LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Liverpool and Everton mascots pay tribute to the Hillsbrough 96 before the Premier League match between Everton and Newcastle United at Goodison Park on September 17, 2012 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
After a torturous two weeks without football due to the pesky international break -- three weeks in Chelsea's case -- the Premier League resumed this weekend. Here's a quick recap of all the Premier League action not involving current European Champions. As always, the linked recaps are from our friends here at SB Nation, so please be respectful if you decide to comment on those threads. Pretend they're your in-laws if you have to. Just be nice. : )
Arsenal 6 - 1 Southampton: If you were a Southampton supporter, this got ugly pretty quickly, and you were probably regretting signing new player "Own Goal." Arsenal showed why they certainly aren't pushovers without Robin Van Persie. Only an astounding error from keeper Wojciech Szczesny kept Arsenal from extending their run of clean sheets to start the season. Head over to The Short Fuse for an Arsenal perspective of the match.
Norwich City 0 - 0 West Ham United: Not a vintage game by any stretch of the imagination. Neither side really deserved more than a point from the match, and the result reflects that. It was pretty much a regulation 0 - 0 draw, and means Norwich are on a run of three straight draws. Neither side is represented on SBN, so you don't get any reading for this one. [Be happy]
Manchester United 4 - 0 Wigan Athletic: Despite going in at the half at 0 - 0, and Javier Hernandez missing an early penalty, United ultimately strolled to success at home to Wigan. You'd expect it, frankly, so there's not much to get excited about. The really interesting bit was Paul Scholes scoring in his 700th match for United, as well as Youngster Nick Powell and left back Alexander Büttner scoring in their first games for the Red Devils. Check out SBN's United blog The Busby Babe for more.
Stoke City 1 - 1 Manchester City: City were ultimately unlucky in this match, undone by the hand of Peter Crouch. Literally. The robotic England striker managed to breach Joe Hart's goal only through the use of his hand, but the referee missed it, allowing the goal to stand. Javi Garcia managed to save the point for City in a game they probably deserved to win. I'm certainly not complaining, though. Bitter and Blue have more.
Sunderland 1 - 1 Liverpool: In their first match following the emotional Hillsborough inquest finding, Liverpool finally looked good under Brendan Rodgers. Unfortunately for them, the woodwork magnet which dogged them so horribly last season re-emerged in the game, which saw the Reds waste numerous chances just wide or off the post. Unfortunately for Rodgers and company, Liverpool haven't begun a season this poorly in 101 years. Yikes. The Roker Report and The Liverpool Offside have more.
Fulham 3 - 0 West Bromwich Albion: This week, West Brom came crashing back to Earth after early form which saw them up to third in the table coming in. In truth, Fulham looked the better side throughout, but the Albion were somewhat doomed after Peter Odemwingie's frankly-stupid red card for kicking out at German defender Sascha Riether. Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku again looked good, and should get a start or two with Odemwingie suspended. You'll have to visit Cottagers Confidential for more, since SBN doesn't have a West Brom blog yet.
Aston Villa 2 - 0 Swansea City: Villa never really let Swansea into the game apart from a quick flurry at the beginning of the game, and were definitely deserved winners here. Aston Villa could, and arguably should, have won more comfortably, but Swansea never really threatened. New boys Matthew Lowton and Christian Benteke scored the goals for the Birmingham side. 7500 to Holte have more.
Reading 1 - 3 Tottenham Hotspur: Former Chelsea
word-inventor manager Andre Villas-Boas finally got his first win in the Premier League for Tottenham as they cruised to victory over a less-than-stellar Reading side. Jermain Defoe scored twice, sandwiching a Gareth Bale goal to dispatch Reading. The Premier League new boys did score a consolation through Hal Robson-Kanu, and saw a penalty denied in the dying minutes, but they were never really a factor. Congratulations to AVB on buying another week in his new job! Check out Cartilage Free Captain and The Tilehurst End for in-depth reports.
Everton 2 - 2 Newcastle United: On a night of emotional Hillsborough tributes, which showcased the best side of football, Everton have every right to feel aggrieved as the referee team displayed less than their best. Both teams played relatively well, and deserved the goals the scored. [Baines and Anichebe for Everton, and a second-half brace for Demba Ba and Newcastle.] The real controversy of the night was Everton having two goals denied. The first when Belgian Marouane Fellaini's hair was seemingly called offside, and second when Anichebe's header was cleared from inside the goal. In my opinion, there can be no excuse for getting either wrong, but they didn't count. Royal Blue Mersey and Coming Home Newcastle have the rest.
For Chelsea, it's a good week, despite the frustrating draw with QPR, as the teams around us failed to capitalise. We're still top of the table -- for this week anyway -- and our European Championship defence begins on Wednesday!