KENYA BROWN - Monday, October 26, 2015
It was not a good weekend for goalkeepers Tim Howard and Brad Guzan as Everton fell to Arsenal, while Aston Villa suffered another loss, this time to Swansea City.
Arsenal 2 - 1 Everton
It was going to be tall order for Everton heading into the Emirates Stadium and two quick goals in the latter stages of the first half were enough for the Gunners to cap off a week in which they beat previously undefeated Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
The Toffees were looking to improve on their performance from last week as they fell to Manchester United at Goodison Park.
After over 30 minutes, in which both teams tried to stamp their authority on the game, Arsenal broke the scoreless deadlock with a goal from Olivier Giroud. Mesut Ozil sent a high cross into the box that gave the Frenchman ample opportunity to rise above Everton defender Phil Jagielka and head it past Howard.
Some may question why Howard did not come out to challenge the cross, but it was a good play between the Arsenal teammates.
The Gunners did not have to wait long to find their second goal on the day as it came two minutes later. Santi Carzola sent the ball into the area from the left and Laurent Koscielny rose above the pack to head another shot past Howard.
Despite being two goals down, Everton continued to push on and they got a goal back just before halftime through Ross Barkley. The midfielder took a chance on goal and was lucky enough to have Gabriel deflect his shot into the top left corner of Arsenal's goal.
The second half of the game would be quiet, but the visitors had a good chance to level the score in the 79th minute when Romelu Lukaku's head inside the area came crashing off the crossbar. Gerard Deulofeu's effort in the 87th minute was stopped by Petr Cech.
Everton's efforts to find the equalizer were thwarted well into stoppage time as midfielder Gareth Barry was sent off for his second yellow card offense.
The lose sees Everton fall to 11th place in the standings.
Aston Villa 1 - 2 Swansea City
There appears to be no sign of Aston Villa's struggles ending any time soon as they let their one-goal lead slip in the second half to record their sixth consecutive loss this season.
Pressure has been mounting on the team, especially head coach Tim Sherwood, as the Villans have not won a game since the opening day of the season at Bournemouth.
Sherwood kept faith with Guzan in goal despite his gaffe that lead to a goal in their loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last weekend.
After a rather slow first half, the action would pick in the second and it appeared that the home side would finally find that silver lining through what has been very dark clouds. Swansea forward Andre Ayew would take a left-footed shot at goal, but Guzan would stand up to the challenge and make a great save. That save would lead to a Villa counter-attack and Andre's brother, Jordan Ayew, would finish it off in the 62nd minute with a brilliant diving header to break the deadlock.
Emotions ran high throughout Villa Park and especially on the bench, but that all ended six minutes later when Icelander Gylfi Sigurdsson curled in a free kick that cleared over the wall and was beyond the reach of a diving Guzan to level the score.
If things weren't already bad for Villa, they got even worse three minutes from time when Andre Ayew got his foot onto a cross from Kyle Naughton to put past Guzan and give Swansea the three points.
This latest defeat has not only put Aston Villa at the bottom of the standings, it has also cost Sherwood his job.
Right now it is anyone's guess who will be the next coach, but life won't get any easier for Villa as games against Tottenham, Manchester City and Everton await.
Sunderland 3 - 0 Newcastle United
While most of the attention was squarely put on the derby in Manchester, there was another edition of the Tyne-Wear derby taking place at the Stadium of Light, with the Black Cats coming out on top in impressive fashion.
DeAndre Yedlin was once again in the starting line up at right back and played the entire 90 minutes.
It has been a rather drab season for Sunderland thus far, but with their first win of the season under new coach Sam Allardyce, their fortunes could be changing.
It appeared at first that the home side were not up for the game as Newcastle had 70 percent of the possession in the opening minutes. But Sunderland would get a big advantage just before halftime when Newcastle captain Fabricio Coloccini was controversially sent off for his challenge on Steven Fletcher in the penalty area. Adam Johnson would step forward and put away the penalty to give his team the lead.
Heading into the second half, Sunderland seemed a bit more confident than they were at the start of the game and were rewarded with a second goal in the 65th minute. French midfielder Yann M'Vila met a corner, volleyed it towards the goal and Billy Jones would tap it in from close range.
Sunderland rounded out the scoring four minutes from time when Fletcher volleyed in a cross from Younes Kaboul.
This was Sunderland's sixth straight win in the Tyne-Wear derby. They remain in the relegation zone, but are above Newcastle in 18th place.
Geoff Cameron got the start for Stoke City, but left the game early due to an injury as the Potters fell to Watford at home 2-0.
In a battle between Tim Ream and Fulham against Danny Williams and Reading, the Cottagers came out on top 4-2.
Charles Horton made the bench for Leeds United in their 1-1 tie with Bolton Wanderers.
Jonathan Spector got the start in the midfield for Birmingham City and played the entire first half as they fell to Hull City 2-0.
Eric Lichaj made his return to the starting lineup for Nottingham Forest in their 1-1 tie with Ipswich Town.
Gboly Ariyibi was a late game substitute in Chesterfield's 3-0 loss to Scunthorpe United.
Zak Whitbread was in the starting lineup in Shrewsbury Town's 2-0 win over Bury.