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Oct 222013

Newcastle 2 – 2 Liverpool

Ten man Newcastle hold Liverpool to a draw at St. James’ Park.  Luiz Suarez and Daniel Sturridge combined to secure the point for the Reds as they had to come from behind twice in the match.  The Magpies were looking to avenge a 6-0 smack-down they received last season and they nearly got on the score sheet in the fifth minute when Yohan Cabaye had his long range shot blocked away by Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.  They finally did make the breakthrough in the 23rd minute when Cabaye got hold of the ball in the midfield, took it forward with no opposition, then hit a dipping shot from 30 yards out that flew inside the far post past Mignolet’s grasp.  The Reds could’ve equalized two minutes later, but Mamadou Sakho’s header from a Suarez cross went just wide of the goal.  It looked like Newcastle would be going into the half with the lead.  But in the 41st minute, Suarez had broken through on goal and when Newcastle defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa challenged the Uruguayan striker in the penalty area, Suarez immediately went to ground.  The referee awarded Liverpool the penalty kick, and since the Newcastle man was the last defender and was judged to have illegally prevented a scoring opportunity, he was sent off.  Steven Gerrard converted the spot kick to level the score and that’s how things stayed until the interval.  Liverpool were determined to try and make their extra man advantage count as the second half got underway.  They nearly took the lead in the 48th minute when Glen Johnson was put through on goal be a neat Jordan Henderson pass.  Newcastle keeper Tim Krul was able to get down smartly and save Johnson’s shot to prevent the score.  But, weirdly enough, Liverpool went behind again in the 57th minute when Cabaye’s free-kick was met by an unmarked Paul Dummett to poke home with his left foot into the center of the goal.  It looked like the home side would be able to hold on for the win as time and again, the visitors would make a break, and each time the home side would be more than equal to any challenge to their goal.  But in the 71st minute Suarez was able to cut through the defense and into the penalty area.  He hit a great cut-back cross that Sturridge was able to head into the goal and level the score once again.  In the 74th minute, Suarez had a chance to win the match when his shot rebounded off the bar after going over Krul’s reach.  As the match wound down to the end, it looked like the Reds would eventually find the breakthrough and nearly did in the 85th minute had Daniel Sturridge not missed his shot off to the right after being put through by Gerrard.  But the ten-men Magpies were able to hold on for the draw.

Arsenal 4 – 1 Norwich

The Gunners secure their position at the top of the BPL table.  It’s still early in the season, but one could bet that at least one London team will have a say on where the BPL trophy ends up next May.  After Saturday, it looks like that team may be the Gunners.  They opened the scoring in the 18th minute when Jack Wilshere was able to get on the end of an Olivier Giroud through-pass and poke the ball past keeper John Ruddy.  To their credit, the Canaries tried to fight back as the half wore on and nearly equalized at the end of the half when Robert Snodgrass’s shot from an Anthony Pilkington cross was blocked away by the Gunners’ defense.  Arsenal came out in the second half much stronger and in the 58th minute, Mesut Ozil made it 2-0 when he headed home a Giroud cross into the bottom left corner of the goal.  Norwich did manage to get a goal back in the 10th minute when Jonathan Howson’s shot from Martin Olsson’s cross from the left wing went into the far behind Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny.  It was Aaron Ramsey who was able to kill the match off in the 83rd minute when he was able to cut through the Canaries’ defense and poke home from close range.  The Welsh midfielder assisted on the fourth goal in the 88th minute when he was again able to cut through the Canaries defense and cut back a pass for Ozil to tap in.  While they are not the same Gunners that were so dominant ten years ago, they’re going to be hard to knock from the top of the league this season.

Chelsea 4 – 1 Cardiff

It’s another comfortable win for the Blues at Stamford Bridge.  There is one thing about teams managed by Jose Mourinho, they simply do not lose at home.  He went 38 matches unbeaten at Porto, 60 matches unbeaten during his first stint at Chelsea, and 38 when he was at Inter Milan.  He is currently on a 33 match home unbeaten record that includes 31 matches at Real Madrid and now three matches for his current tenure at Chelsea.  The match Saturday didn’t start that well for the Blues as they went behind in the 10th minute when Cardiff striker Jordan Mutch took advantage of Blues defender David Luiz’s defensive mistake and chipped the loose ball into the goal over keeper Petr Cech.  Chelsea got the equalizer from a controversial moment in the 33rd minute.  Cardiff keeper David Marshall had possession of the ball and was bouncing it with the intent to put it back into play.  FIFA laws state that the goal keeper is still in possession at that point and any attempt to challenge is not legal.  However, Samuel Eto’o stuck his leg out in an attempt to put Marshall under a bit of pressure.  When he was able to steal the ball, he rolled it over to Eden Hazard to poke home from close range.  That’s how the half ended and when the second half started, one could tell that both teams’ bosses were not too thrilled with how things were going.  Cardiff had a chance to regain the lead in the 60th minute winger Kim Bo-Kyung’s shot missed just off to the right of the goal.  Shortly after that, Mourinho, who had been fussing at the fourth official for most of the match, was sent to the stands and was later charged with misconduct by the FA.  That seemed to be the kick in the pants the Blues needed.  In the 66th minute, Oscar, Hazard and Eto’o combined to break the deadlock with the striker firing into the goal past the grasp of Marshall.  In the 78th minute, Oscar secured the win when he was able to hit a long range shot from just outside the area.  Hazard added the exclamation mark in the 82nd minute when he eluded the Cardiff defense and poked home a fine finish with his right foot.  The win puts the Blues into second place, two points behind Arsenal and it looks like the two London sides will have a say as to who wins the league this season.

Everton 2 – 1 Hull

Steven Pienaar gets the win for Everton.  The South African winger is still a hero for the Toffees despite being out injured since August 31.  They had lost the last remaining unbeaten streak last week to Manchester City and the fans didn’t want to lose the momentum they had gained so far this season.  Kevin Mirallas got them going in the eighth minute when he scored just inside of the post.  However, the goal was a bit controversial as it looked like Gareth Barry, running back from an offside position, interfered with Hull keeper Allan McGregor’s attempt to make the save.  Things went from bad to worse for the Tigers when they lost one of their talismen, Danny Graham, to injury in the 15th minute.  But they nearly equalized in the 22nd minute when Abdoulaye Faye’s header from Robbie Brady’s corner kick went just wide of the goal.  That got the visitors going and they did equalize in the 30th minute when Yannick Sagbo was able to poke home Sone Aluko’s cross past Everton keeper Tim Howard.  Hull had a chance to take the lead deep into first half stoppage time when Aluko barely missed his header from a Faye corner kick just over the bar.  Everton boss Roberto Martinez knew a spark was needed and he brought on Pienaar for Loen Osman in the 56th minute.  Within 30 seconds of coming into the match, he was able to get on the end of a Mirallas cross to score a wonderful goal with his left foot.  Everton had a chance to make it three in the 76th minute when substitute Arouna Kone thumped his shot off the right post.  The result sees Hull’s four match unbeaten run come to an end.

Stoke 0 – 0 West Bromwich Albion

The Potters and the Baggies play to a draw.  Not too much to write about in this match.  One shouldn’t be surprised at this result.  The Potters have only scored four goals all season and the Baggies have one of the better goal differences so far at +1.  The only real incident in this match occurred in the 55th minute when it looked like Charlie Adam tripped Youssouf Mulumbu in the Potters’ penalty area.  But any hopes for a penalty kick award from the referee were denied.  Although in the last minute of the match, Stephane Sessegnon had a chance to win it for the Baggies when he was able to weave his way into the Stoke area.  But alas, he sent his shot right straight into the keeper’s gut and that was that.

Swansea 4 – 0 Sunderland

The downward slide for the Blackcats continues.  So now Gus Poyet has the privilege of trying to salvage the hot mess that is Sunderland.  Or should we call this club “Blunder-land”?  It looks more and more like the Blackcats will be the first team to be relegated this season.   They still haven’t won a match this season and are badly leaking goals.  They sit at the bottom of the league with only one point from eight matches.  They started the first half well and nearly scored in the 12th minute when Steven Fletcher’s shot missed just wide of the goal.  One could tell as the half progressed that Swans’ boss Michael Laudrup was not happy with his teams’ performance.  The half time talk must have been a right good kick in the pants, because the Swans came out much stronger in the second half.  In the 52nd minute, Michu nearly scored for them when his hard shot missed just off to the left of the goal.  The first goal was a testament to just how bad things are for the Blackcats.  A 57th minute Jonathan De Guzman corner kick was flicked on by Angel Rangel and bounced into the goal off Blackcats’ defender Phillip Bardsley.  It was two goals a minute later when De Guzman hit a lovely curling shot into the top right corner of the goal.  It went from bad to worse for the visitors when Craig Gardner conceded a penalty for a foul on Leon Britton.  Wilfried Bony converted the spot kick and Poyet looked like he was reconsidering his decision to take the Sunderland job.  The fourth goal came in the 80th minute when Chico headed home a cross from a De Guzman free kick.  If I were Joze Altidore, I might be looking to move to another team in January.

West Ham 1 – 3 Manchester City

Citeh get their away form together as they burst the Hammers’ bubbles.  The Hammers must have still been hung over from their celebrating of their win over Spurs in the last round.  They were playing a Citeh side that, under boss Manuel Pellegrini, hadn’t done well away from home.  But on Saturday, the Pellegrini felt a lot better with his team’s performance as they eased to victory in East London.  By far the best player for Citeh this season has been Sergio Aguero and the Argentine striker opened the scoring in the 16th minute.  Fernandinho played a long ball from the half line and West Ham defenders Winston Reid and James Tomkins couldn’t decide which of them would take responsibility for clearing it.  Aguero get hold of the loose ball and easily poke in the goal past keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.  He should have made it 2-0 in the 19th minute when his shot went right to Jaaskelainen.  Citeh went on to dominate the first half and the Hammers had to thank Jaaskelainen for keeping them in the match as he made save after save from Aguero, Yaya Toure, and David Silva.  Whatever Hammers boss Sam Allardyce had to say to his boys at half time didn’t work as they fell behind 2-0 in the 50th minute.  This time Aguero was able to out-jump Ricardo Vaz Te and head home a Silva cross past Jaaskelainen.  The Hammers were able to get a goal back in the 58th minute when Vaz Te was able to hit a wonderful acrobatic volley from Ravel Morrison’s cross past Citeh keeper Joe Hart.  But that’s as close as the home side would get and they would concede another goal in the 80th minute.  This time Aguero was the provider as he set up Silva to hit home into the top left corner of the goal.  The result puts Citeh into fourth place on the table and make for a really bad “Happy Birthday” present for Allardyce who turned 59 on Saturday.

Aston Villa 0 – 2 Tottenham

Spurs get back to winning ways as they beat the Villains at Villa Park.  Could there be an England legend in the making in Andros Townsend?  He was clearly the man of the match for the national side in their victories over Montenegro and Poland that booked their place in the World Cup Final in Brazil.  Spurs were looking for some spark to get them over their horrific loss in their last match.  They had gotten humiliated by their East London rivals, West Ham, and wanted to make amends on Sunday.  Villa had the first opportunity in the third minute when Gabriel Agbonlahor missed his shot over the bar.  Although Spurs took a while to get going, they finally did move the ball well and should have scored in the 17th minute when Sandro’s right-footed shot was saved by Villain keeper Brad Guzan.  In the 31st minute, Townsend broke the deadlock, although it was quite by accident.  He was attempting to cross from the right toward Lewis Holtby and Roberto Soldado.  But neither could get to the cross and Guzan, who was playing for the deflection had to watch as the ball bounced past him and into the goal.  Townsend was a bit subdued in his celebrations, but a Spurs fan tossed a flare from the stands and it hit the assistant referee in the back of the head.  There was a delay to take care of the official and the idiot fan was arrested.  After the delay, Villa nearly equalized when Andreas Weimann’s shot went just high and to the right of the goal.  But that was as close as Villa would come to scoring and Spurs went into the interval up 1-0.  As the match wore on, Villa boss Paul Lambert decided to bring on Christian Benteke to see what the Belgian winger could do.  He nearly leveled the score in the 63rd minute when his header from a Leandro Bacuna cross went just over the bar.  He had another chance in the 68th minute from a Fabian Delph cross.  This time, his header was saved by Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris.  But any hopes of a comeback were killed a minute later when Paulinho set loose Soldado and his shot went into the top left corner of the goal over Guzan’s reach.  The goal pretty much killed off the rest of the match and the result has Spurs back in the top five of the BPL.

Crystal Palace 1 – 4 Fulham

Dimitar Berbatov scores his first goal of the season as the Cottagers soundly defeat Crystal Palace.  This one has started out so well for Palace.  They scored first in the seventh minute when Adrian Mariappa headed home his first goal for his club from a Jason Puncheon cross.  But Fulham got themselves into gear and equalized in the 19th minute.  Sascha Riether hit a cross over to Pajtim Kasami and the winger hit a super volley shot into the goal past Palace keeper Julian Speroni.  While both sides kept fighting for the advantage, it was Fulham who went ahead as the first half came to a close.  They were awarded a free-kick just outside of the Palace area.  Bryan Ruiz took the kick that blocked by the Palace wall and the rebound came over to Steve Sidwell who hit a volley shot in to the top left corner of the goal to make it 1-2 to the visitors.  Berbatov got his goal in the 50th minute when he headed home Ruiz’s corner kick.  The coup-de-grace for the Cottagers came in the 55th minute when Phillipe Senderos made a nice scissor-kick to put home another Ruiz corner kick.  They could have made it five in the 86th minute when Kasami’s shot was saved by Speroni.  But it was a truly bad day for Palace and they now set second from bottom in the BPL table.  Could they be on their way back down to the Championship?


Lanny Short

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