Another weekend of Premier League action, another weekend of shocks.
Saturday saw three of the preseason favourites for the title in action—and none of them managed to come away from their respective fixtures with all three points. Chelsea and Manchester City found it tough going in away fixtures with Stoke City and Southampton, respectively, while Manchester United's troubles under David Moyes continued in the weekend's early kick-off against Newcastle.
Elsewhere, however, there were wins for sides at the bottom of the table—with Crystal Palace and Norwich both boosting their respective fanbases.
Read on for all the scores and analysis from the weekend's games.
(GIFs B/R's own unless otherwise stated. Stats via WhoScored?.)
Swansea overcame a sluggish start to earn a share of the spoils with a plucky Hull side that took an early lead at Liberty Stadium, Monday.
The draw took the hosts into the top half of the table—just three points back of ninth-place Manchester United—while the visitors moved ahead of Norwich and Stoke and into 12th spot with their point.
Former Swans striker Danny Graham opened the scoring after just nine minutes after teammate Ahmed Elmohamady intercepted Ashley Williams’ misplaced pass and crossed to his teammate, who finished confidently past Gerhard Tremmel.
Ben Davies and Jonathan De Guzman had chances to equalize before the first-half whistle, but it would take until the hour-mark for Swansea to finally claw their way back from the early deficit.
Chico was the unlikely goalscorer—the defender directing Jonjo Shelvey’s delivery into the back of the net following a corner, although replays showed he may have used his arm.
Hull nearly went back in front just five minutes later through Alex Bruce, and in the 70th minute midfielder Tom Huddlestone’s shot from inside the area was blocked by a defender.
Nine minutes later Michu had one of Swansea’s best chances for a winner after latching onto a Wayne Routledge ball, but on this occasion goalkeeper Allan McGregor was equal to it.
On target: 2-2
Arsenal edged five points clear in the Premier League title race after a 1-1 draw with Everton.
The Gunners were not at their best as Everton dominated the first half.
But Arsene Wenger’s side have shown battling qualities on many occasions this season and they found a foothold in the second half.
It looked like they had snatched the win 10 minutes from time when Mesut Ozil slotted home a header across the six-yard box from Theo Walcott.
But the lead did not last long, as Gerard Deulefou flashed a stinging drive beyond Tim Howard.
There was time for Arsenal to go within a whisker of securing the win, as a thunderbolt from Olivier Giroud crashed off the bar.
Arsene Wenger spoke to broadcaster Sky Sports after the game and felt a point was a decent outcome for his side.
It was an intense game. Everton were very good. We had difficulties to get into the game. They remained dangerous on counter-attacks.
It is a point and we can say it is a logical result. It is not bad to take overall.
Ideally we wanted seven (lead), but we have five points and it gives you a cushion to play in a serene way.
On target: 5-4
Pass completion: 78%-84%
Steve Sidwell and Dimitar Berbatov ended a run of seven successive defeats for Fulham as they beat Aston Villa 2-0 at Craven Cottage.
The victory also lifted the west London club above Crystal Palace into 18th place on goals scored as Rene Meulensteen got his first win since taking over from Martin Jol.
Sidwell opened the scoring for Fulham in the 21st minute when he found the net from an acute angle after collecting a through ball from Ashkan Dejagah.
Berbatov doubled Fulham's lead nine minutes later when he slotted home from the penalty spot after Alexander Kacaniklic had been brought down inside the area.
John Arne Riise headed against the post midway through the second half, but Fulham defender Aaron Hughes was lucky to have escaped a penalty appeal after he appeared to bring down Gabriel Agbonlahor in the closing stages.
The defeat also saw Aston Villa lose their five-match unbeaten sequence in the Premier League.
On target: 9-2
The return of Robin van Persie could not prevent Manchester United from losing a second successive home game for the first time in nearly 12 years, as Yohan Cabaye’s second-half strike gave Newcastle a slender 1-0 win.
In similar circumstances to Wednesday’s loss to Everton, United were edged out in an attritional battle in front of their own fans, and Moyes was left to reflect on where things are going wrong as Newcastle celebrated their first win against United at Old Trafford in 41 years.
The goal, decisive as it was, was also somewhat fortuitous—Cabaye slotted home after Moussa Sissoko had been gifted the ball down the right-hand side.
Around that United saw two great chances slip through their grasp, as first Anita cleared Patrice Evra’s header off the line before van Persie saw his strike chalked off (correctly) for offside, although clear-cut chances were at premium for both sides.
"I'm disappointed with the result," Moyes told the media (via the Daily Telegraph). "I think we needed a bit of luck to go for us, and to take a few opportunities a bit better, but that didn’t happen.
"We’ve lacked a bit of creativity at the right times...We lost both games 1-0, and they’ve probably both been slightly against the run of play—but it has happened and we have to address that."
On target: 4-3
Pass completion: 78%-81%
On-loan winger Oussama Assaidi was the hero of the hour as Stoke City claimed a memorable 3-2 victory over Chelsea at the Britannia Stadium.
Assaidi, a substitute, scored the fifth and final goal of the contest with just minutes remaining on the clock—claiming the three points for Mark Hughes' side in a ding-dong battle.
Chelsea took the lead after 10 minutes thanks to Andre Schurrle's solo run and shot, before Peter Crouch steered home an equaliser five minutes before half-time.
Stoke then led thanks to Stephen Ireland after the break, although that lead lasted only five minutes before Schurrle equalised—setting the stage for Assaidi's dramatic intervention.
After the match, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho told the BBC, "I don't feel comfortable enough to tell you what I think about the game. We're in trouble."
In his interview with the BBC, Stoke boss Mark Hughes was full of praise for his side:
We showed great character after the disappointment of conceding an early goal. I thought the response was exemplary and the quality of the goals for both sides was outstanding. I really enjoyed the game.
They are a good team individually and collectively and at times we struggled to work out their rotations and their movement, but we stuck at it. In the second half we were excellent. We upped our intensity to match them. Chelsea asked a lot of questions but we always had a threat.
On target: 3-6
Pass completion: 73%-85%
Pablo Osvaldo scored a wonderful curling effort as Manchester City drew 1-1 with Southampton at St Mary's on Saturday.
Southampton, fresh off a surprise home defeat to Aston Villa, perhaps again deserved to take all three points—but in the end had to settle for one as Osvaldo curled home from range to cancel out Sergio Aguero's early opener.
"It was a very important point today, to end the bad results we've been on," Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino told the BBC afterwards. "We've been up against it quite a bit with injuries. Psychologically today, to end with a result, was amazing for us.
"I'm always proud of my team. Despite the bad run of results we've been in, some of the results have been undeserved. A draw today was well deserved and we're a little bit sad too because we could have won."
On target: 4-3
Pass completion: 82%-74%
A late goal-scoring flurry, led once again by Luis Suarez, helped Liverpool to a second successive emphatic home victory as they ultimately put West Ham to the sword in a 4-1 win on Saturday.
Following his four-goal haul against Norwich in midweek, Suarez scored his side’s all-important third goal and then found the net for the clinching fourth—helped significantly by a wicked deflection off Joey O’Brien—to ease the Reds to victory, ending brief hopes of a comeback that West Ham will have harboured when Martin Skrtel had turned into his own net to make it 2-1.
Liverpool had struggled for fluency in the first half, but were eventually gifted the game’s opener as Guy Demel bundled into his own net—before Mamadou Sakho doubled that advantage with the decisive connection from Steven Gerrard’s free-kick.
The victory for Liverpool was tempered somewhat by an injury to Gerrard, however, as the club captain was forced off shortly before the hour mark with what appeared to be a thigh injury.
West Ham too lost their captain, as Kevin Nolan was dismissed late on for a studs-up challenge on Jordan Henderson.
On target: 8-1
Pass completion: 87%-68%
Tottenham scraped clear with a second consecutive Premier League victory on Saturday, dispensing with Sunderland by a 2-1 scoreline.
It's a result that significantly eases the pressure on Andre Villas-Boas, but at no point did it look comfortable due to the visitors missing chance after chance after chance.
Adam Johnson opened the scoring for the league's basement club in the first half to ignite the Stadium of Light, but Paulinho pegged the hosts back with an opportunistic finish on the stroke of half-time.
An incredibly unfortunate own goal from John O'Shea was the difference in the second half, and despite late pressure from the Black Cats and a serious case of profligacy haunting the Lilywhites, AVB's men held firm to claim a precious three-point haul.
On target: 4-5
Pass completion: 79%-85%
Crystal Palace 2-0 Cardiff City
Crystal Palace picked up their second successive win under Tony Pulis thanks to goals in either half from Cameron Jerome and Marouane Chamakh.
Jerome opened the scoring in the sixth minute after he headed home Jason Puncheon's smart turn and cross, before Chamakh sealed the points with a clinical two-touch finish.
West Brom 0-2 Norwich
Leroy Fer's 89th-minute breakaway finish secured a vital three points for Norwich City, clinching victory after Gary Hooper had opened the scoring with just 13 minutes on the clock.