Saturday 29 December 2012
Chelsea ended the month still on top of the Barclays Premier League, despite losing at home to Manchester United.
The attacking quartet of Fernando Torres, Oscar, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard were a formidable threat for Roberto Di Matteo’s team, and they came in to the clash with Sir Alex Ferguson’s team off the back of two four-goal hauls against Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur respectively.
United took the initiative early on despite Chelsea coming from two goals down to level at 2-2, Javier Hernandez scored the winner that moved United to within one point of the leaders.
Manchester City continued their unbeaten start to the 2011/12 campaign and moved to within a point of Chelsea with victories over Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City. The latter two were tight affairs and at The Hawthorns needed the introduction of Edin Dzeko to turn the match around with two late goals.
Fulham enjoyed an unbeaten run during the month, including a win over Aston Villa and entertaining draws against Southampton and Reading, and they sat in seventh position. Dimitar Berbatov was proving a shrewd addition by Fulham manager Martin Jol, with three goals.
Everton, in a rich vein of form in the early stages of the season, hosted the first Merseyside derby of the season in October. The Toffees shared the spoils in a pulsating 2-2 draw. Liverpool went two goals ahead before the hosts levelled proceedings. Liverpool looked to have won it late on, but Luis Suarez was adjudged offside as he fired home in the dying moments.
After a difficult start, Norwich City began to gather some momentum under new manager Chris Hughton, and they recorded an impressive 1-0 victory over Arsenal. The Canaries moved out of the relegation zone after bouncing back from a 4-1 defeat by Chelsea to remain unbeaten for the rest of October.
Newcastle United, after impressing in the 2011/12 campaign, earned a draw at the Stadium of Light in the Tyne-Wear derby. Demba Ba, who enjoyed a fruitful start to the new season in front of goal, headed past his own goalkeeper to give Sunderland a share of the points. The Magpies finished the month in tenth position and their local rivals, in 14th position, were proving hard to beat and had only lost once in the opening three months of the campaign.
Lying ninth after the opening nine games of the season, West Ham were the strongest starters out of the three newly promoted clubs. Reading, despite playing their part in an entertaining 3-3 draw with Fulham and a 2-2 with Swansea in October, joined Southampton and QPR in the bottom three during October.
During the month the long-awaited return of England and Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere took place after a 14-month injury lay-off. The 20-year-old played over an hour of the Gunners’ 1-0 win over QPR at the Emirates Stadium.
Manager of the month: Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
Player of the month: Juan Mata (Chelsea)
“Well at 3-2 my weekend was absolutely miserable, at 3-3 we were trying to kick on and win that game 4-3 and we were actually unfortunate not to win it at the end. It was a strange game to say the least.” - Reading manager Brian McDermott on the draw with Fulham.
“It was amazing to be back – words cannot describe it. I was just running around smiling. It’s great to be back. Last time I played it was with Fabregas and Nasri – now it’s with Arteta and Cazorla who are great players too. It’s like a new team and I’m like a new player.” - Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere.
“This has been a long time coming, which our performances have warranted. However, this league is unforgiving. I am delighted for the team, because the work-rate was outstanding and there is no coincidence in the result.” - Norwich manager Chris Hughton after the win against Arsenal.
“It’s been 10 years since we have won down here. We had a good record until Jose [Mourinho] came along and spoiled the party.” Sir Alex Ferguson after the 3-2 win over Chelsea.
For October's results at a glance, click here
|3||Man Utd||6||5||12||Man City||9||9||21|