Results: Aston Villa 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers, Wigan Athletic 2-0 Queens Park Rangers, Blackburn Rovers 0-1 Everton, Chelsea 3-1 Norwich City, Swansea City 0-0 Sunderland, Liverpool FC 3-1 Bolton Wanderers, Tottenham Hotspur 1-5 Manchester City, Newcastle United 2-1 Fulham, West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Stoke City, Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal
It was still early days in the 2011-2012 Premier League season but already, the form of the two Manchester clubs was looking fairly formidable as Manchester City and Manchester United destroyed the two north London clubs on a goal-filled Sunday afternoon of action. It set the trend for some incredible scorelines during the campaign between the top sides in the Premier League.
On the Saturday, Chelsea made it back-to-back victories but they were made to work hard for the win against newly-promoted Norwich City. The scoreline was tied at 1-1 with 10 minutes remaining when Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy conceded a penalty and was sent off. Frank Lampard converted the spot-kick before new signing Juan Mata scored the third goal to wrap the match up in the 11th minute of stoppage-time. It was the perfect start for the Spaniard who would become an important part of Chelsea’s successful season which ended with them winning the UEFA Champions League.
There was a dramatic game at Ewood Park between Blackburn Rovers and Everton. Blackburn were without a point from their opening two matches and were the better side in this match but missed their chances. Early in the second half, Rovers won a penalty but Tim Howard saved the spot-kick from Junior Hoillett. Incredibly, Blackburn were awarded a second penalty in the contest by referee Lee Mason and inexplicably, missed that too. Mauro Formica smashed his effort against the post. Then in stoppage-time, Mason pointed to the spot for a third time, this time for the visitors when Christopher Samba was adjudged to have fouled Marouane Fellaini. Mikel Arteta converted Everton’s penalty award to earn themselves a very fortunate three points. This would be Arteta’s last contribution for the club. He moved to Arsenal on transfer deadline day.
Wolverhampton Wanderers maintained their unbeaten start to the season, achieving a point in an awful match at Villa Park against Aston Villa which saw just five shots on-target across the 90 minutes between the two teams. There were also no goals in south Wales as Sunderland held Swansea City to a 0-0 draw. Swansea were still awaiting their first goal at this level after three matches.
With Saturday’s action out of the way, attention switched to the Sunday matches and whilst Newcastle United beat Fulham and Stoke City recorded a late victory at The Hawthorns, the headlines were dominated by the showdown matches at White Hart Lane and Old Trafford.
First in north London, Manchester City and in particular, Edin Dzeko, were in unstoppable form against Tottenham Hotspur. Dzeko scored four times and new signing Sergio Aguero scored his third goal since his summer arrival from Atletico Madrid. Manchester City won the game 5-1, inflicting the worst defeat on Harry Redknapp since he became Tottenham manager. As they hadn’t played their first match due to the London riots earlier in the month, the Lilywhites were bottom of the table and without a point from their opening two games.
However, that was beyond the problems Arsenal were experiencing. Star players Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas had been sold and despite a morale-boosting win in midweek in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers against Udinese, the Gunners were short on-numbers and quality ahead of their trip to Old Trafford. They experienced a nightmare afternoon as Manchester United went and surpassed City’s total – both when it came to margin of victory and number of goals. Wayne Rooney scored two inch-perfect free-kicks and a penalty whilst Ashley Young endeared himself to his new supporters with long-range strikes. Robin van Persie missed a penalty and Carl Jenkinson was sent off on a demoralising afternoon for Arsenal supporters. It finished 8-2 and was Arsenal’s worst defeat since 1896. The pain on Wenger’s face was all too clear on the final whistle and he responded with a transfer deadline day spurge, signing Arteta, Per Mertesacker and Andre Santos permanently whilst Yossi Benayoun came in on-loan to bolster his ranks.
What else happened in August 2011?
- Five people are killed across five days of rioting in the UK following the shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham. London is badly affected by the riots and parliament is recalled from its holidays to deal with the crisis.
- Colonel Gadhafi’s government is effectively overthrown in Libya after rebels take control of the capital, Tripoli.
- NASA confirms that it has captured photographic evidence of possible liquid water on Mars.
- Mobile internet use has reached 50% in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics.
- Usain Bolt sensationally false starts and is disqualified from the men’s 100m final at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu. His Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake takes gold in his absence.
- MPs are to consider a House of Commons debate after an e-petition calling for the release of Cabinet documents relating to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.