This weekend we had the regular ten games on the docket, and only a couple of them didn’t have big table implications, huge drama, or the fate of a manager on the line. There were so many quality and timely goals this week, lets get right to it.
Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal
This was another great showing by the Gunners. For some reason, they get up for random big games and look like a really good team on occasion. Liverpool took the lead in this game, however, and looked the better side most of the first half. First Luis Suarez won a penalty that Dirk Kuyt would step up and take. Wojciech Szczesny saved the penalty then somehow got back across the goal to save the rebound, completing one of the greatest double saves I have ever seen. The Reds pushed on though and eventually got the goal when Laurent Koscielny put Jordan Henderson’s cross into his own net. Just eight minutes later though, Robin van Persie rose up and of course, scored to equalize. It stayed that way until halftime and as the second half wore on, both teams looked like they could win it. There was only one man that had the quality to actually do so. RVP stepped up and smashed in the winner in stoppage time with a volley reminiscent of his winner against Everton earlier this season. Both keepers made great saves at different points in the match, but the best player in the Premier League proved as much and came to the rescue for his team again.
Blackburn 1-1 Aston Villa
I guess this is a good point for Blackburn, but Villa just continues to disappoint this season. Charles N’Zogbia scored for the Villans but they couldn’t double that lead and David Dunn would make them pay with a second half goal to get the draw.
QPR 1-1 Everton
Both goals came in the firs half of this one, with Royston Drenthe scoring for Everton, then giving up the free kick that Bobby Zamora would eventually equalize from. Both sides carved a couple chances and QPR missed a couple sitters but a point each was probably fair.
Stoke 1-0 Norwich
Stoke got back to being Stoke on Saturday and pounded out a 1-0 home win. Matthew Etherington got the lone goal when he smashed home after 72 minutes had been played. This win saw Stoke jump their opponents in the table.
Manchester City 2-0 Bolton
Another grind-it-out win for City in which the defense looks impenetrable and the attack looks potent. Both goals had some good fortune in them, with Gael Clichy’s shot taking a big deflection and Adam Johnson’s run that led to the Mario Balotelli goal being helped by the Bolton defense, but that is what good teams do. City has learned how to take advantage of mistakes and not allow soft goals, which is the mark of future champions, if you ask me.
Wigan 0-2 Swansea
Wigan manager, Roberto Martinez, was facing his former team, Swansea, who are better now than when he managed the club. A brace from Gylfi Sigurdsson was good enough for all three points, even with just ten men for the last 30 minutes.
West Brom 1-0 Chelsea
As we would find out a day later, this would be Andre Villas-Boas’ last match in charge of Chelsea Football Club. Gareth McCauley would be the man to put the final nail in AVB’s coffin as his 82nd minute goal gave West Brom a famous home victory. You have to feel for the Portuguese manager, but it probably is the right call to get rid of him.
Newcastle 1-1 Sunderland
The typically volatile derby was everything advertised as the Black Cats gained a nice away point at St. James’ Park. Lee Cattermole, naturally, got an early yellow card but it was his Sunderland who would soon be in the lead when Niklas Bendtner converted from the spot. It would get harder for Sunderland, though, because Stephane Sessegnon would be sent off for a stupid hit to the face of Cheik Tiote. It stayed 1-0 until Shola Ameobi drew a penalty, but Demba Ba would miss. No worries, said Ameobi, as he popped up with a goal in the last minute to save a point for the Geordies.
Fulham 5-0 Wolves
However great the two-goal comeback last weekend was for Wolves, this match was the exact opposite. Andrew Johnson, Pavel Pogrebnyak, and Clint Dempsey tore open the Wolves defense, time and time again, to the tune of five goals. The strikes were split between Pogrebnyak and Dempsey, two for the latter, and three for the former.
Tottenham 1-3 Manchester United
This was one of those matches that the result did not tell the whole story. Now, as much as United was dominated in this game, you have to credit them for finishing their chances. Spurs threw everything at the Red Devils but could not get the ball across the line. Wayne Rooney did, however, for United and it came on a header just before halftime. Tottenham didn’t seem to be too rattled but two goals from Ashley Young, still against the run of play, took the wind completely out of their sails. Jermaine Defoe did get a late consolation but it didn’t mean much as Spurs lost more ground to the Manchester clubs this weekend and probably completely keep the out of the title race.
Team of the week this time around is going to Fulham. They are slowly sliding up the table and their five-star performance on Saturday was further proof that they belong in the top half. The player of the week, once again, has to go to Robin van Persie. The man is unreal, and not only puts the ball in the back of the net, but also does so with style and at huge moments in matches. I love watching this guy and pray that he stays fit; regardless of what team he plays for next season. The calendar has turned to March and the matches are getting bigger and bigger for all 20 clubs. The other 19 clubs are surely thinking, if only we had our own RVP.