European Soccer

EPL Week 2: A Look Back



Is this the beginning of a beautiful partnership that will bring Chelsea the title? The work of Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka should have defenses on the look out, as the two have been instrumental in Chelsea's three wins in three start to the 2009/10 season.

Nowhere was this more clear than at Craven Cottage on Sunday. After going down by a goal in their first two matches of the season, Chelsea were lucky to remain level after Clint Dempsey skied an early opportunity. Just when it looked like Fulham were in the mix for a result, Anelka played Drogba in beautifully for the game's first, and the Ivorian returned the favor later on, leaving Fulham in their dust for the 2-0 result.

It's early in the season, but a team like Chelsea can't be ignored as contenders to win the league this year, and indications after three games are justified. They have depth in midfield and are strong at the back, leaving the two up front as the missing link. If Anelka and Drogba boss games on a consistent basis like this, expect to see them near the top come May.

A quick look at the rest of the weekend's action from England after the jump.

Burnley 1, Everton 0

Danger for David Moyes. Or is Burnley better than everyone thought? After a shocking win over Manchester United at Turf Moor, it was the same prescription for victory: grab the lead and cling onto it for dear life. This time it was Wade Elliot, beating Tim Howard in the 34th minute. Add to that another missed penalty ensured the three points for the Clarets — though justice was served as the Everton attacker went down in the box untouched. Frenchman Louis Saha stepped up for the penalty and preceded to miss everything. Lots of work to do if you're Moyes, but reports indicate that he'll receive an infusion of cash to spend from the sale of Joleon Lescott.

Tottenham 2, West Ham 1

Another London team off to a hot start. Though it's worth noting no one has gone from goat-to-hero and back again so quickly than Carlton Cole did. The English striker couldn't get on the end of a tap in that should have opened the scoring. His response? A ridiculous turn-and-volley that Carlo Cudicini didn't even react to. Cole quickly turn villain, sending a back pass to Jermaine Defoe to equalize for Spurs, leaving Aaron Lennon to grab the game winner. It's a bright start for Harry Redknapp's side, who have looked strong in three games and sit at the top of the table.

Arsenal 4, Portsmouth 1

Another rampant performance for Arsene Wenger's side, as they jumped all over a poor Portsmouth club. Two goals from Abou Diaby, and a goal apiece from Aaron Ramsey and William Gallas made this no contest — or was it? Gallas appeared to pull down attacker John Utaka who was almost in on Manuel Almunia's goal. That non-call (on the replay it looked like Utaka fell down) could have leveled the game had Utaka scored. Point being, Arsenal still has defensive questions that must be answered and could also face some time without Cesc healthy. In other news, after inadvertently scoring with his face this week, Gallas is going to next score with his calf.

Manchester United 5, Wigan 0

Were some United fans nervous after a slow start? Perhaps. Alex Ferguson's side did their best to assuage those fears, thumping Wigan in the second half, putting five in past a stranded Chris Kirkland. It was a resounding performance that made one thing clear — Wayne Rooney has to be the focus for the Red Devils. He can't layoff the ball to Ronaldo anymore, but instead has to take it on himself until Berbatov improves his consistency and Michael Owen hits his stride. While I'm not sold on United as of yet, there is little reason to be concerned about their slow start this early in the season.

Birmingham City 0, Stoke City 0

A battle of two clubs that could be in the relegation battle come the season's end, it took a spectacular performance from Stoke's Thomas Sorenson to ensure a draw. Both sides have four points from their first three games, hardly the worst beginning to a season that could end with one heading back to the Championship.

Manchester City 1, Wolverhampton 0

City's millions has yet to provide astute finishing — Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tevez, and Stephan Ireland were particularly wasteful as the nouveau-riche club escaped the Eastlands with a win over newly-promoted Wolves. Two from two is not a bad way to start it, though with the chances they had, City can count themselves a bit lucky to have come away with all three points. The impending transfer of Lescott will surely firm their defense, but it still could be too early for this side to crack the top four.

Hull City 1, Bolton 0

A remarkable poor start for Hull looked to get worse on Saturday, failing to best Bolton for a half of football. It wasn't until Jozy Altidore set up the lone goal of the match with his first touch that Phil Brown could calm his nerves. The American striker did well to loft a through ball over the head of the last defender that Kamel Ghilas thumped home for the winner. Jozy should have enjoyed a perfect start, going close on at least two occasions. It isn't out of the question for both these clubs to be in the relegation mix near season's end.

Sunderland 2, Blackburn 1

The lackluster start to 2009 continued for relegation candidates Blackburn, falling at the Stadium Light to a Sunderland side showing a good attacking bite thus far. A brace from Trinidad & Tobago striker Kenwyne Jones earned the Black Cats the full three points despite the Rovers bossing proceedings in the first half. Only Portsmouth and Everton have enjoyed worse starts than Blackburn, who are amongst the favorites to go down. But what of Sunderland? The club from the northeast added Darren Bent for £10 million, but it was Jones who stole the show. Contribution from both are vital for this club to finish in range of the top half of the table.

What did you make of this weekend's EPL action? Think Chelsea and Tottenham are as good as they've looked thus far? Share your thoughts below.

  • MemRook

    I like how after Cooper’s goal the announcer screamed “Kenny” and the crowd screamed back “Cooper” four or five times.

    In my very limited knowledge of the Bun.2, it looks like attacking is premium and defending is secondary lol


  • MemRook

    also, 1860 Munich jerseys are super sharp. I like the blue ones with the slightly darker blue lion. The white ones aren’t bad either, I just prefer the blues.


  • Rekro

    Yeah, good goal from Cooper but the defending was awful. Hopefully he keeps this up and he becomes a 3rd or 4th striker for the Nats.


  • Kevin D. Johnson of Baton Rouge, LA

    The English are finally scoring goals. Rooney has 3 in 3 games, Defoe has 4 in 3 games, Bent has 2 in 3 games. Carlton Cole has 1 in 3 games. Crouch has zero in 3 games, although he’s a sub.

    Heskey is crap. I hope Rooney/Defoe start up top against Croatia and Crouch/Bent come on as subs.


  • MemRook

    Cooper received the ball at the top of the 18, maybe a little further out, dribble to the left, cut back on his right right at the 18 and fired a low, hard roller into the near post. Keeper didn’t have a chance.


  • Kevin D. Johnson of Baton Rouge, LA

    I’m watching a Liverpool match on ESPN 2. Hallelujah 😛 later guys


  • MemRook

    Also, I just witnessed a comical PK call where the attacker came from behind the defender, clothes lined him on the way to the ball, and in the ensuing contact went down in a heap with the defender. Defender gets a yellow and the pk. Then the pk taker, the same fellow who went down, hit the cross bar. Funny stuff.


  • NATO

    Cooper is ideally 3rd striker for the NT behind Davies/Altidore. Bradley is slowly realizing Ching ain’t best to start with. But before the WC, things will be different. EJ or Ching can fight it out for 4th striker/super-sub


  • buzz

    I watched the Hull/Bolton game.

    The quality of the soccer was fairly terrible. Did either team connect three passes the entire match? I know EPL is a bit more “Route 1” than some other leagues, but that was really bad.


  • jamin barnes

    I think it’s going to take Man City a bit more time to gel, maybe in a month we’ll see a better side.


  • beckster

    Liverpool and Villa in high def….doesn’t get much better than that!

    Liverpool should be ahead 2 to 0.


  • GunneRR

    I don’t know if the Liverpool-Villa game will be any good, but watching the EPL in stunning HD on the big screen has me near tears of joy.


  • Mig

    jeez, you think Torres or Gerard could have scored two or three goals in that one sequence?


  • Waterlewd

    Charlton Cole also had an assist on a Defoe goal. I don’t know if that counted though.


  • Mig

    This game is kind of funny. The red scouser fans are getting ugly(er). Villa doesn’t look particularly good but it’s working to frustrate ‘pool


  • Leonardo

    2-0 Villa is winning! Friedel with a few clutch (desperate) saves, but Liverpool looks sloppy. benayoun’s passing is dreadful.

    Johnson is Liverpool’s best player so far. he just cut through 3 defenders to make a sweet lob pass in the box! awesome player


  • Pablo

    Saw the highlights of West Ham-Tottenham. Lennon beat Spector badly for the game winner. The in-studio analyst singled out flat footed Spector’s play as “God awful” and “inexcusable”. In Jonathan’s defense, I’ve seen Lennon dribble through and around many a defense in his short career already.


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