Bore at the Bridge caps a goal-deprived weekend

Posted by WhoScored.com

Fernando Torres and Vincent KompanyPA PhotosChelsea's Fernando Torres and Manchester City's Vincent Kompany (right) battle for the ball

A strange weekend in the Premier League saw the supposed high profile games disappoint and those involving the so-called smaller clubs provide the most entertainment.

West Brom continued their remarkable start to the season with a 4-2 win in the early kick-off at Sunderland on Saturday, leaving Steve Clarke's side flying high in third. That scoreline in itself was perhaps one of the most surprising of the gameweek, with O'Neill's side conceding just three home goals up until that point.

Another outlying stat saw Sunderland register 10 shots on target against the Baggies having mustered just 22 in their 11 league games previous. Their efforts were enough to see them net more than once for the first time in a home game this season but fall at the hands of their clinical opponents, with West Brom hitting four from just six shots on target in a day to forget for Sunderland stopper Simon Mignolet.

Sadly for the neutral, that six-goal thriller didn't set the tone as the North London derby seemed to last time out. A basement battle between Wigan and Reading did, however, bring plenty of drama, with a late goal from Jordi Gomez sealing a perfect hat-trick to ensure a valuable win for the Latics and a performance that guaranteed his inclusion in the WhoScored Premier League Team of the Week.

Elsewhere, Man United eventually secured a 3-1 win over QPR, with all the goals coming in the second half, while the late kick-off at Villa Park perhaps brought the shock result of the weekend and undeniably the dullest duel of the day.

Arsenal made the trip to the Midlands to face Paul Lambert's young team but were dismal in an equally drab affair, though the Villa faithful won't have minded. The Gunners managed just one shot on target all game to leave Brad Guzan's gloves all but immaculate while Wojciech Szczesny was forced into four saves at the other end, the best of which when tipping Brett Holman's long range shot onto the crossbar.

With neither side really doing enough to win, or score for that matter, the stalemate seemed inevitable for much of the second half and proved to be the first of three this weekend.

Though Brendan Rodgers' return to Swansea also ended 0-0 there were at least plenty of efforts on goal, with Liverpool's 21 the most of any of the 8 sides that didn't score this weekend, while the hosts weren't far behind on 18.

However, it was the match heralded as the game of the week that proved to be the biggest flop, as Rafa Benitez took charge of his first game at Chelsea with champions Man City making the trip to the capital. The former Liverpool boss was greeted with hostility from the home fans, many of whom will be hard to win over, with the backing of the owner stronger than that of the supporters for the first time in recent memory at the Bridge.

The media circus surrounding the game completely outweighed the quality on the pitch, with neither side reaching double figures in terms of shots at goal (City 9 and Chelsea 6). The 15 shots between the sides was, in fact, the fewest in a single game in the league this season and may have been an example of what's to come for the Blues under Benitez, who has built all of his successful sides from a resolute backline in the past.

The Spaniard will therefore have been pleased with the performance of his back four, not least that of fellow countryman and new signing Cesar Azpilicueta. The right-back produced more tackles than any other player on the day (six) as well as chipping in with three interceptions, four clearances and one shot block. The fact that no player had more efforts at goal than either David Luiz or Matija Nastasic's two told the story of the game, with the defences coming out on top despite the plethora of attacking talents on display.

Only two sides have had fewer shots in a game this season (Stoke once and Sunderland three times) than Chelsea managed on Sunday, and though the new manager may well see the draw as a positive result to start what may well prove to be a short tenure, it won't go far in raising the spirits around the club ahead of a local derby with Fulham in midweek.

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