Some of the best teams on the planet did battle this Saturday—with some mildly surprising results.
Newcastle vs Liverpool
Newcastle weren't expected to get much out of this one, but a 0-3 mauling at home left the fans with some choice words to hurl at Big Sam Allardyce.
No excuses for Newcastle here, as they played a pitifully tentative game and seemed content to lob the ball deep into Liverpool's half—where Liverpool used Newcastle's lack of control to poach possession and create wonderful chances.
Steven Gerrard was the man of the hour—the Liverpool maestro conducted the Reds' attacking symphony to perfection. The scoreline could have been far gaudier had it not been for Fernando Torres' inexcusable finishing on his 5+ chances.
Arsenal vs Wigan
Even without Alexander Hleb, Cesc Fabregas, and Robin Van Persie, the Gunners were expected to treat this game like a training exercise.
But Wigan would have none of it, fighting Arsenal for every inch and man-marking like their lives depended on it. Wigan seemed at times to be playing for a nil-nil draw, and kept all 10 men back to defend for a majority of the game.
Arsenal, for their part, seemed slightly out of sync. The Saturday lineup had never played together on the first team, and several players were asked to play out of their preferred positions.
But when Emile Heskey cut down Theo Walcott with a horrific tackle, Arsenal decided they'd had enough.
William Gallas set up a cross which he smashed into the back of the net, and a few minutes later Nicklas Bendtner set up Tomas Rosicky for a second score. All told, Arsenal showed their determination to win at all costs in maintaining their undefeated record.
Bolton vs Manchester United
Is it just me, or are we seeing a very interesting pattern develop with Sir Alex Ferguson?
When his team struggles, Ferguson starts swearing at the referee—and blaming everyone but his underperforming players for their own failures.
Ferguson's latest rant was volatile enough for referee Mark Clattenburg to condemn the United manager to the stands. After the game Ferguson admitted to telling Clattenburg "exactly what I thought of him"—which is odd considering that last month Sir Alex described Clattenburg as one of the best officials in the Premier League.
Sir Alex's temper tantrum aside, Manchester United had no legitimate excuse for their performance Saturday—save perhaps for Gerard Pique's mistimed header, which gifted Nicolas Anelka with a fantastic chance to hammer home a goal.
Carlos Tevez made a hash of a point-blank header, turned a shot wide, and generally showed no ability to finish.
Owen Hargreaves did force Jussi Jaaskelainen into a fingertip save, but that was as good as it got for the Red Devils. Bolton manager Gary Megson was rewarded with Bolton's first home victory over United in 29 years.