- Premier League round-up
Tottenham impress but City held to draw at StokeESPN staff September 14, 2013
In the first Premier League weekend since the passing of the transfer deadline and international break, Tottenham cruised to victory over Norwich, Manchester City were held to a frustrating draw by Stoke and former boss Mark Hughes, Newcastle recorded a second successive league win at Aston Villa, while Fulham drew with West Brom and Cardiff earned a point at Hull.
With the return of the Champions League fast approaching, it was Tottenham who issued their intentions to achieve a place amongst Europe's elite as Gylfi Sigurdsson scored twice in a comfortable 2-0 win over Norwich at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham looked to make their early possession count and were unlucky not to take the lead when first Andros Townsend clipped the post with a powerful left-footed effort before Roberto Soldado also found the woodwork with his close-range backheel.
Former Spurs defender Sebastien Bassong was in the right place at the right time to clear another Soldado effort off the line following more good work from Mousa Dembele, but the Norwich defence were left red-faced when new Spurs signing Christian Eriksen slotted a perfect through ball for Sigurdsson, which the Dane powered past John Ruddy from 15 yards.
Tottenham looked impressive going forward, but it was a marvellous piece of defending from Danny Rose which had the home support on their feet. Ricky van Wolfswinkel looked destined to score when the ball broke to him inside the box, but Rose somehow turned the ball around the post with a superb sliding challenge.
Sigurdsson made sure of the win shortly after the break when finishing Paulinho's cross from five yards out; again, it was the superb Eriksen who proved influential in the move.
However, Sigurdsson was denied a hat-trick when Ruddy managed to palm his 30-yard effort over the bar.
Stoke spoiled Manuel Pellegrini's 60th birthday weekend with a hard-earned point against Manchester City after a goalless draw at the Britannia Stadium.
Former City boss Mark Hughes was left the happier after neither side could find the winning touch.
Jonathan Walters had the first opportunity to spoil Pellegrini's party, but somehow managed to steer his close-range effort wide of the post following good work on the right from Charlie Adam.
City took time to settle and were reduced to speculative efforts as Alvaro Negredo curled one over from 25 yards. At the other end, Stoke grew in confidence as Kenwyne Jones capitalised on a Samir Nasri mistake. However, Joe Hart was equal to the shot and did well to spare Nasri's blushes.
Walters went close again early in the second half, this time sliding wide from close range before Stevan Jovetic saw his volley dip over the bar.
New Stoke signing Marko Arnautovic almost netted on his debut, but his deflected shot was again well saved by Hart before Robert Huth was left out cold after suffering a knee to the head when challenging with Negredo. However, the Stoke defender played on after treatment.
Both sides continued to probe for a late winner; but the home side did more than enough to earn a share of the spoils.
Aston Villa were subject to boos at the final whistle after Newcastle came away from Villa Park with a 2-1 win, the 26th consecutive game without a clean sheet for Paul Lambert's side.
Hatem Ben Arfa scored his second of the season to break the deadlock. Papiss Cisse failed to connect with Loic Remy's pull back, but Ben Arfa was on hand to slot the ball home.
Gabriel Agbonlahor was unlucky to see his effort deflect off Fabricio Coloccini and wide of the post as Villa started the second half brightly. However, Agbonlahor was guilty of missing a sitter when somehow flashing his effort wide eight yards from goal.
It was left to Villa's talisman Christian Benteke to get their equaliser, rising highest to head home his fifth goal of the season.
However, the celebration did not last long. Once again, the lively Ben Arfa left his men behind and fired a shot at goal. Brad Guzan pushed it into the path of substitute Yoan Gouffran, who had no trouble in sidefooting the ball into the net to give Alan Pardew a second successive Premier League win.
Fulham and West Brom played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage.
Fulham took the lead when West Brom failed to clear a corner, a weak header finding its way to Steve Sidwell, who did not need a second invitation to mark his 400th senior appearance by driving the ball in at the near post.
Things looked to get worse for Steve Clarke's side when Dimitar Berbatov had the ball in the net. However, the striker was rightly flagged offside.
New West Brom signing Victor Anichebe almost capped his debut with a goal after he smartly broke through the home defence but his shot was easily saved by David Stockdale.
An outrageous overhead from Berbatov flew over the crossbar, before Gareth McAuley rose highest to head in an equaliser at the death, doubling West Brom's points tally for the season.
Cardiff continued their solid start to the season with 1-1 draw against Hull City at the KC Stadium.
Hull applied the early pressure, with Sone Aluko forcing Joe Lewis into an early save. The Cardiff stopper could only parry into the path of Danny Graham, who skied his effort well over the bar.
However, it was the Tigers who drew first blood in the battle of the newly promoted sides. Tom Huddlestone sent a cleared corner back into the box and Curtis Davies headed Hull into the lead.
Cardiff responded after the break and had the ball in the net on the hour mark as a wonderful move was capped when Peter Whittingham volleyed in at the far post to equalise.
Aron Gunnarsson almost stole the points for the away side late on, but his header bounced the wrong side of the post.
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