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EPL Week 8: A Look Back

Valencia (Reuters)


After a lengthy respite for the final rounds of World Cup Qualifying, the Premier League fired back up over the weekend. Once again a series of unpredictable and baffling results give the indication that this season of Premier League action could be one of the most open seasons ever.

For all that, Manchester United managed to grab ahold of the top spot with a 2-1 victory against Bolton. The defending champions were once again nothing special, but grabbed three points behind an own goal set up by Michael Owen and Antonio Valencia's winner.

It was uncomfortable for United at the end, with Bolton's Gary Cahill going close in the dying minutes — unfortunately he couldn't do any better than head the ball straight to Edwin van der Saar. That, combined with Chelsea's defeat at the hands of Aston Villa, catapulted the Red Devils back to the top of the table.

England is abuzz of the 'big four' getting broken up with the likes of Tottenham, Aston Villa, Manchester City all threatening. Looking the most vulnerable is Liverpool, who slumped to their third loss of the young season on Saturday.

Aston Villa 2, Chelsea 1

Chelsea's flaky road form continues to threaten their title charge, as Aston Villa overcame a Brad Friedel mistake to help themselves to all three points. After a Didier Drogba goal snuck past Friedel from long range in the 15th minute, goals from Richard Dunne and James Collins took advantage of poor Chelsea defending on set pieces to ensure that Martin O'Neil's side sent Chelsea home empty handed.

Sunderland 1, Liverpool 0

A fluky goal from Darren Bent was enough for the hosts to overcome Liverpool at the Stadium of Light. Bent's bizarre goal was scored after deflecting off a beach ball that had meandered onto the pitch, beating Pepe Reina in net. According to the laws of the game, it shouldn't have stood because of the obstruction. But more worringly for the visitors is their continued inability to win in general, much less without Torres and Gerrard. Despite the beach ball error, no replay is to take place. The irony of the situation is that the beach ball was likely tossed on by a Liverpool fan and featured the Reds' logo on it.

Arsenal 3, Birmingham 1

The horror of Eduardo's awful leg break resurfaced when Birmingham, the club Arsenal faced when that happened, returned to the Emirates. The Gunners looked to make quick work of the visitors, and cut them to pieces twice in two minutes. First it was Robin Van Persie collecting a through ball from Alex Song to curl home, then it was Abou Diaby getting on the end of a cross from Tomas Rosicky to put Arsenal up 2-0. Just when it looked like another Arsenal route was on, Birmingham pulled one back thanks to some shaky goalkeeping from Vito Mannone. Andrey Arshavin put Arsenal fears to rest in the 84th minute, though once again Theo Walcott left the game injured.

Wigan 1, Manchester City 1

Two goals in two minutes petered this game out into a draw, though Wigan can count themselves a hint unlucky for not grabbing a win. Charles N'Zogbia opened the scoring, only to see Martin Petrov grab the equalizer just moments later. Wigan had their chances, even going a man up with just under 25 minutes left when Pablo Zaboleta was sent off for two yellows. However, Shay Given rose to the challenge when Hugo Rodallega thought he had volleyed home for a winner.

Everton 1, Wolverhampton 1

A beleagured Wolves sides can count themselves unlucky for not stealing three points at Goodison Park. An outstanding performance from keeper Wayne Hennessey — with an assist on Kevin Doyle's goal to boot — had them in position. But slack defending in the 88th minute allowed Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (owner of perhaps the best name in the English League) to get on the end of Jo's cross and steal a point for David Moyes.

Stoke City 2, West Ham 1

Tony Pulis couldn't ask for a better start to the season for his Stoke side. After battling to stay afloat last season, solid play and savvy acquisitions have the Potters sitting pretty in the top half of the table. A James Beattie brace was all they needed at the Brittania, consigning West Ham to defeat and leaving the Hammers on just five points on the season. It seems as though West Ham has played a bit better than their record indicates, but remain in danger.

Tottenham 2, Portsmouth 1

Pompey is descending out of the Premier League faster than any other club can catch them. It was old boss Harry Redknapp to administer the latest round of Pompey punishment, as Spurs enjoyed goals from Jermaine Defoe and Ledley King to enjoy the spoils. Defoe turned from hero to villain after earning himself a red card for stomping a Portsmouth defending. Kevin-Prince Boateng scored for the home side, who are in desperate need of a golden parachute to halt their speedy descent.

Blackburn 3, Burnley 2

A wild and scrappy derby in the north of England started off with a bang. Burnley's Robbie Blake smashed a 30-yard scorcher in just the 5th minute to open the scoring. The home side was rattled but bounced back to equalize behind David Dunn — and the floodgates opened for Blackburn, who snatched two goals past Brian Jensen to grab three points in what was a heated match.


What did you think of this weekend's EPL action? Can Arsenal win the title? What will happen to Liverpool?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Brandon,

    I read these blogs for things that can be close to news. As you are aware from Ives’s blogs, Ives is very careful not to throw out gossip. More importantly, the name of the driver has zero importance to our interest in Charlie Davies. There are public policy reasons for not disclosing the name of the driver. AND, you provided no source for the information about the name of the driver, save for a COMMENT on another blog.

  2. Bobby z with the goal. Fulham dominating, Hull parking the bus from the start of the match, it was bound to be a lob sided affair.

  3. You can never have too many Gooners!

    Dempsey’s been called for 2 handballs according to commentary, maybe he’s the next great American keeper?

    Hoping Dempsey puts a couple past Hull, Jozy comes on for a brace to level the score and make Brown look like a clown for not starting him!

  4. Martin O’Neill and Moyes are proven EPL managers of the highest quality. Both would be successful w/ any of the Big 4. Good eyes for talent, obviously great man managers & tacticians given their typically small squads and guys who are not huge stars (Cahill and Mellberg), and done w/ limited funds…Sparky Hughes may pass the test at Man City and be included w/ this pair in a year or so.

  5. Is this Travis from the offside? If so, it’s good to see another Arsenal fan doing some blogging. It seems there aren’t enough of us going around.

  6. Jozy’s on the bench for Hull, Clint’s starting, Johnson’s nowhere. I guess I should be happy at least the USA’s best current striker (Jozy) will have fewer minutes in which to get injured. But still, I’d love for the kid to get a few starts to make a point. Phil Orange — I mean Brown — infuriates me.

  7. Time will come when the name will be released, but let it be while it isn’t. Virginia law states that Police can keep the name private until an investigation is complete. Once an investigation is done, we will see all the details, but I doubt that the name speculated is the actual driver.

  8. ko’d – I don’t really know why you visit these boards if you don’t want to read speculation or find information you can’t read in a police blotter. According to your statement, I guess I should just read the ny times or whatever daily paper is in my city and be satisfied with that.

    There’s fans out there who are interested in this story, not to point blame at victims, but to try and understand what happened that night.

    (SBI-Brandon, the name of the driver was not in the story you linked to and there is a reason the name had not been released publically yet.)

  9. Bad news now for United. They’re going into Moscow w/out Giggs, Evra, Rooney, Park, and Flether. Berbatov was on the plane w/ the team and so was Vidic but isn’t sure if they’ll be fit enough to make an appearance.

    That’s quite the blow. Fergy said both Vidic and Rooney will be ready for the Scousers on Sunday.

  10. Freidel was great in goal for Villa with the glaring exception of the Drogba shot. He saves that at least 9 out of 10 times. I don’t think O’Neill is underrated. He worked magic at Leicester and Celtic, and there are rumors he’ll be stolen by Man United when Fergie decides to retire.

  11. On Fox Soccer Report, they said Liverpool lined up in a 3-4-2-1 (spaceship formation?). How did that work out? Well if the highlights were any indication, the game was basically 90 minutes of Darren Bent terrorizing Jamie Carragher. Add in the balloon goal, and it was good times all around.

  12. Oh yeah, and I wish Shay Given wasn’t on City, he’s probably picked up about six points by himself with his ridiculous saves. If they didn’t have him, they’d be in a different position…

  13. Martin O’Neil has to be the most underrated manager in English football right now. No big names, no big spending, he reminds me of pellegrini and what he did at Villareal.

  14. Once again United continues to slump to top of the table. Give me a break. And Liverpool has lost four times already this season in the league, at least do a little research, come on…


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