By JUSTIN FERGUSON
After opening up the season with a pair of 1-0 wins, Tottenham Hotspur got a taste of their own medicine from their bitter rivals Sunday.
Olivier Giroud fired Arsenal ahead of Spurs in the 23rd minute of the season’s first North London Derby, and the Gunners held on for a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Emirates Stadium.
An injury-riddled Arsenal squad that has not received any major reinforcements during this summer’s transfer window had a great start to the match against their local rivals, who have had a busy stretch of signings and Sunday’s official sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid. The hosts netted the match’s only goal in the 23rd minute as Giroud finished a well-worked Arsenal counter attack.
Tottenham kept Arsenal from any more goals in a one-sided first half and started to change momentum after halftime. But Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny stood tall for the shutout, denying Jermain Defoe and new Tottenham signing Erik Lamela late in the second half.
While Spurs could not make it three straight 1-0 victories, Liverpool kept their streak going with a huge win over rival Manchester United. Daniel Sturridge kept his outstanding run of form for the Reds going on Sunday, nodding in a Steven Gerrard free kick in just the fourth minute for the match’s lone goal. The English forward, who scored twice in his club’s 4-2 Capital One Cup victory over Notts County, now has all three of Liverpool’s goals in the early EPL season.
Sturridge’s goal ratcheted up what was already an electric atmosphere at Anfield, and the defending champions struggled mightily after falling behind early. When Man United started to have more of the possession in the second, Liverpool showed their defensive strength as their rivals struggled to find the final ball they needed for an equalizer.
The win extended Liverpool’s unbeaten run in the EPL to 11 matches—their last league loss came to Southampton in March. For Man United manager David Moyes, who is under extreme pressure from fans to make a marquee signing before Monday’s deadline, Sunday’s loss extended his personal winless record at Anfield to 13 visits.
Here is a closer look at all the weekend’s action from the top leagues in Europe:
Manchester City bounced back from last week’s shocking loss to Cardiff City with a 2-0 home victory over Hull City. It was not the best of performances from the Citizens, who got goals from substitute forward Alvaro Negredo and starting midfielder Yaya Toure after the hour mark. But the two goals in the final half-hour were enough to take down the visiting Tigers, who have turned some heads in their first few matches thanks to their resilient defense and goalkeeping.
After seeing Hull and Cardiff get big home wins last weekend, Crystal Palace joined their fellow newcomers in the win column with a 3-1 victory over Sunderland. The two sides were neck-and-neck until the 78th minute, when Sunderland captain John O’Shea was sent off for a foul in the box on former Southampton player Jason Puncheon. Dwight Gayle converted the ensuing penalty, and Stuart O’Keefe banged home a stoppage time goal to ensure Palace’s first three points of the season.
Here are the results from this weekend’s English Premier League action:
Manchester City 2, Hull City 0
Cardiff City 0, Everton 0
Newcastle United 1, Fulham 0
Norwich City 1, Southampton 0
Stoke City 1, West Ham United 0
Crystal Palace 3, Sunderland 1
Arsenal 1, Tottenham Hotspur 0
Swansea City 2, West Bromwich Albion 0
Liverpool 1, Manchester United 0
Lionel Messi was back to his old ways for Barcelona this weekend, netting a first-half hat trick in Sunday’s wild 3-2 victory at Valencia. Messi, who finished the match with seven shots on goal, gave the visitors an early three-goal lead after linking up twice with Cesc Fabregas and once with Neymar. But Helder Postiga answered with a brace in the final few minutes of the first half, setting up an exciting second half that featured several great shots but no more goals.
Real Madrid also had a good Sunday, a day in which they broke a world transfer record for Gareth Bale and cruised to a 3-1 home victory over Athletic Bilbao. While Bale will definitely be the biggest signing of Real’s summer, new midfielder Isco continued to impress for Carlo Ancelotti’s side. The former Malaga star opened and closed the scoring for Los Blancos, who also got a goal from Cristiano Ronaldo.
Here are the results from this weekend’s La Liga action:
Almeria 2, Elche 2
Levante 2, Rayo Vallecano 1
Celta Vigo 1, Granada 1
Real Valladolid 1, Getafe 0
Villarreal 3, Osasuna 0
Real Madrid 3, Athletic Bilbao 1
Espanyol 0, Real Betis 0
Atletico Madrid 2, Real Sociedad 1
Malaga 2, Sevilla 2
Barcelona 3, Valencia 2
Borussia Dortmund are all alone at the top of the Bundesliga table after Sunday’s 2-1 road win over Eintracht Frankfurt. After UEFA Super Cup winners Bayern Munich were forced to share points with Freiburg earlier in the week, Dortmund took advantage with a solid victory at the Commerzbank Arena. Summer signing Henrik Mkhitaryan netted both of Dortmund’s goals to open up his scoring tally, and the highly touted Armenian midfielder went the distance for the first time this season.
On Sunday, Stuttgart became the latest team in the Bundesliga to have an explosive day of offense. Stuttgart were victorious in a 6-1 rout of Hoffenheim, who scored five goals on Hamburg two weekends ago. Vedad Ibisevic netted his third, fourth and fifth goals of the young German season in the victory, and teammate Alexandru Maxim supplied a brace for a Stuttgart side that was surprisingly out-possessed in their dominant victory.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Bundesliga action:
Borussia Monchengladbach 4, Werder Bremen 1
Hamburg 4, Eintracht Braunschweig 0
Hannover 4, Mainz 1
Augsburg 1, Nurnberg 0
Wolfsburg 2, Hertha Berlin 0
Schalke 2, Bayer Leverkusen 0
Stuttgart 6, Hoffenheim 1
Borussia Dortmund 2, Eintracht Frankfurt 1
Miroslav Klose made sure Lazio were not going to get shutout by Juventus for the second time this season, but the German’s lone goal barely put a dent in the defending champions 4-1 victory Saturday. Arturo Vidal put Juve up with two goals in the opening 26 minutes, and Klose’s goal for Lazio in the 28th minute was followed by goals from Mirko Vucinic and Carlos Tevez. Juventus, who defeated Lazio 4-0 a few weeks ago in the Italian Supercoppa, are one of five teams in Italy that have started their season with back-to-back wins.
One of those other six-point clubs is AS Roma, who rode a strong second half to knock off Hellas Verona by a score of 3-0. Roma started strong and finished with 11 shots on goal, but it took a Fabrizio Cacciatore own goal in the 56th minute for the hosts to finally get on the board. After the own goal, Roma quickly took care of business, getting goals from Miralem Pjanic and new signing Adem Ljajic in the span of the next 10 minutes.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Serie A action:
Napoli 4, Chievo Verona 2
Juventus 4, Lazio 1
AS Roma 3, Hellas Verona 0
AC Milan 3, Cagliari 1
Atalanta 2, Torino 0
Bologna 2, Sampdoria 2
Inter Milan 3, Catania 0
Fiorentina 5, Genoa 2
Livorno 4, Sassuolo 1
Udinese 3, Parma 1
Thanks to a second-half comeback by new league leaders AS Monaco, there are no more perfect teams in this early Ligue 1 season. Monaco’s Radamel Falcao and Emmanuel Riviere continued to carry their squad’s offense in a 2-1 road victory at Marseille. Lucas Michel Mende put OM up front in the 43rd minute of the match, but big-money signing Falcao quickly brought it back to level terms two minutes out of the break. Riviere scored the winner just six minutes after being subbed on, giving the Frenchman his fifth goal of the season.
Paris Saint-Germain are the only other French outfit that have not suffered a loss, and the defending champions were lucky to get all three points in Saturday’s 2-0 win over newly promoted Guingamp. Both of PSG’s goals were scored in extra time—the first by substitute Adrien Rabiot and the second by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Once again, the Parisians fired off more than 20 shots in a match, but their persistency on offense paid off in the end.
Here are the results from this weekend’s Ligue 1 action:
Paris Saint Germain 2, Guingamp 0
Evian Thonon Gaillard 2, Lyon 1
Bastia 2, Toulouse 1
Lorient 1, Valenciennes 0
Sochaux 0, Ajaccio 0
Stade de Reims 0, Nantes 0
Stade Rennes 0, Lille 0
Saint Etienne 2, Bordeaux 1
Nice 2, Montpellier 2
AS Monaco 2, Marseille 1
What do you think of these results? Impressed with Arsenal’s performance against Tottenham? How long do you think Liverpool can keep up this winning streak? What other performances from this weekend’s action caught your eye?
Share your thoughts below.