Plenty of goals, some decent Irish performances – we have all the relevant facts from Sunday’s Premier League action.
Arsenal 2-1 Sunderland
After putting his immediate future somewhat to bed before kick-off, Robin Van Persie was the main instigator in Arsenal’s latest Premier League win.
The Dutch striker opened the scoring after just 29 seconds – the quickest goal in the Premier League this year – when he fired low beyond the reach of Simon Mignolet in the visitors’ goal after being fed by Gervinho.
Van Persie might have doubled his team’s lead on 12 minutes when – after spotting Mignolet off his line – he turned neatly and chipped a superbly-executed shot off the post.
After withstanding immense pressure early on, Sunderland started to get themselves into the contest from the mid-way point of the first half and they stunned the Emirates Stadium into silence when former Gunner Sebastian Larsson levelled matters with a free-kick on the half-hour mark.
Sunderland were happy to try and hold on to what they had already claimed after the break and until Van Persie broke the deadlock with a free-kick effort of his own with eight minutes remaining, the hosts looked incapable of scoring another.
What this means: Arsenal are up to tenth courtesy of only their third win of the season. Sunderland, despite having a goal ruled out in added time, leave empty handed again and continue to float just above the danger zone.
Newcastle 2-2 Tottenham
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp will reflect on what might have been after Tottenham twice allowed a lead slip at Newcastle in the late kick-off.
The game got off to a sluggish start and only burst into life when Rafael van der Vaart converted a spot kick after Steven Taylor was judged to have fouled Emmanual Adebayor in the box minutes before the break.
It took the Magpies all of three minutes to level matters in the second half – Demba Ba firing home from Jonas Gutierrez’ cross and the home crowd suddenly had plenty to shout about.
Adebayor had two glorious chances to put his team back in front but it was Jermain Defoe who ultimately made the breakthrough – firing low past keeper Tim Krul.
Desperate to save their unbeaten start to the season and please their supporters, Newcastle piled on the pressure but efforts from Cheik Tiote and Ryan Taylor were saved by Brad Friedel. The American goalkeeper could do nothing about substitute Shola Ameobi’s striker, however, and the spoils were – perhaps fairly – shared.
What this means: Alan Pardew’s Newcastle remain fourth as Tottenham move up to sixth
West Brom 2-0 Wolves
Goals from Chris Brunt and Peter Odemwingie were enough to see West Brom edge a tense midlands derby win over rivals Wolves early on Sunday afternoon.
The visitors – bidding to end a run of four consecutive defeats – started brightly but it was the Baggies who went ahead on eight minutes when Brunt side-footed the ball home from 12 yards following a devastating break forward and cross from debutant Billy Jones.
Wolves keeper Wayne Hennessey and full-back Stephen Ward had to be at their best to deny Shane Long from getting on the score sheet – the Irish striker caused havoc in the visitors’ defence – and though Adam Hammill and, particularly, Kevin Doyle both had chances to level matters, it was substitute Odemwingie’s fine strike on 75 minutes that finally settled the game.
What this means: West Brom have moved out of the relegation zone and up to 12th while Wolves will have to focus on ending their miserable run of five losses on the trot if Mick McCarthy and company are not to face another long, difficult term fighting for survival.
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