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Oct 082013

Manchester City 3 – 1 Everton

Citeh get back to winning ways and end Everton’s unbeaten run.  It has been a difficult week for Manuel Pellegrini and his boys.  Coming off their league defeat in the last round, they were handily beaten by Bayern Munich in their mid-week UEFA Champions’ League match.  So a bit of home cooking is just what was needed to get Citeh back on track.  England international keeper Joe Hart has been under a lot of pressure lately and he did himself no favors when he let Everton striker Romelu Lukaku’s shot get under him in the 16th minute to start the scoring.  Everton were without central defender Gareth Barry, whose loan deal does not allow him to play against Manchester City, his parent club.  His current club missed his presence because Yaya Toure was able to start up the 17th minute attack by driving straight through the Toffees’ defense and hit a great pass for Alvaro Negredo who poked home the equalizing goal.  That goal seemed to set a fire under the home side and the ramped the action as the first half wore on.  Sergio Aguero nearly scored in the 26th minute when he received a through pass from David Silva.  The Argentine international’s shot missed just to the right of the goal.  Citeh did suffer a setback when Matija Nastasic had to replace an injured Vincent Kompany in the 34th minute.  But they got over that hiccup and took the lead right at half time.  Silva found Aguero again with a precise through ball and this time, the striker’s shot found the back of the net.  The injury bug bit Citeh again in the 58th minute when Gael Clichy replaced Aleksandar Kolarov.  But the home side were still dominating and were awarded a 68th minute penalty kick when Seamus Coleman was judged to have fouled Pablo Zabaleta.  Aguero took the spot kick and although Everton keeper Tim Howard nearly saved it, the ball bounced off the USA international and into the goal.  Howard later denied two more Citeh chances, one from Negredo and one from substitute Samir Nasri in stoppage time.  But Everton never was able to trouble the Citeh defense and the hosts have returned to the winning path.

Cardiff 1 – 2 Newcastle

The Magpies get the away win thanks to a Loic Remy brace.  This was a match that Magpies’ boss Alan Pardew will look back on with a bit of relief.  There had been some tension amongst the Geordie faithful as their team had not been doing too well lately.  But this trip to Wales was a good one as the home side just didn’t have enough.  Cardiff did have a chance to get an early goal when Frazier Campbell got around Newcastle keeper Tim Krul, but slipped when he was about to take the shot.  That’s really about as close as the home side would come in the first half and they should have gone down a goal in the 18th minute when Remy’s shot was saved by Cardiff keeper David Marshall.  But Remy made up for the miss in the 30th minute.  Moussa Sissoko was able to drive through the Cardiff defense and pass to the striker whose right-footed shot from outside the area went past Marshall into the bottom left corner of the goal.  Newcastle doubled their lead in the 38th minute when Yohan Cabaye was able to cut through and hit a pass for Papiss Cisse.  Cisse shot was blocked by Marshall, but Remy was on hand to poke home the rebound past defender Ben Turner’s attempted block.  Newcastle should have made it three in the 43rd minute when Cabaye’s long-range free kick bounced off the right post.  Cardiff replaced Kim Bo-Kyung with Jordon Mutch as the second half got under way.  The adjustment paid off in the 58th minute when Mutch was able to find Peter Odemwingie with a through pass and the striker was able to score.  But that’s as close as the home side would get.  Sissoko should have scored in the 63rd minute when Remy put him in on goal, but the Marshall was able to get down and make the save.  But Newcastle head into the international break in a fairly comfortable position and Alan Pardew has silenced his critics for one more week.

Fulham 1 – 0 Stoke

Martin Jol gets to keep his job for a little while longer.  It was the Cottagers’ first win since opening day and the first home win since April 1st.  At first, it looked bad for the home side as they were dominated early.  They got a bit of luck when defender Philippe Senderos wasn’t penalized for taking down Stephen Ireland in the Fulham area.  Stoke boss Mark Hughes was angrier when his side were denied another penalty a short time later when Jon Walters appeared to have been tripped by Fernando Amorebieta in the area.  The referee decided that the Potters’ striker was initially fouled outside of the area and the resulting free-kick was cleared away.  Fulham though they had a penalty shout of their own when striker Bryan Ruiz appeared to be tripped by Potters’ defender Marc Wilson, but the referee wasn’t interested.  The first real shot on goal was in the 60th minute when Cottagers’ keeper David Stockdale saved from Marko Arnautovic.  The lone goal came in the 83rd minute when Pajtim Kasami ‘s shot deflected into the path of substitute Darren Bent.  Jol bought the striker from Aston Villa, where he had fallen out of favor with the club.  Bent repaid Jol’s faith in him by poking home the winning goal.  The win lifts the Cottagers out of the bottom three and now Jol can relax a bit during the international break.

Hull 0 – 0 Aston Villa

It was a dull draw between the Tigers and the Villains at the KC Stadium.  It figures that this match wouldn’t have much going on.  The international break is coming up and both sides are sitting comfortably in the middle of the BPL table.  Both sides were without their leading scorers.  Robbie Brady, for Hull, and Christian Benteke, for Villa, were both out injured.  So there wasn’t much to write about for this match.  The only real chances for goals were two long range efforts.  The first one came from Gabriel Agbonlahor from 18 yards out that missed the goal.  The next one came from Tom Huddlestone.  His 25-yard shot on goal was easily saved by Villain keeper Brad Guzan at the end of the first half.  So while Hull boss Steve Bruce and Villa boss Paul Lambert were disappointed in their respective side’s performance, each are content with a point going into the international break.

Liverpool 3 – 1 Crystal Palace

The Three Amigos, Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suarez, and Steven Gerrard all score in the first half as the Reds get an easy one at Anfield.  There was some initial speculation in the press about Suarez.  During the summer, he talked about leaving Liverpool.  There was also speculation that he and Sturridge would not be able to play together and that boss Brendan Rodgers would probably be better served to send the Uruguayan packing.  But most people forget about Gerrard’s leadership and how he always works to bring the team together.  But all the nonsense of team chemistry problems was answered last week at Sunderland and the exclamation point was written emphatically for the home fans on Saturday.  With legend Kenny Dalglish, brought back to the club as a non-executive advisor, in the crowd, the Reds were on top of Palace early and often.  They scored in the 14th minute when Victor Moses made a great cross field run and passed over to Suarez.  The striker rolled the ball into the path of Jose Enrique and the Spanaird pushed hard for the by-line and made the cut-back pass for Suarez who managed to put the ball into the net despite being knocked over by Palace midfielder Jason Puncheon.  They had their second goal in the 17th minute when Enrique’s long pass out from defense went over Suarez’s head and beyond the Palace defense to Sturridge’s feet.  The England striker was able to get though the defense and hit a tight angle shot past keeper Julian Speroni.  Gerrard scored a captain’s goal in the 38th minute when Raheem Sterling earned a penalty kick after being fouled by Dean Moxey in the Palace penalty area.  Gerrard scored the spot kick for his 99th goal for his team.  That was really all there was to this match although Palace was able to drag a goal back in the 76th minute through Dwight Gayle’s header from Jose Campana’s free kick.  But it looks like the Reds will still have something to say about where the BPL trophy goes this season.

Norwich 1 – 3 Chelsea

Two late goals from Eden Hazard and Willian help the Blues back into the top three.  This should have been an easy match for Jose Mourinho and the Blues as they traveled to Carrow Road.  In fact, they scored the first goal in the fourth minute when Frank Lampard’s pass from his own half found Demba Ba in the Canaries’ penalty area and he laid the ball off for Oscar to strike first time into the bottom corner of the net.  The visitors nearly made it two in the 14th minute when Ba’s shot from a Juan Mata pass was saved by keeper John Ruddy.  As has been the practice of Chelsea when Mourinho was in charge the first time, the Blues concentrated on dominating possession and were able to ease through the rest of the first half with their one goal lead.  It looked like Chelsea would be able to maintain their one goal lead for the win.  But in the 67th minute, Canaries’ midfielder Martin Olsson’s deep cross caused a bit of chaos in the Blues defense and found Ricky van Wolfswinkel who headed the ball across to Anthony Pilkington who was able to out jump David Luiz and head past Petr Cech for the equalizer.  A draw would have been a good result for the Canaries.  But in the 85th minute they had a glimmer of hope for the win when they earned a corner kick.  But the Blues were able to clear the ball away to Oscar who hit a cross-field pass that reached Hazard and the Belgian forward’s shot went under Ruddy into the goal.  Willian locked up the win for the Blues in the 86th minute when his curling shot went into the top left corner of the goal.  So the win puts the Blues back on track in their quest for silverware.

Southampton 2 – 0 Swansea

The Saints keep on marching as they beat the Swans at home at St Mary’s Stadium.  It was their third BPL victory in a row and the result has them in fourth place.  Yeah, that’s right.  They’re above Manchester City and Manchester United.  Boss Mauricio Pochettino has the Saints playing well and has stressed tight defending this season.  The strategy has paid off as the Saints have conceded only two goals so far this season.  Swansea, on the other hand, are not doing so well.  They’ve only won once in their last four matches and find themselves sliding down the table.  One key to their bad form may be the fact that they have lost all four times they’ve conceded the opening goal this season.  They conceded in the 19th minute when Adam Lallana got onto a quick Steven Davis pass and hit a curling shot into the top corner of the goal.  To their credit, Swansea nearly equalized in the 24th minute when Michu’s header was saved by Saints’ keeper Artur Boruc. The Polish international also had to stop efforts from Jonjo Shelvey, NAME Bony, and a low shot from Nathan Dyer.  The second half saw more attacking by Swansea as Shelvey, Dyer, and Bony all had their efforts denied as Southampton seemed to struggle a bit to hold their one goal lead.  Pocettino replaced Paplo Osvaldo with James Ward-Prowse in the 58th minute and the change worked for the Saints as they were able to slow down the Swans’ attacks.  The Saints thought they had their second goal in the 76th minute when the referee judged that Dyer and last touched the ball and awarded the home side a corner kick.  Replays showed that the referee had gotten that call wrong, but even though Victor Wanyama headed home the resulting corner kick, the referee decided that Dejan Lovren had committed a foul and disallowed the goal.  But the Saints did get their second goal in the 82nd minute when Jay Rodriguez got hold of a loose ball and slotted it into the bottom right corner.

Tottenham 0 – 3 West Ham

The Hammers humiliate Spurs at White Hart Lane.  It was the first victory for the Hammers at White Hart Lane since 1999.  They clearly had the early initiative and nearly had the early goal in the 11th minute when Kevin Nolan narrowly missed his header from a Stewart Downing cross.  They missed another chance in the 28th minute when Downing hit another cross.  This time Mohamed Diame’s header went over the bar.  Although Spurs did manage an attack or two, they really didn’t trouble Hammers’ keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen much in the first half.  Spurs did start the second half quickly and nearly scored in the 46th minute when Jermain Defoe, making his first start of the season, had his shot saved by Jaaskelainen.  Defoe had another opportunity in the 52nd minute when Paulinho found him with a though ball.  But Jaaskelainen was equal to Defoe’s shot and kept the score at zero.  That second half opening exchange got the Hammers going and they earned a corner kick in the 65th minute.  Stewart Downing took the corner kick and Kevin Nolan accidently headed Winston Reid’s goal bound header off the goal line, but the New Zealand international bundled the ball home for the first goal.  The second goal came in the 72nd minute when Nolan was able to drive through the Spurs defense and make a nice through pass for Ricardo Vaz Te.  Although Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris made the initial save, Vaz Te get to the rebound first and poked it into the goal.  With the home fans getting more and more upset, Spurs boss Andres Villas Boaz tried to fix things by replacing Christian Eriksen with Roberto Soldado in the 73rd minute.  But the change didn’t work and the Hammers completed the beat down in the 79th minute when Ravel Morrison was able to grab a loose ball in the midfield and ease past Michael Dawson and lift an easy shot over Lloris.  After that goal, most of the Spurs fans had seen enough and left in droves.  Just think, this was done without injured Andy Carroll.  Imagine the score had he been available?

West Bromwich Albion 1 – 1 Arsenal

Jack Wilshere’s second half goal saves a point for the Gunners and keeps them atop of the BPL.  The Baggies are for real this season.  They humiliated Manchester United at Old Trafford last week and were looking to do the same to Arsenal at home at the Hawthorns on Sunday.  They nearly scored in the first minute when Youssuf Mulumbu tried his luck from 35 yards out from goal, missing just off to the left.  They had another chance in the 15th minute when Saido Berahino’s shot deflected off Mathieu Flamini’s leg and had to be saved by Gunners’ keeper Wojciech Szczesny.  Arsenal finally got going in the 24th minute when Jack Wilshere narrowly missed his shot from outside the area.  They were lucky not to have conceded a penalty a short time later when Stephane Sessegnon looked like he was illegally impeded as he went through the Arsenal penalty area.  The Baggies’ pressure finally paid off in the 41st minute.  Morgan Amalfitano’s corner kick was initially cleared, but Mulumbu was able to get the loose ball and fed it straight back to Amalfitano who crossed it for Yacob to head home for the first goal.  Arsenal started the second half by trying to pick up the pace a bit, but former Gunner Nicolas Anelka muffed a clear chance to score on his former club from Barahino’s cross.  Arsenal had the chance to equalize a bit alter when Olivier Giroud hit a pass for Wilshire to hit home, but the England midfielder’s shot was not near on target.  But Wilshere would make up for the gaff in the 63rd minute.  Giroud made a fine pass over to substitute Tomas Rosicky whose one touch pass set up Wilshere to hit an emphatic 20 yard shot that deflected off Jonas Olsson and into the net.  That goal was good enough for Arsene Wenger’s boys to hold their lead at the top of the table.  There were a couple more chances for the Gunner’s to get the win, but they’ll be happy going into the international break in first place.

Lanny Short

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