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Barclay’s Premier League Wrap-up Week 36

 Posted by on April 23, 2014 at 7:38 pm  England, EPL
Apr 232014

Tottenham 3 – 1 Fulham

Spurs get the easy win at White Hart Lane. This match was all about Christian Eriksen. The Danish midfielder was truly the star on Saturday for Spurs as they put a halt to the Cottagers’ efforts to keep from getting relegated. The visitors came to White Hart Lane having won their last two matches. They had some hope of getting out of the bottom three on Saturday and nearly scored in the second minute when Hugo Rodallega narrowly missed the goal off to the right after he was put through by John Arne Riise. Rodallega had another attempt saved in the 18th minute by Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris. The home side finally decided enough was enough and after Aaron Lennon’s 27th minute shot was saved by Fulham keeper David Stockdale, in the 34th minute, Eriksen hit a glorious free kick into the Cottagers’ penalty area that Paulinho powered home for the first goal. Fulham has able to equalize in the 36th minute when Steve Sidwell knocked home a corner kick. The second half was all Spurs and they retook the lead in the 47th minute when Harry Kane headed home an Aaron Lennon cross while the Fulham defenders could do nothing by stare at the ball as it went into the goal. In the 61st minute, they conceded another free-kick in their defending third. Eriksen stepped up again and hit another wonderful free-kick that found Younes Kaboul unmarked and the midfielder poked the ball in for goal number three. Fulham had a chance to get a goal back in the 75th minute when Eriksen had a brain cramp and handled the ball in his penalty area. However, when Sidwell took the penalty kick, Lloris was more than able to make the save. The result still has Spurs in contention for a place in the Europa League next season. Fulham, on the other hand missed out on an opportunity to get out of the relegation zone.

Aston Villa 0 – 0 Southampton

Villa fail to score against the Saints. Things are not going well for the Villains at the moment. They’re going down the table, having lost four matches in a row. There are also rumors floating around that boss Paul Lambert’s job may be in jeopardy and that owner Randy Learner might be ready to sell the club. As far as the match itself, there wasn’t much to write about. The only real scoring opportunity came in the 80th minute when the Saints were denied a penalty when a cross from midfielder Nathaniel Clyne deflected off Villa defender Ryan Bertrand’s arm. But the referee ruled the touch as accidental and no penalty kick was awarded. While the draw does halt the Villains’ slide, at 35 points, they’re still not quite safe from relegation.

Cardiff 1 – 1 Stoke

Cardiff miss out on a chance to get out of the bottom three. This match pitched two managers who used to play together back in the 1990’s. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, manager of Cardiff, and Mark Hughes, manager of Stoke were teammates at Manchester United. Both were students of Sir Alex Ferguson and have hopes of achieving some of the same successes as their teacher. Hughes has done well with the Potters as they sit comfortably at tenth place in the table. Solskjaer, on the other hand, has his work cut out for him if he means to succeed in keeping Cardiff from getting relegated. The match itself was a closely fought affair. Both sides fought hard to defend their respective goals. The first half nearly finished goalless, and should have except for a last second foul committed by Cardiff midfielder Kim Bo-Kyung on Potters’ forward Peter Odemwingie in the penalty area. Marko Arnautovic scored the spot kick to the Potters into the lead right at half time. Most sides would be devastated at conceding in that fashion, but Cardiff came storming out as the second half started. They got their reward in the 51st minute when they were awarded their own penalty kick after Frazier Campbell was fouled by Steven Nzonzi. Peter Whittingham scored the spot kick to level the score. It was then down to Cardiff keeper David Marshall to come up big as his side pressed for a winning goal. The Potters were able to get behind the Bluebirds defense several times, but the Scotland international was able to make key saves from Odemwingie and the Oussama Assaidi. When the Potters were able to beat Marshall, the post came to his rescue when substitute Jonathan Walters’ shot pinged off the bar. So the result gives the Bluebirds a fighting chance at getting out of the bottom three next week.

Newcastle 1 – 2 Swansea

A late penalty gets the Swans the win at St. James’ Park. Things just aren’t right for the Magpies now. They only thing that is saving them from relegation at the moment is the fact that they have 46 points are safe in the middle of the table. Perhaps that’s why they’re playing so mediocre lately. Or maybe it’s the fact that manager Alan Pardew hasn’t been on the touchline to encourage them. Saturday was the last of his six match ban, so that excuse will soon be gone. Whatever it is, the Geordie fans are not happy with how things are going. Their side had a good start in the match. In the 22nd minute, Luuk de Jong put Shola Ameobi through on goal and the striker was able to slot home for the first goal. Ameobi had another chance in the 29th minute that was blocked by the Swans defense. But the one thing that has been killing the Magpies has been their inconsistent defending and it got them again right at half time when Wilfred Bony was able to head home a Ben Davies corner kick to level the score. You would have thought that the home side would have come out inspired in the second half and press hard to get the lead back. That simply wasn’t the case and as it looked like a draw was most likely, the Magpies conceded a penalty deep into second half stoppage time when Cheick Tiote fouled Marvin Emnes in the box. Bony converted the spot kick for the win for the Swans. When the final whistle sounded, the home side were booed off by their fans. Let’s hope Pardew can restore some order when he returns from suspension.

West Ham 0 – 1 Crystal Palace

Tony Pulis’s boys get yet another win. This is a match that the Hammers should have won. They should have taken the early lead in the eighth minute from an Andy Carroll header that missed the goal off to the right. They had another chance in the 28th minute when Mohamed Diame’s shot was saved by Palace keeper Julian Speroni. Diame had another chance in the 36th minute that Speroni saved again. A minute later Speroni saved a Carroll header bound for the goal. Carroll missed another chance in the 38th minute when he headed a Pablo Armero cross wide of goal again. It was the same story as the second half got underway. Carroll just couldn’t find the goal as he had three chances in the 50th, 55th, and 56th minutes of the match. The Hammers were made to pay for thoses missed chances in the 58th minute when Armero was penalized for fouling Palace striker Cameron Jerome in the penalty area. Mile Jedinak converted the spot kick and it was coasting time for the visitors as they easily defended their lead. Although the Hammers would have another chance or two to score, they just couldn’t break down that Pulis built defense. The win ensures that Palace will have a second consecutive season in the top flight for the first time in their history.

Chelsea 1 – 2 Sunderland

The Black Cats make a huge dent into the Blues’ BPL Trophy hopes. This result has to be the shock of the week. Certainly there was no way that Sunderland, who are at the bottom of the league, would get a result at Stamford Bridge. Let alone a win. I mean, this is the side that simply does not lose at home when Jose Mourinho is in charge, right? Well, they made a fine start in the 12th minute when Samuel Eto’o powered home a Willian corner kick for the opening goal. But the one thing that has been a problem for the Blues this season is complacency at the wrong time. It showed up again in the 17th minute when poor defending after substitute Blues’ keeper Mark Schwarzer saved a Marcos Alonso shot allowed Connor Wickham to poke home the equalizer. From that point on, the Black Cats were inspired to press on. Keeper Vito Mannone came up big several times late in the first half to save from Eto’o, Nemanja Matic, Willian, and Ramires to keep the score even. It was the same story in the second half as the visitors gave as good as they got. They got a break in the 80th minute when substitute Jozy Altidore was judged to have been fouled by Blues defender Cesar Azpilicueta in the Chelsea penalty area. Fabio Borini score the penalty kick to put the visitors into the lead. Andre Schurlle nearly levelled things in the 83rd minute, but Mannone came up big again to maintain the lead. Mannone was the man again in stoppage time when he knocked away a John Terry header of a Branislav Ivanovic cross. Mannone made another match winning save deep into stoppage time when he kept Demba Ba’s shot out as the final whistle blew. While the win doesn’t lift the Black Cats off the bottom, it does get them to within three points of escaping the relegation zone.

Norwich 2 – 3 Liverpool

The Reds hold off a Canaries’ comeback to get one step closer to the BPL Title. If Liverpool do manage to lift the BPL trophy this season, one of the players who deserves a lot of credit is young midfielder Raheem Sterling. He came though the Liverpool youth academy and is one of those players who is a Red through and through. He has benefited greatly from the mentorship of leaders like Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez and become a real force to reckon with. It was the kid who got things started for the Reds in the fourth minute when he hit a wonderful curling shot into the top left corner of the goal. He then set up his mentor, Suarez in the 10th minute and the Uruguayan international scored his 30th goal of the season. The Reds dominated the first half and nearly had three when, in the 42nd minute, Mamadou Sakho’s header of a Philippe Coutinho cross missed off to the right of goal. Coutinho had his own chance in the 43rd minute when his hard shot was over the goal. The Canaries did manage to get a goal back in the 53rd minute when Gary Hooper poke home a corner kick past a Reds defense who forgot to mark the striker. But Sterling restored the Reds’ two goal advantage in the 61st minute when he was able to cut through the Canaries defense and power home his shot into the center of the goal. Robert Snodgrass was able to make things interesting in the 77th minute when he got a goal back for the Canaries by heading home a Martin Olsson cross. But the Reds defense closed the door on any further opportunities. One step closer…

Hull 0 – 3 Arsenal

The Gunners get an easy win over Hull. I think we can safely say that Arsenal have rediscovered their winning ways. It’s important that they do so if they have any intention of playing UEFA Champions’ League football next season. They face a real challenge from Everton that may come down to the last day of the season. But on Sunday, they were far better than their opponents. They took their time getting going as they toyed with Hull. They finally did score in the 31st minute when Aaron Ramsey was put through by Santi Cazorla and the England midfielder finished into the bottom left corner of the goal. Lukas Podolski made it 0-2 in first half stoppage time when he poked home a Ramsey assist. Goal number three came in the 53rd minute when the Hull defense failed to clear a Ramsey shot that was saved by keeper Steve Harper and the rebound was rolled in by Podolski. Ramsey nearly made it 0-4 in the 77th minute when his shot was saved by Harper. Matty Fryatt forced a save out of Gunners’ keeper Wojciech Szczesny as the match wound down to the end, but Hull were clearly out played.

Manchester City 3 – 1 West Bromwich Albion

It’s yet another walk in the park for Citeh at the Etihad Stadium. With a match in hand and a six point gap between themselves and Liverpool at the top of the table, there is still hope for Citeh to win the league. They have, by far, the best home record this season and they got things started off early in the second minute when, after Kune Aguero’s initial shot was saved, Pablo Zabaleta headed home the rebound. Aguero scored the second in the ninth minute when he hit an accurate shot into the lower right corner of the goal. The Baggies got a goal back in the 15th minute when Graham Dorrans hit a wonderful volley shot into the top right corner of the goal past the reach of Citeh keeper Joe Hart. But any sort of thought of the Baggies getting a result at the Etihad was stomped out quickly. First, in the 23rd minute Hart was able to save a Chris Brunt shot with no problem. Then in the 35th minute, Martin Demichelis was able to power home a Vincent Kompany headed pass from a corner kick. The rest of the match was Citeh just toying with the Baggies as they resisted each and every attempt the visitors made. So the question is, can Citeh pull off the miracle they pulled off in the 2011-12 season?

Lanny Short

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