The Gunners bounced back from last weekend’s self-inflicted loss to Chelsea with a 3-1 away win against West Ham to carry them into the international break. A 21st minute goal from West Ham’s Mohamed Diame had Arsenal fans wary of a Chelsea hangover, but Olivier Giroud answered decisively with his first Premier League goal of the season in the 41st minute.
Theo Walcott came on in the second half with something to prove to his manager and did just that, firing the game winner in the 77th. Santi Cazorla capped things off with a left-footed strike from outside the box in the 83rd minute, after which West Ham could only manage a couple of chances.
Despite claims early in the week that they would press Arsenal, West Ham seemed happy to concede possession, 69% of it in fact. The away side also dominated shots (21 to nine) and shots on goal (seven to three).
The Gunners even managed to assert themselves physically, completing 21 tackles to West Ham’s 15.
A terrible opening 15 from the opposition defense all but handed the three points to United from the start of the game. Newcastle’s back line was in chaos out of the gate as Jonny Evans was allowed to head home in the 8th minute followed by Patrice Evra (yes, the 5’9’’ Patrice Evra) in the 15th.
Newcastle managed to settle in the second half, but the damage was already done. Despite a couple of near misses from the home side, courtesy of Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse, they were no better off when Tom Cleverly launched a cross in the 71st minute that failed to find its target but, fortuitously, found the top corner instead.
Overall, United took their positive start and used it to dominate proceedings, gladly taking 54% possession for the remainder of the game. Newcastle did, in fact take more shots than their opponent (14 to 13), but failed to find the target nearly as often with just two shots on goal to United’s eight. All in all, a 3-0 loss may not be what Newcastle deserved, but it’s what they got.
The frustrating start to Liverpool’s season continued at the Kop, as they faced the famously stubborn Stoke City. The scoreless draw brings their record to 1-3-3 in their first seven games, and leaves them in 14th place in the league hovering just three points above the relegation zone.
Things were very nearly much worse as poor passing out of the back presented Stoke, and former Liverpool man Charlie Adam in particular, a flurry of chances. As the home team got into the game in the second half, the period during which they took 12 of their 18 shots, they did look the much better side, but Stoke’s incessant fouling and often illegal physicality proved too much for a team still reeling from a mid-week berating from it’s coach.
Numerically, it’s no surprise that Stoke conceded the lion’s share of possession, on the ball themselves for only 37% of the game. Likewise, they took only six shots, with just two of those finding the face of goal, while Liverpool attempted 18, though only two of theirs found the target. Poor shooting aside, where Liverpool really struggled was physically. Stoke dominated both tackles (25 to Liverpool’s 13) and fouls (18 to nine). Stoke did provide chances for the home side, and had Liverpool been able to find their shooting boots, they might have at least gotten something out of the beating.
What were your standout games of the last round in the EPL? Share your thoughts in the comments.