Premier League Saturday Wrap: Arsenal, Wigan, City Win; Reading, Fulham Cracker
However, the biggest Premier League stories of Week 9 are all Saturday based.
From there, it was on to the four 3 p.m. (GMT) kickoffs, which saw struggling Arsenal—with Jack Wilshere returning to the side for the first time in almost 18 months—take on relegation-bound Queens Park Rangers.
Reading, in search of their first home win of the season, took on Fulham, who usually struggle on the road. Wigan faced West Ham, and the least appetising game of the weekend saw Sunderland face Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.
Read on to find out what happened.
Aston Villa 1-1 Norwich City
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Aston Villa are now off to their worst start to a season in 43 years after drawing 1-1 with Norwich City at Villa Park.
Michael Turner's second-half equaliser for Norwich cancelled out Christian Benteke's well-taken opener.
The Canaries, with Wes Hoolahan pulling all the strings in a 4-5-1 behind Grant Holt, were the better side throughout, without ever really cutting the injury-robbed Villains to pieces.
Villa scored against the run of play when Benteke latched onto Joe Bennett's cross and calmly slotted it away. If the Belgian striker can keep up his early-season form in this struggling side, he has a great future ahead. At this stage in his career, he really does look like a young Didier Drogba.
From there, it was all hands to the pump as Norwich pressed for the equaliser. For the most part, Villa were able to keep them at arms length.
Bereft of confidence and leadership at the back, Villa's defence dropped deeper and deeper as the match went on, and midfield was completely conceded.
The near impossible task to keep Norwich at bay then got all that much harder when Bennett received his marching orders on 53 after picking up his second yellow card of the game.
Down to 10 men and under all sorts of pressure, it came as no surprise to see Chris Hughton's side equalise after Hoolahan's cross found Turner, who finished expertly.
If anything, the game was an advertisement for all that is bad about the Premier League.
The match was interspersed with quality amongst the constant mistakes rather than the other way around. From this evidence, it is easy to see why both sides are in the bottom five.
Possession: Aston Villa 41% - Norwich City 59%
Shots On/Off Target: Aston Villa 4/2 Norwich City 4/6
Arsenal 1-0 QPR
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Before the game, the big news for Arsenal fans was that Jack Wilshere would start a match for the first time since June 2011.
Putting the English international into the first team after being out for so long was an obvious ploy by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger into boosting his beleaguered troops.
For the most part, the ploy did not work. The Gunners never really came to life and were well below par until Stephane Mbia was sent off for QPR in the 80th minute for lashing out at Thomas Vermaelen.
With more room on the park and Mark Hughes' players fading after a huge effort, the Gunners began to create the kind of chances that were so tough to come by when playing against 11 men.
A grandstand finish saw Santi Cazorla blast over an open goal from 10 yards after an inspired Julio Cesar had, once again, kept the Gunners at bay. Olivier Giroud continued his poor form in front of goal by missing clear chances, and even the forgotten man, Andrei Arshavin, tried his luck a couple of times.
The collective frustration, felt by the Arsenal fans and team alike, ended in the 84th minute when Mikel Arteta scored a rare goal. Giroud, once again, forced Cesar to make a brilliant save when he should have scored. In the ensuing scramble, Arteta forced the ball over the line to end QPR's resistance.
Possession: Arsenal 66% - QPR 34%
Shots On/Off Target: Arsenal 9/9 QPR 2/2
Stoke City 0-0 Sunderland
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Before this match, Stoke City's record read as W-1 D-6 L-2 (win, draw, loss); Sunderland's read as W-3 D-5 L-1. Stoke only averaged eight shots per game; Sunderland averaged over seven shots per game.
So, no prizes for guessing that this bore of a game ended 0-0, with the home side having only four shots on target all match. The away side could not muster even one.
The reason for this was obviously the scouting visit by Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni. The Italian is often criticised for his negative tactics, and last week he went to see Norwich and Arsenal play out a horrendous 1-0 win for the Canaries.
This week he went to see the two most negative sides in the Premier League, and (shock, horror) the game turned out to be a bit of a turkey.
The only moment of note in the entire game happened when Irish international Mark Wilson went over on his ankle in what appeared to be a bad injury. The end result was the game being halted for eight minutes while the left-back received attention.
To add insult to injury, both sets of fans then had to sit through eight added minutes of injury time. It did produce the only save of the game, though, as Simon Mignolet dived to deny Peter Crouch.
Possession: Stoke City 53% - Sunderland 47%
Shots On/Off Target: Stoke City 4/7 - Sunderland 0/4
Reading 3-3 Fulham
Hal Robson-Kanu's 90th-minute equaliser saves the game for Reading.
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The best game of a pretty poor day, in terms of quality, was at the Madejski Stadium where Reading and Fulham played out a highly entertaining 3-3 draw.
Brian McDermott's side, still in search of their first home win of the season, played the entire game on the counter and took the lead through a Mikele Leigertwood thunderbolt after 26 minutes.
Seeing his side dominate the game without creating anything of note, Martin Jol took Hugo Rodallega off and replaced him with Bryan Ruiz, who would go on to change the game.
Ruiz scored the deserved equaliser on the hour mark and then set up a Chris Baird header from a corner as the Cottagers took the lead.
However, the game was to hinge on that goal in more ways than one, as Baird slipped while celebrating and injured his ankle. Eventually, the defender was forced to come off, and the change in defensive setup unbalanced the Fulham defence as Reading scored twice in the final five minutes.
Reading sub Garath McCleary equalised for the Royals in the 85th minute before Dimitar Berbatov put Fulham back ahead in the 88th minute with his third goal in five games since moving from Manchester United.
The game, though, was to take a final twist, and Hal Robson-Kanu, the third substitute to score, fired home in the final moments to secure a valuable point for the home side.
Possession: Reading 34% - Fulham 66%
Shots On/Off Target: Reading 8/5 - Fulham 6/8
Wigan 2-0 West Ham
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Roberto Martinez's Wigan Athletic produced the performance of the day when they brushed aside a West Ham team who would have gone fourth in the table had they won.
Inspired by the excellent Shaun Maloney, the Latics finally produced the points that their recent home performances have threatened.
The two James', McCarthy and McArthur, controlled midfield throughout and set the standard as Wigan passed their way around a static Hammers side.
Ivan Ramis opened the scoring after just eight minutes when he hammered a superb volley home following Jean Beausejour's corner. From there, Wigan created the best chances and constantly probed the West Ham back line.
To their credit, the Hammers defence kept their team in the game through good positional play, but they were always fighting a losing battle while Wigan controlled midfield.
The winning goal came just after halftime when McArthur deservedly fired home after Beausejour and Maloney combined beautifully to set the Scottish international up.
Wigan continued to dominate but never created another clear-cut chance. The final goal of the game came against the run of play with the match all but over when James Tompkins headed home in injury time.
It was a case of too little, too late for Big Sam's side, and the late goal's only purpose was to improve West Ham's goal difference and to add points to fantasy football scores.
Possession: Wigan 55% - West Ham 45%
Shots On/Off Target: Wigan 7/4 - West Ham 4/4
Manchester City vs. Swansea City
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A wonder-strike from fully 30 yards from Carlos Tevez was enough to save Manchester City's blushes as they stuttered to a 1-0 home win against Swansea.
Before today City had taken 93 points from a possible 99 at home since their last defeat there in 2011. While the Swans had only won once from their last seven games on the road.
So City were heavy favourites.
Michael Laudrup and co. did not read that particular script though and were the better side for long periods as the Citizens looked encumbered by the pressure and expectation of being champions.
There have been a number of bright spots for Swansea so far this season but none have shone brighter than Miguel Michu, and today was no different.
The Spaniard was, once again, the main threat to the opposition goal and if it were not for Micah Richards' goal-line clearance, the linesman ruling a goal out for offside and Joe Hart making a number of saves from him he would have had a hat-trick.
Like Michu, Tevez has also been one of his team's best players this term and if it were not for him then City would have barely had a shot on goal. He was twice denied by Michael Vorm before his eventual deserved goal.
The other main talking point of the match was the double injury to Richards and Vorm. The Swansea 'keeper seemed to get injured as Tevez scored, a possible groin pull, while Richards collapsed holding his knee when no-one was near him.
The injuries added a nervous 12 minutes to the 90 for Roberto Mancini who badly needed a win after City's surprise defeat to Ajax midweek.
In winning, the Citizens moved one point behind leaders Chelsea at the top of the Premier League with the Blues taking on Manchester United tomorrow.
Possession: Manchester City 54% - Swansea 46%
Shots: Manchester City 4/6 - Swansea 2/3