"Welcome back Suárez, we all missed you."
The Premier League saw defeats for big guns Manchester United and Manchester City on a weekend of surprise results. United faltered 2-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion as City lost 3-2 to Aston Villa in a thrilling encounter.
Arsenal and Liverpool both registered convincing away wins, which saw them leading the league table. The Gunners eased past the in-form Swansea team 2-1 at home, as Luis Suárez’s league return helped Liverpool see off Sunderland 3-1 at the Stadium of Light.
The ‘Student’ Villas-Boas played host to former ‘Master’ and friend José Mourinho as Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea played out a 1-1 draw in the London derby at White Hart Lane.
Fulham Manager Martin Jol may feel the pressure from new owner Shahid Khan as The Cottagers lost 2-1 at home to Cardiff. Now in the relegation zone, the calm Jol said: “I think we will be okay but you have to win these games and we didn’t. Fulham have been down there before.”
Norwich’s narrow 1-0 win at Stoke was enough for them. Hull also won 1-0 at home to West Ham United. Southampton defeated Crystal Palace 2-0 to climb to 5th place in the league.
Tottenham Hotspur 1 Chelsea 1 – 12.45pm KO, Saturday
Tottenham Hotspur’s André Villas-Boas faced up to his old mentor José Mourinho on the weekend. Spurs took a deserved lead into half time after a dominating first half. A good link up between Christian Eriksen and Roberto Soldado ended with a goal by Gylfi Sigurdsson who was quicker to react than captain John Terry.
It was the interval that saw Chelsea replace John Obi Mikel with Juan Mata, which made the difference. Mata’s free kick met Terry for the equaliser.
Fernando Torres’ constant battle with Jan Vertonghen ended with Torres receiving a harsh second yellow and an early bath. Tottenham Hotspur tried to make the most of the one man advantage, but a score draw was a fair result for both teams.
Disappointed with the red card, Mourinho said:
“Some foreign players when they come to England still keep their culture and it’s a disgrace you do that to a person from your same job.”
Aston Villa 3 Manchester City 2 – 3pm KO, Saturday
Manchester City would have topped the table had they won, but Aston Villa’s first home win of the season halted their chance.
It was heading City’s way after the influential Yaya Touré gave them the lead right on half time. The equaliser came from Karim El Ahmadi six minutes into the second half. Five minutes later though, City restored their lead with a header by Edin Džeko from a Samir Nasri corner.
Villa didn’t give up, however. The impressive Dutch midfielder Leandro Bacuna equalised again for Villa with a free kick.
With fifteen minutes left, Villa took the lead for the first time. Confusion between City defenders Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic allowed Andreas Weimann through to get all three points for Villa.
Manchester City have now only won one point from a possible nine.
Manchester United 1 West Bromwich Albion 2 – 3pm KO, Saturday
Manchester United boss, David Moyes, has often been dubbed ‘The Football Genius,’ but he is finding it tough to fill the big shoes that Sir Alex Ferguson has left.
After a morale boosting midweek win against Liverpool in the League Cup, the Red Devils failed to follow up against a West Bromwich Albion side that held their own.
Despite chances for both sides, the first half ended scoreless. The opening goal came in the 54th minute with an exquisite chip from Morgan Amalfitano after romping through the home defence.
The lead didn’t last long as Wayne Rooney equalised three minutes later with yet another free kick. The game picked up pace at this stage as both teams went looking for the winner.
The Baggies battled on at the Theatre of Dreams and got their just rewards with a Saido Berahino strike that turned out to be the winner.
Despite pressure from the home side, West Bromwich Albion held on to a famous victory at Old Trafford after a thirty-five year wait.
Worryingly for Manchester United, this is their worst start to the season in twenty-four years.
Reaction online from a Pakistani Manchester United Supporter on Twitter said: “Moyes was chosen by Ferguson. The same Ferguson who made our team won a lot of trophies and you’re already doubting his decision?”
Swansea 1 Arsenal 2 – 5.30pm KO, Saturday
Arsenal stylishly swept aside Swansea in a breathtaking display of football. Having seen their rivals slip up earlier in the day, the pressure was on Arsenal to capitalise.
The first half saw both teams create some good chances, but the half time break came without any goals.
In the 58th minute, Arsenal broke the deadlock in a five man move that ended with the lively German teenager Serge Gnabry finishing a move that got his first goal for the club.
Good work from Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere allowed Aaron Ramsey to fire through a packed defence four minutes later.
Wilfried Bony’s introduction from the Swansea bench sparked them into action. A well worked move between Bony and Ben Davis resulted in a goal through a volley [David], putting Swansea right back in it.
Arsenal hung on and Arsène Wenger was able to celebrate his 17-year anniversary as manager with a win.
Sunderland 1 Liverpool 3 – 4pm KO, Sunday
The SAS being ‘Suárez and Sturridge’ were back in business at Sunderland. Luis Suárez’s league return to the Liverpool squad after a ten game ban made all the difference. It was Daniel Sturridge’s performance that won the plaudits, however.
Just before the half hour mark, Sturridge scored inadvertently with his arm from a Steven Gerrard corner.
On a day when Liverpool Ladies FC clinched the 2013 Women’s Super League, Suárez also celebrated the birth of his second child by scoring an easy tap in to make it 2-0. This came after some good work and a turn of pace from Sturridge following a sublime pass from Gerrard.
Sunderland came back stronger in the second half and never gave up. Their reward came in the 52nd minute when a parried save by Liverpool Goalkeeper, Simon Mignolet, fell to the feet of Emanuele Giaccherini to pull one back.
Sunderland couldn’t kick on from their, despite numerous attempts on goal, before Suárez grabbed his brace after Sturridge had done all the hard work with two minutes to go.
A LFC fan from India tweeted: “Welcome back Suárez, we all missed you.”
From a beach ball giving Sunderland the points four years ago, we now see Kevin Ball as interim coach who has been tasked with steadying the ship after the sacking of Paolo Di Canio. The win saw Liverpool leap above Tottenham Hotspur to 2nd place, just behind Arsenal.