Premier Analysis: Efficient Man Utd, inefficient Liverpool, ineffective Chelsea
The highlight of an eventful weekend in the Premier League was the Tyne-Wear derby, which eventually finished 1-1 after what would best be described as a feisty encounter. The 29 fouls led to two penalties, eight cautions and two straight red cards, one of them after the final whistle.
Sunderland were the only team looking to play football in the first half, with Newcastle seemingly out to get as many players sent off as possible. Then a moment of madness from Stephane Sessegnon handed the initiative back to their opponents, who had only created a single shot on target before the Benin international's 58th-minute red card.
Last week's blog looked at Bobby Zamora's performances after his move to Queens Park Rangers, but Fulham certainly won't miss him if Pavel Pogrebnyak keeps up his astonishing start to life in West London. He has scored with all five of his shots on target so far, becoming the first Fulham player to score in his first three Premier League games and Fulham's third hat-trick scorer in the Premier League era. His goals overshadowed a dominant performance from Moussa Dembele in midfield, as Fulham brushed Wolves aside with ease.
It was a potentially pivotal weekend in the race for fourth place Ã¢ÂÂ or perhaps that should now be the race for third place? The shots-attempted chalkboards tell the story of each match quite convincingly.
Firstly, a smash-and-grab in North London, as Manchester United sealed a 3-1 win over Tottenham despite only managing six shots in total Ã¢ÂÂ a weekend low. The difference between the two sides was shooting accuracy, with the away side getting five of those six shots on target while Spurs could only get six on target themselves for all their dominance.
Another North West v North London match this weekend featured another smash-and-grab, this time in favour of the capital club. Arsenal were dominated by Liverpool in the first half, conceding a penalty and seeing their woodwork rattled twice. Yet Liverpool's shooting accuracy (or lack of it) came back to haunt them, only managing four shots on target over the course of the match Ã¢ÂÂ two of those the saved penalty and follow-up. Arsenal however improved after half-time with five shots on target to Liverpool's zero, including the winning goal.
Finally, Chelsea struggled to smash, let alone grab, at The Hawthorns in what would turn out to be Andre Villas Boas' last match in charge of the Blues. The away side could only clock up two shots on target over the 90 minutes, one of those an Essien blast from range. West Brom had 25 shots, and it's hard to argue that they didn't fully deserve the win. That's three wins in a row for Roy Hodgson's side, with an aggregate score of 10-1.
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