Saturday, August 15, 2015

It Happened in England: Everton rolls over Southampton, Leicester gets another win

Southampton 0-3 Everton
This wasn't the way Saints had envisioned their home season starting off. As for Everton, they will take three points against a strong opponent in the road. Romelu Lukaku had a rough go in his first full season with Everton, but his first goal of the new campaign came early in this one. In the 22nd minute, he headed home a cross off the far post to put the Toffees ahead. His brace came a minute before the halftime whistle with a low shot from outside the box that evaded a diving Maarten Steckelenburg. As for the second half, Everton played a picture perfect game of keep away and defending to allow that pair of goals hold up. The even added a third in the 84th minute. Ross Barkley's upper 90 blast put this game away, as if it wasn't already.

West Ham 1-2 Leicester City
Diafra Sakho came inches away from giving West Ham a second minute lead when his shot found the woodwork. That would come to haunt the Hammers as they ended up going down a goal in the 27th minute courtesy of Leicester's Shinji Okazaki and his persistence in the penalty area. To add to the Foxes' joy, Riyad Mahrez scored his third of the young season in the 38th. West Ham climbed back into the match in the second half. They were able to get the jump on Leicester after the break and got a goal from Dimitri Payet in the 55th minute. Their chances would end in the first minute of stoppage time when Adrian, their keeper, was shown straight red for a glorious boot to the gut of Jaimie Vardy while he was playing up on a corner. Having already used all of their subs, the goalkeeping duties were handed over to Carl Jenkinson for the last couple minutes of the match. After a win last week against Sunderland and now this big road win, Leicester are off to a nice start to the season and find themselves on the top of the league for a day.

Swansea City 2-0 Newcastle
Getting a nice boost from earning a point against the defending champions, Swansea started this one off with a bang. Bafetimbi Gomis, who scored last weekend as well, put the Welsh side up in the ninth minute by blazing past the Newcastle defense on a through ball for an easy goal into a wide open net. They were able to keep it going into the second half andAndre Ayew doubled the lead in the 52nd minute. That was all they would need to win a match they truly dominated. Swansea are off to a nice start this year as they look to shock some of the big clubs and qualify for some continental competition next year.

Sunderland 1-3 Norwich City
Norwich got the jump on their hosts in the first half with a pair of goals to give the newly promoted side a nice lead on the road. Russell Martin and Steven Whittaker were the men getting the job done for the visitors. Nathan Redmond became the third different Norwich goal scorer in the 52nd minute to essentially end any hope of a Sunderland comeback. Although the Black Cats did get a consolation goal from Duncan Watmore in the 88th minute.

Tottenham 2-2 Stoke City
Stoke made headlines over the week with the signing of Swiss international Xherdan Shaqiri, but they were without their record purchase for this big one. Shaqiri was left off the team to serve a mandatory suspension carrying over from yellow card accumulation in Italy's Copa Italia. Sort of unfortunate that Stoke had to be punished for that. By the letter of the law, it makes sense. But, had he stayed in Italy, the suspension would not have applied to any league games, only a cup match. Stoke tried, and failed, to have the suspension carried over to the FA Cup instead.

As for the match, Eric Dier headed home a corner in the 19th minute for Spurs' first goal in this one. Nacer Chadli added another one in the first minute of stoppage time at the end of the first half. Although it took them a while, Stoke did get back into the match. In the 78th minute, Marko Aranautovic scored from the spot to get them on the boad. Mame Diouf levelled the score five minutes later with a gorgeous diving header. That was enough to spoil Tottenham's home opener and salvage a point for Stoke.

Watford 0-0 West Bromwich Albion
Watford were certainly the better team in their first home match back in the Premier League. They launched 16 shots on the West Brom goal, but none of them found their way in. West Brom, for their part, had the best chance of the game when Sadio Berahino's header off a corner barely missed the target. It was one of six attempts for WBA, none of them were even on target.

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