• Premier League: Plays of the Day

Goalshy Torres leaves Benitez feeling Blue

ESPN staff
December 1, 2012

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The dirty dozen
Stats can sometimes lie, but it's pretty tough to argue with Old Father Time. Fernando Torres bagged his first assist of the season when teeing up Juan Mata to put Chelsea ahead at West Ham. On the negative side, he passed up a couple of good chances to score himself and he has now gone over 12 hours since he last netted a goal in the Premier League.

Sprung a leak
With some laughable defending from both Manchester United and Reading, we were treated to seven goals in the first half at the Madejski Stadium - equalling a Premier League record. United went into the break 4-3 up after goals from Wayne Rooney (2), Anderson and Robin van Persie, while the Royals twice took the lead with goals from Hal Robson-Kanu, Adam Le Fondre and Sean Morrison.

Only two other Premier League games have seen seven first-half goals (Blackburn 3-4 Leeds, September 1997; Derby County 4-4 Bradford City, April 2000). Reading were also involved in the highest-scoring Premier League match in history - a 7-4 defeat to Portsmouth back in September 2007, but that record was never challenged as both sides shored up their defences after the break.

Rafa's feeling Blue
With just two points from his opening three games as Chelsea manager, the oh-so-popular Benitez has now made the worst start of any manager in the Roman Abramovich era. Failing to win any of his first three Premier League matches is the least succesful start by any manager at Stamford Bridge since Gianluca Vialli in 1998.

What's that coming over the hill?
Mohamed Diame, that's who. Diame was a bit tasty in the middle of the park as West Ham rallied from a goal down to beat Chelsea 3-1. He bossed the engine room in the second half, having warmed the bench in the opening 45 minutes, and was rewarded with a goal. And his display drew the following comment from the old shrewdie that is Jamie Redknapp: "All of a sudden the big monster comes on." Indeed.

Nice two Michu
Santi Cazorla may have had the pundits purring with his early-season form for Arsenal, but it was another Spaniard who took all the plaudits at Emirates Stadium. Two late goals from Michu secured a stunning three points for Swansea as they outclassed the Gunners. With 11 goals to his name this season, Michu, who arrived at Liberty Stadium in the summer for the cost of having Carlos Tevez on your books for a couple of months, is surely the bargain signing of the season.

Grandad Giggs
After celebrating his 39th birthday this week, Ryan Giggs took his place on the Manchester United bench for the Red Devils' trip to Reading. With just a year to go before he hits the big 4-0, Giggs is always going to be the most senior member of the team, but with David De Gea, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Tom Cleverley, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck also on the bench, Giggs was more than 15 years older than any other United substitute.

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