By Joe Behan
Charlton Athletic 4, Man. City 0
Charlton Athletic, newcomers to the English Premier League, find themselves on top of the league after destroying fellow promoters Manchester City, who are on the bottom already. It is also a breath of fresh air to see a new Irish club captain, Mark Kinsella, ruling the roost instead of Roy Keane.
Charlton boss Alan Curbishley bought Kinsella from Colchester for £200,000 and right now it’s the best buy the manager and club have ever made. Kinsella is full of energy both on and off the field. He was a handful of trouble for the City defense and his passing and movement was simply too much for Joe Royle and the Blues.
Kinsella’s outstanding strikes are a part of his coming of age as a pro and he joined the scoresheet against city with John Robinson, Andy Hunt and Graham Stuart.
In the 72nd minute, Hunt planted a chance against the bar. A minute later the third goal arrived. A break from midfield saw Stuart put it on a plate for Kinsella, who had all the time in the world to pick his spot.
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After Kinsella instigated much of the fluency in Athletic’s attack, he broke away from the pack down the right. City keeper Nicky Weaver made it easy for referee Rob Harris to award Charlton a penalty after he pulled down the oncoming Irish international. Stuart put the ball home. Things looked really bad for City. Their play got more and more desperate as Charlton danced on them.
Alan Curbishley talked about how his players raised their game against top-class opposition in Manchester City’s Paulo Wanchope and George Weah, probably because he nearly bought the African superstar. Curbishley is obviously over the moon with the win and if the City’s top class lift Charlton’s game, then the EPL table toppers may be in for a run with the big boys.
Joe Royle, on the other, end didn’t have much to say but has a lot to do after a poor performance.
Tottenham Hotspur 3, Ipswich Tow 1
Ipswich, the third newcomer to the Premier, suffered a defeat after they had taken a ninth lead at White Hart Lane. Another Irish international, Steve Carr, proved to be the menace of a rude welcome for the promoters. Carr put Spurs in the driver’s seat while sub Les Ferdinand broke his scoring drought.
The Ipswich goalie, Richard Wright, was also put under pressure with a 1 v. 1 situation. Wright brought down the busy little Irish fullback as he burst into the area around the 30th minute. Darren Anderton put the penalty away to even things up. Within a couple of minutes, 11 million signing Sergei Rebrov layed off a theft touch for Carr to put Tottenham ahead 2-1.
Carr is a good reader of the game and is an attacking fullback with an eye for goal. He has worked his way into George Graham’s side, not an easy task.
Ipswich boss George Burley may reconsider that getting an early goal may be something he could sit on for a while. Spurs got three points in typical Graham fashion.
Sunderland 1, Arsenal 0
While a couple of Irish internationals were making their EPL intro difficult for newcomers, the mighty one himself, Niall Quinn, stuck a header away to shoot the Gunners down one nil.
Sunderland support may be calling Quinn the Almighty One. Totally against the run of play, Peter Reid’s committed team stole a shock win in the Stadium of Light. Arsenal could not put the ball away and they paid for the embarrassing misses.
In the 35th minute, Quinn showed his frustration due to Arsenal’s superiority, the big Irishman looked like a long streak of misery after he made a hasty challenge on Martin Keown.
Michael Gray crossed from the right and it seemed that the Arsenal defense thought Quinn was back playing with them. It was a frozen moment except for Quinn who rose above everybody to head home.
A controversial finish saw Patrick Vieira yet again receive a red card. Arsene Wenger in so many words claimed Sunderland did not play an honest game. Peter Reid didn’t go for the Frenchman’s comments and responded, "What a load of rubbish."
Middlesbrough 3, Coventry 1
Boro had an impressive start to the season in their away win. Keith O’Neill’s free kick set up Alen Boksic, who scored twice on his debut. O’Neill is back in the lineup with fellow Irishman Curtis Fleming. Both players have been very unlucky with injuries in their career, but Bryan Robson obviously wants the duo featured in his pursuit for Euro soccer.
Fleming joined Boro from St. Pat’s in the Eircom Irish league and O’Neill joined form Norwich. Hopefully the Boro boys are not overlooked for World Cup qualifiers.
Ian Harte and Gary Kelly took part in the Leeds win over Everton. Alan Smith hit a brace, while Gazza could not produce the magic to change the course of the game. Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool all had victories, while Villa, Southampton and Derby came up with expected ties. There were indeed doubts about the Gunners while a win next game is crucial. Manchester City may find the going tough and may need to spend. Manchester United already look like they have another gear.
Chris Sutton made amends for Celtic after his sending off a couple of weeks ago. He has thrown a spanner in the works for the old firm clash just around the corner. His two goals in a 4-2 victory at Tynecastle will not go unnoticed in the Rangers camp. Rangers hammered Dunfermline in a stroll in the park. Nonetheless, the Old Firm rivals go into their game both with 100 percent records.