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September 21, 2009

And then there was One

Six games into the Premier League season and now Chelsea are the solitary 100% team, after continuing their impressive early season form with an imperious brushing aside of Tottenham – a team that has seen its Top Four credentials cruelly exposed two weeks in a row. Ashley Cole, Ballack and Drogba scored for the home side, for whom the only negative point of the day was a worrying injury to the awesome Drogba near the end of the game.

However, the major fixture of the weekend was, of course, for most people, the Manchester derby – and it certainly threw up plenty of talking points. In a game in which both defences seemed intent on creating problems for themselves, Mark Hughes’ men came back to level three times and, when Rio Ferdinand inexplicably presented an injury time gift to Craig Bellamy for the Welshman’s second goal, that looked to be it. Roy of the Rovers – in the shape of Michael Owen – scored a winner deep into stoppage time which sent half the supporters crazy with joy and the rest seething with a sense of injustice about time keeping.

Most of the other games went pretty much according to form. Fernando Torres scored two fine goals to confound those who were saying he was looking jaded in Liverpool’s 3 – 2 win at West Ham. Arsenal’s new Belgian centre back Vermaelen scored another couple in the 4 – 0 destruction of Wigan and Aston Villa kept up their good recent run with a comfortable two goal success against a Portsmouth side in danger of becoming stranded at the bottom of the league.

At Turf Moor, a ground with a superb atmosphere, Burnley won their third home game in a row by 3 goals to 1 against Sunderland. David Nugent, once such a prolific scorer at nearby Preston North End, scored his first goals on loan at the Clarets and will probably have felt better after a game than he has done since he scored on his solitary appearance for England.

Louis Saha put his midweek European sending-off behind him and scored 2 for Everton in their 3 goal victory over a disappointing Blackburn, Birmingham won by an O’Connor header at Hull and the last game between Bolton and Stoke finished as a draw after a late Taylor penalty rescued the home team.

All this means that Chelsea now sit at the top 3 points clear of Manchester United and already 6 points clear of the teams on 12 points – Liverpool, Manchester City and Aston Villa – although the latter 2 have each played a game fewer. Chelsea look as if they might be more disrupted by the African Nations’ Cup at the beginning of 2010 than most teams so they will want to try to make that gap as wide as they can before losing some of their key players.

In Spain, after 3 games we are down to 3 teams with 100% records. The first two might be predictable but Athletic Bilbao also kept up their fine start with a 3 – 2 win over Villareal in their intimidating home stadium.

Real Madrid simply thrashed the season’s potential whipping boys Xerez 5 – 0. Cristiano Ronaldo scored right at the beginning of the game to continue his good scoring form and then added another later. Guti, Van Nistlerooy and Benzema were also on target. Barcelona also got 5 against Atlético Madrid – Messi (2), Ibrahimovic, Alves and Keita scoring for the home side whilst Agüerro and Forlán replied for a Madrid team that finds itself second from bottom of the table.

Valencia’s unbeaten start continues but they dropped their first points after being unable to overcome 10 man Sporting Gijón, despite 2 from David Villa. Other winners were Espanyol – their first of the season, Sevilla, Valladolid, Almería and Racing Santander.

All this means that Real are top with 9 points and a goal difference of 9, Barça have a goal difference of 8 and Atheltic of 3. Poor Xerez at the bottom must wish they could have a game against Portsmouth – at least one of them would be able to get a point then.

Posted by admin @ 10:25 am
Category: Premier League,Spanish League

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