FREE KICK: As a person, Zlatan Ibrahimovich can be more irritating than a rash, but on the pitch, he’s world-class. Wednesday night “Ibra” took a deserved bow when he scored what has been described as one of the greatest goals ever. Pretty? That it was, but beauty is always in the eyes of the beholder, and since a picture can’t do it justice, just watch it for yourself and decide. Let's kick this thing off BPL style.
ARSENAL vs. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR: The visitors seemingly were on their merry way after Emmanuel Adebayor's rebound goal in the tenth minute. The Togo international gaveth, but he taketh away eight minutes later when his two-footed sliding challenge resulted in a deserved red card. Like a raging bull, the Gunners saw red and went on the attack, scoring three times within an 18-minute period. In the first month of the season Olivier Giroud couldn't find water if he fell out of a boat, but nowadays he's floating on air, and the Frenchman's tally deep into first-half injury time was his fourth in his last three games. Spurs realistically had no chance playing 10-versus-11 during the final hour of the contest, but conceding five goals is cause for concern. Arsenal 5, Tottenham 2.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION vs. CHELSEA: WBA gains strength on their home pitch while the Blues hadn't lost away from home this season, so something had to give – and with Shane Long displaying the leadership and courage of a modern day Churchill, WBA battled their way to victory. Long opened the scoring with a lunging nod off the noggin, and after Chelsea midfielder Eden hazard neutralized WBA's lead with a head-knocker of his own in the 39th, Long would offer room service delivery for Peter Odemwingie's game-winner with the strike coming yet again via the forehead. While Long was hardly short in his effort, the same could not be said for his Chelsea counterpart Fernando Torres. Remember the good old days when your first appreciation of the female body came by way of the centerfold in a men's magazine? Well, that same feeling now envelops WBA supporters as they gaze affectionately at the standings and find their club in fourth place, ahead of such traditional powers as Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham. WBA 2, Chelsea 1.
MANCHESTER CITY vs. ASTON VILLA: AV took a trip inside the twilight zone. First, it was a dimension of sight and sound when MC's David Silva picked up the trash in delivering a classic garbage goal. Then, a phantom handball decision resulted in a PK for City's second tally, and that was followed by a conventional Carlos Tevez PK to advance the score-line to 3-0. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan's coughing spell made it 4-0, and City closed the scoring with a fifth and final City goal that was the only one of championship quality. Sure, Man City was the better side, but a 5-nil final was fools' gold. Manchester City 5, Aston Villa 0.
NORWICH CITY vs. MANCHESTER UNITED: When the Canaries are on the counter-attack they conjure up memories of “Showtime” with Magic Johnson conducting the Lakers’ orchestra. Grant Holt and Anthony Pilkington are the leaders of this Norwich band, and they produced a winning tune when Pilkington roofed a header past an outstretched David DeGea. The Red Devils had a handful of quality scoring chances, but John Ruddy stood tall to each and every challenge, and MU proved rudderless with Wayne Rooney missing from the lineup. Norwich 1, Man United 0.
LIVERPOOL vs WIGAN: Another example of as Luis Suarez goes, so goes Liverpool. The temperamental Uruguayan netted the opener early in the second half after a bit of thievery from teen idol Raheem Sterling, and Suarez was again suave with the game's second score when he toe-poked a breakaway effort past Ali Al Habsi. Suarez then proved he can give as well as receive when he set up Jose Enrique for the final nail in Wigan's coffin. Not only was Wigan defeated on the scoreboard, but they also lost workhorse midfielder Ben Watson to a broken leg. Liverpool, 3 Wigan 0.
READING vs. EVERTON: Questionable officiating from the men in charge resulted in Reading winning its first match of the campaign. David Moyes' group of laborers took an early lead when Stephen Naismith picked up the scraps that Marouane Fellaini had left behind, making it 1-0 Everton. But an apparent trip within the box and a blatant handball went undetected, extending a lifeline to a listless Reading side; Adam Lefondre possessed plenty of spirit and he would score via a free kick header, and a dubious PK secured all three points for the desperate home team. Reading 2, Everton 1.
NEWCASTLE UNITED vs. SWANSEA CITY: Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse missed the contest, becoming the victim of a tug-of-war involving his club and national teams, and while Cisse was stuck in park, the Magpies couldn't get out of neutral. Despite their offensive woes, Newcastle defended stoutly until goalkeeper Tim Krul air-mailed a pre-Thanksgiving gift with an errant kick. Swansea gladly intercepted the pass and converted it into a diving header from in-form Michu. Adios Newcastle, hola Swansea. Swansea 1, Newcastle 0.
FULHAM vs. SUNDERLAND: Regular readers are aware that Fulham is the apple of this author's eye. Sure, they lost Clint Dempsey and Pavel Pogrebnyak in the offseason, but the London side decided to reload instead of retreat. On this day, Fulham was done wrong by some slim shady officiating, as Brede Hangeland was shown an early exit for his electric slide into the path of Lee Cattermole. The red card might have been in dispute, but there was no arguing the merits of Stephane Sessegnon's goal, which was unleashed with a ferocity and anger rarely witnessed on a pitch. Sunderland 3, Fulham 1.
QUEENS PARK RANGERS vs. SOUTHAMPTON: QPR is anchored at the bottom of this blog, while also looking up at the rest of the league from the BPL's ground floor. Right now, a corpse has more energy than QPR's ragtag backline; they are that bad. Twelve games into the season, they have just four draws to show for their effort, and Southampton won this basement bowl. Southampton 3, QPR 1.
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