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Jan 022014

Swansea 2 – 3 Manchester City

Citeh start the year off right with an away win.  It was the one question mark about Citeh’s bid for the BPL that now appears to have been addressed by boss Manuel Pelligrini.  Granted, Swans are not easy to beat at home, but Citeh look so much better than the Welsh side.  They took the lead in the 13th minute from Fernandinho’s fine finish from a corner kick.  Swans nearly equalized in the 24th minute when Citeh keeper Joe Hart had to save from Jonathan De Guzman’s looping shot from outside the Citeh penalty area.  Swans kept pressing as the half wore on and finally did equalize during first half stoppage time when Wilfried Bony headed De Guzman’s cross into the bottom right corner of the Citeh goal.  The second half saw the visitors kick up the pace of the match a bit.  Alvaro Negredo’s shot in the 51st minute was barely saved by Swans’ keeper Gerhard Tremmel.  But there was nothing he could do in the 57th minute when Yaya Toure was able to poke home a loose ball that the Swans defense couldn’t get clear.  That was good enough for the visitors to get the win, but they were guilty of zoning out a bit in stoppage time when Bony got a second goal for Swans in stoppage time.  But that was as close as they would get and Citeh left Wales with a valuable three points to secure second place one point behind leaders Arsenal.

Arsenal 2 – 0 Cardiff

Two late goals keep the Gunners at the top of the table.  Manchester United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to take over the Blue Birds and he was watching the match from the stands at the Emirates Stadium.  The visitors were well organized throughout most of the match and held the home side at bay.  To be fair to the Gunners, they’ve lost a bit of their attacking punch with Olivier Giroud out due to an ankle injury.  Most of the home fans are hoping that Arsene Wenger will buy a striker in the current transfer window.  Much of the attacking duties for the Gunners have fallen to England international Theo Walcott and he should have scored in the 13th minute from Jack Wilshere’s cross.  But the striker’s shot went just wide of the goal.  Walcott missed again in the 25th minute when his shot from a Mikel Arteta pass went over the goal.  In the 30th minute, Walcott missed the goal again when he was put through by Santi Cazorla.  In the second half, Walcott got his 53rd minute shot on target, only to have it saved by Blue Birds’ keeper David Marshall.  In the 56th minute, his shot from a corner kick again was wide of the goal.  In the 64th minute, Wenger decided to get Walcott some help and brought on Tomas Rosicky and Nicklas Bendtner to replace Mathieu Flamini and Lukas Podolski.  The change nearly worked in the 66th minute when Walcott provided Bendtner a wonderful cross.  But the Danish international’s header was blocked by the Blue Birds’ defense.  And so it went with the home side peppering the goal with shots that were either blocked or just not on target.  Just when it looked like the visitors would escape with a draw, Bendtner took advantage of some defensive chaos in the 87th minute.  Cardiff failed to clear a Bacary Sagna shot and Bendtner was able to knock home the rebound.  He paid dearly for the score as he had to be taken off injured and replaced by Thomas Vermaelen.  Walcott finally got his goal in stoppage time when he was put through by a Wilshere through ball.

Crystal Palace 1 – 1 Norwich

Palace and Norwich draw at Selhurst Park.  This match was an ugly one as the London weather was absolutely miserable, cold, and rainy.  The last time these two teams had played was in Norwich and it was Palace boss Tony Pulis’ first match in charge of the London side.  The Canaries had beaten Palace 1-0 back in November but since that win they had been in a slump with just one win in seven BPL matches since then.  This was a match that the home side needed to win in order to get themselves out of the bottom three.  But they fell behind in the 39th minute to a Bradley Johnson curled shot that nestled into the top right hand corner of the goal.  That should have been good enough for the win for the Canaries, but alas their defense was found wanting again as the half drew to a close.  Defender Leroy Fer was penalized and booked for bringing down Palace midfielder Mile Jedinak in the Canaries penalty area.  Jason Puncheon converted the spot kick to level the score.  Palace got a gift in the 81st minute when Jedinak was fouled again by Fer.  This time the Canaries’ defender was sent off for his second booking and the home side had a real shot at winning the match.  But try as they might, they just couldn’t take advantage of being a man up.  The resulting draw sees them slip back down into the relegation zone.

Fulham 2 – 1 West Ham

Dimitar Berbatov’s second half goal lifts the Cottagers out of the bottom three.  Fortune really is hiding from the Hammers at this point.  They took the lead in the sixth minute when a defensive free-kick from keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen found Mohamed Diame who was able to cut through the Cottagers’ defense and score the opening goal.  But that was all they could muster.  The home side, who brought back Berbatov and Adel Taarabt from injury, took advantage of the crappy London weather and the crappier Hammers defense and equalized in the 32nd minute when Steve Sidwell headed home a Damien Duff corner-kick.  In the 43rd minute, the bubbles burst for the Hammers when Kevin Nolan was sent off for a bad foul on Fernando Amorebieta.  As the second half got underway, the home side tried to press through the bad weather for the winning goal.  To their credit, the Hammers held on through the onslaught until the 65th minute.  Substitute Alexander Kacaniklic managed to get through the left wing and find Scott Parker’s run.  Parker played a great square ball to Berbatov who was unmarked in the Hammers’ area and the Bulgarian international hit the target for the winner.  Darren Bent had a chance to make it three to the home side in the 70th minute when he was put through on goal by Berbatov.  But his shot was straight at keeper Jaaskelainen.  The loss puts West Ham, on 15 points, three points from safety.  While it’s the halfway point in the season, they’ve got a lot to do if they’re going to avoid relegation.

Liverpool 2 – 0 Hull

Luis Suarez scores his 20th goal of the season and lifts the Reds back into the top four.  There’s nothing like home-cooking to pick up one’s spirits.  They had been at the top of the league coming into Boxing Day.  But after suffering back-to-back losses to Manchester City and Chelsea respectively, one could blame the Reds for being a bit glum coming into Anfield on Wednesday.  They nearly got the opening goal in the third minute when Glen Johnson’s long shot was blocked.  Suarez, who has done a great job stepping in as the leader for injured captain Steven Gerrard, set up Raheem Sterling to score in the 24th minute with a great headed pass.  Hull keeper Allan McGregor had to be alert to the danger and was able to save the teenager’s shot on goal.  The home side did finally take the lead in the 36th minute when Daniel Agger bundled home a loose ball that the Hull defense failed to clear after a Liverpool corner-kick.  Jordan Henderson had a chance to double the lead in the 41st minute when put in on goal by Iago Aspas, but his shot was just wide of the goal.  Philippe Coutinho also had a chance right at the end of the half from another Henderson pass.  His shot was also wide of the goal as the whistle blew for half time.  It was Suarez who ensured the victory in the 49th minute when his free-kick was powered home into the top left corner of the goal.  The home crowd went wild in the 61st minute when Gerrard came off the bench and made an appearance, replacing Aspas.  The closest the visitors would come to scoring would be in the 65th minute when they earned a corner kick and Curtis Davies’s went just wide of the goal.  The result lifts them back in to the BPL Trophy race as they’re only six points behind leaders Arsenal.

Stoke 1 – 1 Everton

Leighton Baines’ stoppage time penalty kick rescues a draw for the Toffees.  Potters’ boss Mark Hughes, who had served a one match touchline ban in the last match, thought his side had the three points when they took the lead in the 49th minute from an Oussama Assaidi goal.  The on-loan winger took advantage of a Toffee defensive mistake and scored the goal past USA international keeper Tim Howard.  They should have been able to hold the lead and did so all the way up to stoppage time.  But a brain cramp by substitute Jermain Pennant allowed the Toffees to grab the draw.  Pennant fouled Leon Osman in the Potters’ area right as the referee was about to end the match.  Leighton Baines scored the spot kick that lifts Everton up to fifth place in the BPL table.

Sunderland 0 – 1 Aston Villa

Gabriel Agbonlahor’s first half goal is good enough for the win for the Villains.  Just when the Black Cats thought they were on the way up, they get slapped back down to the bottom again.  They were playing Villa, a side that hadn’t won in six matches.  Surely they could have gotten some sort of result.  But alas, it was a screw-up between Black Cats’ defenders that killed the match for them.  In the 16th minute, Valentin Roberge played a pass over to Lee Cattermole.  The Black Cats’ captain failed to control the ball and Agbonlahor nicked the ball off the defender and calmly drove around keeper Vito Mannone and eased the ball into the back of the net.  The home side, who were unbeaten in their previous five matches, thought they had equalized in the 52nd minute when Fabio Borini’s goal was ruled out for offside.  While they are still only four points from safety, they need to make some improvements and start winning soon.

West Bromwich Albion 1 – 0 Newcastle

Saido Berahino’s second half penalty kick helps the Baggies beat the Magpies.  It was their first win with Keith Downing in charge and their first in 10 matches.  They were determined to put their on-field and off-field troubles behind them and nearly opened the scoring in the fifth minute when Morgan Amalfitano’s shot had to be saved by Magpies’ keeper Tim Krul.  It took until the 26th minute for the visitors to mount any significant attempt on goal and it was Yohan Cabaye who had the chance.  But the midfielder’s shot missed off to the left of goal.  Niclas Anelka had a chance in the 44th minute to make up for his stupidity from the last match but his shot went way over the goal.  The Magpies tried to make up for their slow start as the second half got underway and nearly did so in the 54th minute.  Baggies keeper Ben Foster had to be alert and push away Cheick Tiote’s shot away from the goal.  In the 57th minute Shola Ameobi put through Loic Remy, but the Magpies’ midfielder’s shot missed the goal off to the left.  Just when it looked like the match would end in a draw, the Magpies were reduced to 10 men when Mathieu Debuchy was sent off for a two-footed, studs-up challenge on Claudio Yacob.  It took a while for the Baggies to capitalize, but they did in the 86th minute when Krul was penalized for tripping Baggies substitute midfielder Matej Vydra in the Magpies’ penalty area.  Barahino converted the spot kick to ensure the win for the home side.

Southampton 0 – 3 Chelsea

The Blues get the win over the Saints at Saint Mary’s Stadium.  There are those who have accused Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho of coaching boring football.  That seemed to be in evidence on Wednesday as the weather and the pitch were awful.  But the one thing that Mourinho has in his favor is league titles in four different leagues, including with Chelsea.  So when the first half of this match finished goalless, some folks would have thought that the Saints had the Blues right where they wanted them.  But in the 59th minute, “The Special One” was once again proven a genius.  Blues’ striker Fernando Torres, who some say has forgotten how to score, headed a corner kick into the bottom right corner of the Saints’ goal.  The Blues made it two in the 70th minute when Willian’s long shot from outside the Saints’ area found the bottom right corner of the goal.  They eased to the third goal in the 81st minute when Eden Hazard put Oscar through the Saints’ defense and the Brazilian international finished into the bottom left corner of the goal.  The result has them two points off the lead and has many thinking that Mourinho will be able to lead the Blue to the promise land.

Lanny Short

  2 Responses to “Barclay’s Premier League Wrap-up Week 20”

  1. Hey buddy… Torres goal came from an Oscar shot that beat the keeper, but unfortunately hit the far post and came back into the penalty area where el Nino was there to head in. It was a pretty well taken header considering the pace of the ball coming off the post. Hope things are well…

    • Oops. My fault. I didn’t see that one. I was taking the cue from the BBC play-by-play. I was going back and forth between matches and I missed it. Sorry.

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