Friday, 7 December 2012

EPL Round-Up over the past week:

Hello and welcome to my latest blog installment of this season's 2012-13 English Premier League. I apologise for not being able to post for the last couple of days due to personal troubles added with the fact that the blog posts were not working for me. Either way, I am back with a full review of last week's EPL matches.

Last Wednesday's Matches:

Everton 1 Arsenal 1

Everton talisman Marouane Fellaini gave the hosts one goals and eventually one point after they went 1-0 down at Goodison Park thanks to a quick-fire goal by Theo Walcott in the first minute.

Manchester United 1 West Ham 0

£24million striker Robin van Persie scored the only goal of the match in the 35th second to give United all three points at home against a surprisingly good West Ham side who have played well this season.

Chelsea 0 Fulham 0

Rafa Benitez's second match as interim Chelsea manager gave The Blues their second draw in a row at home against local London rivals Fulham. He will have to get his act together if he wants to secure a top 4 finish for Chelsea come the end of the season.

Southampton 1 Norwich City 1

Rickie Lambert gave The Saints the lead after 32 minutes, and it looked like Norwich's good form in the EPL had come to an end after impressive wins over both Manchester United and Arsenal, not to mention a last minute equaliser against Everton.

However, this was not to be the case thanks to Robert Snodgrass' goal in the 45th minute just before half-time. 

Stoke City 2 Newcastle United 1

A shock scoreline at The Britannia, despite Stoke being at home. Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse scored his first goal of the season to break the deadlock in the 47th minute, but 2 goals in the last 10 minutes of the match by strikers Jonathan Walters and Cameron Jerome secured all 3 points for Tony Pulis' men.

Swansea City 3 West Bromwich Albion 1

This match was played at The Liberty Stadium, as consistent side Swansea hosted high-flyers West Brom who found themselves in 3rd place after great form in the EPL. 

£2million bargain summer signing Michu scored his 7th goal of the season to break the deadlock after only 9 minutes to give the home side the lead.

Forward Wayne Routledge scored a brace in the 11th and 39th minute to give Swansea a 3-0 lead going into half-time.

But, striker Romelu Lukaku gave Swansea a slight shock after scoring his 5th goal of the season just before half-time in the 45+3rd minute.

The match ended with Swansea taking all three points, and giving West Brom only their 4th loss of the season. 

Tottenham Hotspur 2 Liverpool 1

This match was played at White Hart Lane, as Tottenham hosted mid-table club Liverpool.

Wingers Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale gave Spurs a 2-0 lead in the first 15 minutes. Bale scored another goal - but this time at the other end of the pitch with an unlucky own goal after the ball hit his face after an attempted goal-line clearance.
Liverpool had hope of grabbing an equaliser, but they left it too late and their 10-goal talisman Suarez was not able to help them this time.

Wigan Athletic 0 Manchester City 2

This match was played at the DW Stadium, as Wigan hosted Manchester City in a tough match for the home side, as they looked to contain a 2nd placed City side who needed a win to keep the pressure on local rivals Manchester United in the early stages of the title race.

Both sides started the match slowly, with Manchester City not taking their chances and Wigan's defence staying strong throughout the first half. The home side even had some chances of their own, but were so surprised that they even got the ball in a dangerous position to really trouble Joe Hart.

Two good class goals from striker Mario Balotelli and defensive midfielder James Milner ended Wigan's hopes of grabbing a point (or even 3!) and gave the visitors three points. 

The Weekend's Action:

West Ham United 3 Chelsea 1 

This match was played at Upton Park, as West Ham hosted Chelsea in the early afternoon London derby. Chelsea looked for their first win under interim manager Rafa Benitez, and that was far from what happened away from home on Saturday.

Firstly, Benitez fielded Moses, Mata and Hazard all behind an in-consistent Fernando Torres in strike. He also gave right-back Cesar Azpilicueta first-team experience away from home. 

And his side (for this season at least) gave him a welcome lead after great play down the wing by Torres to cross a low ball into the box for his fellow countryman Juan Mata to easily place past Jussi Jaaskelainen to break the deadlock in the 13th minute.  

As you do: Juan Mata cooly slots the ball past Jaaskelainen to give Chelsea a 1-0 lead.
5 for the season: Mata celebrates becoming Chelsea's top scorer with 5 goals this season. 

Chelsea dominated the rest of the first half, and the half-time score was 1-0 to the visitors who looked comfortable for the three points.

However, in the second half West Ham played much differently with a certain physical edge to their play. 
A deflected cross into the box from £10million winger Matt Jarvis found striker Carlton Cole who got the better of defender Branislav Ivanovic to head the ball past Cech into the bottom corner of the net to equalise in the 63rd minute.

Reward: Carlton Cole equalises for West Ham after a change of tactic in the second half.

West Ham midfielder Mohamed Diame made it 2-1 with a bullet strike in the 86th minute to give the hosts the lead just before the full-time whistle.

Bullet strike: Diame scores to give the hosts the lead against Chelsea after 86 minutes.
Another screamer: Diame celebrates his goal against Chelsea after his clean strike against Arsenal.

And the salt was rubbed fully into the Chelsea wounds in the last minute of play, when Ashley Cole's misplaced pass fell to Maiga who ended the match with a nice finish into the net to make it 3-1 and give all the travelling Chelsea fans nightmares. 

Sloppy: Striker Modibo Maiga cleans up and makes it 3-1 after a misplaced pass by Ashley Cole.

Good luck Benitez... Three matches in the EPL, 2 points. No pressure for a time that need to win things this season.

Interim is the key word: Rafael Benitez has started slowly as Chelsea interim manager.

Arsenal 0 Swansea City 2

This match was played at The Emirates Stadium, as a shaky Arsenal side hosted in-form Swansea.

Swansea dominated the match from the get-go, and could have broken the deadlock earlier on after full-back Angel Rangel had two powerful shots on target saved by goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. 

They continued to pass the ball well and were comfortable in possession despite being away from their comfort zone 200 miles away from The Liberty Stadium in London.

Olivier Giroud was denied a penalty after Chico Flores' late tackle from behind inside the box, and Miguel Michu scored a great double with a placed strike, and a finesse into the bottom corner of the net in the last 3 minutes of the match to score his 10th of the season.

Consistent: Michu takes advantage of a sloppy Arsenal defence to finesse the ball into the net.
Bargain: Michu has become only the third Spainard to score 10 goals in the EPL before Christmas.

Arsenal failed to show any attacking threat throughout the match, and were deservedly punished by Michu.

Three points for us: Michu celebrates his second goal with the travelling Swansea fans.

FACT: This is Swansea's first away win against Arsenal since February 1982. 

Not very good for Arsene Wenger, who is under critiscim after his worst start to a season since he took charge of Arsenal 16 years ago. The Gunners lie in 10th place, and are chasing the top 4.

Time for a change? Arsenal fans are beginning to think that Wenger should step down as Arsenal boss.

Fulham 0 Tottenham Hotspur 3

This match was played at Craven Cottage, as another London derby was played on Saturday. 

Liverpool 1 Southampton 0

Manchester City 1 Everton 1

QPR 1 Aston Villa 1

West Bromwich Albion 0 Stoke City 1

Reading 3 Manchester United 4


Norwich City 2 Sunderland 1


Newcastle United 3 Wigan Athletic 0

The Weekend's Action: