Premier League: Sky Sports picks out some of the key highlights of this weekend's action
By Ryan Parrish - @ryanparrish1919
Last Updated: 31/08/14 9:30pm
Sky Sports casts an eye over this weekend's Premier League action and picks out some of the key highlights.
Game of the Weekend
"I think if the salt and pepper of football is goals, then to have nine goals in a Premier League match is fantastic ingredients,” Jose Mourinho told Sky Sports after his clinical Chelsea side powered past Everton to record a 6-3 win at Goodison Park. It took the Blues just 35 seconds to open the scoring as the in-form Diego Costa beat the offside trap to latch onto a Cesc Fabregas through ball and slot between Tim Howard’s legs. Branislav Ivanovic doubled the lead just two minutes later, but Everton kept knocking on the door as Kevin Mirallas and then Steven Naismith reduced the lead with efforts sandwiched between Seamus Coleman’s own goal. Nemanja Matic made it four but Samuel Eto’o hit back with a debut goal against his former side before Ramires and Costa wrapped things up in a Saturday Night Football thriller which left fans bemoaning the international break’s timing.
Goal of the Weekend
“We’re going to win the league,” was the chant ringing around the Liberty Stadium as Swansea maintained their winning start to the season – their best since 1923 – with a fine 3-0 win over West Brom. Nathan Dyer was on the scoresheet yet again, this time netting a brace, but the pick of the goals came in the middle of his pair as fellow terroriser of full-backs, Wayne Routledge, netted an acrobatic effort that had Baggies head coach Alan Irvine “praying for half-time”. A hashed clearance from Chris Brunt was picked up on by the instrumental Gylfi Sigurdsson, only for his return cross to be headed away by Craig Dawson. But Routledge was lurking on the edge of the box and he adjusted his feet to launch himself at the bouncing ball on the half-volley to leave Ben Foster scrambling across his line.
Player of the Weekend
“He is the difference,” proclaimed Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after watching Diego Costa fire a brace in Chelsea’s win at Everton. The 25-year-old already looks to be well on his way to repaying the £32million fee paid to Atletico Madrid this summer after taking his tally to four goals in three games, an amount it took the seemingly outbound Fernando Torres 39 appearances to reach. Costa showed composure in front of goal for both finishes, as well as using his physical presence to give the Everton back four an evening to forget. Analysing the Spain international's display, former Chelsea striker Eidur Gudjohnsen told Saturday Night Football: “He had just about everything. He scored goals, he got involved with the crowd, he got involved with the opponent, maybe half a dive in there, he grabbed a couple of players by the throat. That’s the character he is.”
Shock of the Weekend
Entering the game with just one point to their name, few had backed Stoke to collect their first Premier League win of the season against a Manchester City side already firing on all cylinders. Mark Hughes returned to his former stomping ground with a “gameplan” and an “understanding of what was required against an outstanding team” as Mame Biram Diouf stunned the champions with a breath-taking second-half goal. Picking up the ball inside his own half, Diouf, who spent three years on the red side of Manchester, waltzed his way through the City team, powering past Aleksandr Kolarov and twisting Fernandinho inside out. Questions could be asked of Joe Hart as Diouf fired through the England goalkeeper’s legs, but it was a run mazy enough to catch anyone off guard as Stoke secured their first ever top-flight win in Manchester.
Late drama of the Weekend
Wilfried Zaha’s return to Crystal Palace was somewhat overshadowed by Neil Warnock’s in the week building up to their trip to Newcastle, but it was the on-loan Manchester United winger who stole the on-field headlines with a last-gasp equaliser at St James’ Park. Having taken the lead inside the opening minute through Dwight Gayle, Palace were twice in front before Mike Williamson scrambled home what appeared to be an 88th-minute winner to make it 3-2, only for Zaha to snatch a point in the dying seconds. A 95th-minute Mile Jedinak free-kick was lofted into the area where Damien Delaney was waiting to nod it across goal. A touch from Scott Dann poked it into Zaha’s path and the 21-year-old lashed a low drive beyond Tim Krul to secure Palace’s first point of the season and issue a timely reminder of his abilities with his first Premier League goal.
Save of the Weekend
Villa continued their unbeaten start to the new campaign as goals from Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann helped them to a 2-1 win over Hull City at Villa Park. A deflected 74th-minute header from Nikica Jelavic ensured it would be a nervy finale for the hosts, but up until that point, goalkeeper Brad Guzan had yet to be tested. That remained the case until 10 minutes from time when Hull’s Jake Livermove was invited to let fly from thirty yards. The midfielder caught his strike well and it looked destined for the top corner, only for the flying Guzan to tip it over the bar with a crucial stop to preserve the three points.
Assist of the Weekend
“Who knew he had that in his locker?” asked Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp in the Saturday Night Football studio. The player in question was John Obi Mikel after a delightful backheel had set Diego Costa away to hit his second and Chelsea’s sixth of the evening at Goodison Park. Everton debutant Muhamed Besic was at fault, though, as the substitute tried to execute something similar with his first touch moments after replacing Romelu Lukaku. Instead, he made a real mess of his attempted flick and Mikel afforded him no time or space to recover, hounding the summer signing from Ferencvaros down before showing the Bosnian how it’s done with a deft touch in Costa’s direction. The Blues striker then applied the finish it deserved, drawing Tim Howard off his line with a step over before picking out the bottom corner from an acute angle.
Moment of the Weekend
The spotlight was only ever going to be on Liverpool’s new £16million man at White Hart Lane and Mario Balotelli did enough to suggest he can be a hit an Anfield. While the first half saw Balotelli cause Spurs a number of problems with his movement and hold-up play, the 24-year-old cut a frustrated figure at times as he passed up a number of glorious opportunities to get off the mark, including a third-minute header well saved by Hugo Lloris. Glimpses of an understanding with Daniel Sturridge and an almost seamless transition into Brendan Rodgers’ side will excite Liverpool fans, though, and he left the field to a warm ovation from the travelling supporters as Lazar Markovic replaced him on the hour.