It was a really long weekend here for me in Florida so I’m going to keep this one short and to the point. You can expect some more analysis on how the teams and players are performing in the coming weeks with the international break on the schedule.
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Aston Villa 2 – 0 Cardiff City
Aston Villa have been slipping in the standings as of lately and really needed this win over an inferior opponent. Leandro Bacuna scored a stunning free-kick and is establishing himself as one of Villa’s best players. Christian Benteke failed to score once again and finds himself in a mini goal drought, but I wouldn’t be too worried since he just returned from injury and is regaining his touch and finishing ability.
Chelsea 2 – 2 West Brom
Lots of drama at Stamford Bridge. West Brom were about to deliver Jose Mourinho’s first Premier League home loss when Chelsea were given a late penalty for a Steven Reid foul on Ramires. Many would argue the penalty shouldn’t have been given, but Eden Hazard converted and gave Chelsea a point. Hazard also set up Chelsea’s first goal and is once again establishing himself as a fantasy option.
Liverpool 4 – 0 Fulham
Last week, Luis Suarez didn’t perform up to expectations with only seven points but he made up for it here with 22, including two goals. He looked dangerous the entire game and I can’t see many teams stopping him. Expect more of the same ahead. Liverpool dominated Fulham from end to end and Martin Jol’s seat is getting hotter every week. Fulham have now been totally outplayed the last three weeks and if something doesn’t change on the pitch, it will on the bench.
Southampton 4 – 1 Hul City
Some people have questioned how legitimate of a top four contender the Saints really are during the first third of the season. This is not a fluke. Southampton can play, they’re well coached, they have talent, and they have a defense capable of winning points at home and away. What they showed in this game was that they are also more than capable in attack. Adam Lallana has established himself as a top attacking midfielder in this league while Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert have shown their goal scoring ability. It doesn’t hurt to have Dani Osvaldo, who’s a proven goal scorer that is still getting adapted to the Premier League. This trend will continue.
Crystal Palace 0 – 0 Everton
Crystal Palace are without a manager but that didn’t stop them from getting their first clean sheet of the season. They need to appoint a manager soon to try and get out of the relegation zone before they reach the point of no return. Everton on the other hand seem to go as Lukaku goes, and he wasn’t very impressive this game. They need to get him more involved and create some chances for him.
Norwich City 3 – 1 West Ham
This was an important game for both teams as they’re both close to the relegation zone. Norwich was able to get the three points and get out of the zone while West Ham are barely above it, only ahead on tiebreakers. Robert Snodgrass was instrumental for Norwich and they need him to continue playing like this if they want to stay in the Premier League. West Ham’s defense must not have off days like this if they are to continue playing without a striker.
Tottenham 0 – 1 Newcastle
Tottenham’s poor play continued as they couldn’t break Newcastle down. Tim Krul deserves a lot of the credit for the clean sheet but Tottenham need to create and finish more chances if they want to challenge for a top four spot. This was Newcastle’s second win over teams ahead of them in the current standings and they seem to be improving every week. Could they challenge for a top six spot?
Sunderland 1 – 0 Manchester City
Another upset! Second to last place Sunderland kept Manchester City scoreless and the struggles for City continue away from the Etihad. They only have four points from six away games in the Premier League and that’s not a recipe for success in this league. They need to at least beat the relegation candidates to stand a chance for the title or a top four finish. Sunderland on the other hand took a step in the right direction as they won three valuable points that could spark a run to get them out of the relegation zone before it gets too deep.
Manchester United 1 – 0 Arsenal
This was the big game of the weekend and Manchester United came out with the big three points. Robin van Persie showed he is back in form and Wayne Rooney put in a fantastic all around performance to help United make up valuable points in the table. Arsenal no longer have a huge lead over everyone else, as Liverpool are only two points behind while Manchester made up ground and now sit in fifth place, only five points behind the leaders. David Moyes has certainly gotten this team back in the title race and United are bound to make things interesting one way or another down the stretch. We can see the improvement.
Swansea City 3 – 3 Stoke City
Big shootout here as you can tell by the score. The drama came when Stoke were given a late penalty that Charlie Adam converted to win a point. Wilfried Bony played a great game for Swansea and came up with two huge goals. Swansea have been underperforming after a solid campaign last year and will look to climb up the table in the coming weeks. Stoke earned a valuable point to keep them out of the relegation zone but they are dangerously close to it.
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Were you surprised by any of the scores this week? Is either Manchester team a real threat for the title?