Goals were the highlight of this weekend’s Premier League action and two hat-tricks, including Super Frank’s, were tucked away on Sunday.
In Lancashire, Manchester City thrashed a below-par Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. Mario Balotelli crashed his curling effort onto the post before Sergio Aguero limped off injured in an uneventful first half. But the second half increased in tempo as Adam Johnson expertly curled his shot into the top corner after 56 minutes; a lead that was soon doubled by Balotelli. A static Rovers’ defence gifted City a third as Samir Nasri converted before substitute defender Stefan Savic headed in a corner. This game also consisted of banners and disappointment from both fans, with the home crowd pleading Steve Kean to leave whilst it was Carlos Tevez for the other.
Full time at Ewood Park: Blackburn Rovers 0-4 Manchester City.
Manchester United edged past a brave Norwich City side as they remain top of the table. Leon Barnett’s first half run should have set up City striker Steve Morison but the winger failed to pick him out unmarked, whilst Wes Hoolahan tested stand-in goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard. Some good defending prevented the Canaries from taking the lead and after the interval, Anthony Pilkington found himself one-on-one with the ‘keeper; only to pull his shot agonisingly wide. But no matter how much pressure you put on the champions, the Old Trafford outfit fought back with a goal from Brazilian Anderson; heading in Wayne Rooney’s headed flick on with 22 minutes remaining on the clock. And after Pilkington struck the inside of the post, substitute Danny Welbeck added to his goal tally with a simple tap-in.
Full time at Old Trafford: Manchester United 2-0 Norwich City.
Newcastle United remained fourth after beating Wolverhampton Wanderers and made their best start to a season in 17 years. United got off to a perfect start when two summer signings linked-up for Demba Ba to score his fourth goal in two matches as he headed in Yohan Cabaye’s corner after 17 minutes. Tim Krul’s exceptional display in the Magpies goal prevented Wolves getting an equaliser and so did the referee as Jamie O’Hara was bundled down in the area; only for Mark Halsey to award a free-kick. Jonas Gutierrez capitalised on some poor Wolves defending when he ran straight through and tucked the ball into the far corner to give Alan Pardew an easier team talk at the break. In the second half, the game evened out with Ryan Taylor making some last ditch tackles to prevent Wolves from scoring, but there was nothing he could do on 88 minutes when Steven Fletcher headed home from close range. And as Wolves pressed for an equaliser, Kevin Doyle poked home late on for a clinical point – or was it? Again referee Halsey awarded a goalkick when the linesman thought Adam Hammill’s cross went over the line.
Full time at Molineux: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-2 Newcastle United.
In Saturday’s early kick-off, Liverpool took all three points away to 10-man Everton as controversy hit Merseyside. After Tim Cahill went close with a header, midfielder Jack Rodwell was harshly shown a straight red after he was alleged to have two-footed Luis Suarez; only for replays to show he clearly got the ball. This gave Liverpool the advantage and the Reds’ consistant attacking resulted in them winning a penalty just before half time as Phil Jagielka was the cuplrit once again on Suarez. Up stepped Dirk Kuyt, who has a great record against Everton, but stopper Tim Howard performed a world-class stop to keep both teams level at half time. However, Liverpool again pressed after the break and after Charlie Adam rattled the crossbar, Andy Carroll scored his first goal of the league after turning in Jose Enrique’s cross. And Suarez doubled the Reds’ lead with eight minutes remaining after latching onto a defensive error.
Full time at Goodison Park: Everton 0-2 Liverpool.
Aston Villa maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a comfortable victory over Wigan Athletic. Darren Bent’s neat control and shot was kept out well by goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi, but he couldn’t do anything about Gabriel Agbonlahor’s fourth goal of the season on 36 minutes. And Villa made it two after the break when Agbonlahor raced past the Athletic defence and crossed it on a plate for Bent to slot home. Roberto Martinez’s side rarely threatened and the fans were left with nothing to cheer after they saw their side manage only a few shots the whole game. The win moves Villa up to sixth, whilst Wigan drop from 15th to 17th.
Full time at Villa Park: Aston Villa 2-0 Wigan Athletic.
By Aaron Aquilina
Twitter @P_D_L_P (Prem-de-la-Prem)