December 10, 2013
English premier leagueMonday, September 2, 2013
Liverpool, Arsenal claim narrow derby wins
MANCHESTER, England — Liverpool and Arsenal relied on goals from their in-form strikers to secure 1-0 home wins over their biggest rivals yesterday, handing Manchester United and Tottenham their first defeats of the Premier League season.
England international Daniel Sturridge flicked home a fourth-minute header from close range on his 24th birthday in Liverpool’s gritty victory over United at Anfield, putting his team top of the standings on a maximum nine points.
France striker Olivier Giroud also grabbed his third goal in as many games, settling the north London derby at Emirates Stadium against a Tottenham side.
The English league may be only three weeks old, but it is still strange to see United not in the division’s top four.
After drawing 0-0 with Chelsea on Monday and then losing to Liverpool, the reigning champions have four points from a possible nine under new manager David Moyes. Failing to score in two straight games is unusual for United, and it didn’t help that Wayne Rooney was unavailable yesterday after cutting his forehead in an accidental training-ground collision with a teammate.
United’s scoring woes prompted one of the club’s most famous fans, Usain Bolt, to post a short video on social networking sight Instagram, imploring Moyes to sign “a creative midfielder, one that can pass and create opportunities, right now.”
It’s all positives at Liverpool, though. For the first time since the 1993-94 season, the team has won its first three league matches — all of them 1-0 and all of them secured by Sturridge. He is proving a more-than able fill-in for Luis Suárez, who remains out of action through suspension for biting an opponent last season.
Like Sturridge, Giroud has started the season in impressive style, scoring in four of Arsenal’s five matches in all competitions and in all three league games. His winner against Tottenham came in the 23rd minute, meeting Theo Walcott’s low cross with a glancing finish in at the near post.
Tottenham’s Erik Lamela, signed from Roma this week, came on as a second-half substitute.