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Barclay’s Premier League Wrap-up Week 18

 Posted by on December 27, 2013 at 7:30 pm  England, EPL
Dec 272013

Aston Villa 0 – 1 Crystal Palace

Dwight Gayle’s stoppage time goal lifts Crystal Palace out of the drop zone.  Poor Villa, this loss is their fourth straight and they’re starting to worry about another relegation fight this season.  At first, it looked like this match would end in a goalless draw.  Neither side could mount any attack of real quality.  US international goal keeper Brad Guzan did well keeping the Villain’s nets empty for most of the match.  Barry Bannan nearly got his shot past Guzan in th4 54th minute when his left footed shot seemed bound for the bottom left corner of the goal.  That looked like the only quality opportunity until deep into stoppage time when Palace caught Villa on the break.  Dean Moxey was able to get through the Villain defense and set up Gayle whose shot curled into the top right corner of the goal.  Villa had a chance to level the score right at the death when they earned a corner kick.  But alas, they could not make anything from the set piece and when the final whistle sounded; their fans voiced their displeasure with their performance and result.  Palace are now one place above relegation based on goal difference.  Could this be the beginning of a season revival?

Cardiff 0 – 3 Southampton

Jay Rodriguez’s first half brace puts Cardiff boss Malky Macaky onto the unemployment line.  It was the Saints’ first win in seven matches and adds more tension to the internal civil war going on between Macaky and owner Vincent Tan.  There was a pre-match protest by the supporters who are angry with Tan and how he is running the club and they voiced their support for Macaky as the match got underway.  Things did not start well at all for the Welsh club and they were behind in the 13th minute when Jay Rodriguez powered home Adam Lallana’s pass for the first goal.  It went from bad to worse in the 19th minute when Rodriguez got his second goal.  Rickie Lambert hit a pass to his feet and the striker easily pushed the ball past Cardiff keeper David Marshall.  The match was mostly over in the 27th minute when Cardiff conceded the third goal from a corner kick.  Rodriguez was able to head the ball on to Rickie Lambert who finished it into the bottom left corner of the goal.  The home side tried to up their tempo at the start of the second half.  Peter Whittingham hit a cross from a free-kick in the attacking third that Frazier Campbell headed over the goal in the 48th minute.  But Cardiff would not make any more meaningful attempts at scoring for the rest of the match.  When the final whistle blew, Tan had already left and the home fans boo’ed everyone.  Shortly afterward, Macaky was fired.  While they’re not in the relegation zone yet, they’re not headed in the right direction.  This one will not end well.

Chelsea 1 – 0 Swansea

Eden Hazard’s first half goal is good enough to secure the win for the Blues.  This was a typical Jose Mourinho led Blues win.  They’re two points off the lead with another test coming on Saturday at Stamford Bridge versus Liverpool.  While they are not quite in the aggressive driving position to take over the lead that Mourinho would prefer, they’re still in the mix.  The one thing that Mourinho is still not quite happy about is Chelsea’s performance in front of goal.  So far, only Hazard seems to be the only one of the starting strikers who knows where the goal is.  While Hazard did get the lone goal in the 29th minute, Samuel Eto’o, who Mourinho brought in from Spain, missed chance after chance.  Swansea, on the other hand, were never really a threat and this loss left them with one win in their last six BPL matches.  One does wonder if Michael Laudrup’s boys are tiring.  They’ve been competing in the UEFA Europa League.  Also with domestic league cup challenges coming up, one wonders if the tough schedule is finally getting to the Welsh side.  As far as their position on the table, they have no worries with their mid-table position.  Let’s hope for their sake they don’t completely bust as the season wears on.

Everton 0 – 1 Sunderland

Everton goal keeper Tim Howard gets sent off as the Black Cats get a much needed win.  They’re not out of danger yet, but Gus Poyet’s boys got a glimmer of home on Thursday when a weird play in the Everton defense left them with an opportunity to grab a much needed win.  It all happened in the 25th minute when Howard took a goal kick that was a pass to Leon Osman.  The defender, recently back from injury, miscontrolled the pass, Black Cats’ winger Ki Sung-Yueng snapped up the loose ball and darted in on goal.  Howard came out to block the South Korean international’s attempt on goal, and went to ground from the USA international’s challenge in the Everton penalty area.  The referee awarded Sunderland the penalty kick and showed Howard a straight red-card as he was the last defender.  Joel Robles stood in goal for the home side.  But he was unable to defend the penalty kick that Ki powered home for the only goal of the match.  So while the win doesn’t get the Black Cats off the bottom of the table, it does cut the gap to safety down to three points.  There is a bit of hope for them after all.

Newcastle 5 – 1 Stoke

Loic Remy scores twice as the Magpies deliver a face punch to the Potters.  The match was an absolute disaster for the visitors as they ended it with nine men and boss Mark Hughes sent to the stands.  Things started out well for them as they nearly scored in the second minute.  Peter Crouch’s header of a Geoff Cameron cross had to be saved by Magpies’ keeper Tim Krul.  They even took the lead in the 28th minute when Oussama Assaidi slotted home Charlie Adam’s headed pass.  Assaidi nearly made it two in the 36th minute when he had his shot attempt blocked twice from in front of the Magpies’ goal.  But the wheels came off the Potters’ wagon in the 39th minute when Glenn Whelan was sent off for a second booking awarded after he committed a bad foul on Yohan Cabaye.  Things would only get worse for the Potters in the 42nd minute when Loic Remy was awarded a penalty kick for a foul committed by defender Marc Wilson in the Potters’ penalty area.  Wilson was the last defender and so was sent off as the foul was judged to have prevented a goal scoring opportunity.  The incident angered Hughes and he let the fourth official know it quite loudly.  For that offense, he was sent from the bench and to the stands for the remainder of the match.  Although Remy’s spot kick was saved, he did get the equalizer in the 44th minute.  The Frenchman was able to score when he was put through on goal by Hatem Ben Arfa.  They took the lead in the 48th minute when Yoan Gouffran’s left-footed shot found the bottom left corner of the Potters’ goal.  It was all easy for the Magpies at that point and Remy scored his second in the 55th minute when he headed home Moussa Sisoko’s cross.  Cabaye got the fourth goal for the home side in the 65th minute when his shot from just outside the Potters’ area found the bottom right corner of the goal.  They were awarded a penalty kick in the 78th minute when Potters’ defender Erik Peters was penalized for fouling Ben Arfa in the penalty area.  This time, Papiss Demba Cisse converted the spot kick for goal number five.  The win puts Newcastle into sixth place and there are some whispers about European Football for next season.  We’ll see.

Norwich 1 – 2 Fulham

Scott Parker’s late second half goal helps to lift the Cottagers over the Canaries.  It looked like yet another loss for the Cottagers as they went down to a Gary Cooper 13th minute deflected strike.  They had just one win in their previous nine tries and it looked like this one would be another disappointment.  They were without Maartin Steklenburg, Brede Hangeland, Phillipe Senderos and Dimitar Berbatov who were all out injured.  One should have been excused for having any doubt about Fulham getting any result. But Pajtim Kasami’s 33rd minute goal leveled things for the visitors.  That injected some life into the Cottagers and they got the winner in 87th minute when Parker got hold of a loose ball in the Canaries penalty area and hammered it past keeper John Ruddy for the win.

Tottenham 1 – 1 West Bromwich Albion

The Baggies battle for the draw at White Hart Lane.  It was supposed to be a big day for Tim Sherwood.  He had just been appointed as the permanent manager of Spurs after he took over from fired Andreas Villas Boas.  In their last match, he guided them to a victory over Southampton at St. Mary’s Stadium.  The Baggies, on the other hand, were a team in chaos.  They still hadn’t found a successor to Steve Clarke who had been fired on December 16 and haven’t won a match in eight tries.  Spurs took the lead in the 36th minute when Christian Eriksen curled home a free kick.  But Emmanuel Adebayor who was the hero for Spurs in their last match, messed things up in his own area in the 38th minute.  He was helping defend from a free kick and messed up Baggies’ winger Morgan Amalfitano’s cross.  Jonas Olsson latched onto the loose ball and tapped home the equalizer.  The Baggies were the more aggressive attackers in the second half.  Hugo Lloris had to be on his toes to deny a Steven Reid shot and Zoltan Gera missed a close-range shot.  That was as close as anyone would come as the points were shared.

West Ham 1 – 3 Arsenal

Two Theo Walcott goals lift the Gunners back to the top of the BPL table.  This London Derby saw both sides in need of a victory.  West Ham have been sliding down the wrong end of the table and Arsenal had been knocked from of first place.  So they both pressed each other as the match got underway.  Mark Noble had his 10th minute shot saved by Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny and Hammers’ keeper Adrian was able to keep Santi Cazorla’s 16th minute headed out of the goal.  Back and forth it would go with neither side making a break though in the first half.  The Hammers would take the lead in the 46th minute.  Szczesny was able to save Kevin Nolan’s shot on goal, but Carlton Cole was able to finish the rebound into the bottom right corner of the goal.  Walcott would equalize for the Gunners in the 67th minute when he was found by a Cazorla pass.  Walcott would put his side in the lead in the 70th minute when he would take advantage of some dodgy Hammers defending and head home the loose ball.  Lukas Podolski added the exclamation mark to the win for the Gunners in the 79th minute when Olivier Giroud would put him through on goal and the German international slotted the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal.

Manchester City 2 – 1 Liverpool

Alvaro Negredo’s first half stoppage time goal is good enough for the win for Citeh.  This was the Reds’ chance to accomplish something that no one was been able to do this season: get a result at the Etihad Stadium.  They started out well and should have scored the first goal in the 13th minute, but Luis Suarez’s header of a Lucas Leiva corner kick missed just off to the left of the goal.  In the 16th minute, Suarez had his shot from outside of the Citeh penalty area saved by keeper Joe Hart. But they did score in the 23rd minute from a great counter-attack move.  Winger Raheem Sterling cut through the Citeh defense and hit a back-footed pass that Philippe Coutinho was able to hit past Hart for the goal.  But the one thing that Citeh have ontheir side is midfielder David Silva and he took matters in hand in the 30th minute.  When they won a corner, Silva was able to hit a cross for Vincent Kompany and the Dutch international’s header went into the goal past Reds’ keeper Simon Mignolet.  Silva was the author again the 36th minute when he set up Samir Nasri’s shot on goal that Mignolet was able to clear.  Citeh were able to get the lead in first half stoppage time when Alvaro Negredo was able to lob a shot over Mignolet into the goal.  But the Reds wouldn’t go away quietly and came out aggressively in the second half.  Suarez had his 48th minute shot saved by Hart and missed another attempt in the 50th minute.  The closest they came was in the 73rd minute when Sterling shot from a Suarez shot went just over the goal.  Late in the match, the Reds thought they had a penalty shout when it looked like Citeh defender Jolean Lescott pulled on Suarez shirt in the Citeh penalty area, but the referee did not agree.  The win moves Citeh within a point of top position and makes it possible that the EPL trophy will be moving back across town in May.


Lanny Short

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