the Spurs match. Vurnon Anita also gets his first start, replacing Ismael Tiote in the midfield.
This should be a good one.
Manchester United have captured their first win of the season, but they needed a big save from David de Gea to do it, and they might have lost one of their best players to injury in the process. The Red Devils held on for a 3-2 win over Fulham at Old Trafford on Saturday, but Wayne Rooney took studs to the knee in stoppage time and suffered a nasty gash. Time will tell if he simply needs stitches or if his injury is much worse.
Damien Duff kicked off the scoring in an exciting match, turning in a Bryan Ruiz free kick in the 3rd minute. It didn't take long for Robin van Persie, in the lineup for Rooney, to respond. He netted his first goal as a United player in the 10th minute with a fantastic first-time strike, equalizing for the Red Devils.
The rest of the first half was dominated by Manchester United, and they carried a 3-1 lead into halftime. Their second goal was scored by Shinji Kagawa, who scored a tap-in after Mark Schwarzer blocked a shot in the 35th minute. In the 41st minute, Rafael da Silva headed in a lofted cross by Ashley Young.
Fulham were much better in the second half, but they needed a gift from United to get back into the match. Nemanja Vidic made things interesting in the 64th minute when he turned in a terrible own goal. Alex Ferguson decided to play some risky tactics and attempt to hold onto his one-goal lead, a decision that eventually paid off.
Rooney came on as a substitute in the 68th minute and suffered his injury right as stoppage time began, when Hugo Rodellega accidentally stepped on his knee. He had a massive bloody gash that had to be taped up, and he was removed from the game on a stretcher.
The Cottagers almost found a 95th minute equalizer, but De Gea made a very good reaction save on a close-range header at the death to seal the win for United.
Despite dominating play for two-thirds of the match, Spurs left the door open and West Brom stepped through it in stoppage to earn a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane. Benoit Assou-Ekotto appeared to have given Spurs the full three points with his goal in the 74th minute, but James Morrison equalized in the stoppage time.
The first half at White Hart Lane was easily the most Spurs half ever. Tottenham dominated the match just about as much as you can, controlling possession by nearly 2 to 1 and out shooting the Baggies 10-1 (4-0 on target shots). Yet, it was scoreless at halftime. All the chances in the world don't matter if you can't finish them and no one knows that more than Rafael Van der Vaart who missed the half's best chance. Kyle Walker sent a perfectly waited pass to Aaron Lennon who ran right around the WBA defender in to the box and found Van der Vaart in space, but the Dutchmen skied his shot.
Depsite getting even more of the possession at the start of the second half, Spurs still couldn't break through. In fact, the Baggies looked the more dangerous team at times in the second 45. Romelu Lukaku, who replaced Shane Long in the 63rd minute, was outstanding for West Brom and gave the Spurs defense fits.
It looked or a moment like Jermaine Defoe broke the scoreless deadlock in the 66th minute, but he was correctly ruled offside just before putting the ball past West Brom keeper Ben Foster. Spurs keeper Brad Friedel was massive, coming up with two fantastic saves, one on Lukaku and the other against Marc-Antoine Fortune that kept the Baggies off the scoreboard.
Thos saves proved key as Spurs finally broke through in the 74th minute. Benoit Assou-Ekotto pounced on a failed clearance and beat Foster with a great strike from distance. The shot was through heavy traffic and might have taken a deflection along the way as well.
West Brom didn't let the goal stop them, continuing to crank up the pressure and putting Spurs entirely on their back heel in to stoppage time. In the 91st minute, Assou-Ekotto cleared a ball off the line as West Brom players claimed it had crossed the line, but Spurs couldn't clear it from danger. The ball bounced out before being sent back in to the box and ending up on the foot of James Morrison who blasted a shot past Friedel.
A well deserved draw for West Brom and another disappointing result for Spurs.
Aston Villa's poor start to the season continues as they were demolished at home by a stunning performance from Premier League giant killers Everton. At West Ham United in their opening game, Villa were the superior team but were undone by a surprise goal and then a complete lack of cutting edge. Here... well, they weren't superior in any sense of the word.
Perhaps the hosts might have considered themselves unfortunate to go behind so early -- Steven Pienaar's third minute was a thing of absolute beauty* and put them in a rather difficult situation. Heads dropped after two minutes of brightness, and things rapidly went downhill from there. A Shay Given error gifted Marouane Fellaini a headed goal just after the half hour mark, and Nikica Jelavic made matters even worse with a first-time finish as the half drew to a close.
*Although that doesn't absolve the Villa midfield, who were standing around looking silly while Pienaar wound up for his thunderbolt.
The second half saw a spell of good play from Villa before they were suddenly reduced to ten men. A fine pass from Darron Gibson released the impressive Jelavic, who was bearing down on Given's goal when he was clipped from behind by Ciaran Clark. It was a clear red card, and the young defender knew it, barely mounting a process before trudging off the pitch. On the bench, Paul Lambert looked as though he was going to cry.
Fortunately for the hosts, Everton weren't really in a mood to make their numerical superiority count. Instead, they were feeling kindly disposed, Tim Howard even gifting them their first goal of the season when he let Karim El Ahmadi's 25-year-shot find its way into the back of the net. That was nice of him. But that goal was nothing more than a consolation, and Villa remain pointless this season.
Everton, meanwhile, have six points from six for the first time in five years, and both wins have been thoroughly deserved. Not bad going for David Moyes and company.
Manchester United and Fulham haven't managed to defend much at all in the first half of their Premier League clash, but there won't be any neutrals complaining. It's been a very entertaining 45 minutes at Old Trafford, and United lead 3-1 despite Fulham's excellent start.
The Cottagers netted the opener just three minutes in with a brilliant set piece routine. Bryan Ruiz played a low ball into the box from the left for Damien Duff, who shook off Ashley Young and hit a great low finish past David De Gea to give his team a shock lead.
United got back into the match in emphatic fashion, on a spectacular finish by Robin van Persie. He scored an excellent first-time goal on the half-volley in the 10th minute, placing a perfect shot into the net at the far post from 12 yards out. The Red Devils would go on to take the lead in the 35th minute, when Shinji Kagawa put in a tap-in following a save by Mark Schwarzer.
Rafael da Silva had a goal disallowed for offside shortly afterwards, but he found a goal in the 41st minute. Ashley Young provided the assist, hitting a great lofted cross to the back post for Rafael to nod in.
Chelsea host Newcastle, who beat them at Stamford Bridge last season, on Saturday.
Unlike last year's 5-0 romp over Queens Park Rangers, Swansea City decided to be nice to their opposition on Saturday. West Ham United were no better than the Swans' first opponents of the season, but Michael Laudrup's side tapped the breaks and coasted to an easy 3-0 win after putting the match away in just over an hour.
Swansea dominated the opening 20 minutes of the match, and their domination paid off with a 20th minute goal. Nathan Dyer set up Angel Rangel for the finish with a great through ball down the right flank, which Rangel ran onto. The right back took a tough shot from a narrow angle and shouldn't have been able to score, but Jussi Jaaskelainen somehow let the ball through at his near post.
Michu doubled Swansea's lead nine minutes later, scoring off an assist by West Ham's James Collins. He attempted to play a pass back to his keeper and failed miserably, instead hitting a perfectly weighted ball for Michu, who calmly finished his one-on-one chance.
Swansea had plenty of chances early on in the second half, but it took them until the 64th minute to capitalize. After missing a clear chance five minutes into the second half, Danny Graham made up for his error with a 64th minute goal. At that point, both teams seemed to agree the game was over and played out the remaining 26 minutes without any notable events.
Emmanuel Adebayor and Romelu Lukaku both have to make do with places on the bench as Tottenham take on West Brom.
Wayne Rooney is left on the bench for Manchester United in place of Robin van Persie as they take on Fulham.
The Sunderland vs. Reading Premier League match has been abandoned due to a waterlogged pitch.
Fulham will be have hopes of securing a result at Old Trafford as they take on an injury-ravaged Manchester United.
Sorting your way through all the variables of the early season, preview transfer deadline day world can be difficult, but it is important than you gamble anyways.
The television slate of games for the second week of Premier League action is an excellent one.
If an asteroid destroys society as we know it before kickoff on Saturday, will the surviving remnants of society chisel Liverpool's name into a wall as having been relegated? Probably not since they'd be busy trying to figure out how to live off of plants requiring little light and how to supply their bodies with Vitamin D what with the black cloud of debris hanging over the earth and all, but you never know!
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