There’s a new team peering down from the top of the English Premier League summit today thanks to players who wore the Nike Mercurial Vapor IX this weekend.
After Liverpool’s teenage effectual Englishman Raheem Sterling was on hand to record a double in the Reds early demolishing of Arsenal, Eden Hazard stepped up to tally a hat trick that sent his Blues to the summit.
The Mercurial Vapor IX also gave some teams a huge leg up in the race for a top four spot this round, as it was worn to net decisive goals at White Hart Lane and Old Trafford.
All told, six players combined to score nine goals in the Mercurial Vapor IX, with the most recent colorway—Neo Lime/Metallic Silver/Polarized Blue—netting seven, a best for this week.
Nike players collected 17 of the 29 goals scored in the English top flight, with adidas athletes accounting for seven goals and two players who wear Warrior scoring in the same week for the first time this season.
The lone game not to feature a goal came Saturday at Carrow Road, where Norwich City and Manchester City drew blanks, but you’ll find everything else here in our goals roundup.
- Saturday, Feb. 8
Liverpool 5 Arsenal 1, Anfield
Martin Skrtel, Liverpool, 1st and 10th minutes, Nike CTR360 Maestri III, Atomic Orange/Total Orange/Black
Raheem Sterling, Liverpool, 16th and 52nd minutes, Nike Mercurial Vapor IX, Neo Lime/Metallic Silver, Polarized Blue
Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool, 20th minute, Nike Hypervenom Phantom, Flash Lime/White/Black
Mikel Arteta, Arsenal, 69th minute penalty, PUMA evoPOWER 1, Fluro Peach, Ombre Blue, Fluro Yellow
In just 10 minutes, Škrtel uses shin, head to gash the Gunners
Arsenal barely had a chance to sweat and get dirty before Liverpool central defender Martin Škrtel got his side off to a flying, blitzing start in Saturday’s early contest.
The Slovakian broke from Liverpool’s first free kick and snuck in behind the Arsenal defense to get his shin to Steven Gerrard’s teasing ball. He then capitalized as the EPL leaders sat shell-shocked and connected his head to a corner kick, guiding the Nike Incyte expertly and gracefully into the top corner from the center of the box.
Liverpool was rampant in this game, much like in the Merseyside Derby two weeks ago, and put the affair out of sight within the opening 20 minutes. Now on 50 points, five back of the lead, the Reds’ top four hopes are gaining strength and a title push isn’t out of the question, either.
West Ham United 2 Aston Villa 0, Villa Park
Kevin Nolan, West Ham United, 46th and 48th minutes, adidas adiPure 11Pro TRX, Black/Running White/Solar Slime
Captain Nolan leads by example, hits another brace
For the second time is an many weeks, Kevin Nolan performed like the captain he is and gave his Hammers a brace and three points. Playing without the suspended Andy Carroll, West Ham needed a lift and Nolan was the made who propelled the squad.
After a listless opening half, Nolan gave the game some gusto early in the second stanza with two quick goals. The first was his best as he played the ball out wide to Stewart Downing, who beat two defenders at the byline and slid in a low cross for Nolan to back heel into the net in style.
The massive three points helped West Ham climb out of the drop zone, for this week at least. They are now two points behind 12th placed Aston Villa.
Chelsea 3 Newcastle United 0, Stamford Bridge
Eden Hazard, Chelsea, 27th, 34th and 63rd minute penalty, Nike Mercurial Vapor IX, Neo Lime/Metallic Silver, Polarized Blue
Hazard’s hat trick puts Chelsea in position for a championship
After Arsenal lost, and that’s putting it mildly, in the day’s opening contest, Chelsea, in third entering the weekend, had their tails up knowing that they could gain ground on the leaders with a win. With Manchester City in a stalemate with Norwich, Chelsea not only closed the gaps, they took the lead thanks to a world-class trio of goals from their fabulous Belgian winger.
After breaking an early deadlock, Hazard heaped on with a neat one-two with Samuel Eto’o, who played a backheel through-ball that Hazard passed into the net first time. Chelsea is now a point ahead of Arsenal and two ahead of Manchester City with 13 games to go.
Crystal Palace 3 West Bromwich Albion 1, Selhurst Park
Thomas Ince, Crystal Palace, 15th minute, Warrior Gambler S-Lite, Blackout
Joe Ledley, Crystal Palace, 27th minute, Nike CTR360 Maestri III, Atomic Orange/Total Orange/Black
Thievy Bifouma, West Bromwich Albion, 46th minute, Nike Tiempo Legend V, Desert Sand/Atomic Orange/Black
Marouane Chamakh, Crystal Palace, 69th minute penalty, Nike Mercurial Vapor IX, Electro Purple/Volt Black
Paul Ince hits the ground running, then soars in Palace debut
Paul Ince showed Crystal Palace fans what all his hype is about with a goal just a quarter of an hour into his first performance in an Eagles shirt. On loan from Blackpool, the 22-year-old son of former Three Lions captain Paul Ince also hit the corner that found the forehead of fellow debutant Joe Ledley to double the advantage before halftime.
Ince’s goal was a thing of beauty as he outpaced the West Brom defense, ran onto a cheeky through ball and clipped it past Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster to open his account.
With 26 points, 16 in seven games at home under Tony Pulis, Crystal Palace players are giving it all amid a real fight to stay up in the EPL for the first time in club history.
Southampton 2 Stoke City 2, St Mary’s Stadium
Rickie Lambert, Southampton, 6th minute, Nike CTR360 Maestri III, Volt/Black/Green Glow
Peter Odemwingie, Stoke City, 38th minute, adidas F50 adizero TRX, Samba Pack, Solar Blue, Running White, Solar Zest
Steven Davis, Southampton, 41st minute, Nike CTR360 Maestri III, Atomic Orange/Total Orange/Black
Peter Crouch, Stoke City, 44th minute, PUMA PowerCat 1.12 SL, Black/Fluro Yellow/Blue
Lambert shows technical brilliance with acute angle free kick
Along with teammates Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert continues to make a compelling case that England boss Roy Hodsgon should take him to Brazil. The latest evidence came from a free kick at the side of the penalty area conceded by a Charlie Adam handball.
It looked as though Lambert would cross the ball as the angle seemed to afford a near-impossible angle for a shot. Instead he curled it deliciously into the far Upper 90. Three goals followed, but this was the gem of the day.
The Saints and Potters now have drawn in all four of their EPL matches to date.
Hull City 2 Sunderland 0, Stadium of Light
Shane Long, Hull City, 16th minute, Nike Tiempo Legend IV, Volt/Black/Green Glow
Nikica Jelavic, Hull City, 62nd minute, Warrior Skreamer S-Lite, Grey/Black/Green
Brown makes it a Long day in Tigers, Black Cats contest
We typically use this space to write about the goal of the match, but a red card decided this contest. With Shane Long through on goal just four minutes into the game, Wes Brown slid in cynically and earned the third quickest sending off in EPL history and his third red card of this campaign.
Long, signed from West Brom in January, later got his second goal in as many games when 10-man Sunderland allowed a rebound to fall to his feet from a corner kick. The Irishman hit it first time, looping the ball into the back of the net.
Swansea City 3 Cardiff City 0, Liberty Stadium
Wayne Routledge, Swansea City, 47th minute, adidas F50 adizero TRX, Electricity, Hero Ink, Metallic Silver
Nathan Dyer, Swansea City, 79th minute, adidas F50 adizero TRX, Samba Pack, Solar Blue, Running White, Solar Zest
Wilfried Bony, Swansea City, 85th minute, Nike Mercurial Vapor IX, Neo Lime/Metallic Silver, Polarized Blue
Routledge goal gives Swansea a whale of a result
The South Wales Derby got some spotlight stateside with the late match airing on NBC proper, and new Swans boss Gary Moss will be delighted with what his men put on tape. Wayne Routledge, who scored the first goal and assisted on the second, made sure of that.
The English winger put Swansea in front when Pablo Hernandez played him in on the flank as Fabio forgot to fret about his whereabouts. Routledge took two touches and curled the ball into the far side netting.
The result, a convincing win against their neighbors, gave Swansea a happily-ever-after-style end to a week that started dreadfully with the sacking of manager Michael Laudrup.
- Sunday, Feb. 9
Tottenham Hotspur 1 Everton 0, White Hart Lane
Emmanuel Adebayor, Tottenham Hotspur, 65th minute, Nike Mercurial Vapor IX, Electro Purple/Volt Black
Adebayor scores to set up Spurs for top-four push
Tottenham won a game that Everton dominated on Sunday thanks to a quick free kick from Kyle Walker and marvelous glue-like control from Emmanuel Adebayor.
The Togolese striker experiencing new life under Spurs boss Tim Sherwood was alert when Walker lofted in a dead ball from the midway line. He chested it down, used his right foot to knock it onto his left and fired a low laser past Tim Howard.
The three points allowed Spurs to leapfrog the Toffess in the standings. They are now in fifth, three back of Liverpool and two ahead of Everton.
Manchester United 2 Fulham 2, Old Trafford
Steve Sidwell, Fulham, 19th minute, adidas Nitrocharge 1.0 TRX, Blue Beauty/Running White/ Electricity
Robin van Persie, Manchester United, 78th minute, adidas F50 adizero TRX, Samba Pack, Solar Zest/Black/Blast Purple custom
Michael Carrick, Manchester United, 80th minute, PUMA evoPOWER 1, Fluro Peach, Ombre Blue, Fluro Yellow
Darren Bent, Fulham. 94th minute, Nike Mercurial Vapor IX, Neo Lime/Metallic Silver, Polarized Blue
Bent dents Red Devils hopes, gives Fulham a needed point
Lewis Holtby picked out Steve Sidwell’s run through the heart of the Red Devils defense as the two men combined to take a deserved lead for Fulham at Old Trafford.
The Cottagers performed admirably for an hour after the goal, but all that good work appeared to be gone in 90 seconds amid a torrid attack punctuated by goals from Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick.
It was a vintage Manchester United, read Sir Alex Ferguson, comeback, but it all went quiet in Old Trafford in stoppage time. Out of nothing, Fulham struck back.
Nemanja Vidic, the Red Devils captain who announced this week he’ll move to Inter Milan in the summer, headed a long ball away from danger, but it fell to Sidwell. He guided the ball into the path of Kieran Richardson, whose shot stung the palms of David de Gea, the rebound falling to Darren Bent.
Ever the poacher, Bent was on hand to dive and nod the ball home to give cellar-dwellers Fulham a monumental point and David Moyes a monumental headache.
What was your favorite of the 29 goals this weekend? Chose one and tell us about it.