Tottenham spoil Defoe’s return; Krkic inspires Stoke City
Jermain Defoe was unable to continue his remarkable run of marking club debuts with a goal as Sunderland suffered a last-gasp 2-1 defeat at former club Tottenham on Saturday.
Just 11 months after leaving White Hart Lane for Toronto FC, the 32-year-old returned to his old stomping ground after completing a move to the north-east strugglers on the eve of this match. Defoe received a warm reception in north London but left frustrated, with Christian Eriksen’s late strike – his third in as many games against Sunderland — securing Spurs a 2-1 win in the dying minutes.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side had looked like they would be frustrated as wayward finishing and an impressive display from Costel Pantilimon saw them struggle to add to Jan Vertonghen’s early strike, which came via a large deflection off John O’Shea. The Belgium international was soon back at the heart of the action, hacking down Defoe to give former Arsenal midfielder Sebastian Larsson the chance to curl home a wonderful equalizer.
That was Defoe’s most telling contribution, as he failed to make Sunderland the sixth club with whom he marked his league debut with a goal. The man who replaced him in the second half, Danny Graham, was twice denied Hugo Lloris – chances which came either side of the match-winning 88th-minute strike by Eriksen.
Burnley 2, Crystal Palace 3
For the second weekend running Dwight Gayle and Jason Puncheon rescued Crystal Palace to secure a significant 3-2 victory at Burnley.
The pair both scored in the come-from-behind win over Tottenham seven days ago and repeated the feat at Turf Moor as the Eagles recovered from being 2-0 down after 16 minutes to seal a 3-2 success. Burnley appeared to be coasting after Ben Mee and Danny Ings struck in quick succession, but they were pegged back before Gayle’s second three minutes from time extended Alan Pardew’s unbeaten run since he took over at Selhurst Park.
The former Newcastle manager has got two of his attacking players scoring and, if he manages the same trick with on-loan Arsenal striker Yaya Sanogo, who made his debut, he can expect to see his side climb even further away from the relegation zone than the four points they now are. It will be a different story for Burnley, just a point above the bottom three, if they continue to pass up such opportunities as this.
Leicester City 0, Stoke City 1
Stoke City claimed their first Premier League victory of the year as Bojan Krkic inspired them to a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Leicester at the King Power Stadium.
After a lackluster opening 45 minutes in the Midlands, the game was settled by the Spaniard’s strike after 63 minutes â his third goal since signing for the Potters. His one-touch to control with his right before swivelling and finishing with his left was the game’s real moment of quality.
Leicester had the better of the chances in an uneventful first period but efforts from Anthony Knockaert and Jamie Vardy drew Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic into comfortable saves and never really threatened to open the scoring. New Stoke defender Philipp Wollschied squandered a decent chance to break the deadlock for the visitors but it was Bojan who ultimately settled the contest.
After going a goal behind, Nigel Pearson introduced Leicester’s new signing Andrej Kramaric into the fray but his involvement, along with that of substitutes Leonardo Ulloa and Tom Lawrence, did little to alter proceedings. The result sees the Foxes surrender their four-game unbeaten run in all competitions and remain rooted to the foot of the table, while Stoke leapfrog Newcastle, momentarily, into the top half of the table.