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Dec 302014
Premier League

Totteham 0 – 0 Manchester United

It’s a tense draw at White Hart Lane. This was a match that left United boss Louis Van Gaal quite frustrated. He fussed a bit about the schedule and the fact that there wasn’t hardly any time for players to rest and prepare in between matches during this time of the season. He decided to go with the same line up that he used in United’s last match. They had the better of the chances in the first half. Falcao had his 18th minute shot from a Juan Mata through pass saved by Hugo Lloris and the Spurs’ keeper would save another Falcao attempt in the 34th minute. Lloris would come up big agin in the 39th minute when he made a great save of a Robin Van Persie close range shot from a Michael Carrick through pass. He would make two more saves as the first half came to an end. The first from Wayne Rooney’s shot from an Ashley Young cross and the second when Young tried to curl a shot into the top right corner of the goal. The second half was dominated by Spurs with United keeper David De Gea saving the day for United. He made a great save in the 66th minute from an Andros Townsend shot from distance. De Gea came up big again in the 71st minute when he saved a Federico Fazio shot from a Vertonghen cross. Even Christian Eriksen, who was been one of Spurs’ better scorers, was denied by De Gea in the 78th minute when the striker tried a shot from distance. So while neither United nor Spurs lost any ground in the table, both sides missed out on a chance to close the gap on the leaders.

Southampton 1 – 1 Chelsea

The Saints and the Blues draw at St. Mary’s Stadium. This was a match that the Blues could have used to put some distance between themselves and Manchester City. The Saints took the lead in the 16th minute when Dusan Tadic cut apart the Blues’ defense with a great through ball that Sadio Mane slotted home into the bottom left corner of the goal. They should have gone up by two in the 19th minute when they won a free-kick in the Blues’ defensive third, but Morgan Schneiderlin’s free-kick went over the goal. They had another set piece in the 36th minute. This time Tadic took the free-kick, but Jose Fonte’s header missed the goal off to the right. They had another chance in the 44th minute when Maya Yoshida set up Graziano Pelle, but the striker’s shot was high and wide of the goal. Chelsea would level the score right at the stroke of half time when Cesc Fabregas would create one of his patented through passes for Eden Hazard to score an easy goal. Schneiderlin had a chance to put the Saints’ back into the lead right as the half time whistle blew, but his shot from distance missed the goal off to the left. A bit of controversy came up in the 54th minute when Cesc Fabregas went down in the Saints’ penalty area. It looked like he had been fouled by defender Matt Targett, but the referee did not see things that way and booked the Chelsea midfielder for diving. The Blues tried to kick up the pressure from that point forward and got a break in the 88th minute when Schneiderlin, who had received an earlier booking, was sent off for a foul on Fabregas. But try as the might, the Blues just couldn’t breach the Saints’ defense. In his post-match interview, Blues’ boss Jose Mourinho accused the FA of conspiring to try to keep Chelsea from winning the league. We shall see.

Aston Villa 0 – 0 Sunderland

No goals for the Villains or the Black Cats at Villa Park. The first half of this one was a bit on the dull side. Both sides are comfortable in the middle of the table and didn’t want to give anything away. It was the Black Cats who should have won this match as they got a man advantage when Villains’ midfielder Fabian Delph received a straight red card for a horrible foul on Black Cats’ midfielder Jordi Gomez. But it was the home side who nearly scored in the 53rd minute when Andreas Weimann’s header from an Alan Hutton cross just missed the goal off to the left. Adam Johnson nearly scored for the Black Cats in the 64th minute when his shot from a Connor Wickham assist was saved by Villains’ keeper Brad Guzan. Leandro Bacuna almost scored for the Villains in the 88th minute when his shot from a loose ball in the area was saved by Black Cats’ keeper Costel Pantilimon. Both sides had a chance to win the match deep into stoppage time. Wickham had his shot from a Gomez assist saved by keeper Guzan. Christian Benteke had his header of a Leandro Bacuna cross saved by keeper Pantilimon. So it was a point for each as they sit safely in the middle of the table, for now.

Hull 0 – 1 Leicester

The Foxes get a much needed win over the Tigers. It was their first win since they beat Manchester United back in September. Since then, they had fallen all the way down the table to the bottom and looked like they would be the first side relegated to the Championship division. Fellow strugglers Hull have only one win in their last 10 matches. While they sit one place above the bottom three, they are surviving only on goal difference. The Tigers had a chance to take the early lead in the fifth minute when Sone Aluko’s shot from an Ahmed Elmohamady assist was saved by Foxes’ keeper Ben Hamer. Hamer saved his side again in the 13th minute when he pushed aside a Gaston Ramirez shot from distance. The Foxes took the lead in the 32nd minute when Ryad Mahrez’s shot from distance eluded the hand of Tigers’ keeper Allan McGregor. The visitors nearly made it two in the 39th minute when keeper McGregor saved a Mahrez shot from a David Nugent assist. Things got a bit scrappy in the second half as the home side tried to get back into the match. Nikica Jelavic should have leveled the score in the 66th minute, but his header of a Elmohamady cross missed the goal off to the right. Jelavic would have his own chance in the 77th minute, but his header of a Liam Rosenior cross missed off of the left. Abel Hernandez had the best chance in the 83rd minute when his shot from an Elmohamady corner-kick hit the post. The Tigers got a break in the 87th minute when defender Paul Konchesky, who had been booked earlier, was sent off for a bad foul on Elmohamedy. But they couldn’t make anything happen with the man advantage and in the stoppage time, midfielder Stephen Quinn was sent off himself for a deliberate hand ball. So while the win doesn’t get the Foxes off the foot of the table, it does give their fans a bit of hope of saving themselves.

Manchester City 2 – 2 Burnley

The Clarets make a second half comeback to steal a point at the Etihad Stadium. This is a match that the Champions may look back upon with regret if they end up losing the BPL Trophy. They had an opportunity to close the gap on Chelsea and should have gotten it done on Sunday. They had such a good start when David Silva got them going with a 23rd minute goal. Fernandinho made things even better for Citeh in the 33rd minute when he scored from a Samir Nasri assist. Jesus Navas should have made it three in the 36th minute when his shot was saved by Clarets’ keeper Tom Heaton. The visitors took encouragement from that save and came out in the 46th minute with a goal by George Boyd from a Danny Ings assist. Nasri should have put things away for Citeh in the 56th minute but his shot from a Silva assist was saved by keeper Heaton. Stevan Jovetic, who had come on for James Milner had his 68th minute shot saved by Heaton. Citeh’s failure to score would bite them in the 81st minute when Ashley Barnes would slot in a Michael Keane free-kick into the top left corner of the goal. Heaton would come up big for the Clarets again in the 83rd minute when he saved a Jovetic shot from the bottom right corner of the goal. The win tightens up things at the bottom of the table with Burnley tied with two other teams at 16 points. This will be an interesting race.

Queens Park Rangers 0 – 0 Crystal Palace

Managerless Palace earn a point versus Rangers at Loftus Road. Neil Warnock was the first manager to be fired this season after Palace lost on Saturday. Assistant Keith Millen took over running the team whose only chances in the match happened in the beginning and end of the match. Jason Pumcheon would hit the post with his shot early in the first half. Then at the end of the patch, Puncheon would have his shot saved by keeper Rob Green. So while Palace still have a chance to save themselves, whoever takes over the management has a lot of work to do to keep them in the BPL.

Stoke 2 – 0 West Bromwich Albion

Striker Mame Diouf gets two goals as the Potters get Baggies’ boss Alan Irvine fired. At 17 points, the Baggies sit two places above the bottom three. There is some speculation that Tony Pulis might be headed there to take over, but nothing has come from the team as of yet. As far as the match itself went, the first half was quite dull and ended scoreless. The Potters finally got things going in the 51st minute when Diouf scored his first goal from an Erik Pieters assist. Goal number two came in the 65th minute when Diouf finished off a Marko Arnautovic assist into the bottom right corner of the goal. Arnautovic should have made it three in the 88th minute when Diouf set him up, but the shot from distance missed the goal off to the left. But the result was good enough for Mark Hughes and his boys as they get ready to host Manchester United on New Year’s Day.

West Ham 1 – 2 Arsenal

The Gunners beat the Hammers and move above them into fifth place. If anyone was going to burst West Ham’s bubble, it was going to be the Gunners. It was the Hammers’ first home defeat since August. They had their chances to open the scoring. The closest was in the 18th minute when Chiekhou Kouyate’s shot from distance was saved by Gunners’ keeper Wojciech Szczesny. Andy Carroll missed a chance to score for the Hammers in the 20th minute when his shot went off to the right of the goal. James Tomkins should have scored from Stewart Downing’s free-kick in the 38th minute, but he put his shot over the goal. Those misses would come back to hurt the Hammers in the 40th minute when they conceded a penalty kick. Defender Winston Reid fouled Santiago Cazorla in the area and the Gunners’ midfielder would get up and convert the spot kick for the first goal. The second goal came in the 43rd minute when Danny Welbeck would knock home an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain assist. The Hammers would get a goal back in the 54th minute when Kouyate headed in a James Tomkins corner kick. But they just couldn’t get any more quality attempts on goal and the Hammers’ fortune looks like it is finally hidden.

Newcastle 3 – 2 Everton

The Magpies get their first win in four matches as they beat the struggling Toffees at St. James Park. This was a goofy match as the Toffees started the scoring in the fourth minute when Arouna Kone scored from a Seamus Coleman cross. But then the Magpies would come back to level the score in the 33rd minute when Papiss Cisse would put a Michael Williamson corner kick into the bottom left corner of the goal. Ayoze Perez would get the lead for the Magpies in the 51st minute when he would score from a Cheick Tiote corner kick. They would increase their lead in the 68th minute when Jack Colback hit a left-footed shot into the bottom left corner of the goal. Cisse had a chance to make it four in the 70th minute when his shot was saved by Toffees’ keeper Joel Robles who has replaced injured USA international Tim Howard. Keving Mirallas did get a goal back for the Toffees in the 83rd minute when scored from a Leighton Baines through pass. But that was as close as they would get. But, now that the Magpies are back to winning ways, there are indications that boss Alan Pardew may be leaving the team and taking the Crystal Palace job.

Liverpool 4 – 1 Swansea

The Reds deliver a face punch to the Swans at Anfield. The visitors never had a chance in this one. The Reds wanted to end the year with a bang for their fans and after several attempts on goal, Alberto Moreno opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when a close range finish of a Jordan Henderson assist. Goal number two came in the 50th minute when Adam Lallana happened to be in the way of Swans’ keeper Lukasz Fabianski’s clearing attempt and the ball bounced off the striker and into the goal. The Swans got a goal back in the 52nd minute when Glyfi Sigurdsson hit a shot from close range into the bottom left former of the goal. But any hopes of a Swans comeback were killed off when Lallana scored his second and the Reds’ third goal from a Philippe Coutinho assist. The fourth goal was scored by former Red Jonjo Shelvey who’s clearing header attempt of a Liverpool corner-kick wound up in his own goal. The most interesting about this win for the Reds was that this win was done without captain Steven Gerrard who was given the day off. Could his days be numbered?

Lanny Short

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