Football round up 02/09/12

There was 3 matches today

Arsenal2-0Liverpool

Newcastle1-1Aston Villa

Southampton2-3Manchester UnIted

Arsenal secured their first victory of the season in impressive style at Anfield as they won comfortably against a desperately poor Liverpool.

Arsene Wenger’s summer signings Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorlascored their first goals for the club either side of the interval to leave new manager Brendan Rodgers presiding over Liverpool’s worst start since 1962-63.

Arsenal had the game’s outstanding performers in Cazorla and Abou Diaby and a third successive clean sheet will also have delighted Wenger and his new right-hand man Steve Bould.

The difficulties are mounting swiftly for Rodgers. He has to deal with a shortage of attacking resources after Liverpool failed to replace Andy Carroll following his loan move to West Ham United. Rodgers seeks ‘technical’ improvement

Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal

And to make matters worse, the decline of goalkeeper Pepe Reina continues as he was again badly at fault for Cazorla’s second goal that settled the destiny of the points.

That followed his mistake that allowed David Templeton’s shot to go through him against Hearts in the Europa League on Thursday.

These are crucial early days for Rodgers and their next league test is a difficult trip to Sunderland.

Raheem Sterling, just 17, offered moments of hope for Liverpool but they were few and far between as more experienced and illustrious team-mates failed to exert any influence over affairs.

Arsenal were dominant in all areas, with Diaby ruling midfield and Cazorla proving what a bargain he is after a £15m move from Malaga.

For two managers who pride themselves on the passing game, Rodgers and Wenger will have been aghast at the number of careless passes and errors that littered an undistinguished first period.

And it was from one such moment of careless, with Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard the culprit, that Arsenal took the lead after 31 minutes.

Gerrard conceded possession as he tried to find Luis Suarez, allowing Cazorla to surge forward and play in Podolski for a clinical finish that the German striker took with great expertise.

Liverpool’s poor form

Liverpool have won just one of the last 11 league meetings against Arsenal.

The Reds have won only one of their last seven league games at Anfield – a victory over Chelsea at the end of last season.

The last time Liverpool failed to win at least one of their opening three Premier League games was in 2003.

In among the mediocrity surrounding him, Sterling was again creating a good impression and he almost produced an equaliser with a neat turn inside the box and a powerful shot against the outside of an upright.

The power of Diaby was a feature of the first half and another run through the heart of Liverpool’s defence should have brought a second Arsenal goal, only for Olivier Giroud to somehow sweep a simple opportunity wide.

Liverpool appealed for a penalty when Suarez clashed with Per Mertesacker, who had been booked early on after another collision with the Uruguayan, but referee Howard Webb angered The Kop by waving play on.

Reina needed to be alert to block a shot from Kieran Gibbs at his near post and from Carl Jenkinson’s long-range effort.

Suarez was fighting a lone battle against Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen but at least offered Liverpool some hope with a rising drive that was touched over by Vito Mannone.

This was snuffed out when Cazorla added Arsenal’s second after 69 minutes. The Spaniard’s shot carried plenty of power but Reina should have done much better than merely help it into the net.

Liverpool’s lack of threat will have alarmed Rodgers but at least substitute Jonjo Shelvey, on for debutant Nuri Sahin, was prepared to test Mannone, twice bringing saves with efforts from distance.

Anfield was deserting rapidly as the final whistle was blown – optimism for Wenger and a desperately poor start for Rodgers.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:

“The sharpness gets better from game to game and we looked solid and scored two good goals.Wenger delights in ‘convincing’ win

“I believe it is encouraging, playing at two difficult away games so I am pleased. We missed opportunities on the counter-attack at the start of the game but we had a convincing team performance. As long as you don’t concede, everyone feels better but I credit the whole team.

“Abou Diaby gets better every game but we need to be cautious with him because he has had so many injuries. He can have a little breather in the international break.

“Everybody understood quickly Cazorla would not need six months to settle. Lukas Podolski is deadly when he gets a chance. I am pleased for them.

Hatem Ben Arfa’s spectacular strike earned Newcastle a draw as they came from behind to deny Paul Lambert a first league win as Aston Villa boss.

Villa had lost Lambert’s first two games in charge and, though there may be a tinge of disappointment at missing out on three points, he will be relieved his side are off the mark.

The visitors began strongly and took the lead through Ciaran Clark’s header.

But Newcastle drew level through Ben Arfa’s brilliant 25-yard drive.

Robin van Persie’s stoppage-time header completed a memorable hat-trick to rescue Manchester United a victory over Southampton in a pulsating encounter.

Rickie Lambert headed Saints in front, before Van Persie produced a touch of class to volley United level.

But the hosts got themselves back in front with a header from Morgan Schneiderlin before Van Persie’s dinked penalty was well saved by Kelvin Davis.

United poured forward and the Netherlands striker looked to have rescued a point when he stabbed home a rebound.

But the former Arsenal captain was not satisfied and wrapped up all three points with a superb near-post header to ensure Sir Alex Ferguson was victorious in his 1,000th league match in charge of United.

For Saints it was a desperately disappointing end to what had been a cracking game in which they fully played their part.

After an encouraging start against Manchester City and a poor defeat by Wigan they are still without a point following their promotion back to the Premier League.

But if this performance is anything to go by, Nigel Adkins’ side will not have to wait too much longer for a first league victory.”Manchester United fans were left celebrating as if they had won the league. When Lambert went off in particular, the Manchester United centre backs found life more comfortable. Suddenly there was more space it seemed, with Scholes able to pick out his passes. But, what an extraordinary last half hour to the game for Robin van Persie.”

In Adam Lallana and James Ward-Prowse they have two of the brightest young talents in the Premier League.

The Saints, who have conceded eight goals in their three league games, will have to sharpen up at the back, though.

At the other end of the table, if Van Persie – who now has 100 Premier League goals – can continue his form for the majority of this season, Ferguson has every chance of securing United their 20th top-flight title.

The Dutchman was a menace throughout and showed his class with three expertly taken goals.

The occasion seemed to get the better of the hosts in the opening exchanges and in the sixth minute Van Persie fired a volley just wide.

But after a bright start from United, it was the Saints who took the lead when Lambert outjumped Rafael at the back post to head home his second of the season.

United were soon on level terms though, when £24m signing Van Persie fired home a half volley at the back post after a fine cross from Antonio Valencia.

Shinji Kagawa went close for United either side of half-time while Van Persie side-footed wide when unmarked in the area. Ferguson credits Scholes for win

Saints were looking lively on the break and it came as no real surprise when Schneiderlin headed them back in front from Lambert’s cross, taking advantage of Patrice Evra’s slip to beat Anders Lindegaard from close range.

United introduced Paul Scholes and the veteran midfielder immediately created a chance for Van Persie, who fired straight at Davis from a tight angle.

Ferguson’s men should have been level moments later after Jos Hooiveld scythed down Van Persie in the box.

But the forward could only watch in horror as the Saints keeper flung himself to his right and, at full stretch, managed to palm the chipped penalty around the post.

Van Persie, though, was not to be denied and his late brace was enough to give Ferguson victory in his landmark match.

 

 

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