"The Theatre of Dreams has come alive.”
Arsenal defeated Crystal Palace 2-0 with goals from Mikel Arteta and Olivier Giroud. Manchester United scored two late goals as they came from behind to beat Stoke City 3-2.
Liverpool crushed West Bromwich Albion to remain joint second in the Premier League. Chelsea grabbed a crucial 2-1 victory over Manchester City at home with goals from André Schürrle and Fernando Torres.
Sunderland won the Tyne-Wear derby, beating Newcastle United 2-1, while Tottenham Hotspurs luck from the penalty spot helped them beat Hull City 1-0. Everton’s fine form continued as they defeated Aston Villa 2-0 away.
Swansea City and West Ham United played out a goalless draw, as did Norwich City and Cardiff City. It was a miserable weekend for Shahid Khan as Fulham lost 2-0 away at Southampton and his NFL team, Jacksonville Jaguars lost 42-10 against the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium the following day.
Crystal Palace 0 Arsenal 2 – 12.45pm KO, Saturday
Arsenal defeated Crystal Palace 2-0 away from home in the early Saturday kick off. Following the departure of Ian Holloway, Crystal Palace were led out by caretaker manager Keith Millen who couldn’t stop Palace’s poor form. They had lost eight matches from their last nine games.
Although a lively first half and the home fans in good voice, the teams went in 0-0 at half-time. Arsenal won a penalty two minutes after the break which Spaniard Mikel Arteta converted to give Arsenal their 14th league goal in a row.
While chasing an equaliser, Crystal Palace were left short, which allowed Olivier Giroud to nod home from Aaron Ramsey’s cross.
Crystal Palace hoped for some relief when Arteta was sent off for a foul and was the last player from goal, albeit a staggering forty yards away. Gunners manager Arsene Wenger expressed his protest by saying:
“The sending off was a wrong decision because it has to be a clear goalscoring opportunity. He was a long way from goal.”
With Arsenal now unbeaten in fourteen away games, they already look like champions. A stern test could await when Liverpool visit them next weekend.
Liverpool 4 West Bromwich Albion 1 – 3pm KO, Saturday
Luis Suárez scored a stunning a hat-trick, as Liverpool thumped West Bromwich Albion 4-1 to stay joint second in the Premier League.
Having lost to West Bromwich Albion in the last three league meetings, Liverpool didn’t allow former coach Steve Clarke another win. Suárez started the rout early by mesmerising The Baggies defence to create an opening followed by a sublime finish.
Five minutes later Suárez was at it again, this time rocketing the ball into the back of the net with his head from seventeen yards out. With only seventeen minutes gone, West Bromwich Albion were fearing the worst.
The visitors came out with a spring in their step in the second half and made inroads into the home defence. Ten minutes after half-time however, Uruguayan Suárez grabbed his hat-trick from a perfect Steven Gerrard free kick.
It was game over for the visitors as the away contingent began filing out of Anfield. A glint of light for the away side appeared when a dubious penalty was awarded to West Bromwich Albion, which James Morrison scored.
The SAS (Suárez and Sturridge) combination completed their dominance when Daniel Sturridge struck an exquisite chip to leave The Baggies goalkeeper floundering and the Liverpool striker moving to his famous dance.
Such was the performance of Luis Suárez that Liverpool owner John W. Henry tweeted from Boston, USA with the simple, yet effective words: “Luis. Magician.”
Manchester United 3 v Stoke City 2 – 3pm KO, Saturday
Stoke City twice threw away the lead in a defeat that could have been a different story, as a late winner saw Manchester United beat the visitors 3-2 at home.
Peter Crouch put the visitors ahead as early as the fourth minute. Robin van Persie then struck two minutes before half-time to level matters. Undeterred, Stoke City pressed on and grabbed another goal on the stroke of half-time through Serbian Marko Arnautovi? to take a 2-1 lead into the break.
A late show by Wayne Rooney and Chicarito Hernández saw Manchester United level and then secure all three points.
So desperate was David Moyes for a win, the Manchester United manager admitted after the match: “I’ll take any kind of win.”
A much relieved Manchester United fan from Pakistan tweeted: “This is more like Manchester United, this is incredible. The Theatre of Dreams has come alive.”
Chelsea 2 Manchester City 1 – 4pm KO, Saturday
Fernando Torres was the hero of the hour as he clinched a dramatic last minute winner that sent the Chelsea manager José Mourinho into the crowd to celebrate.
Torres was involved all game, as he set up André Schürrle to score the opening goal. This before the lively Torres hit the woodwork, which set out a warning to Manchester City that his work for the day wasn’t quite over.
Having gone in 1-0 up at the break, Chelsea conceded four minutes into the second half to a simply unstoppable strike by Argentine Sergio Agüero, which The Blues goalkeeper Petr ?ech could only watch in awe.
The draw was looking likely, until a lapse between Manchester City defender Matija Nastasi? and goalkeeper Joe Hart allowed Torres to steal in and score a last minute winner.
Chelsea thus taking all three points and moving up to second place on the table, two points behind leaders Arsenal.
A jubilant Chelsea fan from India tweeted: “Seriously give José a lifetime contract. The amount of passion and love he has for the club is something special.”
Tottenham Hotspur 1 Hull City 0 – 4pm KO, Sunday
A Roberto Soldado penalty sealed the points for Tottenham Hotspur against Hull City.
With six enforced changes, Hull City clearly came to grab a point, which they nearly did. Limiting the home side’s opportunities, Hull City did well to contain Spurs.
The visitors set their stall with a five man defence, which was a tactic that looked like paying dividends. But in the 80th minute Ahmed Elmohamady handled in the area to give away a spot kick that proved fatal as Tottenham won the game 1-0.
Next weekend sees Arsenal entertaining Liverpool and an all Welsh encounter as Cardiff City host Swansea City.