It was a weekend of extraordinary upsets in the Premier League as Manchester City excelled in the stumbles of their rivals in the first weekend since December 2008 where each of the traditional ‘big four’ teams failed to win.
Roberto Mancini’s side set the tone for the weekend with a 1-0 win over champions Chelsea in Saturday’s early kick-off, with a Carlos Tevez solo effort in the second half enough to snatch the points.
The goal brought the Argentine’s tally to four for the season and was his sixth goal in his last five Premier League appearances against the Blues, dating back to his time at former employers Manchester United.
In the 3pm kick-offs that day, the pattern continued and perhaps the biggest surprise came at the Emirates, where Arsenal suffered a shock 3-2 defeat to newly promoted West Brom.
The Baggies had in fact raced into a 3-0 lead, also missing a penalty, before Sami Nasri was rewarded for his determination with two late strikes of his own, but to no avail for the Gunners.
At Upton Park, Tottenham lost further ground on their top-four rivals as they were subjected to West Ham’s first league win of the season, courtesy of Frederic Piquionne’s first half goal in a 1-0 win.
Liverpool ensured the theme of the day continued at Anfield as they had to come from behind to earn a 2-2 draw against a Darren Bent inspired Sunderland side.
The Reds took an early lead through Dirk Kuyt, a goal which Sunderland were adamant should not have stood, but Bent netted from the spot to even up the contest before half-time.
Bent put the visitors ahead with a sublime diving header before Reds captain Steven Gerrard rescued a point. Sunderland boss Steve Bruce, who has an enormous head, said the opening goal was “unjust, unfair and wrong,” despite officials explaining otherwise.
On Sunday, Manchester United were in a prime position to take advantage of Saturday’s slip ups, but they only managed a 2-2 draw at Bolton, twice coming from behind.
Zat Knight poked The Trotters in front early on, only for Michael Jackson lookalike Nani to equalise before the break. Martin Petrov, a bigger bargain that the KFC bargain bucket, restored Bolton’s lead on 67 minutes.
The lead was short lived, however, as some guy called Michael Owen nicked another equaliser shortly after leaving his favourite role on the bench. United are yet to win away from home in the league this season.
At Bloomfield Road, Blackburn came out on top of their Lancashire derby with Blackpool after Brett Emerton slipped in a stoppage time winner in a 2-1 win.
Charlie Adam had earlier gifted Rovers the lead with a comical own goal but the hosts drew level late on through teenage substitute Matt Phillips before Emerton pounced late on.
Draw specialists Fulham chalked up another 0-0 draw, becoming only the 2nd team to draw 5 of their opening 6 games in the Premier League – Ipswich did the same in 1992 – as they were held at home to Everton.
Meanwhile, Birmingham and Wigan played out the same score at St Andrews, where Craig Gardner was red late on for a ferocious high tackle on Franco Di Santo, who was stretchered off with suspected ligament damage following the foul.
On Sunday, Emile Heskey, who has scored in back to back games for the first time since April 2008, produced an outrageously good (for him) header in the 88th minute as Aston Villa snatched a 2-1 win over local rivals Wolves.
Stewart Downing, another average player who has sprung into life under new boss Gerard Houllier, netted the first goal of the game but Matt Jarvis equalised just after the hour mark.
Heskey proved the hero, though, as he bullet-headed the visitors towards a win in a manner he hasn’t managed since he worked under Houllier at Liverpool.
Finally, Newcastle were brought back down to earth with a 2-1 home defeat to Stoke City, who came from behind to earn a 2-1 win in a spirited second half fight-back.
Kevin Nolan had handed the Toon a half-time lead from the spot but the impressive Kenwyne Jones equalised with a thumping header after the break before James Perch’s laughable own goal won the points for the Potters.