Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and new kids Manchester City names preceded all others in the Premier League this past weekend. Their fixtures presented their fair share of excitement and heartbreak for on lookers as they vied for early, precious points on the table. United seemed poised to take back the BPL title while Liverpool looked to finally jump start their season with a win. Afterwards, The Gunners and The Citizens went at it as if they played a late season game. The results saw a United squeaking by and a dead head between Arsenal and City.
Jason H. – Honoring the 23rd anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy, rivals Liverpool and Manchester United came together on civil terms. United’s Patrice Evra and the Red’s Luis Suarez even put their differences aside to shake hands. A season ago the two couldn’t even accomplish the gesture.
Liverpool played the better game but a straight red card to Jonjo Shelvey caught up to them. The send off was warranted yet Jonny Evans, the opposite tackler, should have been sent off as well. The United conspiracy theorists barked yet the later penalty call surely had the contingent’s mouths foamed.
Steven Gerrard scored a spectacular volleyed goal to give Liverpool the initial lead. The score was tied minutes later from a fairly easy struck goal from Rafael, benefitting from A 10-man Liverpool team. The win came through controversial circumstances after a fairly light foul by Glen Johnson on Manchester’s Valencia leading to a penalty. Robin van Persie knocked in the goal right through the fingers of Liverpool’s Pepe Reina to edge out the win while ending the Red Devils penalty drought. Liverpool remains winless this season.
S. Cadet – Etihad Stadium set the scene for should-be top 4 candidates Manchester City and Arsenal. Tensions flared as the sides side played opposite roles each half. Arsenal’s attack kept City on their heels capped by Gervinho reverting to plain ‘ol Gervais on a golden breakway opportunity. A brain fart by Kieran Gibbs and poor marking set the stage for Lescott’s header from a corner. Then it appeared Arsenal lost momentum heading into half time.
City poured on the offense and, as each minuted waned, you had to wonder if Arsenal could stake their claim as legit contenders via a comeback. Yaya Touré became an imposing threat as he advanced through the heart of Arsenal’s midfield. Abou Diaby provided a decent counter in the “big ass bro who can dribble” role but he didn’t quite match the Ivorian’s talents. All doubts towards Arsenal dissipated when a fortuitous deflection off a corner cleared the way for Lauren Koscielny’s equalizer. An energized Arsenal tried to make good on the late goal but the teams had to suffice for a point in a 1-1 draw.
I never thought I’d have to choose between the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Per Mertesacker for Man of the Match honors but I racked my brain over the unlikely candidates. Young Rambo relished his first start of the season with his impressive vision and disruptive presence on the flanks and in midfield. Per’s pivotal interceptions saved the Gunners on plenty occasions and added to David Silva’s uncharacteristic, turnover-filled performance. My practical side elected Per since defense wins games but my good conscience suggested Ramsey as he flourished in a high pressure match up. Therefore, I made my own nod called “Duo of The Day” and awarded it to those two: good job gentlemen.