On the third game week of Barclays Premier League 2011/12, the two big spending clubs from the North Western city of Manchester laid down a daunting gauntlet to the clubs in the rest of the country, as both Manchester United and Manchester City recorded impressive victories on Sunday 28 August 2011.
City got themselves to the top of the table, at least provisionally, early on Sunday with an impressive 5-1 away victory over slow-starting Tottenham Hotspur, before their fierce rivals produced an even bigger shock over London-based opposition by destroying former title rivals, Arsenal, 8-2 at Old Trafford.
The results mean that both City and United are the only teams left in the Premier League with 100% win records, and put United just ahead of City courtesy of a +1 goal difference superiority – United are already an incredible +10 in that department after just three matches played.
They are followed in the table by another two teams who spent over the summer. Liverpool are third after new signings Henderson and Charlie Adam both scored their first goals for the club in picking up a 3-1 home win over Bolton Wanderers. Chelsea move to fourth following another slightly unconvincing performance proved good enough for a 3-1 victory over newly promoted Norwich. Chelsea will be concerned at the sight of Didier Drogba being carried from the field wearing an oxygen mask after receiving an accidental punch to the head from the visiting goalkeeper.
Other newcomers to the league, Swansea, maintained their slow and steady early progress by picking up a home point against a Sunderland side who may feel slightly short in only the goals department at present: the teams shared a point after a 0-0 draw in Wales.
QPR could not follow up the heroics of last week’s victory over Everton, and fell to a 2-0 defeat away at Wigan, following a goal in either half from Di Santo.
Everton and Blackburn have both started their league campaigns slowly this season, and their game this weekend was also slow to get off the ground: it took until 90+2 minutes before Everton finally picked up a goal from an Arteta penalty. The resulting 1-0 win means Everton are off and running for 2011/12, while Blackburn remain on 0 points having lost three from three. It’s certainly a drama for Blackburn Rovers, if not, yet, a full blown crisis.
Wolverhampton Wanderers were looking to maintain their seemingly unlikely 100% win record when they travelled to local rivals Aston Villa on Saturday. They will be pleased enough with the point they gained from the 0-0 away result, though, as it keeps them moving in the right direction: away from memories of last year’s constant relegation fears. Villa look to be a little Jekyll and Hyde again this season, as they’ve been uninspired and inspiring in equal measure thus far. On the positive side, Villa have yet to lose a match, while conceding only one goal in three, which is at least a hopeful sign for supporters of a club with plenty of attacking options.
Fellow Midlanders, West Brom, would have been hoping for more from their home game with Stoke City, on Sunday. Following impressive performances in a difficult opening brace of matches against Manchester United and Chelsea, the Baggies fell to a 1-0 defeat against the well organised Potters. Stoke have to be considered worthy of an outside chance at retaining the UEFA Europa League position they secured in last week’s Play-Off via a strong league campaign this term.
Another side who looks currently to be heading in that kind of direction is Newcastle United, who have not lost anything in dropping Joey Barton last week for no fee to QPR: they gathered another three points at St James’ Park following a great win over Fulham, who are yet to produce the sort of football their largely similar squad was producing in 2010/11. Leon Best bagged both goals for the Magpies in a match which brought some long-forgotten footballing cheer to the one-team Toon.
But on the Bank Holiday weekend, football fans will be most pleased if they are Manchester based, regardless of their precise hue – red, or sky-blue – their teams sit joint-top of the league in what looks like developing into the most protracted of derbies in living memory.
Barclays Premier League 2011/12 Results – Game Week Three, Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 August 2011
Barclays Premier League 2011/12 Results, Saturday 27 August 2011
- Aston Villa 0-0 Wolverhampton
- Blackburn 0-1 Everton
- Chelsea 3-1 Norwich
- Liverpool 3-1 Bolton
- Swansea 0-0 Sunderland
- Wigan 2-0 QPR
Barclays Premier League 2011/12 Results, Sunday 28 August 2011
- Man Utd 8-2 Arsenal
- Newcastle 2-1 Fulham
- Tottenham 1-5 Man City
- West Brom 0-1 Stoke
Barclays Premier League 2011/12 Table – After Sunday 28 August 2011
The table below shows the Barclays Premier League table as it stood following the conclusion of the Game Week Three matches on Sunday 28 August 2011: