EPL Week 3: A Look Back

EPL Week 3: A Look Back

European Soccer

EPL Week 3: A Look Back

VanPersieVidic (Reuters)  

By TRAVIS CLARK

Matchups between the vaunted can border on dull at times — two great teams yielding nothing, failing to find the net, and ending in a draw. But the meeting of Arsenal and Manchester United had none of that: a brilliant goal from Andrey Arshavin, a clever penalty won and scored by Wayne Rooney, and a "what were you thinking" own goal from Abou Diaby making up the difference. Throw in Wenger's dismissal at the end, and it was far from boring at Old Trafford.

For all the stir caused by Eduardo in mid-week, Arsenal fans are now whinging over Rooney's penalty. Replays from one angle show the striker heading to ground a moment before Almunia makes contact. History can't be rewritten, but that doesn't account for Diaby's gaffe — no one around him and he heads into his own net. Inexplicable.

The defending champs were lucky to come away with a win, having played rather poorly for much of the first half. They showed fight in the second, and good teams come away with results. Fortune was on their side.

Arsenal fans can take heart from the performance, and need to remember the title won't be won against the big four. It'll come down to how Wenger's kids play against a side that comes to the Emirates, bunkers down and plays for a draw. Turn those into wins, and silverware could be in sight in North London. But that's getting a little bit carried away.

The rest of the weekend's action is accounted for after the jump.

Chelsea 3, Burnley 0

Having already shocked Manchester United and Everton, new boys Burnley were out to prove to Chelsea that they aren't to be penciled in for automatic relegation. Sides that could be fighting relegation can't miss the chances that they did, and after spurring early chances, Chelsea's class took over. Once again, Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka proved to be too much, and it took some goalkeeping heroics from Brian Jensen to prevent this one from getting really ugly.

Aston Villa 2, Fulham 0

Both clubs entered this match with a built-in excuse, coming off Europa League second legs on Thursday. Fulham had to head to Perm, Russia to narrowly escape with a win. And while Roy Hodgson refuses to blame on it, his Fulham side failed to show up against Villa, and an early own goal was enough for three points.

Liverpool 3, Bolton 2

Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres to the rescue once again. It was another slow start for Liverpool, going down 2-1 to a Bolton side that was struggling for goals and wins on the season. While the Reds escaped with the win, serious defensive problems cropped up that nearly ensured a point for the Wanderers. Rafa Benitez has his work cut out for him — but shouldn't go overboard by implying that a result this early in the season puts the title out of reach.

Blackburn 0, West Ham 0

Not much to see here, other than Carlton Cole's wastefulness. The striker is really pushing for a spot in Fabio Capello's World Cup squad.

Manchester City 1, Portsmouth 0

There's good news and there's bad news for Manchester's Millionaire's. No goals conceded in three games. Even better are three wins from three, and three goals from Adebayor. But they haven't played anyone significant yet, and have yet to run anyone off the pitch. That being said, it's full points from them so far, and their next two are against Arsenal and Manchester United. Grinding out results from the beginning is a good start. We'll know more about them when those are played out.

Tottenham 2, Birmingham 1

How long can Spurs keep this up? After gaining two points from their first eight, this year has been their best since the 60's. The Juande Ramos disaster isn't even on their minds. The flying start continued at White Hart Lane, with desperate defending keeping Tottenham at bay in the first half. After trading early goals, a calamitous slip allowed a late winner from Aaron Lennon to win their fourth straight. Birmingham had a legitimate shout for a penalty turned down and could full slighted at not coming away with a point. Bad news for Spurs in this one is that they'll have to deal without Luka Modric, who suffered a broken leg early in the second half.

Everton 2, Wigan 1

It had all the makings for yet another disappointment result for Everton. Tim Howard's defense once again opened up for Wigan, and just as the fixture seemed destined for a draw, Brazilian striker Jo was hauled down in the box. Leighton Baines dispatched the penalty with ease, bringing a tremendous celebration and sense of relief from David Moyes.

Stoke 1, Sunderland 0

This just in — Stoke to crash the top four. While there's a better chance of Manchester City going bankrupt this season, the Potters are enjoying a Hull-esque start to their sophomore campaign in the Premier League. A victory over Sunderland has them in fifth place, and they'll have to hope that Dave Kitson netting that first goal will cue a scoring streak. Thomas Sorenson has been a stalwart in the nets, and if they can put in consistent form

Wolverhampton 1, Hull City 1

It's difficult to imagine these two sides finishing anywhere near the bottom come May. They both fought hard for a point on Sunday, and goals from Geovanni and Richard Stearman canceled each other out. Wolves will perhaps feel like they dropped points, as Hull's Michael Turner blocked Kevin Doyle to prevent a late winner for the home side.

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What did you make of this weekend's EPL action? Think Tottenham or Man City can continue their hot starts? Share your thoughts below.

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