After the first of this season’s frustrating international breaks, the Premier League returned to action this weekend, with goals flying in around the country. Three of these came at Stoke’s Britannia Stadium, as Chelsea struck late to seal a tenth consecutive league win and maintain a lawless start to the season. Abdoulaye Faye had headed the Potters into a first half lead, but Didier Drogba levelled superbly for the visitors moments before half time. Florent Malouda’s low strike in the fourth of five additional minutes at the end of the match then broke Stoke hearts and extended the Londoners’ lead at the top of the table.
Manchester City are the only other team to have made a 100% start to the campaign, and they continued their good form on Saturday with a fine 4-2 home win over Arsenal. An unfortunate own goal by Arsenal ‘keeper Manuel Almunia gave the Blues the lead, but Robin van Persie equalised. Ten stunning minutes from the hosts won the day though, as Craig Bellamy, former Arsenal man Emmanuel Adebayor and Shaun Wright-Phillips all scored to put the game beyond Arsene Wenger’s side. Tomas Rosicky pulled one back at the death, but Arsenal were ultimately well beaten. The result has since been overshadowed by controversy though, firstly as Adebayor antagonised the visiting support by running the full length of the pitch to celebrate the goal in front of them, and then as it emerged he seemed to stamp deliberately on van Persie’s face as the Dutchman lay prone. Neither story is likely to die down soon.
A comeback from Manchester United condemned Tottenham to their first defeat of the year, goals goals from Ryan Giggs, Anderson and Wayne Rooney eclipsing Jermain Defoe’s early overhead kick to lift the champions to second. At the other end of the table, Portsmouth remain pointless after a late Gary Cahill strike earned Bolton all three points in an entertaining encounter at Fratton Park. Tamir Cohen and Matt Taylor twice put Bolton ahead, but Pompey twice hit back through Younes Kaboul and Kevin prine Cohen, while goals from El Hadji Diouf, Jason Roberts and David Dunn sealed a convincing 3-1 win for Blackburn over Wolves, for whom Austrian striker Stefan Maeirhofer scored a late consolation on his debut.
Another newly promoted club, Burnley, still await their first Premier League away point after crashing 4-0 at a Yossi Benayoun inspired Liverpool. The Israeli midfielder scored a hat-trick, and Dirk Kuyt also found the target as the Lamcastrians were well beaten, while Hugo Rodallega’s second of the season was enough for Wigan as they beat West Ham by a goal to nil. Kamil Zayatte had a very mixed day for Hull at Sunderland, the Guinean defender finding the net but also scoring an own goal as his side slumped to a 4-1, with Darren bent hitting a brace and the new slim line Andy Reid also getting on the scoresheet for the Black Cats.On Sunday, Aston Villa won second city bragging rights, narrowly beating Birmingham thanks to a late Gabriel Agbonlahor goal at St. Andrew’s, while Fulham doubled to their points tally with a 2-1 home win over Everton. Time Cahill took the Toffees into a half time lead, but goals from Paul Konchesky and Damien Duff completed the comeback.