It was a dramatic weekend in the Barclays Premier League in which only Liverpool of the top six sides won. Arsenal were held 1-1 by an accomplished Everton side who showed that their midweek victory at Old Trafford was not just a fluke by levelling the scores late on at the Emirates.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had warned his side about Everton’s danger although Mesut Ozil thought he had sealed the points with less than ten minutes to go but the Gunners’ lead lasted just four minutes when on-loan Barcelona teenager Gerard Deulofeu, on as a late substitute, showed a fearless composure to level the scores.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez could be well on his way to becoming a coveted manager from next summer but he is aware that two of his key players are loan signings.
Romelu Lukaku is on loan from Chelsea although he has stated that he would like to stay at Goodison Park if the Toffees qualified for the Champions League next season.
Today’s goal-scorer Gerard Deulofeu is on loan from Barcelona although Martinez revealed that he could yet stay for another year. Martinez said:
“We have an agreement to extend the loan for an extra year if Barcelona don’t need Deulofeu.
“He has incredible pace and I’ve never seen a player so quick with the ball.”
Liverpool regained second place after crushing West Ham 4-1 and leapfrogging Chelsea who succumbed to a shock 3-2 defeat at Stoke. The defeat to former City manager Mark Hughes’ men left an angry Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho describing his team as “in trouble” after conceding three goals.
Manchester City’s away day blues are not completely behind them after they were held to a 1-1 draw at Southampton where Mauricio Pochettino’s accomplished Saints halted a run of three straight defeats with a battling performance against City.
Sergio Aguero’s 10th minute strike laid on by Aleksandar Kolarov looked to be extending that bad run to four but the home side held on as City wasted chance after chance to extend the lead in the first half with Aguero particularly guilty with a glaring miss lofted over the top after Pablo Zabaleta had put him through.
Having survived the torrid first half, injury-hit Saints struck back at the end of the first period when £15m record signing Dani Osvaldo showed his quality by turning City captain Vincent Kompany inside out and curling a super strike over and around Romanian ‘keeper Costel Pantilimon and inside the far post.
Aguero and Yaya Toure could have restored City’s lead early in the second half but it was Osvaldo who went on to have the clearest second half chance after Pantilimon saved Jay Rodridguez’ shot at the end of a mazy run with Italian Osvaldo snatching at the rebound and sending it over.
City, therefore, still only have two wins on the road to contract with seven wins out of seven at home.
Manchester United, however, have a lot of soul searching to do after losing 1-0 at home to Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United side.
Pardew had a lot of sympathy and backing for United manager David Moyes. He said:
“This is a very difficult place to come in terms of the stadium and the aura. It was a huge win for our fans today.
“I have a great respect for David, he didn’t have Rooney available because he’s in such great form and that helped us.
“I remember the FA Cup final in 1990 when United scored with eight minutes to go. I saw Alex [Ferguson] down in the tunnel and he was relieved because they had got out of jail.
“They stood by him in that year and David might have to have a year like that but he’ll come through it – he’s a strong man.”
Pardew did, however, identify a lack of midfield presence from United and exploited it to the full as the Magpies bossed the game.
“After Everton’s victory here it was either going to be a good time to play them or we were going to get a reaction.
“We made a statement that we were here and we weren’t going to let Manchester United have their day.
“We came here with a slightly different style today, to retain possession and control the midfield area and I’m really pleased that really worked out for us.
“I felt that the players really worked the game plan well. Our retention of the ball that was the most pleasing aspect of today.”