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Barclay’s Premier League Wrap-up Week 24 & Week 25

 Posted by on February 5, 2014 at 9:12 pm  England, EPL
Feb 052014

Week 24

Norwich 0 – 0 Newcastle

An ill-tempered match ends in a draw.  This is one that the Magpies will regret ahead of the Tyne-Wear Derby on Saturday.  They dominated most of the match, but just couldn’t make anything good enough for a score.  The high lite of the match happened in the 81st minute of the rain-soaked affair.  Loic Remy and Bradley Johnson, who had been at each other all during the match exchanged some pushes and got in each other’s face, causing a pushing/shoving melee.  It took the referee a while to get everyone separated.  When he did, he sent both players off for violent conduct.  But that was really all the action there was as both sides suffered in the conditions.

Southampton 2 – 2 Arsenal

Southampton trip up the Gunners at Saint Mary’s Stadium and loosen their grip on the BPL top spot.  Arsene Wenger will look on Tuesday with regret.  Granted, a lot of the Gunners’ punch is out injured.  But the came to Saint Mary’s Stadium a bit flat and went down a goal in the 20th minute to Jose Fonte’s header from a Luke Shaw cross.  They did manage to equalize as the second half got started when Olivier Giroud poked home Bacary Sagna’s through pass.  They even took the lead in the 52nd minute from Santiago Cazorla’s great drive on goal that went into the bottom left corner of the Saints’ goal.  But the defense was caught again in the 53rd minute when Adam Lallana powered home from a Jay Rodriguez pass to level the score.  But try as they might, the Gunners just could re-take the initiative.  The final whistle denied the Gunners a much needed victory.

Swansea 2 – 0 Fulham

Jonjo Shelvey and Chico Flores help to end the Swans run of eight BPL matches without a win.  There was a small worry among the Swans’ fans about relegation, but those fears were set aside for bit on Tuesday.  Both sides struggled to get anything on goal in the first half and went into the locker rooms at the interval with an empty score sheet.  One can say that Swansea had luck on their side.  They took the lead in the 61st minute when Shelvey’s shot deflected off Wilfried Bone and Brede Hangeland and left keeper Maarten Stekelenberg helpless as he watched the ball go into his net.  Flores’ goal came in the 75th minute.  It was just his third time scoring at home and came when his near-post header deflected into the net off Dimitar Berbatov.  It was Berba’s last act as a Cottager as he has left the club on transfer.  The result leaves Fulham in deep trouble and it looks more and more like they’re going to take the drop.

Crystal Palace 1 – 0 Hull

Jason Puncheon’s 16th minute goal is good enough for Palace to secure the win.  Tony Pulis’ magic seems to be working for the London side.  It might be ugly as heck, but it works.  They took the lead when Puncheon powered home Yannick Bolasie’s cross then spent the rest of the match defending for their lives.  It helped that they were playing a Hull side that had lost their previous four matches and look like they’re going to be in the relegation fight this season.  They’re going to be without their keeper Allan McGregor who was sent off late in the match for a challenge he made on Palace striker Stuart O’Keefe while trying to clear a loose ball.  They’re just ahead of the relegation zone, but they’re going to need a win and soon.

Liverpool 4 – 0 Everton

Daniel Sturridge gets a brace as the Reds make mincemeat of the Toffees in the Merseyside Derby.  This one was never a contest and the Anfield fans were jumping with joy in the 20th minute when Steven Gerrard headed home Luis Suarez’s cross from the corner-kick.  Things went from bad to worse for Everton in the 25th minute when they lost their goal-scoring striker Romelu Lukaku to injury.  Sturridge got his first goal in the 32nd minute when he finished off a fine attacking move and poked home Philippe Coutinho’s through pass.  In the 34th minute Kolo Toure put Sturridge through and the striker scored his second and Liverpool’s third.  You knew that Suarez wasn’t going to get left off the score sheet in this match and he got his goal in the 49th minute when the Everton defense was cut apart again.  He scored the goal and the Kop went wild.  They were awarded a penalty kick in the 53rd minute when Everton keeper Tim Howard brought down Raheem Sterling in the Toffees’ penalty area.  Sturridge stepped up to take the spot kick and get his hat-trick.  But alas, his shot went over the goal.  When he was substituted in the 71st minute for Victor Moses, he went off to a standing ovation.  Jordan Henderson nearly got number five for the Reds when his stoppage time shot was blocked.  But the Reds have established mastery of the Merseyside once again.

Aston Villa 4 – 3 West Bromwich Albion

The Villains win a thriller at Villa Park.  The Villains did not start this match very well and they went behind early in the third minute to Chris Brunt’s curling shot that found the top right corner of the goal.  They went further behind in the eighth minute when Fabian Delph attempted clear ended up in his own goal.  But to their credit, the Villains didn’t quit and got a goal back in the 11th minute when Andres Weimann poked home his shot into the roof of the net from close range.  Leandro Bacuna leveled the score in the 24th minute when he powered home Matthew Lowton’s cross.  The momentum was truly with the home side and they took the lead in the 37th minute when Christian Benteke headed a through ball for Delph to score to make up for his earlier gaff.  But as half time approached, Baggies’ midfielder Youssuf Mulumbu get the score back level when he finished off James Morrison’s through ball.  The second half saw both sides pressing hard for the winner.  It was a mistake that decided the match in the 63rd minute when Christian Benteke was fouled by Diego Lugano in the Baggies penalty area.  Benteke scored the spot kick for the winning goal.  Lugano had a chance to make up for his mistake in stoppage time, but his header from Chris Brunt’s corner kick missed off to the left.

Chelsea 0 – 0 West Ham

The Hammers steal a point from Stamford Bridge.  Back in the old days, this London Derby would have been full of pre-match and post-match “disagreements”.  But Wednesday most of the tension was on the field.  The Blues, who had efforts from John Terry, Samuel Eto’o, and Frank Lampard denied felt like they have missed an opportunity to gain ground on the top spot ahead of their visit to the Etihad Stadium on Monday.  West Ham, on the other hand are grateful to gain a much needed point, even though the result still has them in relegation trouble.  They’re also happy that striker Andy Carroll was able to make his first start of the season even though he is not quite match fit yet. The Blues thought they got the goal toward the end of the match when Hammers’ keeper Adrian appeared to misplay a free-kick and Eto’o tapped the ball into the net, but the referee did not allow the goal.  Instead, he ruled that the keeper had not placed the ball properly and that it was not yet in play when the Cameroon striker put the ball into the net.

Sunderland 1 – 0 Stoke

Adam Johnson’s 17th minute goal is good enough to lift the Black Cats out of the bottom three.  They’re on a high after beating Manchester United in the Capital One Cup semi-final.  Boss Gus Poyet has done a wonderful job getting them to play with some fire and enthusiasm and it paid off with the first half goal that came after Potters’ keeper Asmir Begovic spilled a Sebastian Larsson shot that Johnson was on hand to mop up.  To their credit the visitors nearly came back, but the closest they came would be Ryan Shawcross hitting the bar toward the end of the match.  Things went from bad to worse for the Potters when Steven N’Zonzi was sent off for his second yellow card for pulling back striker Jose Altidore just outside of the Potters’ penalty area.  So the question for Black Cats’ fans is can they continue the revival and survive relegation?

Tottenham 1 – 5 Manchester City

Citeh deliver a punch to the face of Spurs on Wednesday.  This one was truly no contest as the visitors took the initiative early.  Sergio Aguero scored the first goal in the 14th minute when he got on the end of a David Silva through pass.  He nearly had a second in the 22nd when he met Jesus Navas’ header, but the shot was just over the goal.  Spurs had no answer at all for Citeh’s pressure and in the second half they were reduced to ten men when Danny Rose tripped Edin Dzeko in the Spurs penalty area.  Rose was judged to have prevented a scoring opportunity and was shown the red card for his foul.  Yaya Toure converted the spot kick and the rout was on.  Dzeko made it 0-3 in the 53rd minute when he powered home a loose ball from a David Silva shot.  Spurs did manage to pull a goal back in the 58th minute when Etienne Capoue headed home a corner kick.  But Stevan Jovetic in the 77th minute and Vincent Kompany in the 88th minute completed Spurs’ humiliation.


Week 25

Newcastle 0 – 3 Sunderland

The Black Cats triumph in the Tyne-Wear Derby.  This was their third successive derby win and they made the Magpies look bad doing it.  They came into St. James’ Park with the intention of claiming all three points and they made a good start.  In the 18th minute, Magpies defender Vurnon Anita couldn’t deal with Phillip Bardsley and so he fouled him in the Magpies penalty area.  Fabio Borini scored the spot-kick to give the Black Cats the early lead.  They would double that lead when Jack Colback’s shot was saved by Magpies’ keeper Tim Krul and Adam Johnson powered home the rebound.  That was the score when the half time whistle blew and as the teams headed to the locker room, the home side was booed off by their fans.  Things didn’t get any better in the second half for the home side as the Black Cats continued to dominate.  They taunted the Magpies throughout the second half and finally finished them off in the 79th minute when Colback powered home Borini’s assist for goal number three.  The result moves Sunderland well clear of the bottom three and has their fans feeling so much better about how their season is going.

West Ham 2 – 0 Swansea City

Kevin Nolan’s brace helps the Hammers earn three valuable points.  Saturday was an interesting day for Hammers’ striker Andy Carroll.  He made his third start of the season after suffering from a long bout of injuries.  He played a role in both goals and wrought havoc on the Swans defense.  Carroll should have opened the scoring in the sixth minute when his header of a Matthew Jarvis cross went just wide of the goal.  He had a couple more attempts on goal until the 26th minute.  He was about to out jump everyone in the Swans’ penalty area and head the ball for Nolan to power home for the first goal.  Carroll missed another opportunity to score in the 40th minute.  This time, his kick went wide of the goal.  But in first half stoppage time, he won another header that Nolan was able to knock home to score the second goal.  It was more of the same in the second half.  Carroll was winning every ball in the Swans’ penalty area, but alas, he just couldn’t score.  In the 58th minute, Carroll and Swans defender Chico got tangled up and the striker appeared to take a swipe at Chico’s head.  The referee judged that Carroll was guilty of violent conduct and showed him the red card.  Despite going down to ten men, the Hammers were able to hold on for the victory.  But is more like the Swans just couldn’t find their way in the match.  After the final whistle, the Swansea ownership got together and on Tuesday, they fired boss Michael Laudrup.  West Ham appealed Carroll’s red card, but it was denied so their campaign to avoid relegation will have to continue without him again.  This time it is due to a three match suspension.

Cardiff City 2 – 1 Norwich

Craig Bellamy and Kenwyne Jones help the Bluebirds win at home.  Bellamy, Jones, and Wilfied Zaha are the new guys brought into the squad by boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and they helped get him get his first win in charge of the Welsh club.  The result doesn’t get them out of the bottom three, but it does lift them off the bottom of the table.  The one thing that Solskjaer still needs to work on is the Bluebirds’ defending.  They went down to a fourth minute goal from Robert Snodgrass, who was able to take advantage of some slack defending to poke home his shot into the bottom right corner of the goal.  But they got the spark they needed in the 38th minute when Zaha was brought on for Peter Whittingham.  Although they didn’t make a breakthrough in the first half, the Manchester United loanee made sure the Canaries defense was hard pressed for the rest of the interval.  He was the talisman in the 49th minute when his through pass found Bellamy and the Scottish international knocked home the equalizer.  They nearly had the lead a minute later when Zaha found Jordan Mutch with his hard cross.  Canaries’ keeper John Ruddy was able to make the save for the corner kick.  Ruddy had to save again from Craig Noone’s corner kick, but was not able to clear the rebound and Jones knocked home the loose ball for the go-ahead goal.  From then on, it was hard resolute defending by the Bluebirds as they denied Nathan Redmond, Gary Hooper, and Russell Martin in succession.  The one lesson that OleG will have taught his boys would be to play the entire match all the way to the end and they did so.  Nathan Redmond had a chance to equalize deep into stoppage time, but Bluebirds’ keeper David Marshall was more than able to stop the shot and ensure a much needed victory for the home side.

Everton 2 – 1 Aston Villa

The Toffees recover from their Merseyside Derby loss to beat the Villains at Goodison Park.  They got absolutely punked at Anfield on Tuesday and one couldn’t blame Roberto Martinez’s side for still feeling the effects of the beat-down from their neighbors.  They started the match out a bit slow and lethargic and kept giving the ball away to the Villains.  The visitors finally took advantage of the generosity in the 33rd minute when Leandro Bacuna poked a Christian Benteke pass into the goal past Toffees’ keeper Tim Howard.  Martinez needed to get his boys into the locker room and get them calm and focused and he did just that.  They started out the second half with a bit more initiative and nearly scored in the 50th minute when James McCarthy had his shot blocked.  Martinez made a tweek to the side in the 70th minute by replacing John Stones with Steven Naismith.  The change worked as Naismith was able to get on the end of a Steven Pienaar through ball and hit home the equalizing goal in the 74th minute.  In the 83rd minute, the Villains nearly took the lead again when Andreas Weimann’s shot from a Benteke pass went high and wide of the goal.  They would regret that miss in the 84th minute when Everton earned a free-kick just outside of the Villa penalty area.  Kevin Mirallas curled the free-kick into the top left corner of the goal for the winner.

Fulham 0 – 3 Southampton

The Saints send the Cottagers to the bottom of the table.  Things are not going well at Craven Cottage.  They made several moves in the transfer market to make a side that should have been able to fight off relegation.  But if Saturday is any indication, they just don’t have what it takes.  The weird part was the fact that they started the first half so well.  They were the aggressors and had it not been for Saints’ keeper Artur Boruc, they would have had at least one goal by half time.  But they were made to pay for their missed opportunities in the second half.  In the 63rd minute Adam Lallana’s shot from a Rickie Lambert assist found the bottom right corner the net for the first goal.  Lambert got the second goal in the 69th minute when he powered home Nathaniel Clyne’s cross.  Lambert assisted on the third goal in the 74th minute when he found Jay Rodriguez with a fine pass that was eased into the net.  They nearly had a fourth in stoppage time when Steven Davis’s shot from a Lambert assist just missed the goal.  So while there are quite a few teams still in relegation trouble and there is quite a bit more of the season to be played, it appears that we may have found our first club to be relegated.

Hull City 1 – 1 Tottenham

Paulinho helps Spurs recover and gain the draw versus the Tigers.  As this match got underway, one could see that Spurs were still suffering the effects of Wednesday’s butt-whupping from Manchester City.  They fell behind in the 12th minute to a Shane Long goal and looked like they would not be able to recover.  They just couldn’t muster any sort of meaningful attack and made the home side look better than they actually are.  Boss Tim Sherwood was a very nervous picture on the touch-line as Spurs kept struggling.  They finally made the breakthrough in the 61st minute when Danny Rose’s hopeful shot fell to Paulinho who turned and tucked his shot into the roof of the net from 18 yards out.  They almost conceded again in the 89th minute when Tom Huddleston’s free-kick was nearly turned into the goal.  But a draw was a fair result for both sides.

West Bromwich Albion 1 – 1 Liverpool

The Baggies fight back and get the draw versus the Reds.  Results like Sunday’s must be driving Reds’ boss Brendan Rodgers absolutely mad.  They had convincingly beaten Everton in Tuesday’s Merseyside Derby and the thought was that they would also get a win over the Baggies.  They did take the lead in the 24th minute when Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge worked together once again.  Suarez hit a cross that Sturridge easily tucked into the goal.  Suarez should have made it two in the 27th minute when his free-kick was close but missed off to the left.  Philippe Coutinho should have also scored from a Jordan Henderson 37th minute assist, but his shot was off to the right.  The Baggies came out of the locker room for the second half with a bit of energy and Chris Brunt nearly leveled the score in both the 50th and 52nd minute.  Gareth McAuley had his 53rd minute shot saved by Reds keeper Simon Mignolet.  Suarez should have put the match away in the 59th minute but his shot was saved by Baggies keeper Ben Foster.  Then in the 67th minute, Kolo Toure had a horrible brain cramp when he misplayed a back bass that Victor Anichebe got ahold of and knocked into the net past Mignolet to level the score.  The Reds were nearly embarrassed further in the 75th minute when Mignolet had to come up big to save from Youssuf Mulumbu.  Toure almost made up for his gaff in the 79th minute when Steven Gerrard found him with a fine cross, but the header missed off to the right of the goal.  So the Reds had to be satisfied with a draw from a match they should have won.

Arsenal 2 – 0 Crystal Palace

An Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain brace helps the Gunners secure the top spot.  They had dropped points in their last match and allowed Manchester City to grab the top spot for a bit.  Palace, who are fighting to stay out of the relegation zone, did very well to hold the Gunners scoreless in the first half.  But Gunners’ boss Arsene Wenger got his boys fired up for the second half and they got onto the score sheet in the 46th minute when Oxlade-Chamberlain was put through on goal by a great Santiago Cazorla through pass which the England international slotted home into the top right corner of the goal.  Oxlade-Chamberlain nearly scored again in the 60th minute but his curling shot went just over the bar.  Goal number two did arrive in the 72nd minute when Oxlade-Chamberlain was through on goal again.  This time it was Olivier Giroud that set up the winger up to score.  That was all the Gunners needed as they locked down their defense and secured the win.

Manchester City 0 – 1 Chelsea

Jose Mourinho gets the better of Manuel Pellegrini again.  This was one of those matches that everyone was rubbing their hands together and looking forward to with anticipation.  Citeh had won 11 out of 11 home league matches coming into Monday’s fixture.  The Etihad Stadium was a place where no one, not even league leaders Arsenal, could enter and come away with any sort of result.  Most folks were thinking that the Blues would come and play the same tactic they played when they visited Old Trafford, park the bus in front of the goal and take the draw.  But this was “The Special One” who was in charge at Chelsea and he had a decisive advantage over Pellegrini going back to their days in La Liga in Spain when Mourinho was in charge of Real Madrid and Pellegrini of Barcelona.  It was the home side though who had the better early chances with Yaya Toure shooting just wide of the goal and David Silva scuffing his shot across the face of the goal from close range.  But the after the Blues weathered the early storm, they grew in confidence and in the 26th minute, they had a four-on-one breakthrough on the Citeh goal that keeper Joe Hart did well to save from Ramires’ shot.  But the Blues did take the lead in the 32nd minute when Branislav Ivanvic grabbed a Ramires rebound that deflected off central defender Vincent Kompany and hit a wonderful strike to score the goal.  The home side almost conceded again when Samuel Eto’o hit a shot from Eden Hazard’s cross that banged off the cross bar.  As the second half got started, Citeh tried to regain the initiative, but Edin Dzeko’s 46th minute header from a Pablo Zabelate cross missed the goal off to the right.  They missed again when Toure’s 51st minute strike was off target.  It just wasn’t Citeh’s day and they nearly went two down in the 69th minute when Hart had to come up big to save from Ramires.  David Silva came the closest to getting the equalizer when his shot was tipped over the bar by Blues’ keeper Petr Cech.  But it wasn’t their day and they lost their grip on the top spot.  But this race is likely to be almost as tight as the 2011-2012 season.


Lanny Short

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