Saturday, September 12, 2015

It Happened in England: Everton upset Chelsea, United roll through Liverpool

Everton 3-1 Chelsea
It's fitting that Chelsea, after their relentless pursuit of John Stones ended in failure, that they would visit Stones and his Everton side in the first game after the close of the transfer window. But the hero in this one wasn't even in the starting eleven. It was Steven Naismith leading Everton to a resounding victory over the defending champions.

Roberto Martinez's troops got off to the start they needed to add injury to insult to the visitors. Naismith, who came on as a ninth minute subsititute for the injured Muhamed Besic, got his head to a perfectly placed cross from Brendan Galloway in the 17th minute for the opening goal of the match. The home team kept pressing after the goal and came an Asmir Begovic fingertip away from Arouna Kone doubling their lead less than three minutes later. In the 22nd minute, they did find that second goal, and it was Naismith again. This time with a screming shot from outside the penalty area.

Despite Everton's early two goal lead, you knew their oponents wouldn't go away quietly. Chelsea would smash themselves back into the game in the 36th minute with Nemanja Matic's first goal of the season. It was a bomb from 30 or so yards out that left Tim Howard and his Everton defenders helpless. In the second half Chelsea was the main attacker as Everton sat back and tried to keep the Blues from tying the score. On a counter attack in the 82nd minute, Steven Naismith put this one away with his hat trick. He made a great run through the center of the defense to connect with a Ross Barkley through ball and the tap in.

Chelsea continues with their slow start with now only four points through their first five matches.

Norwich City 3-0 AFC Bournemouth
Cameron Jerome put Norwich in front in the 35th in this match of newly promoted clubs. Wes Hoolahan added the second seven minutes after the restart and Norwich was cruising. Matthew Jarvis added the third in the 67th, just in case the first two weren't enough.

Crystal Palace 0-1 Manchester City
Crystal Palace kind of did what Crystal Palace does here. They defended strong and nearly scrapped out a point against very, very tough opposition. They held out almost long enough to earn a point in this one. Manchester City didn't get their goal until the tail end of the 90th minute of this one. Kelechi Iheanacho, an unlikely goal scorer if there ever was one, latched onto a rebound to give City their goal and keep their perfect record to start the season.

West Bromwich Albion 0-0 Southampton
West Brom decided to defend their way to another frutrasting experience for Southampton. While the Saints controlled every aspect of the game, they were unable to find any goals amongst the WBA defense. Saints are sitting on a rather underwhelming six points after their first five matches.

Arsenal 2-0 Stoke City
Theo Walcott gave Arsenal their first home goal of the season (in their third home match) in the 31st minute with a connection on a long ball and expert footwork. Arsenal then proceeded to play their style of game. They held on to the ball, never really threatened to score again, and allowed Stoke way too many opportunities of their own. Thankfully, the back line of Laurent Kocielney and Gabriel were up to the task of defending. And Olivier Giroud got his meaty French forhead to score his first goal of the season in the 85th minute.

Watford 1-0 Swansea City
Swansea has been the upstart club of the year, scrapping out a win against Manchester United and a hard fought draw against Chelsea. They stumbled a bit here on the road in Watford, however. Watford's goal came just before the hour mark when Odion Ighalo connected on a headed cross from Troy Deeney, who had just recieved the ball on a goal kick from his keeper. Trouble struck for the Hornets five minutes later when Valon Behrami was shown a red card, forcing Watford to hold of the Swansea attack with only ten players. They were able to accomplish that mission, however, and earn their first win of the season.

Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool
In a match of two teams who are still really unsure of what they truly are, it was the home Red Devils who decided to go off for their first truly big win of the season. It was a selection of Louis van Gaal's imports doing the damage, too. Although it did take them until the second half. First off, it was Daley Blind in the 49th. Then Ander Herrera in the 70th. Liverpool's prized summer buy, Christian Benteke, pulled the visitors back within a goal in the 84th, but Manchester United left little too doubt in the end. Anthony Martial, the much criticized purchase that highlighted United's transfer window, put the icing on the cake with his first Manchester United goal just two minutes after Benteke's bringer of hope.

For being considered in a slow start, United is actually pretty well off. They are on ten points and in second place, five behind perfect Manchester City. Liverpool is mired in ninth with seven points from five matches.

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