Around The Grounds: 19/20 September

By Dan Buxton
Last updated : 20 September 2009

Last weekend’s round of Premier League matches was the highest scoring of the season so far, and, as the goal glut continued, this week’s wasn’t far behind. Five of the 34 goals scored came from the penalty spot, one of these at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium as Matthew Taylor denied Stoke a first away win of the season in the final minute of the game, Dave Kitson having put the Potters ahead.

As the top half of the table begins to take shape, Manchester City’s early winning run was brought to an end in a remarkable derby against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. Wayne Rooney put the hosts ahead inside two minutes, but Gareth Barry quickly equalised after a slip from Ben Foster in the hosts’ goal. Darren Fletcher twice headed the home side in front in the second half, but Craig Bellamy twice drew the Blues level, first with a stunning strike and then in the final minute of normal time after a dreadful error by Rio Ferdinard. The defender’s blushes were spared in the sixth of four added minutes at the end of the game though, as Michael Owen netted to seal an incredible 4-3 triumph for his new side and put fans in the red half of Manchester, Thailand, India and most of Essex in a very good mood tonight.

League leaders and title favourites Chelsea are now the only unbeaten side in the division, and maintained their 100% start to the season with a classy 3-0 home victory over Tottenham, goals coming courtesy of Ashley Cole, Michael Ballack and Didier Drogba. In Sunday’s other matches, Wolves beat Fulham 2-1, with Danny Murphy’s penalty not enough for the Londoners after strikes from Kevin Doyle and Dave Edwards, and Everton brushed aside struggling Blackburn at Goodison Park, a Louis Saha brace and a simple goal from Joseph Yobo proving that after a slow start the Toffees have finally found their feet.

Arsenal were the biggest winners of the weekend, a double from goalscoring centre back Thomas Vermaelen and strikes from Emmanuel Eboue and Cesc Fabregas helping them ease to a 4-0 victory over Wigan. Liverpool are doing their best to make up their deficit on the early pace-setters after early setbacks, and won again yesterday at West Ham. Alessandro Diamanti gave the Hammers the lead, but Fernando Torres levelled before Dirk Kuyt poked Liverpool ahead. Carlton Cole equalised on the stroke of half-time, but Torres’s second of the game, fifteen minutes from time rendered it all academic, as the vistors came out on top of an entertaining battle.

Like Stoke last season, Burnley seem to appreciate that a good home record is necessary for a newly promoted club if they wish to remain in the top flight, and made it three wins from three at Turf Moor with a 3-1 victory over Sunderland. Graham Alexander put the Lancashire side ahead from the spot, but Darren Bent equalised five minutes before the break. Burnley’s on-loan striker David Nugent was a flop at parent club Portsmouth, but looks set to make waves back in his native North West, as he struck twice, firstly with a firm header and then with a superb curling effort in the dying minutes to earn his new side all three points. How now requires just one more Premier League goal to match the tally he amassed in 25 months at Pompey.

Portsmouth may well be doubting their decision to let Nugent leave, as they drew a blank once again, slipping to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa, for whom goals from James Milner and Gabriel Agbonlahor made I four wins in a row for Marin O’Neill’s side. Villa’s arch rivals, Birmingham were also on the victory trail, as a late header from Gary O’Connor sank Hull at the KC Stadium.

Stoke City Match Reports


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