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Barclay’s Premier League Wrap-up Week 26

 Posted by on February 11, 2014 at 11:59 pm  England, EPL
Feb 112014

Liverpool 5 – 1 Arsenal

The Reds deliver a smack to the Gunners at Anfield. This one was a match that Gunners’ boss Arsene Wenger wants to forget as soon as possible. His boys are experiencing a dip in for at the worst possible time for them. Chelsea bailed them out last week when they drew and the Blues beat Manchester City. But this time, they really have no one to lean on as they fumbled their grip on the top spot of the BPL. They arrived with the best away record of the season but that all went away in the first minute when Martin Skrtel headed home a Steven Gerrard cross. Replays of the goal gave a hint that the central defender may have been offside, but it looked more like a defensive mix up as he was unmarked in the middle of the Arsenal penalty area. Skrtel got number two in the 10th minute when Gerrard found him again with a great cross and the Gunner defense again forgot to mark him. Goal number three came in the 16th minute when Luis Suarez made a fine run through the helpless Arsenal defense and set up Raheem Sterling to tap home into an open goal. And, of course, Sturridge would get his name on the score sheet in the 19th minute when he powered home Philippe Coutinho’s through pass into the bottom left corner of the goal. Suarez should have scored right at half time, but his shot, from a Jordan Henderson pass, missed just off to the left of the goal. The second half wasn’t any better for the Gunners and Sterling added to their pain when he scored in the 51st minute. His shot from a Kolo Toure pass was initially parried away from goal by Gunners’ keeper Wojciech Szczesny, but the young winger was able to knock home the rebound. Arsenal was able to pull a goal back in the 68th minute when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was fouled in the Liverpool penalty area by Steven Gerrard. Mikel Arteta converted the spot-kick, but that was all they could muster. From their performance, it might be a good bet that they won’t be good enough to win the league this season. But there still is time to get it together.

Aston Villa 0 – 2 West Ham

Kevin Nolan’s second half brace helps to lift the Hammers out of the bottom three. The Villains have no one to blame but themselves for this one. They had done a heck of a job coming back from in their last match to beat West Bromwich Albion, but the just couldn’t find that same fight against the Hammers. They had several chances to take the lead in the first half, but the home side’s finishing just wasn’t good enough. The Hammers, obviously inspired by their ability to hold their opponents goalless in the first half came out on fire in the second half. They scored right from the kick off when Stewart Downing set up Nolan to power home a left-footed shot into the center of the goal. Goal number two came in the 48th minute when Nolan’s powered home again from the center of the Villains’ penalty area. That was all the scoring the Hammers needed. Marc Albrighton had a chance to get a goal back for the Villains, but his 66th minute shot went off the post. Christian Benteke had the same bad luck in the 71st minute. One point of concern for the Hammers came in the 68th minute when Nolan had to be substituted for Antonio Nocerino due to a leg injury. But on the whole, Saturday was a good day for the Hammers and now they have renewed hope that fortune and league survival may not be hiding from them after all.

Chelsea 3 – 0 Newcastle

The Blues soundly defeat the Magpies and claim the top of the BPL. One would say that this all is part of “The Special One’s” plan as Eden Hazard scored a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge. It was all about Hazard on Saturday and he nearly scored right from the start as his first minute strike had to be clawed away from goal be Magpies’ keeper Tim Krul. Frank Lampard, in as captain for injured John Terry, nearly scored in the 11th minute from a Samuel Eto’o pass. The only real attempt the Magpies could muster early came from Hatem Ben Arfa in the 16th minute when his shot was saved by Blues’ keeper Petr Cech. Hazard would get the first goal in the 27th minute when he tucked home Branislav Ivanovic’s pass into the bottom left corner of the goal. Goal number two could come in the 33rd minute when he finished off a counter-attack move and hit his shot past Krul’s grasp. Hazard would get his and Chelsea’s third in the 63rd minute when Samuel Eto’o would draw a penalty kick from Magpies’ defender Mapou Tanga-Mbiwa’s foul in their own penalty area. Hazard scored the spot kick and ensured the Blues’ easy home victory. So now a new London team is making claim to the BPL title. Will Jose “The Special One” Mourinho be able to bring the trophy back to Stamford Bridge?

Crystal Palace 3 – 1 West Bromwich Albion

The Eagles get another win under the guidance of Tony Pulis. Two new players that Pulis bought in the January transfer window were Paul Ince from Blackpool and Wales International Joe Ledley. Together, the two new guys and Marouane Chamakh were able to ensure the home win for Palace and left them further toward BPL safety. Ince would score in the 14th minute when he would tuck Yannick Bolasie’s through pass into the bottom right corner of the goal. Ledley got his goal in the 26th minute when he headed home Ince’s cross from a corner kick. The Baggies would get a goal back in the 46th minute when Thievy Bifouma scored a great shot from a rough angle. But that’s as close as they would come as every other Baggies attack was easily dealt with by the Palace defense. The Eagles would be ensure of the victory in the 69th minute. Chamakh was brought down by Baggies’ keeper Ben Foster in the visitors’ penalty area. The Belgian international would take the spot kick and knocked it into the bottom right corner of the goal for the win.

Norwich 0 – 0 Manchester City

The Canaries hold Citeh to a draw. Yeah, that’s right, the Canaries kept Citeh from scoring. A few of the visitors at Carrow Road stadium were rubbing their hands together at the start of this match. They knew about the result at Ainfield and were hopeful that their boys could make good on taking over the top spot in the BPL table. After all, Citeh killed the Canaries 7-0 at the Etihad Stadium in November. Surely they could make mince meat of the relegation threatened Canaries. Well, someone forgot to tell Manuel Pellegrini and his boys about how easily they should have won this match. They didn’t get hardly any attacking going in the first half and the closest they came to scoring was in the 35th minute when an Alvaro Negredo header would rebound off the Canaries goal. The second half wasn’t much better for the visitors as first Jesus Navas in the 56th minute and Stevan Jovetic in the 58th minute would squander chances to score. In the 67th minute, Pellegrini would try to shake up the attack by bring on Edin Dzeko on for Jovetic. But Dzeko’s 65th minute header from a David Sliva cross would miss off to the left of goal. Dzeko would have another chance go begging in the 75th minute when his close range shot would miss again to the left of goal. The Canaries nearly stole the victory in the 88th minute when Anthony Pilkington’s curling shot from the left just missed the top right corner of the Citeh goal. While there is still a long way to go yet, is it possible that Citeh have blown their chance at winning the league?

Southampton 2 – 2 Stoke

Four first half goals see the Saints and Potters share the points at St. Mary’s Stadium. The Saints had much more of the play in this match. They got the opening goal in the 5th minute when Rickie Lambert curled a free kick into the top right corner of the goal. But the Potters were still feeling the momentum from their win over Manchester United on the weekend and they fought back and equalized in the 37th minute when Peter Odemwingie powered home Charlie Adam’s through ball. The Saints would recapture the lead in the 40th minute from Steven Davis’ long range shot into the bottom left corner of the net. But then in the 43rd minute, Peter Crouch would head an Adam corner kick into the goal to level the score. The second half would see the Saints continue to dominate and they came close to getting the winner. But they just couldn’t get anything past the Potters defense.

Sunderland 0 – 2 Hull

Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic score as Hull beats 10-man Sunderland. It was Hull’s first win in 2014 and only their second away win this season. The match went against the Black Cats early as defender Wes Brown was sent off in the third minute for his really bad challenge on Shane Long. It was all downhill for the home side from that point forward. They went behind in the 16th minute when Shane Long headed home Jake Livermore’s corner kick. The Black Cats nearly came back in the 25th minute when Marcos Alonso’s shot was saved by Hull keeper Steve Harper. Adam Johnson also had a equalizing chance saved in the 32nd minute and had another one in the 44th minute. They kept the fight going in the second half and Ki Sung-Yeung had his 56th minute shot saved be Harper. But any hope of an equalizer and a result faded away from the Black Cats in the 62nd minute when Jelavic headed home from a corner kick to score the second goal for Hull. The result places Sunderland back into the relegation fight.

Swansea 3 – 0 Cardiff

Swans win the Wales Derby under new leadership. Michael Laudrup had been fired a couple of days earlier after he fell out with the club management. Garry Monk has stepped in as the interim manager and he had one heck of a debut on Saturday. The match itself started as a Welsh Derby would be expected. Both sides played hard in the first half with Peter Whittingham for the visitors and Wayne Routeldge for the home side coming the closest to getting the opening goal for each of their respective sides. As the second half got underway, Monk decided to bring on Pablo Hernandez for Marvin Emnes. The change worked as Hernandez set up Routledge with a through pass that was tucked into the bottom right corner of the net for the opening goal in the 46th minute. The Swans continued to dominate the second half and in the 79th minute, they ensured the win when Nathan Dyer headed home a Wayne Routledge cross. In the 84th minute, Wilfried Bony scored when he headed Hernandez’s free kick into the goal. Not a bad way for Monk to start his tenure at Swansea.

Tottenham 1 – 0 Everton

Emmanuel Adebayor helps Spurs get back to winning ways. An interesting bit of trivia is that in every league match in which Adebayor as scored for Spurs, they have gone on to win. Sunday it looked like the match would finish in a draw as neither side could get anything going. The Toffees were coming into this match after fighting back to from behind to win in their last match. Spurs, on the other hand were still recovering from their disappointing draw in their last match. Since both sides are fighting with Liverpool over fourth place in the BPL and the last UEFA Champions’ League qualification spot, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that both sides would be happy with a point. But in the 65th minute, Spurs earned a free-kick in the Toffee defensive third. Kyle Walker took the kick and Adebayor was able to take advantage of some slack defending by the Toffees and power home the match’s only goal. There was a stoppage penalty shout for Everton when Seamus Coleman was brought down in the Spurs’ penalty area by midfielder Etienne Capoue, but the referee ruled that no foul had occurred. The win brings Spurs to fifth place and within three points of fourth place Liverpool.

Lanny Short

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