Here’s what happened in the English Premiership over the weekend, in case you missed it…
Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross’s goal saving clearance against Manchester City was your choice for Twitter play of the day on Saturday’s edition of Soccer Central.
Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand refuses to shake the hand of Chelsea’s John Terry and Ashley Cole ahead of their match at Loftus Road.
It’s probably a good thing that Anton Ferdinand refused to shake hands with John Terry and Ashley Cole, as that at least gave us something to talk about from this pretty uneventful match. In all seriousness, one can hardly blame Ferdinand for how he feels, and it was naive to think he was just going to make nice after everything that has transpired. Instead of kicking up a big fuss or creating a big scene, Ferdinand simply refused to put out his hand and walked right by Terry. Good on him for carrying himself with such dignity and self-respect.
Match fact: Chelsea have earned only nine points in nine league games against other London clubs since the start of last season.
Remember the 8-2 hammering Arsenal suffered at Old Trafford last August? Now Southampton knows what the Gunners felt like on that ill-fated day. This was exactly the type of result Arsene Wenger’s team needed, with so many questioning their offensive prowess in the wake of Robin van Persie’s departure and two goal-less games to begin the campaign. Was this a one off or a harbinger of things to come? Probably somewhere in between. And despite his fabulous free kick goal, Lukas Podolski still looks unconvincing.
Match fact: Southampton is winless in their last 19 visits to Arsenal, with 14 losses.
United stars old (Paul Scholes) and new (Nick Powell and Alexander Buttner) found the back of the net against the Latics – Scholes scoring in his 700th career appearance for the Red Devils, Powell and Buttner in their debuts for the club. All this on the same day that Ryan Giggs played in his 900th Premiership game for United, Rio Ferdinand made his 400th United appearance overall, and Alex Ferguson took charge of his 500th home league game. But the big story was the poor play of the usually reliable Ali Al-Habsi, who saved a penalty but was far from his best on the goals from Scholes (giving away a cheap rebound) and Buttner (being beaten at the near post).
Match fact: Wigan has lost all nine of its visits to Old Trafford, and has been outscored 32-1.
Asmir Begovic was at his very best in this game, making a string of fantastic saves on Maicon, Yaya Toure and Javi Garcia to thwart the reigning champions. But it was Ryan Shawcross’s game saving clearance on Eden Dzeko in injury time that allowed the Potters to take a point at home. Stoke can consider themselves lucky, as Peter Crouch’s goal should not have been allowed after he handled the ball inside the area. “It wasn’t football, it was basketball,” City manager Roberto Mancini said.
Match fact: Stoke is unbeaten in their last five home games versus Manchester City with one victory and four draws
Liverpool is off to its worst season start in just over a century, and their lack of ruthless in front of goal is to blame. Not for the first time this campaign, the Reds squandered so many quality scoring chances against the Black Cats, with Fabio Borini failing to convert on two attempts from in close, and both Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard hitting the woodwork. Liverpool only has three goals this season, but they could easily have four times that many, but for their lack of finishing.
Match fact: Liverpool is winless through their first four matches (two losses and two draws) in league play for the first time since the 1911-12 season.
Dimitar Berbatov bagged a brace in his home debut for Fulham, but two things stood out at Craven Cottage: the stupidity of the sublime Peter Odemwingie (who was sent off for kicking out at Sascha Riether) and the brilliant play of Alex Kacaniklic, who was busy and dangerous, and had a hand in setting up both of Berbatov’s goals.
Match fact: Dimitar Berbatov has four goals in six league games against West Brom.
Bravo, Chris Foy. The referee who officiated the 2010 FA Cup final made one of the best (and one of the most difficult) decisions thus far this season when he awarded Norwich a free kick for James Collins’ lunging challenge on Andre Surman. At full speed, it appeared to be a penalty, but replays showed the infraction took place just outside the 18-yard box. With the Carrow Road crowd in an uproar, Foy’s immediate decision was all the more impressive.
Match fact: Six of the last seven league games between Norwich and West Ham have ended in draws.
Paul Lambert has made the right decision to install Brad Guzan as Villa’s number one goalkeeper over Shay Given. The Irishman is past his due date and living off his reputation, while the American is hungry, and eager to prove he belongs at this level. Guzan repaid his manager’s faith by coming up with two outstanding stops early on against Ashley Williams and Nathan Dyer to provide Villa a platform to earn its first win of the season.
Match fact: Villa entered this game without a league win at home since March.
Oh, Jermaine Dafoe. Speedy, technically proficient, land ethal in front of goal. It was these qualities that were on full display Sunday afternoon, and it’s a good thing for Andre Villas-Boas. Had Spurs gone four games without a win, the pressure on the Portuguese manager would have reached new heights, and the word “crisis” would start being whispered in the hall of White Hart Lane. The win was just what AVB and Spurs needed, but it won’t mean anything unless they can build on it and string some more positive results together.
Match fact: Spurs have won just two of their last 11 road games in the league, a run that goes back to December 2011.