Premier Ratings: Bogeymen, cockroaches and David Dickinson
FFT's Christopher Cox runs his eye over the weekend's efforts in the Premier League
Manchester City 8.5
(W 4-1, Aston Villa H)
Predictable but impressive win, despite the lack of a clean sheet. More performances like these are needed if the balance of power in Manchester is to change. Villa are in transition but City did exactly what Liverpool failed to do at Anfield Ã¢ÂÂ take advantage of what was in front of them.
(W 3-1, Everton H)
Bogey side? AVB (as it seems we're obliged to call him) secured a solid win, the BluesÃ¢ÂÂ first at the Bridge in six attempts against Everton. Goals from a striker (Sturridge), midfielder (Ramires) and a defender (Terry) suggest that there's goals throughout this side, but Juan Mata once again stood out with contributions to two of the three goals.
West Brom 8
(W 2-1, Wolves H)
Not a classic game but West BromÃ¢ÂÂs first home win, and against bitter rivals, could turn their season around. They have a good side Ã¢ÂÂ goalscorers Odemwingie and Brunt have already made their mark, while Championship fans know all about how good a signing Shane Long is. More of the same and Albion are upwardly mobile.
(W 3-1, Swansea City H)
Experts peg promoted sides' home games against each other as "must-win", and Norwich did it in style against an equally entertaining Swansea City side. Anthony Pilkington seems a great bargain spotted by the David Dickinson of East Anglia, Paul Lambert. Only another 30 points to go and safety should be securedÃ¢ÂÂ¦
(W 3-1, Wigan A)
Just what the Trotters needed: a fixture against a poor team. Wigan were in a similar mess going into this game and Bolton's win could have been better but for a familiar face between Wigan's sticks saving a penalty. A good win which needs to reboot the Reebok season.
(W 2-1, Sunderland H)
A much-needed win against a Sunderland side who have been poor almost all season. Arsenal could have and should have scored more (11 shots on target, 60% possession) but a superb Arshavin cameo and a very strong Van Persie performance hint at an Arsenal revival.
(W 2-0, Fulham H)
Five Live's Pat Murphy called Stoke cockroaches: no matter how hard you stamp them out, you just canÃ¢ÂÂt get rid of them. He may have a point; they won't give a damn. With a good win in a scrappy game full of fouls, Stoke continue to perform in the Premier while enjoying the Europa. Not many teams manage that.
(D 2-2, Newcastle A)
Playing good football and doubling Newcastle's goals-against at St. JamesÃ¢ÂÂ Park, Spurs already look a better team than last season; perhaps that campaign wasnÃ¢ÂÂt as good as it gets. If theyÃ¢ÂÂre to claim a Champions League place again, this might well prove a valuable point.
(D 2-2, Tottenham H)
While pundits scratch their heads trying to understand how Newcastle have started the season so well, the Toon just get on with it. Worries over the lack of a good striker are ebbing with Demba BaÃ¢ÂÂs form, and itÃ¢ÂÂs just as good to see Shola Ameobi stepping up to the plate. Coming from behind twice implies the good run could last.
Manchester United 6
(D 1-1, Liverpool A)
'Resting' Rooney and playing Phil Jones in midfield led to a disjointed performance in what the boss had described as the biggest game in the known universe, or something. As usual United clawed something back when all looked lost, but arguably unnecessary tinkering led to just three shots on target and two points lost.
(D 1-1, Manchester United H)
A missed opportunity against a huge but vulnerable rival. If Liverpool are to challenge for the title, they have to capitalise when dominating an entire half at home against an unusually under-strength United. King Kenny needs more from his subjects, and will be pleased with the goalscoring return of Steven Gerrard.
(D 1-1, QPR A)
The international break seems to have done Steve KeanÃ¢ÂÂs Blackburn some good. They still look average, but they came back to earn a point away from home. That's exactly what they need: to fight for every point they can in what will surely be a long old season.
(L 2-1, Arsenal A)
There's fear in the side from Wearside: Sunderland are 16th and look bereft of confidence. Some fans may have set off for the Emirates in hope of a point against a below-par Arsenal, but although there was only one goal in it, in truth the home side could have hit double figures. How much can the visitors put that down to the absence of Bendtner?
(L 3-1, Chelsea A)
The last Chelsea manager to take three points from Everton at the Bridge was Jose Mourinho, but David Moyes won't be happy with how his team conceded (Sturridge from a preventable Mata cross, Terry from a regrettable free-kick). Cahill and Saha had early chances but the better team won.
(D 1-1, Blackburn H)
Hosting one of the worst Blackburn teams in living memory was the perfect chance to banish those horrible memories of the derby at Craven Cottage, and it was completely passed by. QPR still haven't managed a home win and Neil Warnock needs to stop that rot quickly.
(L 2-0, Stoke A)
A trip to Stoke was always going to be tough for the men from Craven Cottage. Much better sides have been made to look very foolish at the Britannia but some fighting spirit from their previous Premier League game Ã¢ÂÂ the 6-0 win over QPR Ã¢ÂÂ wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt have gone amiss.
(L 3-1, Norwich A)
Not a good day for Brendan Rodgers when you consider his team Ã¢ÂÂonlyÃ¢ÂÂ lost 1-0 at the Emirates a few weeks ago. Losing 3-1 at a fellow promoted side is a blow. True, the Swans only had two fit defenders and contributed to the entertainment value of the match, but this now gets filed under Ã¢ÂÂwhat ifÃ¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ a dangerous pile for any team to fill.
(L 2-0, West Brom A)
After a promising start, itÃ¢ÂÂs all starting to come undone for Mick McCarthyÃ¢ÂÂs Wolves. Deserved derby defeat will leave a rather bitter taste; Wolves had their chances, but they need to rediscover their spark Ã¢ÂÂ perhaps when Fletcher returns it might just come back with him.
Aston Villa 4
(L 4-1, Manchester City A)
It was never going to be easy, but Villa didnÃ¢ÂÂt have to make it so hard. A Ã¢ÂÂtransitionalÃ¢ÂÂ Villa displayed little quality and there was a strong sense of inevitability about the result. Barry BannanÃ¢ÂÂs midfield bite and creativity was sorely missed, as was James CollinsÃ¢ÂÂ strength at the back.
(L 3-1, Bolton H)
There canÃ¢ÂÂt be many worse feelings than being a Wigan fan watching your side on a terrible run losing to your hated rivals on an even worse run. Is this the season Wigan finally lose their battle against the drop? If they spurn opportunities like these, it could be.