RJ DEMELLO - Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Brad Guzan and Aston Villa's magic ran out against Arsenal, while Jonathan Spector and Brek Shea both featured for Birmingham City.
Nottingham Forest 0 - 0 Millwall
Eric Lichaj and Forest sputtered a bit away from home and had to settle for the draw against mid-table Millwall.
Lichaj kept his starting place in defense and went the full 90 minutes.
The match was a series of near misses from either team, as no one seemed to bring their shooting boots on the day.
Forest's Michail Antonio sent a shot wide in the first minute. Britt Assombalonga had another chance for Nottingham 24 minutes later but headed straight at the goalie from six yards out.
Millwall responded with a better second half, seeing Martyn Woolford send his shot just wide from six yards out. Mathias Ranegie should have then put Millwall ahead a few minutes later when he found himself open at the top of the six, only for Forest keeper Karl Darlow to desperately get a foot to it.
Nottingham now has 18 points from eight games, remaining in first by a point.
Up next is a Wednesday visit to Tottenham in Capital One Cup action.
Birmingham City 2 - 2 Norwich City
Spector, Shea, Will Packwood and Birmingham let a two goal lead slip away in the second half, settling for a point at Carrow Road.
Spector came back into the starting lineup after a few game layoff and went the full 90 minutes, picking up a yellow card along the way. Shea, who started his first two games at the club, came off the bench to play the last 36 minutes. Surprisingly Packwood made the bench for the Blues but didn't manage to get into the action.
Birmingham managed to grab the opener against the run of play in the eighth minute thanks to Callum Reilly.
The visitors doubled the lead in the 41st minute with a low finish from inside the box by Demarai Gray.
It didn't take long for Norwich to come back from halftime and respond. Former Birmingham player Cameron Jerome swept in a cross in the 52nd minute to bring it within one.
Just three minutes later Jerome had his second, this time heading the ball in from a cross.
Birmingham managed to hold down the fort for the remaining 35 minutes and salvage a point from the match.
The Blues now have seven points from eight games, good enough for 20th place.
The club gets a treat next weekend as it gets to host the abysmal Fulham team at St Andrews.
Aston Villa 0 - 3 Arsenal
Guzan and Villa finally came back down to earth after starting the season with 3 wins and a draw, getting thoroughly outclassed at home by Arsenal.
The American keeper played the full 90 minutes but can't be blamed on any of the Gunners goals.
Despite having a few early chances such as Fabian Delph's curler from outside the box that Wojciech Szczesny saved, Villa lost the match in a horrid four minute first half span.
Mesut Ozil was sent through on goal by Danny Welbeck and finished low past Guzan for the opener in the 32nd minute.
Welbeck then had his turn, blasting home from close range in the 34th minute with Ozil now the provider.
To cap off the awful stretch for Aston Villa, Aly Cissokho turned a ball from Kieran Gibbs into the back of his own net in the 36th minute to make it 3-0.
From there the match hit a cruise control feel as Arsenal went on to bag the three points the club needed.
The loss sees Villa drop down to third in the table, still on 10 points.
The schedule doesn't get any easier as the Birmingham based club next heads to London to take on Chelsea on Saturday.
Tim Howard started, went 90 minutes, and had a shocker of a game conceding a penalty and missing a cross that lead to a goal in Everton's 3-2 loss to Crystal Palace on Sunday.
Jozy Altidore came off the bench and played 23 minutes in Sunderland's 0-0 tie with Burnley on Saturday.
Tim Ream started and went the distance for Bolton Wanderers as the strugglers fell to Wolves 1-0.
Zak Whitbread started and played 90 minutes for Derby County as the Championship club settled for a 2-2 draw at home against Cardiff.
Geoff Cameron missed out on Stoke City's 2-2 draw with QPR as he is still recovering from hernia surgery.
Emerson Hyndman was in the team but didn't see the field for Fulham in the club's 1-0 loss to Blackburn Rovers.
Danny Williams continues to rehab a knee injury, meanwhile his Reading team fell 1-0 to Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend.