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EPL Week 5: A Look Back


Manchester City can complain about the time keeping all they want, but in the end they couldn't clamp down on Michael Owen in the game's dying seconds.

The Manchester derby was one of the more riveting meetings in recent memories. City was off to a flying start, and hoped to back up their win over Arsenal with a shock upset over their fierce rivals. For the defending champions, it was all about proving that they were still title contenders in spite of a sputtering start to the season.

Seven goals and six minutes of second half injury time later and the Red Devils walk away winners. Was it deserved? Maybe. But did they make plays when it counted? Certainly. Credit to an old battler like Ryan Giggs, who despite numerous miles on his legs continues to prove his worth to Sir Alex.

Shay Given was the story for City, who could have been lit up for six or seven if not for the Irishman's stunning goalmouth heroics. Dimitar Berbatov surely will see him in his nightmares for the next week, as he was held scoreless by Given's acrobatic saves. Buying Kolo Toure and Joleon Lescott has yet to provide a stable defense, but City will knock in enough goals to remain dangerous.

City's may not contend for the title in May, but they have at least shown that they are a force to contend with. Depending on how their patchy defense holds together will determine how they finish. United, on the other hand, have had an up and down start, and surely craves the return of Edwin Van der Sar.

Chelsea 3, Tottenham 0

That's two in a row dropped by Spurs – but more importantly, Chelsea is on fire. The Blues have yet to lose this season, and their comprehensive victory, six from six matches, is a warning shot fired at the rest of the league. Spurs could barely muster anything dangerous against John Terry and Chelsea's defense. The only chink in the Chelsea armor is their reliance on Didier Droga, who will miss a month next year for the African Cup of Nations, and a few weeks with the injury he picked up against Spurs.

Bolton 1, Stoke City 1

High drama at the Reebok as Bolton needed a late equalizer from the spot to snatch two points away from Stoke. The visitors enjoyed the better of the play, but couldn't muster more than a Dave Kitson goal in the 52nd minute. While the action was lethargic at times, Tony Pulis seemed poised to continue the club's strong start. Matt Taylor's penalty ensured that was not the case, but if the trend continues Stoke is a mid-table team to watch out for.

Aston Villa 2, Portsmouth 0

Just as Chelsea sits on the top with six from six, Portsmouth has enjoyed a similar start, though in a much worse fashion. James Milner and Gabriel Agbanlahor both scored as Villa won their fourth game out of five tries — not bad after their opening day loss to Wigan. As for Paul Hart, the Championship is their next stop unless a miracle worker arrives.

Burnley 3, Sunderland 1

Turf Moor is quickly becoming a solid fortress for newly promoted Burnley. Two goals from David Nugent — scorer of three goals in two years at Portsmouth — have Owen Coyle's side in the right starting spot at early on in the season.

Wolverhampton 2, Fulham 1

A piddling Fulham side limped into the Midlands and once again came away empty. It was the first home victory for Mick McCarthy, and something to build on. Goals from former Reading striker Kevin Doyle and David Edwards were enough to score victory. Fulham's defense looked out to see on several occasions and are certainly going to be stretched in the Europa League.

Everton 3, Blackburn 0

The Everton ship has been steadied — at least for now — and the 6-1 romp by Arsenal has certainly disappeared from the minds of the supporters. David Moyes's side engineered perhaps their best performance of the season, comprehensively defeating Rovers behind a Louis Saha brace. They remain a work in progress, but should be a safe bet to remain in the top 10 after a scary start.

Liverpool 3, West Ham 2

It's difficult to imagine Rafa Benitez remaining employed without the seemingly weekly heroics of either Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard picking up Liverpool. Defensive mistakes are too prevalent for the Reds and will certainly prove costly. Silverware is not out of the question as long as Torres and Gerrard are healthy — though that's a strong point of contention.

Arsenal 4, Wigan 0

After back-to-back league defeats, the Gunners were out for vengeance and Wigan proved to be the perfect victim for Arsene Wenger's young club. Central defender Thomas Vermaelen — Arsenal's lone acquisition of the transfer window — scored twice and cemented the clean sheet. It was a typical trap game for Arsenal, as a lower side coming in to bunker at the Emirates. As is typical with the club, they wasted numerous early opportunities before burying the game later in the second half. Important to remember that these are the games Arsenal must win if they aspire to win a trophy.

Birmingham 1, Hull City 0

Four points from 18 for Hull City is a far cry from their flying start in 2008. It was another dismal result despite the goalkeeping play of Boaz Myhill keeping Birmingham's weak attack at bay. Not sure what was worse however, as Hull was eventually undone on a set piece. Gary O'Connor headed in a late winner to seal Hull's fate as whispers of Phil Brown's future echo around the KC.
What did you think of this weekend's EPL action? Is Chelsea the favorites at the moment? Can Liverpool mount a title run? Who is the best club in Manchester? Share your thoughts below.


  1. United was clearly better and created more chances, but that was criminal to let the game go that long. Par for the course for them at home though. Check out the Guardian for more, but United always get more time at Old Trafford if they need it.

  2. David,

    We’ll see if you are right. I’ve only seen Foster a few times and he has looked pretty average to me. He isn’t particularly big and Ferguson likes big keepers so time will tell.

  3. Oh and perhaps SAF is putting his faith in Foster despite some mishaps because he realizes it was a mistake to drop Howard so early in his career. Foster is his keeper of the future and he doesn’t want to shake his confidence by dropping him for a third stringer while Van Der Sar is injured.

  4. Turns out Dempsey was rubbish against Wolves because he was injured (dead leg) against Everton and it is still nagging. He isn’t available for the Carling Cup match tomorrow. Sounds like Hangeland was injured as well but still played. Fulham are not holding up injury wise as well as they did last campaign and it is making a serious dent in their quality. Should be interesting to see if they can cope. I imagine the early start in Europa has a lot to do with it. For Dempsey I am sure a long summer has broken down his body.I don’t want to see it happen but seems he should just be shut down for a couple weeks. They have cover with Duff, Gera, and Davies back.

  5. Well, Tim Howard did cost United the Champions League (not saying they would have won it, but his mistake literally ended their campaign that year), and potentially created Mourinho’s legend. Without that famous win, he wouldn’t be as high profile as he is now. That being said, Van Der Sar definitely needs to hurry back…

  6. I’m not sure winning four games and having lost once (before the City game) qualifies as a sputtering start for United. Obviously they weren’t playing well early on, but they were still winning and traditionally they start much slower then this, so in reality they are having a great start to the season compared to the way they usually start the seasons. I’d also like to point out a great comment I read earlier (not on this site). What if City had scored at the end of injury time, do you think they would have been bitching about all the time added? I think not. You play til the whistle’s blown…

  7. Outside of Bellamy’s outstanding goal in the 52nd minute, many people forgot City were even on the pitch. They should send gift baskets to Foster and Rio for keeping them in the game.

    Fernando Torres. That’s all that needs to be said. Fernando Torres. It begins and ends with him when it comes to greatness. Fernando Torres.

  8. A typical red-tinted perspective on the derby. No doubt they were the better team in the second half, but to fight back 3 times in that stadium against the champions deserves a little credit. While Berba might need some heading lessons, Tevez should have put it away in the first half just the same. And yes City’s defending was poor, but the terrible defending for United deserves just as much criticism. How about a little balance Ives?

    (MJ-How much more balance do you want? Travis gave credit to Shay Given and stated that City is a force to contend with. What happens when a team loses is less is written about them, and more about the winning team. That’s just how it goes anywhere, well, except maybe for a Man City blog.)

  9. Naw, Jozy’s cool. He’s got too much upside (strength, height, speed) outweighing his downsides (concrete first touch). Even if Brown goes he’ll get minutes at Hull. He’s lower-to-mid Premiership material.

  10. As long as whomever replaces Brown at Hull gives Jozy playing time, I don’t care who it is. I just don’t want it to turn into another Freddy Adu-like thing where you’re the former skipper’s addition that doesn’t fit into the new manager’s plans.


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