Jen Offord takes a look at the key moments of the Premier League weekend, as Chelsea closed the gap on City, Leicester maintained their ‘comeback kings’ reputation and Liverpool’s first-choice strike duo struggled to gel.
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Chelsea’s fortune changes
There was a change in fortune for two Blues this weekend, as Manchester City lost their unbeaten record and Chelsea ended their league drought. It was West Ham who brought City to their knees, the former having not played with the “concentration or intensity” displayed in their first five league games, according to manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Jose Mourinho’s twice-annual league spat with Arsene Wenger started with a handshake, though it might’ve been more like handbags by the end of the game. It was another controversial performance by the Premier League’s very own Big Bad Wolf, Diego Costa, who set about the important business of upsetting absolutely everyone bar his boss, who provocatively named him as his man of the match.
Chelsea won the game by two goals to a nine-man Arsenal’s nil, after Gabriel rose to Costa’s bait and lashed out, following three shoves to the face of Koscielny; a further chest barge to the ground, and a scratch around the neck. The petulant kick was right in front of the referee, who showed considerable restraint, all things considered.
Saido Berahino ate his own transfer deadline words as he started for the first time since his infamous tweet that he would “never play” for West Bromwich Albion again after being denied a move to Tottenham.
Berahino scored the Baggies’ match-winning goal against a tepid Aston Villa. He was even “desperate to play”, according to West Bromwich’s boss Tony Pulis; and had more celebratory snuggles for his team-mates at the final whistle – seemingly confirming his manager’s assertions that all is forgiven.
All going south
It’ll be a savage bloodbath by the time the north-east derby comes around if the current table is anything to go by, with Newcastle and Sunderland languishing at the bottom.
The Black Cats conceded two goals to a Bournemouth side who secured their first home win in the Premier League. Callum Wilson impressed again, scoring the first goal against an absent Sunderland defence. The second came from Matt Ritchie, who belted what looked like a cleared ball into the net.
Elsewhere, the south continued to dominate the North as Watford beat Newcastle 2-1. Finishing the game in a very respectable ninth place, Hornets boss Quique Flores Sanchez put the win down to unfounded optimism “we always think we can win games” (or do you intimidate them with your devastating command of smart-casual, Quique?).
Foxes are comeback kings
My NFM (new favourite manager), Claudio Ranieri, might have preferred an extra two points, but at least he wasn’t going to have to foot the bill for the pizza he’d promised his squad if they kept a clean sheet against Stoke on Saturday.
Two nil down at half-time for the second week running, what is Ranieri telling them in the locker rooms? Perhaps he shifted the pizza-based goalposts to a draw? They were lucky to score a second goal after their penalty in the 51st minute, though, with Stoke players complaining Leicester captain Wes Morgan held back Jonathan Walters to allow Jamie Vardy’s fourth goal of the season.
Red alert for Sturridge and Benteke
Long-term crock Daniel Sturridge made his first start since April on Sunday, as Liverpool took on Norwich at home. But it was only enough to claw back one point out of their last three games as they were held to a 1-1 draw by the visitors.
There wasn’t a huge amount of interplay between Sturridge and fellow striker, Christian Benteke; and it was Danny Ings who came on in place of the Belgian at half-time to score the first goal of the match.
Liverpool sit below newly-promoted Norwich on goal difference in the table. But it wasn’t all bad for Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, who reckoned the number of (missed) opportunities were “pleasing”. After a disappointing end to last season, he might need more than just opportunities in the near future.
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