The English Premier League gave us 23 goals on the weekend, the most important of which came from Fernando Torres in the dying embers of the financially flush, title favorites affair between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge amid miscommunication at the back for the Sky Blues.
There were successful strikes in eight of the 10 contests as Norwich and Cardiff City played to a scoreless draw at Carrow Road on Saturday, while Swansea and West Ham United failed to break their 0-0 deadlock at the Liberty Stadium the following day.
In addition to Torres’ return to form, the weekend was marked by a rash of headed goals, including winners for Southampton and Manchester United and one to erase any doubt in Arsenal’s victory against bottom-feeders Crystal Palace.
Luis Suarez used his noggin to score two of his three goals Saturday and helped make the adidas F50 adizero TRX the top scoring shoe of the weekend with seven goals. The PUMA evoSPEED 1.2 and Nike Hypervenom Phantom tied for second with three apiece.
- Saturday, Oct. 26
Arsenal 2 Crystal Palace 0, Selhurst Park
Mikel Arteta, Arsenal, 47th minute penalty, PUMA evoSPEED 1.2 Blackberry Cordial, Fluo Orange, Fluo Pink
Olivier Giroud, Arsenal, 87th minute, PUMA evoSPEED 1.2, Blackberry Cordial, Fluo Orange, Fluo Pink
Olivier Giroud’s header to seal the points for 10-man Arsenal
Mikel Arteta had an eventful day, scoring a penalty before being sent off. His red card, given for a challenge on former teammate Marouane Chamakh deemed to be a goalscoring chance, put the result in doubt for the Gunners. Playing for the first time without former manager Ian Holloway, who left by mutual consent in the midweek, Crystal Palace hit the crossbar and forced a fine save from Wojeich Szczesny.
Arsenal put it to bed, though, when Welsh wizard Aaron Ramsey picked out Giroud’s counterattacking run and scooped the ball to the arriving Frenchman to see Arsenal maintain the EPL’s top spot.
Everton 2 Aston Villa 0, Villa Park
Romelu Lukaku, Everton, 68th minute, Nike Mercurial Vapor, Electro Purple/Volt Black
Leon Osman, Everton, 81st minute, PUMA King Finale, White/Navy/Orange
Romelu Lukaku’s smart, sweeping strike
In the battle of the big Belgian strikers and athletic American goalkeepers, it was Romelu Lukaku who beat Brad Guzan to get the scoreboard operator going at Villa Park. On loan from Chelsea, the former West Brom man has now scored five goals in five appearances for Everton. On this day, he used his left foot to sweep home what proved to be the winner at the near post. Leon Osman, who later added his name to the score sheet, got the assist.
Everton also have Tim Howard to thank for the win as he saved a penalty and later denied Aston Villa players twice in the first half on one-on-one opportunities.
Liverpool 4 West Brom 1, Anfield
Luis Suarez, Liverpool, 12th, 17th and 55th minutes, adidas F50 adizero TRX, Electricity/Hero Ink/Metallic Silver
James Morrison, West Brom, 66th minute penalty, Nike Hypervenom Phantom, Electro Purple/Volt/Black
Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool, 77th minute, Nike Hypervenom Phantom, Black/Black/Bright Citrus
Luis Suarez’s scintillating hat trick
Back in the team after serving his 10-game ban, Suarez has wasted no time in re-endearing himself to the Anfield faithful after pining for a move away this summer by scoring his first home hat trick.
The Uruguayan’s dominant day began as he dribbled through three West Brom defenders to drive a strike along the grass and into the net. Minutes later, he headed home from 17 yards out into the Upper 90 to set the Reds off and running.
In the second half, it was Suarez using his forehead again from a Steven Gerrard set piece delivery, once more leaving Boaz Myhill helpless between the posts.
His strike partner Daniel Sturridge hit a glorious left footed chip from outside the area, as well, that on another day would have taken the plaudits.
Manchester United 3 Stoke City 2
Peter Crouch, Stoke City, 4th minute, PUMA PowerCat 1.12 SL, Black/Fluo Yellow/Blue
Robin Van Persie, Manchester United, 43rd minute, adidas F50 adizero, Infrared/Running White/Black
Marko Arnautovic, Stoke City, 45th minute, Nike Hypervenom Phantom, Black/Black/Bright Citrus
Wayne Rooney, Manchester United, 78th minute, Nike Hypervenom Phantom, Electro Purple/Volt/Black
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Manchester United, 80th minute, Nike Tiempo Legend, Light Bone/Volt/Black
Master Wayne’s wondrous equalizer, all-day inspiration
Chicharito’s winner will grab the headlines, but it was Wayne Rooney who inspired the Red Devils to twice come from behind and collect the win in front of the home faithful. Former Manchester United player turned Stoke City manager Mark Hughes will be bitterly disappointed not to get something from his team’s fine performance, but even he would agree that Rooney was fantastic on the day.
With Manchester United trailing 2-1 with less than 15 minutes to go, Rooney met a corner kick at the near post and contorted his ample neck muscles to guide the ball into the far side netting and set up a frenzied finish. A rebound from Rooney’s first-half header paved the path for Robin Van Persie to score, as well. Chicharito scored the one that won it, but it wouldn’t have come without the English talisman’s first-class shift.
Southampton 2 Fulham 0, St. Mary’s Stadium
Rickie Lambert, Southampton, 20th minute, Nike CTR360 III, Volt/Black/Green Glow
Jay Rodriguez, Southampton, 42nd minute, adidas F50 adizero TRX, Electricity/Hero Ink/Metallic Silver
Rodriguez, Lambert putting their heads together
Southampton’s dream start to the EPL season, the best in club history, continued at home Saturday with a 2-0 scoreline that flattered the vistors. This match wasn’t close with the fifth-placed Saints playing with confidence and as a seasoned unit and outshooting Fulham 20-2 on the day.
The two goals were almost mirror images with Jay Rodriguez flicking on from a corner kick to find Rickie Lambert’s waiting head at the back post to open the scoring and the two combining vice-versa from open play to double the advantage.
- Sunday, Oct. 27
Sunderland 2 Newcastle United 1, Stadium of Light
Steven Fletcher, Sunderland, 5th minute, Umbro Geometra Pro II, Black/Pink
Mathieu Debucy, Newcastle United, 57th minute, adidas Nitrocharge 1.0 TRX, Vivid Red/Running White/Electricity
Fabio Borini, Sunderland, 84th minute, Nike CTR360 III, Volt/Black/Green Glow
Fabio Borini’s beauty to bag the points
Jozy Altidore laid the ball off to the on-rushing Italian, on loan from Liverpool, and Borini blasted a destined laser from distance into the back of the net. The substitute’s sublime goal was well worthy of winning the Wearside derby and marked Sunderland’s second home league win against their bitter rivals sine 1980.
With the three points, the Black Cats first league triumph this term, they moved off of the bottom spot, four points from safety. Manager Gus Poyet marked his home debut with style and believes the result will provide a platform for Sunderland to kick on and stay up in this division. He has to hope, doesn’t he?
Chelsea 2 Manchester United 1, Stamford Bridge
Andre Schurrle, Chelsea, 33nd minute, adidas F50 adizero TRX, Electricity/Hero Ink/Metallic Silver
Fernando Torres, Chelsea, 90th minute, adidas Predator LZ TRX, Pride Blue/Running White/Orange
Fernando Torres’ wily winner
The long-struggling Spaniard finally got the reward for his determination, belief and bravery all day when Manchester City failed to deal with a late long ball. England’s unsettled No. 1 in net, Joe Hart, came racing out of his area only for Matija Nastasic to head the ball past him, unaware.
The striker once hailed as El Nino charged on to the wayward ball and nicked it past the desperate backtracking Martin Demichelis to seal the winner and settle the score between these two cash-rich title favorites. It was Torres’ first league goal of the year and his first full 90 for the Blues this season, as well.
Tottenham Hotspur 1 Hull City 0, White Hart Lane
Roberto Soldado, Tottenham Hotspur, 80th minute penalty, adidas F50 adizero TRX, Electricity/Hero Ink/Metallic Silver
Roberto Soldado’s spot-on spot kick
For the third time in the nine-match old league season, Spurs got a nervy 1-0 victory through a Soldado penalty kick as the Spaniard sent stand-in shotstopper Steve Harper the wrong way.
On hand to deliver wins away to Crystal Palace and home against Swansea in September, the former Valencia man who moved to London in the summer grabbed a hard-fought three points against a valiant, undermanned Hull City side.
The controversial penalty award came when Jan Vertonghen’s cross hit the hand of Ahmed Elmohamady from close range.