Results: Swansea City 0-3 Everton, Chelsea 1-0 Stoke City, Southampton 4-1 Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Reading, West Ham United 1-1 Sunderland, Wigan Athletic 1-2 Fulham, Liverpool FC 1-2 Manchester United, Newcastle United 1-0 Norwich City, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Queens Park Rangers, Manchester City 1-1 Arsenal
It was still early days in the 2012-2013 season but even at this stage, it was intriguing to see who was setting the early pace and who had radical improvements to make.
One team who had the latter feeling were Liverpool FC. New manager Brendan Rodgers was still awaiting his first Premier League victory as Reds’ boss and it wasn’t going to get any easier with Manchester United the visitors to Anfield. It was a highly-charged atmosphere as this was the first game since the findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel which had cleared the Liverpool supporters of any blame whatsoever from the 1989 tragedy where 96 supporters went to an FA Cup semi-final and never came home. Both managers pleaded pre-match for the two sets of fans to put aside rivalries on this day and unite together in the wake of these groundbreaking and emotional revelations from the panel’s findings.
Jonjo Shelvey wasn’t listening. A rash challenge on Jonny Evans saw the Liverpool midfielder sent off before half-time and his foul-mouthed tirade in the direction of Sir Alex Ferguson as he left the field won him no fans. Despite playing with 10 men, Liverpool FC took the lead early in the second half through the inspirational Steven Gerrard. They were quickly pegged back by Rafael’s effort before Robin van Persie’s well-placed penalty nine minutes from time ensured United left with all three points. Liverpool were now in the bottom three and remained one of six sides without a victory so far.
The win kept Manchester United in second spot and just a single point behind early league leaders Chelsea. The Blues required an 85th minute winner from Ashley Cole to beat a plucky Stoke City side 1-0 at Stamford Bridge. Arsenal came into the weekend in third spot but dropped out of the top four after drawing 1-1 at reigning champions Manchester City. Laurent Koscielny equalised in the 82nd minute after another centre-back in Joleon Lescott opened the scoring.
Unlike their Merseyside rivals, Everton were in brilliant form. The Toffees were traditional slow-starters but not in 2012-2013. They took apart Swansea City at The Liberty Stadium, winning 3-0. With one goal and one assist, Marouane Fellaini was once again the star man. Completing the top four were a surprise package in West Bromwich Albion. Romelu Lukaku’s 71st minute goal was the difference between the Baggies and Reading. They won 1-0 to sit fourth and leave Reading second-bottom and struggling to find their feet back in the top-flight.
Fellow Premier League returnees Southampton had made a wretched start, losing their first four games but they tasted victory for the first time in the campaign against Aston Villa. They trailed 1-0 at half-time but enjoyed a sensational second half display to win 4-1. Rickie Lambert scored twice and there were also first goals of the season for Nathaniel Clyne and Jason Puncheon. The other newly-promoted side were West Ham United and they had been doing better. However, they did require a Kevin Nolan injury-time equaliser to salvage a 1-1 home draw with Sunderland. The Black Cats had drawn their first four matches and Steven Fletcher had scored all of their four goals so far.
What else happened in September 2012?
- Andy Murray becomes the first British male tennis player to win a Grand Slam since 1936 when he beats Novak Djokovic in five sets to win the US Open at Flushing Meadows.
- Maria Miller is appointed Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, replacing Jeremy Hunt.
- Chris Moyles hosts his final breakfast show on BBC Radio 1 and is replaced by Nick Grimshaw.
- The updated version of the US soap opera Dallas makes its British television debut on Channel 5.
- Neurosurgeon and Formula One medical delegate Professor Sid Watkins passes away aged 84 after a heart attack.
- Iran’s support for Syria and nuclear plans sees Canada officially cuts diplomatic ties with them. The Canadians close their embassy in Tehran and orders the expulsion of Iranian diplomats from Ottawa.