An obvious place to start is Old Trafford which hosted one the most gripping and controversial Manchester derbys since the league’s conception. I’m actually not going to delve into too much detail right now because I think the match is worthy of its own piece. What I will say is that both sides, in particular City, showed defensive frailties which will be their downfall against top class opposition. United were almost undone by two unforgivable errors from Foster and Ferdinand while City were hopelessly disorganised at the back and could have been embarrassed were it not for the heroics of Given.
For the second week in a row Spurs failed to show any promise against a top 4 side. Chelsea breezed past their London rivals in a display which cements them as favourites early on. The blues are now the only team boasting a 100% return from 6 matches. Redknapp’s men will have to seriously up their game against the bigger teams if they’re looking to break into the top 4 and now they find themselves missing their 3 best centre-backs, the dream start to the season is fast disintegrating.
Liverpool will be delighted to have come away from Upton Park with all 3 points as Zola’s army are never an easy prospect in front of their home support. The reds will know however that things would have been very different if their superstar Torres hadn’t popped up with 2 moments of inspiration. With Carragher and Skrtel looking anything but comfortable at the back Benitez will have to pull off something special for his side to come near the title this season.
Arsenal eased to a convincing 4-0 win over Wigan in a game which saw Vermaelen earn legendary status amongst the Emirates faithful. The big centre-back smashed in 2 goals to add to those of Eboue and Fabregas. While the gunners were as impressive as ever in possession they were never really tested in defence. Everton finally produced the kind of football their fans have been crying out for as they hammered Blackburn 3-0. Moyes will be particularly happy with the brace of goals from main striker Saha. With quality in every department there’s no reason why Everton can’t kick on from here and push for a place in Europe.
The weekend boasted some fascinating clashes involving the “smaller” teams, which will have been looked on as 6 pointers against relegation rivals. Super-sub David Nugent caught the eye in Burnley’s emphatic 3-1 victory over Sunderland. Struggling Bolton needed a last minute penalty from Matty Taylor to rescue a point at home against Stoke. Hull continued their poor form losing at home to Birmingham while Wolves totally outplayed Fulham and should have won by more than the solitary goal that separated the sides at the final whistle.
While the top of the table begins to take a familiar shape, the weekends fixtures proved that it could well be a tight and tense affair at the other end.