The Spaniard starred along with Dzeko the discontented super-sub and the two R’s of United. Sterling could be the solution for Liverpool, while Wenger looks for answers in goal. Find out what own goal was worst, what golazo was most outrageous, and what ref had an off day.
by Andrew Discenza
Juan Mata was the player of the weekend as Chelsea sent a message with a 4-2 win at Tottenham. Spurs had rallied to overtake Gary Cahill’s expertly taken volley, but the Spanish wizard took control to keep the Blues top of the league. He sent a clinical shot into the corner while evading three defenders, and beat the keeper again three minutes later with a cool touch to finish off a well-timed run. Late on he robbed a dawdling Kyle Walker and picked out Daniel Sturridge for a back-post tap in.
Edin Dzeko came off the bench to save Manchester City at West Brom. Evidently not content with his role as substitute, he scored a brace in the dying minutes to make his case for a starting role ahead of the likes of Mario Balotelli. The Italian had failed to make his mark but the Bosnian equalized within a minute of coming on as Ben Foster was caught in no man’s land, and nabbed a dramatic winner on the break after the home side had threatened to take the points themselves.
Rooney and RVP look to be a dangerous emerging partnership. The England international nodded in a horrific own goal, but he and the flying Dutchman dominated in United’s 4-2 win over Stoke. Van Persie provided a glorious cross for Rooney to equalize, then converted from close range himself. His strike partner then took over, assisting for Danny Welbeck and cleaning up after a goalmouth scramble.
Raheem Sterling finally got his goal. The 17-year-old has been dazzling for Liverpool this season, and he scored his first professional goal to beat Reading. Luis Suarez dinked the ball in behind for Sterling, who took it in his stride and finished with composure.
Arsenal is officially in a goalkeeping crisis. The Gunners were upset by a well-organized Norwich team, but the only goal came because of a loose rebound spilled by third-choice keeper Vito Mannone for Grant Holt, who didn’t miss. With Wojciech Szczesny still three weeks from fitness, Arsene Wenger has no option but to put all his faith in the 24-year-old Italian.
Demba Ba’s own goal was the worst of many this weekend, as Newcastle dropped two points at rival Sunderland. The Senegalese missed the target on two promising occasions, before letting John O’Shea’s header smack off his face and past his own goalkeeper to gift Sunderland a draw.
Emmerson Boyce produced an outrageously unexpected golazo in vain for Wigan. Audaciously, acrobatically, the defender used his heel to the flick the ball into the very top corner.
Referee Jonathan Moss didn’t have a good day. He first denied Everton a stonewall penalty for a trip on Nikica Jelavic, then very harshly showed a second yellow card to Steven Pienaar, who had successfully avoided touching Jose Bosingwa. QPR could have grabbed a win but again Mr. Moss refused to point to the spot for a blatant foul on Junior Hoilett.
Modibo Maiga scored a quality strike to seal the win for West Ham, keeping three defenders guessing before cutting onto his left and curling precisely into the corner.
Chelsea 2 – 2 Manchester United. Sir Alex’s men will find a way to match the Blues at Stamford Bridge.
Manchester City 3 – 1 Swansea, as the Champions break up the Swans flowing play.
Everton 2 – 0 Liverpool, as the Reds have a tough task to visit Godison Park for the Merseyside derby.
Arsenal 2 – 1 QPR, as the Gunners recover from a scare.
How I did last week: 3 for 4. Chelsea did edge Tottenham, Liverpool won with a clean sheet against Reading, and RVP was involved as Manchester United beat Stoke. But Arsenal were not sound in defense and lost at Norwich.
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