"He bounces the ball. It's a huge mistake. A horrendous error."
The Premier League resumed after the international break that saw England secure their passage to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Arsenal maintained their grip at the top of the Premier League after beating Norwich City 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium. Chelsea hot on their heels in second spot beat Cardiff City 4-1 at Stamford Bridge with goals from Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto’o.
Ten-man Newcastle United held Liverpool to a 2-2 draw at St James Park, whilst Everton sealed a 2-1 home win against Hull City. Manchester United conceded a late goal to draw 1-1 with Southampton.
Sergio Agüero scored twice as Manchester City beat West Ham United 3-1 at Upton Park. Swansea City crushed Sunderland 4-0 at home. Tottenham Hotspur beat Aston Villa 2-0 at White Hart Lane and Fulham thumped Crystal Palace in a 4-1 away win.
Newcastle United 2 Liverpool 2 – 12.45pm KO, Saturday
Liverpool and England captain, the fantastic Steven Gerrard, rounded off a great personal week by scoring his 100th league goal for the club in a 2-2 draw against Newcastle United. The Liverpudlian had also scored for England to seal their spot for next year’s World Cup.
Liverpool couldn’t get past a Newcastle side that had ten men on the pitch for most of the game. Yohan Cabaye struck a long range effort to put the home side ahead. Gerrard equalised from the penalty spot after a red card offence on Luis Suárez by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
Paul Dummett restored Newcastle’s lead, only for Daniel Sturridge to score a header from a Suarez assist.
Liverpool came close to clinching it as nerves set in for Newcastle, but to no avail. The draw was a fair result, but a ruefully missed opportunity for Liverpool.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers remained positive and said:
“We have stabilised the mentality, there’s a strong culture at the club now, and I think the supporters can see the direction we’re going in.”
Arsenal 4 Norwich City 1 – 3pm KO, Saturday
Arsenal continued their excellent form, with Mesut Özil scoring twice to help the Gunners seal a 4-1 win against Norwich City. Arsenal has extended their unbeaten run to twelve games and now lead Chelsea by two points on top of the English Premier League table.
Jack Wilshere started the rout ending a sublime team move that had the fans mesmerised.
Mesut Özil got in on the act by scoring the first of his two goals in the 58th minute to create the buffer Arsenal needed. That didn’t last long as Jonny Howson pulled one back with twenty minutes remaining to set up a tense finish.
Aaron Ramsay popped up however, in the 83rd minute to make it 3-1. It was too much for Norwich City to come back when Özil completed his brace with a goal two minutes from the end of the match.
Norwich has failed to win in North London since 1992.
Chelsea 4 Cardiff City 1 – 3pm KO, Saturday
Referee Anthony Taylor took some of the headlines in this game as he allowed a foul goal to stand and sent off Chelsea Manager, José Mourinho.
An error of judgment by David Luiz ten minutes into the match helped Cardiff City take an early lead through Jordan Mutch.
Twenty-three minutes later, one of the most controversial goals of the season was scored – Samuel Eto’o stealing the ball from the Cardiff goalkeeper, David Marshal as he was bouncing it inside the penalty area, before Eden Hazard equalised for The Blues.
The referee let the goal stand even though FIFA rules state that the ball is considered under the goalkeeper’s control when being bounced.
Speaking of the Cameroon international, a Chelsea fan on Twitter recalled: “Eto’o tried the same thing on Buffon before.”
Mourinho was shown the red card with twenty minutes remaining, for continuously complaining to the fourth official about the referee. This led to Mourinho sitting with Chelsea supporters behind the teams dug out.
The second half saw Chelsea score thrice, including a fantastic twenty yard strike by Oscar as Mourinho’s men sealed a 4-1 win.
Commenting on the controversial goal Cardiff boss, Malky Mackay, said: “He bounces the ball. It’s a huge mistake. A horrendous error.”
Manchester United 1 Southampton 1 – 3pm KO, Saturday
Yet more frustration for the reigning champions as Manchester United dropped points at home as Southampton held them to a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils started strong with Robin van Persie giving them the lead in the 26th minute, but Southampton fought back in the second half as Adam Lallana equalised for The Saints in the 89th minute to deny Manchester United the three points.
United are now eight place in the points table, eight points behind leaders Arsenal.
A fan from the Indian Red Devils supporters club optimistically said: “Expecting us to strongly bounce back.”
West Ham 1 Manchester City 3 – 5.30pm KO, Saturday
A goal either side of half time by Sergio Agüero sent Manchester City well on the way to a dominant 4-1 away win against West Ham United.
The influential David Silva of Manchester City dictated much of the play as the difference in the two sides became increasingly evident. West Ham United pulled a goal back after half time to make it 2-1 through Ricardo Vaz Tê.
For all their renewed effort however, West Ham couldn’t do anything to stop Manchester City from grabbing their third goal. David Silva rounded off a solid performance with a goal in the 80th minute to give Manchester City three well deserved points.
Aston Villa 0 Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 4pm KO, Sunday
Tottenham Hotspurs beat Aston Villa 2-0 at White Hart Lane to move up to fifth in the Premier League table. Spurs new sensation Andros Townsend has rightly earned a new four-year contract after having been loaned out to a staggering nine clubs in his career so far.
The youngster was influential yet again as he opened the scoring, albeit unintentionally. His cross into the penalty area missed everybody and curled in at the far post to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
Roberto Soldado made it 2-0 in the second half to seal the points for Spurs.
Fulham brushed aside Crystal Palace 4-1 at Selhurst Park in a win that saw a strong contender for goal of the season. Owner Shahid Khan must be relieved with the result and looks ahead to his NFL side Jacksonville Jaguars take on San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium next weekend.