Goals were hard to come by on the second Saturday of the 2013-14 Premier League season, but at least one club won’t have been too disappointed with their 0-0 draw.
After being thumped 4-0 away to Manchester City on Monday, Newcastle returned to St. James’ Park for their first home match of the campaign against West Ham. While they did not find the back of the net, the clean sheet will no doubt have come as a relief to beleaguered manager Alan Pardew.
Arsene Wenger took his under-fire Arsenal squad to Fulham in the day’s early kickoff, and following on the heels of an impressive 3-0 win away to Fenerbahce in the Champions League, he coaxed another good performance from a side he has so far failed to bolster in the summer transfer market.
Over the next few slides, we’ll delve a bit deeper into these matches and a few others that played out at Goodison Park, Kingston Communications Stadium, St. Mary’s, Britannia Stadium and Villa Park.
*All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com.
Both sides came into Saturday’s match at Kingston Communications Stadium in search of a first win of the season—Hull having lost 2-0 to Chelsea, and Norwich coming from behind to draw Everton last weekend.
Norwich made the better start of the two and quite nearly took the lead after just nine minutes through record-signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel. A minute later, Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor was forced into making a good stop on Canaries midfielder Nathan Redmond, who had lashed his shot from 20 yards.
So it was decidedly against the run of play that Hull scored what proved to be the only goal of the match, with Michael Turner fouling Yannick Sagbo inside the area in the 20th minute. Robbie Brady converted low and hard past John Ruddy from the spot two minutes later, and Hull had a somewhat fortuitous lead.
But less than 10 minutes after that first goal, the match was given its biggest talking point when Sagbo, in a scrum following another collision with Turner, was shown a straight red card.
Hull seemed to settle better after going down to 10 men. Thanks to some good defending by James Chester, and at least one more highlight-reel save from McGregor, they managed to eke out the 1-0 victory and enter the win column.
Shots: Hull 7-13 Norwich
Passing Percentage: Hull 79-85 Norwich
Possession Percentage: Hull 39-61 Norwich
Everton and West Bromwich Albion were two more teams looking for their first wins of the season when they clashed at Goodison Park on Saturday. Present in the stands were both England manager Roy Hodgson and Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni, who were no doubt doing some scouting ahead of the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
But neither man will have taken much from Saturday’s contest—a scoreless draw that delivered one of its more compelling talking points just three minutes in when Markus Rosenberg went down in the Everton box following a tackle by Sylvain Distin and screamed for a penalty. None was given, and by the seventh minute, Everton were in the ascendency with Steven Pienaar testing West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster with a dangerous header following a Seamus Coleman cross.
One of the guests’ better scoring chances came with just three minutes remaining on the clock when Matej Vydra forced a last-ditch block from Distin. Everton quite nearly grabbed a late winner when Coleman rang his effort off the crossbar a few minutes later, and at the final whistle the hosts might have been unlucky to only end up with a draw.
Shots: Everton 22-7 West Bromwich Albion
Passing Percentage: Everton 83-69 West Bromwich Albion
Possession Percentage: Everton 62-38 West Bromwich Albion
At St. Mary's, goals from Emanuele Giaccherini and Jose Fonte bookended one of the day’s better matches, where Southampton equalized with just two minutes left on the clock to earn a 1-1 draw against visiting Sunderland.
The Black Cats had taken the lead after just three minutes when Giaccherini, a summer acquisition from Juventus, headed Sebastian Larsson’s well-placed header past Artur Boruc.
Only three minutes later, Southampton thought they had drawn level through Jay Rodriguez, but the attacker’s goal was disallowed for offside by the linesman.
Southampton continued to dictate terms for long stretches, and in the 57th minute, Pablo Osvaldo, acquired during the week from AS Roma, set up Rodriguez for another chance that the 24-year-old managed to only head into Sunderland goalkeeper Kieren Westwood.
The Saints finally got their deserved breakthrough in the 88th minute when Jose Fonte directed James Ward-Prowes’ free-kick past Westwood to secure a point for his side.
Shots: Southampton 17-8 Sunderland
Passing Percentage: Southampton 85-64 Sunderland
Possession Percentage: Southampton 67-33 Sunderland
A pair of second-half goals four minutes apart helped Stoke to a come-from-behind victory over promoted Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The guests, who had given a good account of themselves in a 1-0 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, opened the scoring in the 31st minute when summer acquisition Marouane Chamakh took advantage of some uncharacteristically sloppy play from the Potters defense before slotting his first of the season past goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
But Stoke continued to force the issue (Palace didn’t earn a single corner at the Britannia) and restored level terms just shy of the hour-mark when Charlie Adam, having received the ball from Jonathan Walters following a Peter Crouch knock-down, beat Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni from in close.
Just four minutes later the hosts were in front. Ryan Shawcross scored the eventual winner after Chamakh, suddenly wearing the goat-horns, failed to clear the ball from the goalmouth, allowing the defender to score a rare goal.
Shots: Stoke 14-14 Crystal Palace
Passing Percentage: Stoke 77-79 Crystal Palace
Possession Percentage: Stoke 50-50 Crystal Palace
Newcastle have failed to find the back of the net in two matches to start the season. The fact that they also didn’t concede on Saturday will have come as some solace to manager Alan Pardew, whose side has yet to be strengthened following the bizarre appointment of Joe Kinnear as the club’s director of football.
In the 13th minute the Magpies quite nearly took the lead when Vurnon Anita’s misplaced through-ball to Papiss Cisse caused all sorts of problems for Hammers defender Winston Reid, who quite nearly deflected the ball into his own net.
Stewart Downing, recently acquired from Liverpool, came close to getting West Ham on the scoresheet following a good run in the 48th minute and attempting a shot that Tim Krul did well to save. On the stroke of the hour-mark, Kevin Nolan somehow failed to open the scoring when he missed a free header from in close.
But the best opportunity of the afternoon fell to Newcastle forward Yoan Gouffran, who somehow missed a wide-open net after Sammy Abeobi’s initial ball fell to him after hitting the post.
Shots: Newcastle 16-6 West Ham
Passing Percentage: Newcastle 78-70 West Ham
Possession Percentage: Newcastle 55-45 West Ham
Aston Villa put up a fight in their 2013-14 Premier League home opener but could just not find the back of the net against a Liverpool outfit that recorded its second 1-0 win in as many games.
Having beaten Arsenal on opening day and given Chelsea everything they could handle during the week, Villa again went toe to toe with a high-profile opponent but found themselves behind after a superbly worked Liverpool goal in the 21st minute.
Exquisitely controlling Jose Enrique’s pass from the left, Daniel Sturridge weaved his way between three Villa defenders before rounding goalkeeper Brad Guzan and stabbing the ball into goal with his left foot as he lost balance.
Three minutes later Steven Gerrard had a chance to double the guests’ advantage, but he couldn’t quite get himself onto Philippe Coutinho’s through-ball.
Villa’s best chance of the first half came in the 41st minute when Belgium striker Christian Benteke forced a superb save out of countryman Simon Mignolet. Midway through the second half, Benteke was left to rue another missed opportunity when his header from a corner went just wide of goal.
Shots: Aston Villa 17-5 Liverpool
Passing Percentage: Aston Villa 84-81 Liverpool
Possession Percentage: Aston Villa 47-53 Liverpool
A Lukas Podolski brace helped Arsenal to a much-needed win away to Fulham—their Premier League season having started with a dismal 3-1 defeat at home to Aston Villa.
It took just 14 minutes for the Gunners to get the first goal of the day, and it came from Olivier Giroud, who also found the back of the net against Fenerbahce in Wednesday’s Champions League playoff first leg in Istanbul.
Aaron Ramsey, who also starred against the Turkish giants, set up the play with the initial ball, but Giroud still had a lot to do to bring it under control before beating Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale for the opener.
Podolski’s first of the afternoon came shortly before the interval and was due in large part to Theo Walcott’s run into the area and shot that Stockdale could only parry onto the Germany international’s feet. The 28-year-old made no mistake as he slammed the ball into the back of the net.
Eight minutes after the hour-mark Podolski had his second—Giroud again doing ever so well to control the ball before laying it off to Santi Cazorla, who found Podolski on the left-hand side of the 18-yard box.
Fulham managed to pull one back in the 77th minute when new acquisition Darren Bent tapped the ball past Arsenal ‘keeper Wojciech Szczesny following Dimitar Berbatov’s ball across the face of goal.
Shots: Fulham 16-19 Arsenal
Passing Percentage: Fulham 87-87 Arsenal
Possession Percentage: Fulham 46-54 Arsenal