EPL Wrap Up: Cherries popped, goalkeepers rule the Emirates

Manchester City maintained their perfect start to the season, while Leicester, Manchester United and Liverpool all dropped points but remain unbeaten. Joey Ratcliffe has the EPL Wrap Up for Matchday Three.

The puns were out in force as AFC Bournemouth won their first ever game in England’s highest division, Fox Sports in particular awkwardly proclaiming on social media, “Cherries popped!” The win over West Ham was also the Cherries’ first points of the season after being cruelly denied a draw at Anfield last week when an offside goal was awarded.

This week, Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson scored twice before half-time, each gifted to the attacking side from 2014-15 Hammers Player of the Year Aaron Cresswell. For the opener, Cresswell had his pocket picked, for the second the Hammers fullback got too fancy at the edge of the box and laid off a perfect assist for Wilson.

The Hammers won a penalty minutes after the break and Mark Noble finished with aplomb, and five minutes later the scores were level when Artur Boruc’s parry fell to Cheikhou Kouyaté.

With 25 minutes remaining, Bournemouth substitute Marc Pugh shook off a last ditch tackle from defender Carl Jenkinson to curl one into the Hammers net and regain the lead.

Jenkinson then failed to clear a ball from his right-side and Bournemouth’s new signing Max Gradel took advantage and charged into the box before Jenkinson tugged him down, conceding a penalty and shown a straight red card. Wilson converted from the spot to claim a hat-trick and give the Cherries a two-goal cushion.

With ten minutes remaining, Modibo Maïga kept the contest alive, slotting one from 18 yards, but it was a consolation as Bournemouth collected their first three points in the Premier League with a 4-3 victory.

Callum Wilson scored a hat-trick to give Bournemouth their first ever Premier League win.
Callum Wilson scored a hat-trick to give Bournemouth their first ever Premier League win.

Earlier on Saturday, in one of the least entertaining games of the year so far, Manchester United and Newcastle shared the points in a scoreless draw at Old Trafford.

Statistically, Manchester United were dominant in their display holding 70% of possession, attempting 20 shots on goal and out-playing Newcastle with almost 400 more completed passes.

Ironically, in their first two matches Manchester United only had a total of three shots on target but won all six points. Against Newcastle, they managed eight but could only draw.

Captain Wayne Rooney’s woes continued in front of goal, compounded by a goal disallowed by the linesman’s flag though replays suggested the goal should have stood.

Newcastle’s young Serbian striker Aleksander Mitrovic was also denied by the finest of margins, but on this occasion it was the crossbar after a powerful header at the end of a cross which left Sergio Romero for dead.

Javier Hernandez could have easily won it for the Red Devils with 12 minutes remaining if not for a fine save from the feet of Tim Krul.

Crystal Palace continued their impressive start to the season with a 2-1 victory at home over Aston Villa. The Villans had the better of the first half, but in the second controversy fell upon Selhurst Park.

Palace’s Dwight Gayle hit a shot into the chest of teammate James McArthur and referee Keith Stroud awarded the goal even though it appeared Mcarthur was in an offside position. Eventually, Stroud overturned the goal and the match remained 0-0.

Just over ten minutes later Palace finally took the lead, legally, courtesy of a powerful header by defender Scott Dann.

Five minutes later, Aston Villa’s Adama Traore made a bursting run down the right-side, blazing past Jason Puncheon and Pape Souaré. Traore hit a low cross but a desperate Souaré could only deflect it into his own net.

It was a defensive error at the other end that then gave Palace victory. Jordan Amavi, the French youngster who was impressive against Manchester United last Friday evening, was dispossessed by Dann. The Palace defender then passed to Malian debutante Bakary Sako, who scored with a delightful finish past Villa’s Brad Guzan.

Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak only managed ten minutes in the match when he came on for the player who has taken his place in the starting line up, Frenchman Yohan Cabaye.

Pointless Sunderland hosted Swansea at home, and  just before half time Bafetimbi Gomis put the Swans into the lead and celebrated in trademark style.

Another former Ligue 1 starlet came close to doubling the Welsh side’s lead when Andre Ayew hit the post with a header in the second half.

Jermain Defoe was able to balance the scoresheet for Sunderland and give his side their first point of the season, though some credit should also go to goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon who made some fine second-half saves.

In the first half at Carrow Road, Xherdan Shaqiri lasered a dead ball to the head of Mame Diouf for Stoke against Norwich, the latter finding the back of the net.

15 minutes later Russell Martin levelled the scores for Norwich. The ball bounced around the Stoke box for what seemed an age as the Norwich players kept the phase alive and Martin eventually nut-megged Jack Butland for his second goal of the season.

The scores stayed 1-1 in the second half despite Norwich taking control. Butland atoned for his mistake in the first half to save a point for Stoke with some fine saves in the second.

Winless Tottenham Hotspur faced undefeated Leicester City at King Power Stadium, but both sides stayed as they were before the match after a 1-1 draw.

The game failed to live up to lofty standards until the final ten minutes when youngster Dele Ali put Spurs ahead with a close-range header.

Within two minutes, Riyan Mahrez continued his spectacular form this season for Leicester by drawing them level. The Algerian international now has four goals in three games this season and is arguably the form player of the league.

At Goodison Park on Sunday, Everton were almost helpless in preventing a relentless Manchester City in a 2-0 defeat.

David Silva was exquisite in his performance against the Toffees. His hold-up play, dribbling and passing was astounding and was unlucky not to score himself when he hit the inside of the post in the second half.

Despite the influence of Silva, the scores were 0-0 at the interval and Everton could even count themselves unlucky not to be ahead after a Romelu Lukaku goal was ruled offside in a very tight decision.

For most of the match, City were the better side. Their combination play was excellent and their ability to form triangles superb.

Everton, playing a narrow diamond formation in midfield with two strikers, were suffering at the overlapping play of City full-backs Aleksander Kolarov and Bacaray Sagna.

However, Everton held their own and never surrendered. Despite a lack of possession and field position, the Blues still created chances of their own, mainly through the dynamic and direct play of the mercurial Ross Barkley.

Yet, the Toffees were continually beaten to the second ball when play broke down and City put their foot on the pedal in the second half. Kolarov scored at a tight angle, beating Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard at his near-post, then substitute Samir Nasri finished with a sublime chipped volley to round out an impressive 2-0 victory.

In the earlier Sunday game, Chelsea set their season back on track with a 3-2 win over West Bromwich Albion.

Thibaut Courtois saved a James Morrison penalty in the 13th minute in front of the Hawthorns’ crowd, and six minutes later Chelsea’s new signing Pedro made a perfect start to his life at Chelsea, combining with Eden Hazard to score on debut. Diego Costa added a second thanks to a deflected Pedro cross as the Blues took control following a shaky opening.

Morrison made amends for his earlier miss though by burying a spectacular half volley past Courtois from a Salomon Rondon overhead cross, but Cesar Azpilicueta restored the two-goal cushion five minutes before half-time.

Eight minutes after half-time, West Brom’s Rondon charged onto a curling through ball from Chris Brunt before being brought down by Chelsea’s John Terry. Terry was shown a straight red card by referee Mark Clattenburg, meaning he missed the end of a game for the second week running after Mourinho hooked him last week.

A delightful header by Morrison seven minutes later got West Brom within a single goal, but the match stayed 3-2 at the final whistle for Chelsea’s first win of the season.

In the third Sunday game, Watford and Southampton fought out a nil-all draw that contained a few chances for both sides.

And in the final game of the weekend, Arsenal and Liverpool – somehow – played out yet another 0-0 draw at the Emirates.

The stars of the match were goalkeepers Petr Cech and Simon Mignolet who made a string of saves to both keep a clean sheet. Cech showed the kind of form that led to his transfer from Chelsea to Arsenal, making two outstanding stops to deny Christian Benteke from close range and a splendid strike by the lively Philippe Coutinho after the Brazilian had turned Hector Bellerin inside-out, deflecting his shot onto the post.

The result was Liverpool’s first dropped points of the season meaning Manchester City are the only team to have won all their three games so far this season and have a two-point buffer at the top of the table.

About Joey Ratcliffe 32 Articles
Joey is a journalist that specialises in online sports content ranging from football to golf. Currently working full-time as a Digital content coordinator on the editorial page of Golf Link (www.golflink.com.au), the Sydneysider has also worked freelance with The Roar (www.theroar.com.au) writing news stories and creating highlights packages for AFL, NRL, A-League, the football World Cup and cycling. Often referred to as T-Rex on the football field due to his fast, yet strange technique of running, Joey prefers to dribble than pass or shoot.