Premier League Reviews: Round 3 Batch 1

01 September 2008

First batch of match reviews from the past weekend. The final batch will be up tomorrow morning. Note there won't be a second full match review as I was unable to see Sunderland v Manchester City in full.

Everton v Portsmouth: Jermain Defoe's two goals and assist see Portsmouth go away and get an emphatic 3-0 victory at Goodison Park.

I've gotten onto Harry Redknapp before for not being able to adapt his tactics. Saturday Harry showed me one thing, that he a trick up his sleeve, a 3-5-2. It was a shape that threw Everton for a loop, even more so as Portsmouth kept their shape extremely well.

Everton had their chances and it must be said that on any other day, they have one goal. However David James made three exceptional saves. The first in the twenty-second, then the Yakubu penalty save, and finally in the seventy-fifth.

Portsmouth have navigated a tough opening three weekend about as well as they could. Granted it's just one game, but today the Crouch/Defoe partnership up front played like it did on the international stage when they played together.

I wonder if Jack Rodwell is ready for the top flight. He looked out of position most of the afternoon. Yakubu while he had a few good chances, shouldn't be the doing any crossing. Last time I checked you're a natural striker and should be letting guys like Leighton Baines and Mikel Arteta do what they do best.

West Ham United v Blackburn Rovers: Two goals in second half stoppage time gave West Ham United a pull away victory 4-1 against Blackburn Rovers from Upton Park.

The scoreline is way too flattering. This was a very evenly balanced match until the start of second half stoppage time. Blackburn had plenty of opportunities to pull level, and in reality I think Blackburn was robbed on Matt Derbyshire's disallowed goal. From my eyes, Behrami kept him level.

Now on the ‘controversial' goal that pulled West Ham United 2-0 up, the linesman got this right. Had the ball at any time hit off of Dean Ashton, the play is offside, but since it was Samba who made contact, the goal has to stand.

Blackburn had their chances and the finishing was off. Jason Roberts continues to impress, as long as he's not on the spot. His penalty take was worse than Yukubu's. But for Paul Ince's men, it was just one of those days.

It was nice to see Craig Bellamy come on and make an immediate difference. Once he gets back to full fitness, it will make the attack all that more solid. West Ham have gotten off to the start they needed to, and while it hasn't been easy in any of their first three matches, they are just pushing on. This result should quiet those who were thinking Curbishley was on thin ice.

Hull City v Wigan Athletic
: Two goals inside the opening fifteen minutes were all Wigan Athletic needed. However Zaki added two more in between Emile Heskey brace as Wigan Athletic go to the KC Stadium and pound Hull City 5-0 in what I'm dubbing the Rugby League derby (okay I'll work on the name).

Let's be perfectly honest about this game, this was not at any point a competitive contest. This game was in effect over by minute twelve and it was more than confirmed in the sixty-third. The only time Hull City had any ascendancy in this game was the first five minutes of the second half.

Zaki is proving to be a quality loan signing more and more by the day. The key is going to be signing him permanently. This guy just scores goals and can do it in any fashion possible. However I thought Wigan were too lax at the back for their own good at times and Hull City did create a few decent half chances.

This was the ultimate wake up call for Hull City after four points in their first two games. Their back line was a mess all day long. The midfield never truly kept their shape and the chances they created weren't that great. This is the ultimate learning experience and how they react over the next few weeks is going to be crucial to how the rest of the season goes.

Again, the second batch will be up tomorrow morning. More like late tonight, but it will be available as you wake up in the morning.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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