The first match of Matchday 8 in the English Premier League was a crunching Saturday kick-off between reigning league champions Manchester City and potential UEFA Champions’ League place challengers Tottenham Hotspur, as the hosts ran out an emphatic and entertaining 4-1 victory.
Sergio Aguero scored the first on the 12th minute before Spurs’ Christian Eriksen two minutes later, but another three goals for City’s Argentinian hero won it at the Etihad Stadium in a game of four penalties in total, two of them being missed, and where the visitors’ Premier League debutant Federico Fazio was sent of by referee Jonathan Moss.
On the home victory, City boss Manuel Pellegrini said: “We had chances to score, and I think that’s very important for the fans as I always say it’s important to be an attractive team.”
“Maybe we need to not make so many mistakes, especially with the ball at our feet, but it’ important to win this game after the international break. It’s very difficult without having the players in the week to work.”
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino believed key moments cost his side, as he told Spurs TV: “I’m really disappointed with the result because it doesn’t reflect the situation in the game.”
“For me, there were two key moments: the Soldado penalty and the penalty in the first half, (Erik) Lamela (foul on Frank Lampard), the first penalty.”
“But this is football. It’s important to take the positives and try to improve. We never gave up.”
After that Newcastle United and their under-fire boss Alan Pardew finally got their first win of the season as they won 1-0 against Leicester City at St James’ Park, in where the Magpies were dominant, with their French winger Gabriel Obertan notching up the winner in what was a delayed match.
8-0 was the scoreline at St Mary’s as Southampton humbled their visitors Sunderland, as the flow of goals started from a comedy on goal by the Black Cats’ right-back Santiago Vergini, before a brace from Graziano Pelle, and goals from four-assists man Dusan Tadic, Jack Cork, Victor Wanyama and Sadio Mane, and another own goal from Liam Bridcutt, with five of the goals coming in the second half.
Sunderland boss Gus Poyet described the humiliating defeat as the most embarrassing moment of his career: “It’s probably the most embarrassing time I’ve had on a football pitch. You think that maybe you will never get these situations, but unfortunately sometimes it’s your turn. It’s unacceptable really.”
“I am really sorry for the fans; they have been excellent. They travelled all that way and had to look at a very difficult game today.”
Arsenal left it late to get the equaliser in a 2-2 home draw with Hull City, as the visitors’ third goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic had to play more than one half of the game after Steve Harper got injured, and Allan McGregor wasn’t available at the start of the game.
Alexis Sanchez scored on the 12th minute for the hosts before Steve Bruce’s Hull equalised through Mohamed Diame, with Arsenal players appealing there was a foul made by Diame on the Gunners’ Mathieu Flamini in the build-up to the goal.
Right into the second-half Abel Hernandez turned it around at the Emirates with a sweet header from a Tom Huddlestone cross, before Danny Welbeck scored a 91st minute goal to make it 2-2 after some desperate attacking from the hosts, as they saved a point from the Tigers.
West Ham United’s Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia and Carlton Cole scored three at Burnley’s Turf Moor, with the hosts’ George Boyd scoring what was just a consolation.
Five minutes at Selhurst Park was enough to see Chelsea’s Oscar score first against hosts Crystal Palace, before Cesc Fabregas added a second on the 50th minute in a match where the Blues’ in-form striker Diego Costa missed out due to injury. Frazier Campbell’s 89th minute goal ended as just a consolation as Chelsea notched up their 7th win this season from eight games.
Two assists from Leighton Baines saw three goals scored by Everton’s Phil Jagielka, Romelu Lukaku and Seamus Coleman as the earned a 3-0 home win over Aston Villa, and Toffees’ boss Roberto Martinez hailed his side’s “clever” win.
“We knew Villa would pose an incredible threat on the counter attack with the players that they have. Charles N’Zogbia, Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor can be a real threat,” the Spaniard told Sky Sports.
“I’m happy that we controlled the game and we stopped them from having any real threat. On top of that, we scored at the right times. I’m so, so pleased in the way that we performed today.”
Asked whether he was just as happy about the defensive performance rather than going forward, Martinez simply replied: “Yes. When we speak about clean sheets it’s a team effort.”
“Throughout the team we had a real focus and intensity to defend well, and we did so as a group. We worked extremely hard to keep them quiet in front of our goal.”
“To be able to have the patience and to get rid of the pressure Aston Villa can reply was a clever performance from our point of view, and a really important one. It’s a special feeling, and the players deserve it after the Old Trafford (2-1 defeat to Manchester United) game.”
There was a thriller played at Loftus Road the next day with Queens Park Rangers losing 2-3 to Liverpool, and the game sparked into life after the hosts’ Richard Dunne scored an own goal on the 66th minute after their midfielder Leroy Fer had hit the woodwork twice in a lively first half.
There was real drama in the late minutes when Eduardo Vargas’ 86th minute leveled it for Rangers, before Reds’ Philippe Coutinho gave the visitors the lead once again. Vargas then equalised again after he slotted home on two minutes later, but the unfortunate Steven Caulker scored on the 94th minute at the wrong post, which meant that Liverpool had won what was a lively game.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers was frustrated with his side’s performance level which was below par, but the boss was at least able to reflect with some satisfaction on back-to-back victories.
“The season is still in its very early stages,” he told the club’s official website.
“We’ll have a look at the table after 10 games. We know there’s a big difference that we need to make, in terms of our performances and the quality of our game.”
“The speed of our game was way too slow. There’s not enough rhythm and personality to go and dominate the game. But whilst you’re searching for that, it’s important that you continue to win and that’s what we’ve been doing.”
In a match played more northern in England Stoke City managed a 2-1 home win over Swansea City at the Britannia Stadium, with Wilfried Bony scoring the first goal of the game with a converted penalty for the visitors on the 33rd minute, before Charlie Adam’s penalty gave the Potters the equaliser on after 42 minutes.
After Marc Wilson cleared the ball o the line for the home side, Jonathan Walters scored a 75th minute winner for Stoke in a match where referee Michael Oliver showed five yellow cards in total, four of them going to the hosts.
Monday’s only game, and the very last of Matchday 8, was a 2-2 draw at The Hawthorns between hosts West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United. Stephane Sessegnon gave the home side an early lead after his 7th minute goal, before Maroune Fellaini equalised for the Red Devils early in the second half, on the 47th minute.
West Brom replied with a Saido Berahino goal five minutes after the hour mark, but it was defensive-midfielder Daley Blind who saved the game for United, as the stole a point away from home when the Netherlands international scored after 86 minutes.
United boss Louis van Gaal insisted his side were the better team, and said: “Today we made two errors. As we have in the past. I think we could have eight points more and then we would be up the table.”
“But that`s a matter of time. I believe in it.”
“Today the fans have enjoyed the game. Not only the Manchester United fans but also the West Brom fans. But we are the better team and we deserved to win.”
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