Premier League Weekend Roundup 8/9th December

This weekend saw the battles at each end of the premier League table intensify and included a face-off between the top two teams, Champions Manchester City and Manchester United who sit top of the league. Here is a roundup of each game that took place.

 

 

Arsenal 2 – 0 West Bromwich Albion

Arsenal almost took the lead in the opening exchanges as Boaz Myhill punched the ball to the feet of Gervinho only for the striker to scuff his shot over the bar. With 25 minutes on the clock Santi Cazorla went down in the box without contact and Mikel Arteta converted the wrongly awarded penalty. Arsenal continued to spurn clear cut chances until just after the hour mark Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain seemed to push Goran Popov to the ground before bursting into the box and being fouled. Arteta stepped up to convert his second penalty but West Brom were understandably peeved but never really threatened to grab a goal of their own and the north London club ended comfortable winners.

 

Aston Villa 0 – 0 Stoke City

This was most definitely a game won by the defenders, with very little in the way of goal mouth action. Aston Villa could have taken the lead early on but Christian Benteke’s close range volley was cleared off the line by Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross. Benteke had another chance just after the break but it was Asmir Begovic that this time denied the striker. The main talking points of this game were the decisions made by referee Roger East which culminated in two bookings given to Ryan Shotton. The first was given for what looked like a good tackle and the second, in stoppage time, seemed to come after he made no contact at all.

 

Southampton 1 – 0 Reading

Southampton were vastly superior in this game but despite their possession were unable to test the Reading goal seriously until just after the half-hour point when Jason Puncheon headed in only for the referee to blow for a push on Adam Federici. Jay Tabb did break free in a counter attack but shot straight at Saints keeper Kelvin Davis. The away side almost snatched a lead before half time as Hal Robson-Kanu hit the post. Southampton continued to press Reading in the second half and eventually took the lead on the hour mark as Puncheon hit the bottom corner with a cross goal shot. The south coast club held on comfortably and in fact looked the more likely to add to the scoring as they continued their impressive form.

 

Sunderland 1 – 3 Chelsea

Chelsea started very quickly and in fact had a penalty appeal turned down before Fernando Torres scored a well hit volley after ten minutes. Stephane Sessegnon forced Petr Cech into a save with a long range shot before Torres added a second from the penalty spot on the stroke of half time. Four minutes into the second half Torres was denied his hat-trick by the crossbar but fellow Spaniard Juan Mata tucked in the rebound to effectively end the game. With just over an hour played Sunderland did grab a goal thanks to Adam Johnson but were unable to stage an unlikely comeback despite testing Cech on several occasions.

 

Swansea City 3 – 4 Norwich City

The game started brightly and Steven Whittaker scored his first goal for Norwich on 16 minutes to give his side a deserved lead. Swansea started to work their way into the game but found themselves two down five minutes before the break as Sebastien Bassong headed in Grant Holt’s cross at the near post. Holt completed a brilliant half for Norwich by heading his side further ahead just two minutes later. The home side started the second half explosively though and Michu gave them hope five minutes after the restart. A comeback seemed likely when Jonathan de Guzman scored a second for Swansea with an hour left but Robert Snodgrass curled in a free-kick on 77 minutes to give Norwich all three points. Michu did score again for Swansea but there wasn’t enough time to snatch a point from The Canaries.

 

Wigan Athletic 2 – 2 Queens Park Rangers

QPR started the game brightly but found themselves behind before seriously testing Wigan as James McCarthy hit a fantastic volley past Robert Green on 18 minutes. Ryan Nelson scored a powerful header seven minutes later to put Rangers level and that’s how it stayed until half time. Wigan started to dominate in the second half but spurned chance after chance before Djibril Cisse scored what looked to be a winner with 20 minutes to play after a defensive error by Adrian Lopez. But Wigan got the goal they deserved just four minutes later though as McCarthy slotted home his second and the game ended all square.

 

Manchester City 2 – 3 Manchester United

City started the game the better of the two teams but it was United that struck first as Wayne Rooney’s weak shot wrong footed Joe Hart on 16 minutes. United grew into the game more with every passing minute and extended their lead on 29 minutes with Rooney again putting the ball past Hart. United should have been three up as Ashley young was controversially ruled offside before putting the ball into the City net and minutes later found their lead halved as Yaya Toure scored with an hour played. With four minutes to play City grabbed a dramatic equaliser through Pablo Zabaleta but a brilliant Robin Van Persie free kick won the game for United in stoppage time.

 

Everton 2 – 1 Tottenham Hotspur

This game was all about defences as both teams defended very well for almost the whole game. Everton were denied several times by a stern Spurs defence in the first half and even had an optimistic penalty appeal waved away. The second half continued in the same vein with both teams being limited by on-form defenders but Spurs struck first with 15 minutes to play as Clint Dempsey’s deflected shot looped over Tim Howard. This looked to be the winning goal until Steven Pienaar scored against the club he played for briefly last season with the clock ticking over into stoppage time. Spurs were rattled but Everton weren’t finished and dramatically won the game as Nikica Jelavic squirmed free of the defence to slot the ball past Hugo Lloris and win the game for the home side.

 

West Ham United 2 – 3 Liverpool

Liverpool started the game brightly and got their reward after just 11 minutes as Glen Johnson put them ahead. West Ham equalised on 36 minutes with Mark Noble slotting home from the penalty spot and were leading before half time as an unlucky Steven Gerrard steered the ball past his own keeper. West Ham looked good for their lead but with 15 minutes left Joe Cole grabbed an equaliser for the away side and three minutes later the reds were in front as James Collins deflected the ball past his own keeper and Liverpool held on for all three points.

 

Follow: @andrew_willcox

 

 

 

Daily Football Roundup Monday 3rd December

Good evening all,

 

Here is a quick round up of the goings on in football today. The focus remains on the up-coming transfer window but now with games piling up some managers are starting to feel the pressure from above.

 

Sir Alex Ferguson’s has hinted today that Jose Mourinho could be the man to replace him at Manchester United when he retires. Mourinho has refused to comment on his future though avoiding any questions on the subject in a press interview.

 

Manchester City star David Silva has not travelled to Germany for his side’s final Champions League tie due to a hamstring injury. The playmaker is also a big doubt for the Manchester derby on Sunday with manager Roberto Mancini saying: “We don’t know if he can recover for the derby but we will try.”

 

The president of the Scottish FA has said the national team job is not being limited to Scottish managers although Gordon Strachan remains favourite to get the job. Campbell Ogilvie said they will appoint the best man for the job, no matter where he is from.

 

Newcastle United front man Demba Ba has apparently turned down the club’s latest contract offer sparking fears he will leave in January.

 

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert, however, is much more confident of keeping his star striker through the transfer window. When asked if Christian Benteke was likely to leave he just smiled and said, “No chance.”

 

Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson has been given a vote of confidence from chairman Darragh MacAnthony. Despite a poor start to the season MacAnthony took to twitter to say: “Sacking the most successful manager in our recent history would be ridiculous.”

 

When Roberto Di Matteo was sacked as Chelsea manager just months after winning the Champions League most managers came out to defend the Italian but today West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has stepped out in defence of owner Roman Abramovich. “He’s entitled to do what he wants when he has pumped so much money into the club, if you’re the manager you have to deliver,” Allardyce told reporters.

 

Adam Lallana said Southampton showed Liverpool too much respect in the 1-0 defeat played on Saturday. In an interview he said: “Maybe the occasion got to a few of us today in the first half, maybe we showed them too much respect.”

 

Arsene Wenger apparently launched a tirade of criticism at Thomas Vermaelen, Gervinho and Carl Jenkinson after the defeat to Swansea at The Emirates on the weekend.

 

Yesterday saw the big boys join the FA Cup as the third round was drawn at Wembley by Ledley King and Fabrice Muamba. I have included a list of the full draw below.

 

FA CUP 3RD ROUND DRAW

1 Crystal Palace v Stoke City
2 Brighton & Hove Albion v Newcastle United
3 Tottenham Hotspur v Coventry City
4 Wigan Athletic v AFC Bournemouth
5 Fulham v Blackpool
6 Aston Villa v Ipswich Town
7 Charlton Athletic v Huddersfield Town
8 Barrow or Macclesfield Town v Cardiff City
9 Barnsley v Burnley
10 Manchester City v Watford
11 Swansea City v Arsenal
12 Leicester City v Burton Albion
13 Millwall v Preston North End
14 Cheltenham Town or Hereford United v Everton
15 Derby County v Tranmere Rovers
16 Crawley Town v Reading
17 Aldershot Town v Rotherham United or Notts County
18 Middlesbrough v Harrogate Town or Hastings United
19 Accrington Stanley or Oxford United v Sheffield United
20 Southampton v Chelsea
21 Queens Park Rangers v West Bromwich Albion
22 Peterborough United v Norwich City
23 Lincoln City or Mansfield Town v Liverpool
24 Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland
25 Nottingham Forest v Oldham Athletic
26 West Ham United v Manchester United
27 Hull City v Leyton Orient
28 Blackburn Rovers v Bristol City
29 Leeds United v Birmingham City
30 Bury or Southend United v Bradford City or Brentford
31 Luton Town v Wolverhampton Wanderers
32 Sheffield Wednesday v Milton Keynes Dons

Weekend Premier League Roundup 24/25th November

This weekend saw almost every team in the Premier League play their 13th game and we can see familiar patterns starting to form in the league table. While, of course, nothing is won or lost in November we are starting to see the wheat separated from the chaff. The games now start to roll in thick and fast as the Christmas madness approaches, with the teams playing again in midweek not being limited to European competitors.

 

Here is a run through of how the teams fared this weekend:

 

Sunderland 2 – 4 West Bromwich Albion

The weekend was started with probably the best game of the lot and Sunderland started very brightly. After missing a string of chances though the home team were eventually punished as Zoltan Gera cracked a 25-yard thunderbolt past a helpless Simon Mignolet, and just before half time the keeper lost control of a misguided through ball and Shane Long capitalised before tapping the ball into an empty net. With the game moving from end to end Sunderland did grab a goal on 73 minutes with Craig Gardner’s free kick deflecting of a defender and into the net. Eight minutes later though The Baggies restored their two goal lead as Romelu Lukaku scored a penalty that seemed harsh to be given and seemingly ended the game. Stephane Sessegnon scored with three minutes to play to set up a high pressure finish, but Marc-Antoine Fortune scored from a fortuitous counter attack to finally end Sunderland’s hopes of a comeback.

 

Everton 1 – 1 Norwich City

 

Everton started this game very well and opened the scoring after just 12 minutes as Bryan Oviedo squared the ball to Steven Naismith who planted the ball into the back of the net. Everton continued to test Norwich ‘keeper John Ruddy in the first half but were unable to add to their goal tally. The second half was a different story as Norwich finally joined the game and Robert Snodgrass had a shot cleared off the line shortly after the break. Ruddy kept the score as it was as Leighton Baines danced through the Canaries defence only to be denied by the keeper. With the game almost over Norwich were given a free kick 35 yards from goal, which Javier Garrido whipped towards the back post finding Sebastian Bassong who headed in the equaliser.

 

Manchester United 3 – 1 Queens Park Rangers

 

QPR had seemingly been set out to frustrate United as they sat back for half an hour soaking up pressure. Patrice Evra and Wayne Rooney both tested Rangers ‘keeper Julio Cesar in quick succession and this sparked the game into life as seven minutes later Jamie Mackie scored a disallowed goal for the away side. Mackie gave the visitors the lead shortly after half time with a rebound from a Kieron Dyer shot, and this enforced a double substitution by Sir Alex Ferguson. The hosts equalised on 64 minutes and took the lead four minutes later as the changes transformed United. The two subs Anderson and Javier Hernandez linked to put the game beyond QPR a few minutes later, with Hernandez scoring his eighth goal in as many games to finish off the game.

 

Stoke City 1 – 0 Fulham

 

In a rain soaked affair Fulham started the brighter of the two teams, with Giorgos Karagounis flashing a shot wide after only two minutes. The 26th minute saw Charlie Adam cleverly control the ball inside the six-yard box before turning towards goal and giving Stoke the lead. Ten minutes later Ryan Shawcross was unlucky to rattle the bar with a powerful header, Fulham broke away as a result but Mladen Petric was unable to find the net at the crucial moment. Kenwyne Jones thought he had doubled the home sides lead right at the death but was correctly flagged for offside.

 

Wigan Athletic 3 – 2 Reading

 

The home side started the game brightly and could have been 2-0 up within 25 minutes with Arouna Kone missing two brilliant chances. They were inevitably punished for this wastefulness as Reading took the lead courtesy of Sean Morrison ten minutes later. Wigan continued to test Adam Federici and equalized on 57 minutes with Jordi Gomez scoring the goal, a feat he repeated 11 minutes later to give his side the lead. Ali AL Habsi seemed to have gifted Reading a point when he fumbled a seemingly harmless looping ball into his own net with just over ten minutes left, only to have his blushes spared by Gomez who completed his hat-trick with moments to go in the match.

 

Aston Villa 0 – 0 Arsenal

 

In a game of few chances Villa did have the ball in the net on 37 minutes, only for Andreas Weimann to be flagged offside. Laurent Koscielny had a good chance for Arsenal just before half time, but he turned Olivier Giroud’s cross well over the bar from about ten yards. Aaron Ramsey hit a good shot wide for the away side in the 75th minute but Brad Guzan looked to have it covered. Villa in fact came closest to stealing all three points as Brett Holman smashed a brilliant shot towards goal which Wojciech Szczesny tipped on to the bar and away.

 

Swansea City 0 – 0 Liverpool

 

Both teams started this game brightly but it was Swansea who had the first chance, with Pepe Reina doing well to turn away a powerful shot from Wayne Routledge after 10 minutes. Raheem Sterling crashed a shot off the crossbar on the half hour mark. Jose Enrique scored a minute later, but had strayed inches offside as Luis Suarez curled his pass in. The second half moved at a fast pace with both teams searching for a winner, and as Suarez and Sterling broke free with 8 minutes left they seemed certain to score, but the final pass was just over hit and the move fizzled out. There was time though for one more chance though as Pablo Hernandez’ well struck free kick was tipped around the post by Reina.

 

Southampton 2 – 0 Newcastle United

 

Newcastle seemed to struggle with the pace of movement Southampton offered in this game and the score line wasn’t a true reflection of the south coast teams dominance. Southampton hit the woodwork three times and were repeatedly thwarted by goalkeeper Tim Krul. Adam Lallana grabbed the first goal on 34 minutes as man of the match Gaston Ramirez’ cross gave Lallana a simple job to put The Saints into the lead. Ramirez did get his reward with half an hour to play, as he turned the ball in after a Krul save saw the ball fall at his feet from 6 yards.

 

Chelsea 0 – 0 Manchester City

 

Premiership champions Manchester City met European champions Chelsea in a game that saw the teams seemingly cancel each other out. City had the best of the first half, with Serio Aguero missin the best chance of the first half, a point blank header that Petr Cech comfortably gathered. Chelsea were the better team in the second half with their best attempt coming courtesy of right back Ashley Cole, who saw his fierce shot tipped over the bar by Joe Hart. This was a drab affair that seemed to revolve more around Chelsea’s new manager Rafa Benitez than the football served up on the field.

 

Tottenham Hotspur 3 – 1 West Ham United

 

Tottenham bossed this game and almost took the lead on 10 minutes with Gareth Bath smashing a shot against the crossbar. A minute before half time Spurs did take the lead with an amazing goal by Jermain Defoe which came after half an hour of possession that lacked penetration. With 57 minutes on the clock Clint Dempsey’s perfectly weighted pass found Bale inside the box, who this time saw his shot bounce in off the post. Good work by Sandro in midfield released Aaron Lennon who squared the ball for Defoe to tap in his second. Andy Carroll gave The Hammers a glimmer of hope with his first goal for the club with 8 minutes to play, but Spurs held on for victory.

 

Follow: @andrew_willcox