Christopher Chang: No case for the defence

By Christopher Chang

It's not a good time to be an English Premier League defender. While Manchester United ground out a 1-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park, the rest of the league's goal-scoring forces went into overdrive on the weekend.

United's game was the only fixture to yield a solitary goal - 39 goals were scored in total across all games and only three goalkeepers had the satisfaction of keeping clean sheets.

There have already been nine hat-tricks this season, bettering the last five Premier League seasons. Demba Ba was the latest recipient, helping himself to a perfect hat-trick against Stoke; firstly heading past Asmir Begovic, before poking in with his left foot and rounding off with a right-footed penalty. His teammate Steven Taylor got right into the spirit of Halloween, wearing a Phantom of the Opera-esque protective mask against Tony Pulis' side.

There were van-loads of goals delivered in London as Robin van Persie obliterated Chelsea, and fellow Dutchman Rafael van der Vaart found the net for Tottenham against QPR. For the first time since 1990-91 Chelsea have managed only one clean sheet in their opening 10 league games. That would have had former boss Jose Mourinho suitably mortified in years gone by, but for the neutral spectator it's pure bliss.

The remarkably open nature of the league is best exemplified by moneybags Machester City. The City beast has evolved from an efficient, defensive juggernaut into a fluid, slick unit that has teased and tormented in their opening 10 fixtures.

They are no longing boring sides to death, waiting for Carlos Tevez to snatch a counter-attack winner. David Silva is playing the role of puppeteer, while the suspended Tevez merely looks on at the show unfolding before him. Roberto Mancini's men are still stingy when it comes to giving away goals, but their eight against is dwarfed by a staggering 36 for.

City have now scored at least twice in twelve consecutive league matches.

Gareth Bale bagged a brace for Spurs, turning out a performance reminiscent of his Champions League exploits last season. The first was a finely-struck drive and his second an exquisite curling finish after some cute interplay with Aaron Lennon.

Under-fire Steve Kean saw his Blackburn side plunder three goals against Norwich, before suffering a brain explosion and making a triple substitution at 3-1 up. The game finished 3-3.

- Herald Online

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