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Oct 312013

Crystal Palace 0 – 2 Arsenal

Ten man Arsenal tighten their grip on the top spot of the BPL table.  It has been a rough week for Palace.  They let go of manager Ian Holloway after the 1-4 loss to Fulham with assistant Keith Millen appointed as caretaker manager.  Their league form has been absolutely awful with only one win so far this season.  And so it was really not such a good time to welcome the league leader to Selhurst Park on Saturday.  But Palace gave it their best and nearly scored in the 15th minute with Barry Bannan’s header from a Jerome Thomas cross went just over the bar.  The Gunners were coming off a mid-week hiccup themselves as they had been beaten in the UEFA Champions’ League by Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.  They were still suffering the effects of that loss and with Palace’s fighting spirit, it was little wonder that the score was goalless at half time.  Incredibly, it was a defensive gaff that did Palace in.  Right as the second half got underway, the Gunners went on the attack and substitute Serge Gnabry was able to weave his way into the Palace penalty area, where he was tripped by Adlene Guedioura.  It was a needless penalty kick to give away as Gnabry didn’t really have anywhere to go.  Mikel Arteta scored the spot kick to put the Gunners into the lead.  Palace were given a lifeline in the 65th minute when midfielder Marouane Chamakh was about to break forward toward the Arsenal goal.  He was brought down by Arteta and since the Spanish international was the last defender, the referee sent him off.  Palace tried to take advantage of being a man up on the Gunners and had a chance to equalize in the 72nd minute.  Joel Ward took a brilliant shot from just outside the Gunners’ penalty area that keeper Wojciech Szczesny did well to tip over the bar.  Then from the resulting corner kick, Mile Jedinak hit a shot that was bound for the top left corner that Szczesny deflected away from the goal with one hand.  But that was as close as Palace would come to scoring and they conceded the second goal in the 87th minute.  Aaron Ramsey was able to break through the defense and lob a cross over to Olivier Giroud to head home to secure the win.

Aston Villa 0 – 2 Everton

Roberto Martinez’s boys grab another win at Villa Park.  Yep, that’s correct.  Everton have won five of their last six matches.  And it has all been done under the leadership of the guy who lead Wigan to relegation last season.  It’s probably a good bet that former manager David Moyes, who left over the summer for Manchester United, is not missed one bit by the Everton fans.  Martinez has his boys playing with a lot of flare this season and they nearly scored in the first minute when on-loan striker Romelu Lukaku fired Kevin Mirallas’s cross just wide of the goal.  But in the seventh minute, defender Seamus Coleman brought down Villa striker Christian Benteke in the Everton penalty area.  Benteke took the spot kick, but it was magnificently saved by USA international goal keeper Tim Howard.  It was the Everton keeper’s day as he made another save in the 23rd minute from Benteke again.  This time he blocked the striker’s shot to the bottom right corner of the goal.  In the 30th minute, fellow USA international keeper for Aston Villa, Brad Guzan, was able to make the save from Lukaku’s shot.  The first half ended scoreless as both keepers did their best to keep their respective goals empty.  When the second half got underway, the match looked like it would end in a deadlock until the 68th minute when Everton defender Leighton Baines broke down the left wing and played a pass for Leon Osman.  Osman spotted Lukaku arriving at the top of the Villain’s penalty area and hit the striker with a great pass that he knocked home with his left foot.  The visitors though they had a penalty claim of their own a short time later when Lukaku was battling with Ron Vlaar in the Villain’s penalty area and the defender appeared to deflect the ball away with his hand.  The referee indicated that there was no intent and wave for play to continue.  Villa had their own chance in the 75th minute when Gabriel Agnonlahor had his shot from outside the Everton penalty area saved by Howard.  But any hope for an equalizer for the home side was ended in the 80th minute when Osman’s shot from a Gareth Barry cutback pass went into the goal past Guzan’s grasp.  If I were a Villa fan, I might be a bit concerned about my team’s home form of late.

Liverpool 4 – 1 West Bromwich Albion

The Reds get it done with class at Anfield.  I wonder if Luiz Suarez has earned a new nickname.  Most folks who do not like the Uruguayan striker call him “Nibbles” in reference to the times he has bitten opposing players.  But after Saturday, his nickname might be changed to “Magic”.  That is what he was as he grabbed a hat-trick against the Baggies.  He got his first goal in the 12th minute when he danced into the Baggies area, danced around the defense, nutmegged Jonas Olsson and finished off the move with a great shot past keeper Boaz Myhill.  Just as the Kop started to settle down, he got number two in the 17th minute.  He played a one-two with Aly Cissokho and headed home the first-time cross with a great header from 16 yards out from goal.  It took until the 30th minute for the Baggies to attempt anything on goal and Jonas Olson’s header from Morgan Amalfitano’s cross was well wide of the goal.  The second half was more domination by the home side and Suarez got his third when he headed home Steven Gerrards free-kick cross in the 55th minute.  The Baggies did manage to get a goal back in the 65th minute when they were awarded a penalty kick for Cissokho’s foul on Billy Jones in the Liverpool penalty area.  But they were never really in this match and Daniel Sturridge, who was almost forgotten in the wake of his teammate’s great showing, scored from a great lob from outside the Baggies’ penalty into the top right corner of the goal.  So while most folks still think that this year’s league winner will be decided by one of the London clubs, one would be remiss if they didn’t consider that the Reds might have something to say about the destination of the BPL trophy in May.

Norwich 0 – 0 Cardiff

It’s a goalless draw between the Canaries and the Dragons.  Well, Canaries boss Chris Hughton is on trouble again.  They sit in the bottom three of the BPL and have just two wins so far this season.  It didn’t help them at all that the keeper for Cardiff, David Marshall, used to play for the Canaries and made several key stops from Jonny Howson, Gary Hooper, Nathan Redmond, and Leroy Fer.  There wasn’t much more to write about for this match, save for a bit of controversy at the end when the match was stopped for an injured Norwich player.  Cardiff kicked the ball out of bonds so that the player could receive treatment as is the usual custom in professional football.  When play was restarted, Norwich was given the throw-in.  The usual tradition is to kick the ball back to the opposing goal keeper so he can pick it up and punt it back into play.  However, Fer decided to kick the ball into the empty net.  Now there is no rule that states that Fer was obliged to kick the ball back to the goal keeper, but the referee did not allow the goal and made the home side retake the throw-in.  So the match ended goalless and Norwich find themselves in a relegation fight.

Southampton 2 – 0 Fulham

Fulham lose to the Saints at St. Mary’s stadium.  So many teams have taken the Saints lightly this season.  It seems like a dumb thing to do because they’ve made their best start to the top flight since they finished in second place in the 1983-84 season.  One of the things that boss Mauricio Pochettino has them doing so much better this season is improving their defending.  That was on display Saturday as the Cottagers didn’t get a single shot on goal in the first half.  As the match progressed, their boss Martin Jol could be seen getting angrier and angrier on the touch line.  He must have been livid with his team’s performance in the 20th minute when Rickie Lambert headed home the first goal from a Jar Rodriguez corner kick.  The visitors nearly fell further behind a minute later when keeper Maarten Stekelenburg was forced to save Rodriguez’s shot headed for the bottom right corner of the goal.  They did fall further behind when Rodriguez headed home a Rickie Lambert corner kick in the 42nd minute.  The second half wasn’t much better for the Cottagers as they were completely dominated by the Saints.  Rodriguez came close to getting a third goal in spectacular fashion when, in the 69th minute, he met a James Ward-Prowse cross with a daring scissor-kick that missed just to the right of the goal.  So this win is a warning to the rest of the BPL, take the Saints lightly at your own peril.

Sunderland 2 – 1 Newcastle

Gus Poyet’s boys win the Tyne-Wear Derby.  You’ve got to hand it to the Blackcats’ new boss.  When he started at Wearside things were a real mess.  They were sitting at the bottom of the league with no hope whatsoever.  But he is determined to turn things around and a good time to start was when the Tyneside rivals come to town.  And they started wonderfully for the home side when they scored in the fifth minute.  Steven Fletcher headed home Adam Johnson’s corner kick, sending the fans at the Stadium of Light celebrating in wild ecstasy.  Fletcher had a chance in the 14th minute to get a second goal for the Blackcats when he headed Andrea Dossena’s cross just wide of the goal.  The Magpies were not just going to give up without a fight and Yohan Cabaye nearly equalized in the 16th minute.  His right-footed shot on goal was saved by Blackcats’ keepe Kieren Westwood.  They had another chance in the 38th minute when Davide Santon was able to pick out Mathieu Debuchy with decent pass. Blackcats’ defender Sebastian Larsson was able to head away Debuchy’s cross while surrounded by Magpie opposition waiting to pounce on any mistake.  That was as close as the visitors would get in the first half and boss Alan Pardew decided to replace an ineffective Moussa Sissoko with Papiss Demba Cisse to start the second half.  They were able to level the score in the 57th minute when Hatem Ben Arfa got on the end of a Cabaye pass and poked a low cross for Debuchy to drive home at the far post.  The Magpies started driving for the winner and nearly got it in the 63rd minute when Ben Arfa was able to link up with Santon who put his shot just wide of the Blackcats’ goal.  Poyet decided to replace Adam Johnson with Fabio Borini in the 69th minute to see if he could pick up the pace a bit for the home side.  Right as soon as he stepped on the pitch, Borini nearly scored.  He took a hard shot toward the bottom left corner of the goal that Magpies’ keeper Tim Krul did well to keep out of the net.  But while the Magpies had a chance or two at the other end, Borini won it in the 85th minute.  USA International Jozy Altidore made a great pass into Borini’s path and he drove the shot right past a diving Krul.  The win lifts the Blackcats off the bottom of the table.  While there is a lot more to be done if Poyet is going to save this side from relegation, winning the Tyne-Wear Derby is a pretty good start.

Chelsea 2 – 1 Manchester City

Fernando Torres scores the winner at Stamford Bridge.  This match was known in some circles as the “Billion Dollar Derby”.  It was one of the most anticipated matches of the season that pitted Chelsea, owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, against Manchester City, owned by Abu Dhabi billionare Sheikh Mansour.  By coincidence, it also featured two former managers of Spanish club Real Madrid.  Citeh boss Manuel Pellegrini managed Real Madrid from 2009 until he was succeeded by Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho in 2010.  The “Special One” was fired by the Spanish giants this past summer.  So there was a bit riding on this one.  The one thing that has been a concern for Pelligrini has been Citeh’s away form so far this season.  They have lost some key matches away from home and seem to have lost a bit of confidence in their travels.  Chelsea, on the other hand, just don’t lose at home when Mourinho is in charge and sure enough they took the lead in the 33rd minute.  Torres was able to hit a cross over to midfielder Andre Schurrle who was able to poke it home past Citeh keeper Joe Hart for the goal.  The Blues had a chance to make it two toward the end of the half.  John Terry headed Frank Lampard’s corner kick just wide of the goal.  Although the visitors had a chance to level the score in first half stoppage time, the home side remained up a goal at the interval.  When the second half got underway, Citeh pressed hard for the equalizer.  They got what they were looking for in the 48th minute when Sergio Aguero was sent through on goal by a Samir Nasri pass and the Argentine international hit his shot past Blues’ keeper Petr Cech.  The visitors seemed to get a bit of confidence from the goal and should have made it two in the 52nd minute.  David Sliva hit a cross for Javi Garcia, but his header went right into Cech’s hands.  Silva had a go at goal himself in the 57th minute when his shot went high and wide of the target.  In the 58th minute, Torres had a headed attempt on the Citeh goal saved by Hart.  The back-and-forth continued and it looked like the match would end in a draw.  But right at the end, Hart couldn’t get to a Willian through ball and Torres was able to poke home the winner for the Blues.

Swansea 0 – 0 West Ham

It’s all even at the Liberty Stadium.  This is one of the things that a Sam Allardyce side does.  Emphasize defending, hold the opposition goalless and pick up a point for the draw.  Hammers keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen made two great saves, first from Chico Flores in the 16th minute and then Wilfried Bony in the 70th minute.  While some Hammers’ fans are not too happy with the result, the point does keep them in the middle of the table and away from any relegation fight.

Tottenham 1 – 0 Hull

A Roberto Soldado penalty kick gets the win for Spurs.  The kick was awarded after Hull defender Ahmed Elmohamady was penalized for handling the ball in the Hull penalty area.  It was really the only high light of an otherwise dull match.  But this was always going to be a low scoring match as it pitted the two lowest goal scoring sides in the top half of the BPL.  Most of the chances for each side were long range efforts that missed the target or were easily saved.  Hull boss Steve Bruce was just trying not to lose this match and so put a defensive side on the pitch.  Spurs boss Andreas Villas Boas, perhaps trying to find a way to get over consecutive losses in the BPL and the UEFA Europa League, also went defensive.  Their new star, Andros Townsend, did do some good but had a real scare toward the end of the match when he was knocked into the crowd and fell awkwardly on his head.  He was able to get back up and finish the match.  The win puts Spurs into fourth place in the table, but Villas Boas will want his boys to do a bit better.

Lanny Short

  5 Responses to “Barclay’s Premier League Wrap-Up Week 9”

  1. Oy Mate… What about the United game? You don’t seem to ever discuss that match, even though you are a fan of United, it seems it really isn’t a BPL Wrap Up when you are not covering two teams every week.. Just a thought, nice job today.

  2. Hey Lanny man, The Kop is with one p. Please feel free to use this information in the future.

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