After a busy weekend of Premier League soccer, most clubs have four games under their belts and an early picture of the league table has begun to emerge. Who put their mark on this season’s campaign and who lost ground?
It took four games, but Spurs finally have their first win under new manager Andres Villas-Boas. After a 2-1 loss to Newcastle United, Tottenham faced successive 1-1 draws in which they were denied the full three points, first by a 91st minute goal from West Brom and then by an 85th minute goal from Norwich.
There were no such dramatics against Reading this Sunday. Spurs dominated the newly-promoted Royals in almost every conceivable way, opening the scoring after 18 minutes of play and adding two more for comfort in the 71st and 74th minutes.
The visitors were rarely in the game, their best opportunity coming from a denied penalty shout in the 11th minute. The Londoners bossed the game from there on out, taking 58% of possession and firing off 23 shots, with 8 of them on target. Reading managed only 6 the entire game. One of their 2 shots on target did manage to find the goal as the visitors snatched one bit of consolation in the 90th minute.
After making it to halftime with a 0-0 draw against Manchester United intact, Wigan surely began to have some hope of taking a result away from Old Trafford. That first half success came courtesy of solid defending, and more than a little luck, the most obvious being Javier Hernandez’s 6th minute penalty miss.
The Latics deserve credit for their physicality in the first half, though, something that disrupted United’s game in the first half but began to catch up with them as the game wore on. Emmerson Boyce and James McArthur both ended up in the book within the first 15 minutes of the second half, effectively tying their hands for the rest of the game. In fact, fouls committed was the only stat Wigan led in, committing 14 to United’s 10.
It couldn’t hold, of course, as United inevitably found the breakthrough in the 51st minute through none other than Paul Scholes. Hernandez, Alexander Buttner and Nick Powell would join him on the score sheet before game’s end, making for a lopsided score line.
In the thriller of this match week, Everton found themselves the victims, not of Newcastle, but of two controversial calls from the refereeing staff. The Blues were justifiably frustrated with the result after a Marouane Fellaini goal was incorrectly ruled to be offside and Victor Anichebe’s header, which appeared to cross the goal line, was not awarded.
The draw was even more disappointing in a game that Everton controlled for long stretches, and one that could have lifted them to third place had they taken all three points. The home side created 18 chances, compared to Newcastle’s 11, doubling the visitors’ shots on target 6 to 3. Their superior stats in possession and fouls also reflect a team that was able to retain the ball while still going toe-to-toe on physical challenges.
Everton will feel justifiably shorted, and will surely become a sub point in the ongoing goal-line technology debate.
What were your biggest results of Week 4? Share them in the comments.