Week 8 of the Barclay’s Premier League is in the books and Manchester United ‘s defensive problems continue as they squandered a perfectly comfortable lead to West Bromwich Albion, a result Chelsea would not mind as they were held in a stale mate at Villa Park.
The weekend kicked off with a host of matches. Manchester United welcomed West Bromwich Albion, a team that has been doing surprisingly well. They held Tottenham to a 1-1 draw at home in round 4 of the league and followed up that performance by garnering a valuable 3 points at the Emirates in a 3-2 victory. And, this week was no different for the visitors, this time Manchester United were the unsuspecting victims. Although, they [Manchester United] are to be blamed for their own failure to collect, what was suspected as being three easy points. Things started out brightly for the home side as they controlled possession and within five minutes they had the lead through the young Mexican, Hernández; he latched on to a mistake by Carson- who parried a Nani free kick right into the path of the youngster who made no mistake about finishing the opportunity. Twenty minutes later and the the home team would find themselves up 2-0, courtesy of a lovely little play by Nani who stole the ball from midfield, dribbled up field and played a simple one-two with Berbatov. An easy victory for Manchester United here on out right? Complete opposite. It all went downhill for the Old Trafford faithful when Brunt’s 50th minute free kick, from the right of the box, somehow found it’s way into the back of the net, even after a desperate effort from Van der Sar to try and claw it out. Five minutes later and the one man, the ONLY player the United faithfuls would say they trust completely, came up with the biggest blunder of the day! Brunt sent in a cross that should have been an incredibly easy catch for the Dutch keeper, however, that wasn’t the case and he fumbled the cross that fell invitingly for Tchoyi who simply tapped it in. An incredible come back for the visitors, another HUGE result for them and another week when the United faithfuls left Old Trafford wondering what just happened. How is it a defence that has been playing together for years are making so many silly but costly mistakes? Is it that they are not up to the challenge yet? And DO NOT say it is because they are “notoriously slow starters”! Yes, they are. However, this is a United team that are not only starting slow but are also leaking goals from all over when they ought not to be. Take yesterday, a prime example of the mistakes that are occurring one too many times. They have already conceded 11 goals, 39% of the amount of goals they conceded last season. They currently have the 9th worst defence in the league!
The weekend also saw Arsenal playing hosts to Birmingham City at the Emirates. Despite having complete control of the game, in the 32nd minute the home team found themselves down a goal courtesy of the towering 6 ft 8 center forward Žigić, who headed home a wonderful Fahey cross. Eventually, Arsenal would get a break, when striker Chamakh took a dive after the slightest contact, if any, from Dann in the penalty area. Nasri stepped up to drill the penalty home and pulled his team level 5 minutes before the half. At the start of the 2nd half, we saw more of the same, Arsenal possessing the ball, probing the area. Eventually, it would pay off for the young guns. In the 47th minute, Chamakh capped off a wonderful play; Wilshire chested the ball down and played a one-two with Song and then with a little flick found Chamakh in the box, who rounded Foster and side-footed the ball into an empty net. Arsenal kept up the pressure but was unable to finish. Jack Wilshere had a magnificent game right up until the 92nd minute when he received his marching orders for a terrible foul on Žigić.
Chelsea was a late Saturday afternoon kick off and they must have heard the news that closest rivals Manchester United had blown a 2-0 lead earlier. News, which you would suspect that they were happy to hear and as such capitalize on the misfortune. However, the blues were up against a stubborn Aston Villa side and were held to a 0-0 draw inside Villa Park. Probably a fair result despite Chelsea dominating possession for much of the match but neither side had a plethora of chances and both teams struck the post in the closing minutes of the match. However, despite the result Chelsea managed to expand their lead to 5 points over the red devils.
Liverpool continues to struggle and were beaten 2-0 in the Merseyside derby in Goodison Park. As a fan of football it is never good to see a side of this caliber struggle so much to the point that they are probably in serious danger of being relegated if they continue in this path, but I digress. The first 30 or so minutes saw Everton dominate and eventually they broke the deadlock in the 34th minute through the little rabbit, Tim Cahill– Coleman dribbled down the right and cut the ball back for Cahill who smashed the ball past Reina into the roof of the net. In the 50th minute we would see sad eyes on all the faces of everyone associated with Liverpool, as the Spaniard Arteta punished the net from the edge of the box after a poor clearance by Kyrgiakos off a corner. Liverpool rightly deserved to be beaten as they were very lackluster and they struggled to control the game for the most part. The reds will be dying for the winter transfer market to open up so they can dabble a bit and revamp their squad as they are on the verge of being in a relegation battle this season.
Tottenham secured a 2-1 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage with goals from Pavlyuchenco and Huddlestone while, Bolton recorded their first home win of the season by the same result over Stoke City; goals coming from Lee and Klasnic for Bolton and Delap scored the only goal for Stoke. Wolverhampton and Westham played to a 1-1 draw, Jarvis got things off to a good start for the home team in the 10th minute but Noble would equalize from the spot on 52 minutes. Newcastle had to come back from being 2 goals down to earn a draw with Wigan after N’Zogbia scored two in two minutes against his old employers but Ameobi would pull one back in the 72nd minute and Coloccini would break the hearts of the Wigan fans when he pulled the Magpies level in the 94th minute. Tévez led City to second place in the premier league after he scored twice to help overcome a stubborn Blackpool who must feel hard done by the result. Silva recorded his first goal for his new club and Harewood and Taylor-Fletcher were the scorers for Blackpool. Blackburn and Sunderland played to a bore 0-0 draw.
Chelsea are top with 19 points, Man City is only 2 points behind them in second while Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham round out the top 5 all on 14 points. West Bromwich are now a surprising 6th with 12 points after their incredible comeback against the red devils. At the bottom of the table we find Westham rock bottom on 6 points but only by virtue of goal difference as Liverpool are also on 6 points in 19th with a -6 goal difference, while Wolverhampton are 18th, also on 6 points.