Saturday, 24 March 2012

Midweek EPL Results and Analysis, The Weekend's EPL Previews:


Midweek EPL Results and Analysis:


Tuesday:

Aston Villa vs Bolton Wanderers: POSTPONED
This match was supposed to take place on Tuesday at Villa Park, but Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba's condition was too serious for Bolton players to focus on the football match.

Blackburn Rovers 2 Sunderland 0
This match was played at Ewood Park as 17th placed Blackburn hosted 9th placed Sunderland. 
Midfielder David Holiett opened the scoring for the home side after 58 minutes to make it 1-0.


Winger Junior Holiett breaks the deadlock against Sunderland at Ewood Park after 58 minutes to give Rovers a 1-0 lead. 


Striker Yakubu scored his 14th goal of the season to double Blackburn's lead in the 86th minute to ensure all three points for Rovers.


Heads I win: Striker Yakubu scores his 14th goal of the season - making him 5th top scorer in the EPL.
Pray 4 Muamba: Yakubu shows his support for Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba who is in intensive care.




Blackburn are now in 16th place with 28 points, while Sunderland are still in 9th place with 37 points.


Wednesday:

Everton 0 Arsenal 1
This match was played at Goodison Park, as 10th placed Everton hosted 4th placed Arsenal.
Defender Thomas Vermaelen scored the only goal of the whole match for the away side after 8 minutes.


Defender Thomas Vermaelen heads Arsenal into the lead at Goodison Park.
Celebration time: Vermaelen celebrates the eventual winner for Arsenal against Everton and his 5th goal of the season.




The home side had some controversial decisions that were not given including a disallowed goal by Royston Drenthe, and luck was not on their side on Wednesday. 


FACT: Thomas Vermaelen has now scored two winners for Arsenal in back-to-back matches.


Arsenal move up to 3rd place, 1 point above Tottenham while Everton stay in 10th place.


Manchester City 2 Chelsea 1
This match came from The Ethiad Stadium, as 5th placed Chelsea and 2nd placed City went head-to-head in an interesting battle. City were looking for revenge after a 2-1 defeat suffered earlier in the season at Stamford Bridge (which was also their first of the season), while Chelsea looked to make ground in the race for 4th place. 


This match was exciting from the start of the second half.... and the away side were surprisingly in-front thanks to defender Gary Cahill with a half-volley which took a deflection and sent goalkeeper Joe Hart the wrong way to break the deadlock after 60 minutes.


Wrong way: Goalkeeper Joe Hart is sent the wrong way from a deflection and Chelsea go 1-0 up against Manchester City from defender Gary Cahill in the 60th minute. 


Left-back Aleksandar Kolarov took a shot inside the 18-yard box which was deflected by the hand of Chelsea midfielder Michael Esssien, and City were awarded a penalty. 
Striker Sergio Aguero cooly slotted the ball past 'keeper Petr Cech to give the visitors hope in the 78th minute.
Carlos Tevez came off the bench in the 68th minute and had a positive effect on City's performance, which paid off in the 85th minute when his clever lay-off to midfielder Samir Nasri who chipped 'keeper Cech and scored a late winner for the home side.


Samir Nasri: Scores a late winner for the home side against Chelsea in the 85th minute with a cheeky chip over Petr Cech.


Jubilation: Celebrates scoring with Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko


This result puts City in 1 point of 1st placed United, while Chelsea lose ground for a top 4 place after Tottenham drew and Arsenal won so they are 5 points off 4th placed Spurs (and 6 off 3rd placed Arsenal)

QPR 3 Liverpool 2
This fiery five-goal thriller surprisingly came from Loftus Road, home of 18th placed QPR who hosted 7th placed Liverpool. 


Defender Sebastian Coates broke the deadlock for the visitors in the 54th minute, from an overhead bicycle kick which flew past goalkeeper Paddy Kenny into the net.


Defemder Sebastien Coates hits his first ever Liverpool goal, which was a spectacular finish against QPR.




Striker Dirk Kuyt doubled the scoreline in the 72nd minute to give The Reds a 2-0 lead. Everyone though that it was all over for QPR, before defender Shaun Derry halved the deficit in the 78th minute to make it 2-1. Former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse equalised late on in the 86th minute for QPR before striker Jamie Mackie scored in the 90th minute to give Rangers the comeback of all comebacks to gift them 3 points against Liverpool.



Tottenham Hotspur 1 Stoke City 1
This match was played at White Hart Lane as 3rd placed Spurs hoped to move closer to title rivals City and United, while edging closer away from London rivals Arsenal for a 3rd place finish.



The Weekend's EPL Previews:
This is Round 30 of this season's EPL. Title challengers City face Stoke while rivals United host Fulham on Monday. The race for a Champions League spot is heating up with all three (top 6) London rivals in the fight. Arsenal face Villa, while rivals Chelsea and Tottenham go head-to-head at Stamford Bridge for a place in Europe next season. 
The relegation battle is still alive for 5 different clubs with Wigan, Wolves, QPR, Bolton and Blackburn in the frame.





Saturday (15:00 unless stated):

Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur: LIVE at 12:45pm


The first match of the weekend comes from Stamford Bridge as an early kick-off between two rivals Chelsea and Tottenham fight for a Champions League spot in 5th and 4th place (respectively), (with only 5 points between them)
Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon will miss tomorrow's match against Chelsea with a hamstring injury.
Striker Emmanuel Adebayor (hamstring) is a major doubt for the match.


Defender Ledley King (knee) will have a late fitness test but long-term absentees Michael Dawson (ankle), goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes (knee), and midfielder Tom Huddlestone (ankle) are out.
John Terry is set to return to lead out Chelsea. The Blues captain missed Wednesday night's defeat at Manchester City with a calf strain but trained fully on Thursday.
Fellow defender Branislav Ivanovic is doubtful with a thigh problem suffered at the Etihad Stadium, while Oriol Romeu is fit after a knee injury.


Arsenal vs Aston Villa:


This match will be played at The Emirates Stadium, as in-form Arsenal will look to continue their current run of form by moving 4 points away from rivals Tottenham.

Aston Villa winger Charles N'Zogbia is battling to overcome a tweaked knee ligament in time to face Arsenal tomorrow.

Striker Andreas Weimann is pushing for a start after scoring the winner against Fulham a fortnight ago. If N'Zogbia is ruled out of the match, Weimann could play up front with Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Striker Darren Bent (ankle), defender Richard Dunne (shoulder) and midfielder Fabian Delph (ankle) remain long-term absentees while utility player Ciaran Clark is still recovering from a knee problem.
Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby will not be risked. He has recovered from a hamstring injury, but boss Arsene Wenger will not name him in his squad until next week.
Wenger will use an unchanged squad against Villa from the group which won at Everton, with Per Mertesacker (ankle) and midfielder Jack Wilshere (ankle) still sidelined.




Bolton Wanderers vs Blackburn Rovers:


Bolton return to action against Blackburn at the Reebok Stadium a week after Fabrice Muamba's harrowing collapse at White Hart Lane.

Muamba remains in intensive care after suffering a cardiac arrest, but his family have given the go ahead for the match to start as manager Owen Coyle's men looked to haul themselves out of the relegation zone.
Coyle has told any player who does not feel up to taking part they should step aside, but it does not appear he has had anyone who has dropped out yet.
Defender Gael Givet is Blackburn's only doubt ahead of the match.
Givet aggravated a slight hamstring problem while on Tuesday and is doubtful to make the squad.
Steve Kean is only to make a few slight changes.


Liverpool vs Wigan Athletic:


This match will be played at Anfield as 7th placed Liverpool will be looking to bounce back from their embarrassing 3-2 defeat on Wednesday to QPR after being 2-0 with 13 minutes to go against 19th placed Wigan.


Wigan striker Hugo Rodallega remains an injury doubt for the match after missing last week's match due to a knee problem.
The Latics manager Roberto Martinez says that the trip to Liverpool may come too soon for the forward to make his return to football action.
Midfielder David Jones (knee) and goalkeeper Mike Pollitt (shoulder problem) are not 



Defender Martin Kelly should be fit despite having to come off injured in Liverpool's last two matches.
The club are awaiting a full assessment of Charlie Adam's knee problem, sustained in Wednesday's defeat at QPR, but the midfielder could be doubtful.
Right-back Glen Johnson and forward Craig Bellamy are still missing with niggles while centre-half Daniel Agger (rib) is not yet ready.


Norwich City vs Wolverhampton Wanderers:



Wolves will be without suspended defender Ronald Zubar for the away Barclays Premier League clash with Norwich after his red card against Manchester United last weekend.
It could mean a recall in a reshuffled back four for skipper Roger Johnson who has been axed for the past four matches since caretaker boss Terry Connor took charge.
But Connor's biggest headache is in central midfield where David Davis (broken rib) has joined Karl Henry (hamstring) and Jamie O'Hara (groin) on the injury list.
The only positive team news for Connor is the return to training of midfielder Nenad Milijas after his calf problem.
Norwich midfielder Anthony Pilkington has recovered from the knock he suffered at Newcastle last weekend and is available.
Marc Tierney and Daniel Ayala are back in training, but not yet ready, while James Vaughan is still missing with knee trouble.
Goalkeeper Declan Rudd, meanwhile, has resumed light training.



Sunderland vs QPR:



Sunderland striker Stephane Sessegnon returns to the squad for Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with QPR after suspension.
The Benin international is available after completing the three-match ban he incurred for his sending-off in the derby draw at Newcastle, but midfielder Lee Cattermole still has one game left to serve.
Central defender John O'Shea will undergo a late fitness check on his hamstring injury, but Kieran Richardson (calf) is still out, as are long-term absentees Wes Brown (knee) and Titus Bramble (Achilles/calf).
Armand Traore will miss QPR's trip to Sunderland on Saturday in the Barclays Premier League.
The Senegal international was brought off at half-time of Wednesday's 3-2 victory against Liverpool and is out for the next couple of weeks with a grade one hamstring injury.
Clint Hill will travel with the squad to the Stadium of Light but will have a back injury assessed, while long-term absentees DJ Campbell and Heidar Helguson are making good progress.



Swansea City vs Everton:



Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers is set to restore Ashley Williams to his starting XI for Saturday's Barclays Premier League meeting with Everton.
The defender missed last weekend's impressive win at Fulham due to illness, but is likely to take his place back from club captain Garry Monk against the Toffees.
Wayne Routledge will continue on the right wing as Nathan Dyer serves the final game of his three-match ban after his red card in the win at Wigan.
Everton could have Darron Gibson back at the Liberty Stadium.
The Republic of Ireland international has been out of action for five games due to a knee problem but Toffees manager David Moyes says Gibson's fitness is improving and has indicated he could feature against the Swans.
Fellow midfielder Jack Rodwell (hamstring) and wideman Seamus Coleman (thigh) remain sidelined.



Stoke City vs Manchester City: LIVE at 17:30pm


This match will come from The Brittania Stadium, as 2nd placed Manchester City can leapfrog rivals United into 1st place, two points ahead (at least until Monday) with a win at Stoke.

Manchester City hope to have captain Vincent Kompany back for Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to Stoke.
The Belgium defender has an outside chance of returning after missing three games with a calf injury but centre-back partner Joleon Lescott (hip) is ruled out.
Striker Carlos Tevez is again expected to be on the bench after making his first appearance for six months in the midweek win over Chelsea.
Stoke winger Matthew Etherington (ankle) is fit to return after missing the midweek draw against Tottenham.
Midfielder Salif Diao (hamstring) is likely to miss out but defender Jonathan Woodgate, who has not played for a month, could come into contention for a place on the bench.
Striker Ricardo Fuller misses out as he completes a three-match suspension.



Sunday:


West Bromwich Albion vs Newcastle United: LIVE at 16:00pm


This match will be played at The Hawthorns, as 13th placed West Brom host 6th placed Newcastle in a slight mis-match.

West Brom centre-back Jonas Olsson will return after a one-match suspension for the home Barclays Premier League clash with Newcastle on Sunday.
Olsson's probable recall alongside Gareth McAuley means Liam Ridgewell is likely to revert from central defence to left-back in place of Nicky Shorey.
Albion are hopeful striker Peter Odemwingie will be fit after missing the 1-1 draw at Wigan last weekend with a hamstring injury. Midfielder Zoltan Gera (knee) and right-back Steven Reid (foot) remain long-term absentees.
Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote is rated at 50-50 to return from injury.
The Ivory Coast international missed last weekend's 1-0 win over Norwich with a hamstring problem and remains a doubt, although full-back Danny Simpson has a chance of returning from his adductor strain.
Utility man Ryan Taylor (calf) is still out, as are long-term casualties Peter Lovenkrands (thigh), Leon Best and Sammy Ameobi (both knee), Steven Taylor (Achilles) and Sylvain Marveaux (groin).



Monday:


Manchester United vs Fulham: LIVE at 20:00pm


1st placed Manchester United host Fulham at Old Trafford. A win will ensure that they stay at the top of the EPL table ahead of rivals City in 2nd place who are only 1 point behind The Red Devils.



Sir Alex Ferguson will be picking from strength when Manchester United face Fulham at Old Trafford on Monday.
Nani (ankle), Anders Lindegaard (ankle) and Michael Owen (thigh) are the only absentees, along with long-term casualties Nemanja Vidic and Darren Fletcher.
Chris Smalling, Tom Cleverley, Fabio, Paul Pogba and Phil Jones all came through a reserve outing on Thursday unscathed.
Fulham have no new major concerns heading into Monday's trip north.
The Cottagers came through last week's defeat to Swansea unscathed, although they will be without third-choice goalkeeper Neil Etheridge for at least the next couple of weeks with a wrist problem.
Zdenek Grygera (knee), Steve Sidwell (hernia) and Orlando Sa (hamstring) are expected to be the only notable absentees.