It is common for teams to come back after the international break a bit rusty and a bit fatigued, but that wasn’t the case for Arsenal and Manchester United who both stormed to three points today. Arsenal hammering six past Southampton and Manchester United hitting Wigan for four. There were also big wins for Aston Villa and Fulham. However it wasn’t the greatest of days for Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool who were all held to draws against Stoke, QPR and Sunderland respectively. The early kick off saw Norwich and West Ham draw 0-0 in a very dull encounter.
First off to the Emirates where Arsenal showed just what they can do when they get going. Four goals in the first half rewarded a quality first 45 minutes for Arsene Wenger’s men. Unfortunately for Southampton two goals in the first half were unlucky own goals and they were sandwiched either side of a Podolski wonder free-kick and a Gervinho goal. Although the travelling away fans did have something to cheer about when Fox gave them a consolation goal just before half time. Not a goal that Arsenal keeper, Szczesny will want to see again. In the second half another Gervinho goal and a goal from ex-Southampton player, Theo Walcott, concluded what was a fantastic performance by Arsenal.
It took a while but four second half goals for Manchester United saw them beat Wigan Athletic at Old Trafford. With no Rooney and Van Persie only on the bench, it was down to Welbeck and Hernandez to lead the line for United and after just five minutes, Hernandez had the chance to give United the lead after they were awarded a penalty unfairly. Wigan goalkeeper, Al Habsi was wrongly accused of bringing down Danny Welbeck in the box. However, justice was served when the Wigan keeper denied Hernandez from the spot. The second half was a different story for United though as they scored four goals to see of Wigan. Paul Scholes gave them the lead on his 700th appearance and then Hernandez made up for his penalty miss earlier by slotting home from a Buttner cross. Buttner went from provider to goalscorer when he went on a mazy run and then drilled a shot past the Wigan keeper. A goal and assist summed up an impressive debut for the left back. Anothe debutant got in the scoresheet for Man United as well. Youngster, Nick Powell, smashed home a long range shot to secure all three points for United.
League leaders, Chelsea, looked to carry on their 100% start to the season when they went to Loftus Road, however that wasn’t the case as they were held to a 0-0 draw. All eyes were on the game before the match to see if Anton Ferdinand would shake John Terry and Ashley Cole’s hand. The QPR defender refused to shake their hands though. The biggest talking point during the game was a big penalty appeal that was turned down for Chelsea when Eden Hazard was brought down in the box, but the referee waved away protests. Over in Stoke, last years champions, Manchester City, were also held to a draw. They went 1-0 down to Stoke after Peter Crouch scored even though it appeared that he handled the ball in the build-up. City left the Britannia with one point though after new signing, Javi Garcia, grabbed an equaliser.
Dimitar Berbatov sealed his home debut with two goals against Steve Clarke’s WBA, which saw striker, Peter Odemwingie, sent off for kicking out at Sascha Riether. Steve Sidwell then secured the three points by making it 3-0 to the hosts. Paul Lambert’s, Aston Villa, also got a massive three points after beating Swansea 2-0 at Villa Park. Goals from Lowton and Benteke gave Villa their first win of the season.
The early kick off saw West Ham go to Carrow Road and they left with a point after the game ended 0-0. Not much to report from that game apart from one incident when Norwich midfielder, Andrew Surman, looked like he had been fouled inside the box, however the referee correctly said it was outside of the box and a free-kick was given.
Sunderland and Liverpool kicked off in the evening and that game also ended in a draw. Goals from Fletcher and Suarez saw the teams both go home with a point.
So a great weekend for Arsenal and Manchester United seeing them rise to third and second in the league respectively.
Alex William Batt