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Barclay’s Premier League Wrap-up Week 6

 Posted by on September 29, 2014 at 10:01 pm  EPL, Global Football Today
Sep 292014
Premier League

Liverpool 1 – 1 Everton

Phil Jagielka’s late goal rescues a point for the Toffees at Anfield. The Reds were looking to get their BPL campaign moving forward coming into this edition of the Mersey Side Derby. They were coming off a two match losing streak and there wasn’t a better cure for their woes than beating their cross-town rivals. The Toffees weren’t doing much better. In fact, coming into the match on Saturday, Everton had won only once so far this season. The pressure was on the visitors as it had been 15 years since they had last won at Anfield. They nearly dug themselves into an early hole when Gareth Barry committed a bad foul on Reds’ midfielder Adam Lallana in the first minute. Fans in the Kopp end were calling for Barry to get straight red card, but the midfielder was only shown a yellow card. The home side should have taken the lead in the sixth minute when Raheem Sterling’s shot was saved by Toffees’ keeper Tim Howard. The Reds’ continued their early domination and Howard had to come up big again in the 10th minute when he saved from Mario Balotelli. So that’s how the first half went. The Reds kept pressing the attack and the Toffees defended their goal with all their might. They had to replace midfielder Kevin Mirallas with Aiden McGeady when the former pulled up with a leg injury. But the visitors were able to successfully defend their goal for the entire first half. The second half started out the same way the first half ended. But in the 63rd minute, Toffees’ defender tripped Reds’ striker Mario Balotelli just outside of the visitors’ penalty area. And of course, up stepped Reds’ captain Steven Gerrard to take the free-kick. He hit a beautiful shot that went into the top right corner of the goal over keeper Howard’s desperate reach attempt. Jordan Henderson should have scored again for the Reds’ in the 71st minute when his shot from distance was saved by keeper Howard. In the 80th minute, Balotelli should have sealed up the victory, but his shot missed the goal off the right. The home side’s defense did seem to be impenetrable for so much of the match. But right at stoppage time they failed to properly clear a corner kick and the ball ended up coming out to Phil Jagielka. The defender took a chance and hit a shot as hard as he could. Incredibly, the ball eluded Reds’ keeper Simon Mignolet’s reach and found the top right corner of the net. The result allowed Everton to steal a draw from a match they seemed destined to lose.

Chelsea 3 – 0 Aston Villa

Diego Costa features again as the Blues get an easy victory over the Villains at Stamford Bridge. One wonders if the Villains got a little bit cocky after beating Liverpool two weeks ago. They got man-handled by Arsenal last week and were soundly defeated again on Saturday. One has to remember that one of the characteristics of Jose Mourino’s Blues’ has always been that they do not concede anything at their home ground. Such was the trend on Saturday as they got off to a great start when Oscar scored the first goal in the seventh minute from a rebound off a Willian shot. Diego Costa, who is on a massive goal scoring run so far this season, nearly doubled the Blues lead in the 37th minute. His shot from an Oscar assist barely missed the top right corner of the goal. Costa would score in the 58th minute when he headed in a cross from Cesar Azpilicueta. It was his eighth goal of the season and has him in the lead for most goals scored this season. The Blues’ victory was assured in the 79th minute when Cesc Fabregas threaded a great pass to Costa. The strikers shot was saved by Villains’ keeper Brad Guzan, but Willian was there to knock home the rebound. So the Blues are unbeaten so far. Is it possible they could repeat the success of the 2003-4 Arsenal team?

Crystal Palace 2 – 0 Leicester City

Two second half goals help Palace stay unbeaten during the tenure of boss Neil Warnock. The visitors had grabbed a great victory last week over Manchester United. But the Foxes trip to Selhurst Park on Saturday was a completely different experience. They were playing a team with a much better defense that they couldn’t penetrate for the entire first half. It was Palace who were the more aggressive side. Although the first half finished goalless, they took the lead in the 51st minute when Frazier Campbell scored from a Scott Dann corner kick. Goal number two came in the 54th minute when Mile Jedinak scored from a Jason Puncheon cross. From that point onward, Palace locked down their defense and didn’t allow the Foxes anywhere near their goal. The result lifts them into the top ten of the BPL and there are some whispers of a possible European finish this season. We’ll see.

Hull City 2 – 4 Manchester City

The Champions have to work to beat the Tigers at the KC Stadium. This one should have been an easy win for Citeh. Sergio Aguero scored the opening goal in the sixth minute and Edin Dzeko scored in the tenth minute. From there, they should have been able to deliver an effective face punch to the Tigers. But one of the weaknesses of the Champions that has been exposed this season has been their defense. The one defender who has been a bit of a liability at times has been new signee Eliamquim Mangala. He had a brain cramp in the 20th minute when he thought he was clearing a cross up and over the goal. But the ball went right into his own goal. He had another brain cramp in the 31st minute when he fouled Tigers’ striker Abel Hernandez in the Citeh penalty area and the home side were awarded a spot kick. Hernandez converted it to level the score and there was some worry that the Champions would drop another result when the half ended with the scores level. But there is a reason why Citeh are champions and that became evident in the 68th minute when Dzeko broke the deadlock by scoring from a David Silva assist. Frank Lampard, who had come on for Aguero in the 71st minute, scored his fourth goal for his new club in the 87th minute to assure the win for the Champions. The one thing that Citeh have not been able to do is retain the League Trophy after winning it in the previous season. Can they do it this season?

Manchester United 2 – 1 West Ham

The Red Devils’ young defense gets the job done over the Hammers at Old Trafford. They were trying to get over their humiliating loss last week. Even though they had scored three goals, Leicester City had scored five and made the Red Devils’ defense look absolutely awful. During the week, the players had met amongst themselves and boss Louis Van Gaal called up Patrick McNair from the under 21 side. He also gave Luke Shaw his first start of the season. The fans were behind their boys and they were ecstatic in the 5th minute. Defender Rafael had won the ball and started a counter-attack down the right side. He then hit a precise cross that Wayne Rooney hit first time and found the bottom left corner of the goal with his shot. The defense looked great with the new guys and was led by central midfielder Daley Blind. They made some great clearances and blocked a shot from Hammers’ striker Diafra Sakho that started another counter-attack in the 22nd minute. Falcao took the ball forward and hit a great pass over to Robin van Persie whose shot found the bottom left corner of the goal. This started to unravel a bit for United though in the 37th minute. The Hammers earned a corner kick which Red Devils keeper David De Gea came for but was not able to do anything. He fell to the turf and Sakho was able to head the ball into an empty net. Things got worse for United in the second half. In the 58th minute Rooney committed a dumb foul on Stewart Downing that the referee decided warranted a straight red card. Nerves throughout Old Trafford were on the edge going forward with the thought the Red Devils would concede another victory to a side they should beat. But the defense stepped up and locked things down. The Hammers thought they had level the score in the 68th minute. Sakho did succeed in getting the ball into the goal from an Alexandre Song pass, but the striker was ruled offside and the goal was nullified. The Hammers’ had another chance in stoppage time when Kevin Nolan was found with a Stewart Downing cross. But De Gea was able to make up for his earlier gaff and save the header toward the top left corner. So while the win by no means says that all is well with the Red Devils, this is a result that can be built upon.

Southampton 2 – 1 Queens Park Rangers

The Saints win their fourth match in a row and secure second place on the BPL table. It is absolutely amazing how the Saints have started this season. They had so much off season changes, including replacing their manager with Ronald Koeman. There were a lot of folks who thought they would struggle this season given all the changes. But since losing their first match to Liverpool, they are undefeated and have won their last four matches. QPR, on the other hand, are struggling since their return to the BPL. Since getting their first win back in August 30th, they have lost two of their last three matches. So QPR boss Harry Redknapp really wanted a result from their visit to St Mary’s stadium. Things didn’t start out very well for QPR when they had to replace midfielder Sandro with Karl Henry due to an injury. But they did manage to hold firm throughout the first half and nearly scored in first half stoppage time when Charlie Austin’s shot from an Eduardo Vargas pass just missed the goal off to the left. Things changed in the second half. In the 54th minute Ryan Bertrand hit a magnificent left footed shot from a Sadio Mane assist in to the top right corner of the goal to put the Saints into the lead. QPR were able to equalize in the 65th minute when Vargas set up Charlie Austin and the striker was able to hit a bullet of a shot into the bottom right corner of the goal. But QPR had no answer in the 68th minute when Saints’ striker Graziano Pelle scored a glorious overhead scissor-kick into the bottom right corner of the net. With that score and result, the Saints made a statement that they are going to be tough to beat this season.

Sunderland 0 – 0 Swansea

The Blackcats and the Swans end their match in a deadlock. Sunderland still haven’t won a match this season and it looks like boss Gus Poyet might have to pull off another miracle like he did last season. The home side have drawn five of their first matches this season, so it looks like their problems are in their attack. Swansea seem to have the same problems scoring as did their opponents on Saturday. So it was of no surprise that nothing developed in front of either goal until the 80th minute when Swans’ defender Angel Rangel received his second yellow card for a foul on Blackcats’ winger William Buckley. The homeside tried to take advantage of being up a man and Steven Fletcher nearly scored when his header of a Ricardo Alvarez cross missed the goal off to the left. In the 86th minute Jordi Gomez’s left footed shot was saved by Swans’ keeper Lukasz Fabianski. That would be the closest they would come to scoring. While the draw doesn’t hurt either side, both clubs need to take a hard look at their respective offenses.

Arsenal 1 – 1 Tottenham

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s first goal of the season helps the Gunners salvage a draw against their London rivals. This is one of the older London Derby match-ups. It usually features lots of drama and action and the fans on each side spend so much time yelling at each other and singing nasty songs about their opponents. The first half in this one was a really tight affair that was nearly broken by Gunners’ striker Danny Welbeck in the 20th minute. His shot from an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain cross was neatly saved by Spurs’ keeper Hugo Lloris. Emmanuel Adebayor had the first chance for the visitors in the 22nd minute when his shot from an Erik Lamela pass was saved by Gunners’ keeper Wojciech Szczesny. The Gunners had a bit of a setback in the 28th minute when Mikel Arteta had to be replaced by Mathieu Flamini due to a leg injury. When the first half ended, the score was still goalless and Gunners’ boss Arsene Wenger looked quite frustrated as his side headed to the locker-room. His frustration grew in the 55th minute when Nacer Chadli put Spurs into the lead with a goal from a Lamela assist. Gunners’ midfielder Mesut Ozil tried to take the initiative and get his side back into the match. He hit a cross in the 57th minute for Per Mertesacker, but the midfielder’s header was saved by keeper Lloris. Ozil tried again in the 59th minute when he threaded a through ball for Welbeck, but the striker’s shot was blocked by the defense. As the match wound down, it looked like Spurs were going to be able to take all three points. But in the 73rd minute, the Gunners got a miracle when a Welback shot was blocked by the defense and the ball was not cleared properly by the Spurs’ defense. Santigo Cazorla had his shot blocked also, but the rebound ended up on Oxlade-Chamberlain’s foot and the midfielder was able to slot home the equalizer. That was about all there was to the match and it looks like the power of London lies in the “Blue Section”.

West Bromwich Albion 4 – 0 Burnley

The Baggies get the easy win over struggling Burnley. Well, it looks like Burnley will be the first club to go down this season. They just don’t seem to have enough of what it takes to be able to compete in the BPL. They were completely dominated by the Baggies Sunday at the Hawthorns. Craig Dawson started the scoring in the 30th minute when he headed in a Chris Brunt corner kick. James Morrison nearly doubled the lead in the 40th minute when his shot from a Chris Brunt cross was saved by Burnley keeper Tom Heaton. Saido Berahino did double the lead right at halftime when he headed in a pass from Graham Dorrans from a corner kick. Berahino scored again in the 55th minute when his shot from a Graham Dorrans through pass found the bottom left corner of the goal. The Baggies domination was completed in the 89th minute when Graham Dorrans scored from a Cristian Gamboa pass. So Burnley manager Swan Dyche has a lot of work to do if he is to find a way to keep his side in the BPL.

Stoke City 1 – 0 Newcastle

Peter Crouch’s first half goal puts Magpies’ boss Alan Pardew in real jeopardy. There is a lot of chaos in the Newcastle football club at the moment. They have not won a match at all this season and the fans are angry. The rumors have been swirling about whether or not Pardew would be fired after Monday’s match. Owner Mike Ashley was interviewed by the local press prior to the weekend and he stated that if the Magpies didn’t win on Monday, Pardew would be fired. When he was asked about that statement later, he tried to take it back stating that he was only joking. The chaos in the club is affecting performances on the pitch and it showed on Monday. The Potters’ dominated the match despite scoring only the one goal by Crouch in the 15th minute. The Magpies attack was non-existant throughout the match. There was a bit of a spark for the visitors in the second half when midfielders Gabriel Obertan and Sammy Ameobi came on and striker Pappis Cisse tried to get a shot or two on goal. But it was all for naught and the match ended with both the home fans and the visiting Toffees fans chanting “Sacked in the morning” at Pardew. Could this be David Moyes’ next job?

Lanny Short

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