A weekend of rivalry in the British Premier League

By Will Levesque

With multiple upsets and unexpected results, last weekend set a high bar for this round of Barclay’s Premier League matchups. Despite this, however, Week six of the BPL produced yet another set of dramatic and unexpected results.

Saturday got off to an early start with the 223rd Merseyside Derby. After a muted first half, the second frame began with the score level at 0. This would not last long as Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard scored a free kick from just outside Everton’s penalty area, given after a dubious tumble on the part of Gunners’ striker Mario Balotelli. Despite the Toffeemen’s efforts, it seemed the match would end this way until the first minute of extra time, when Everton captain Phil Jagielka sent a rocket of a shot from 30 yards out into the back of Liverpool’s net to tie it 1-1, the final score of the match.

Next up on Saturday was Chelsea at home versus Aston Villa, a match which ended with a clinical 3-0 victory for the Blues, who retained their position atop the table. Goals by Oscar, Costa and Willian all helped Jose Mourinho’s side stay undefeated through eight games.

Crystal Palace then continued their winning ways, scoring twice in 3 minutes to win a two-goal shutout over Leicester. Despite playing a strong first half, Leicester’s defense collapsed in the second, unable to repeat the unexpected victory earned against Manchester United last week.

Manchester City overcame a resilient Hull City, eventually winning 4-2. Despite scoring two early goals, City’s Mangala conceded an own goal, followed quickly by a Hull City penalty to draw it at 2-2. Unfortunately for Hull, the other City proved the stronger side in the second half, with 68th- and 87th-minute goals by Edin Dzeko and Frank Lampard ensuring a victory. City’s Frank Lampard, newly aquired on loan from the fledgling New York City FC, has now scored twice in as many games, proving himself a valuable acquisition for his new club.

City’s cross-town rivals Manchester United, however, did not achieve the same level of dominance, almost succumbing to another embarrassing defeat akin to their loss at Leicester last week. After two early goals for United by Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, West Ham striker Diafra Sakho scored his fourth goal in five games to bring the score to 2-1 before half time; Rooney, United’s captain, almost proved to be his side’s undoing, as a cynical and foolish 59th-minute lunge at West Ham’s Stewart Downing rightfully earned him a dismissal and left United with ten men for the remainder of the match. Rooney’s behavior, which will cause him to miss at least his next three matches, has led some to call into question his leadership abilities. Bizarrely, during United’s post match conference, manager Louis Van Gaal insisted Rooney’s violent conduct was no more than a simple foul.

This was then followed by a 2-1 win by second-placed Southampton over a struggling Queen’s Park Rangers. With goals by Bertrand and Pelle, Southampton, who were only promoted to the Premiership last year, maintained an impressive six-game winning streak in all competitions.

Despite the flurry of goals earlier in Saturday, the last two matches of the day proved tamer, with Sunderland and Swansea playing out a rather drab 0-0 draw. Despite the lack of goals, there was still some level of drama, as Swansea defender Rangel Angel was sent off in the 81st minute for a second bookable offense. The draw allowed Swansea to avoid a third-straight league defeat, however they are yet to win in seven league games.

Saturday’s last match was a North London Derby, with rivals Tottenham and Arsenal battling to a one-goal draw. Despite the fact that Arsenal enjoyed 69 percent possession, Tottenham drew first blood with a 56th minute goal by Chadli. Arsenal would finally capitalize on their possession with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scoring in the 74th minute to bring Arsenal to fourth place in the table.

Sunday’s one and only match proved to be as equally goal-filled as the majority of Saturday’s, with West Brom cruising to a 4-0 win over newly promoted Burnley. Scoring twice on either end of the half, West Brom climbed to tenth in the table, achieving their biggest win since 2012.

After two dramatic weekends of football, hopes are high that the excitement will continue into next week. Matches to watch out for are Arsenal’s second London Derby in two weeks against rivals Chelsea, and Manchester United at home versus Everton, usually a heated and goal-filled affair.

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