Saturday, 29 December 2012

EPL Super Saturday 8-Match LIVE Coverage:



Hello and welcome to my latest blog post, on Saturday the 29th of December 2012. This weekend is the LAST of a great 2012, and hopefully it can go out with a bang.

Today, there are 8 matches in the English Premier League including the early afternoon match between Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur at The Stadium Of Light.

These are the 3pm kick-offs being played today:

Aston Villa vs Wigan
Fulham vs Swansea
Manchester United vs West Brom 
Norwich vs Manchester City
Reading vs West Ham United
Stoke City vs Southampton

Some potential giantkillers and shocks on the cards today, but you never know what might happen in a game of football. 
The evening fixture comes from The Emirates, as Arsenal host Newcastle. 

Here is the team line-ups for the Early Afternoon Match between Sunderland and Tottenham which kick starts the weekend off:

Sunderland: Mignolet, Gardner, Kilgallon, O'Shea, Cuellar, Larsson, Colback, Johnson, McClean, Sessegnon, Fletcher.
Subs: Campbell, Wickham, McFadden, Vaughan, Dong-won, Bramble, Westwood


Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Caulker, Naughton, Lennon, Sandro, Dembele, Bale, Adebayor, Defoe.
Subs: Dempsey, Vertonghen, Huddlestone, Parker, Sigurdsson, Livermore, Friedel.

12:45: The first match this weekend has kicked off at The Stadium of Light. 
Sunderland will look to continue after their 1-0 win against Manchester City on Wednesday, but it will be hard against a Tottenham side desperate to qualify for the Champions League, having thrashed Aston Villa 4-0 the last time out.

FACT: Sunderland have won 2 out of the last 5 meetings with Tottenham, while Spurs have won 1.

13:15:
Sunderland 0 Tottenham 0
It is still goal-less, but Tottenham are dominating the match with goal-scoring chances from Lennon and Bale. Still 0-0 though, and Sunderland are lucky not to be behind now. 

13:28:
Sunderland 1 Tottenham 0

The hosts break the deadlock from a set piece in the 40th minute, when winger Sebastien Larsson whips a ball into the box. 
The ball fell to striker Steven Fletcher, and his good shot was saved well by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, but the ball bounced back and fell to defender John O'Shea who tapped the ball into the net to give the hosts the lead

First goal in 3 years: Sunderland defender John O'Shea celebrates breaking the deadlock in the 40th minute.

13:36: 
Half-time: Sunderland 1 Tottenham 0

Huge blow to AVB's men, as they were dominating the match but just did not get the end product. Sunderland lead at home at half-time, and they now that they are 45 minutes away from moving into 10th place and winning their 4th home match of the season.
Do not expect the scoreline to stay the same though, with Tottenham ready to raise the intensity of the match to try and get back into the match.    

14:40:

Full-time: Sunderland 1 Tottenham 2

What did I say? Tottenham complete a comeback after trailing 1-0 at half-time away from home

Sunderland defender Carlos Cuellar scored an own goal to equalise for Spurs in the 47th minute. 
Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon made it 2-1 to the away side in the 51st minute to cap off a nice pass-and-move and complete the comeback. 

Nicely done: Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon gives Spurs the lead in the 51st minute at The Stadium of Light.
Comeback: Lennon celebrates his goal with team-mates Walker, Defoe and Dembele as they moved into 3rd place.

Tottenham move into 3rd place, above Chelsea who play tomorrow at Goodison Park against Everton at 1.30pm.

Sunderland will feel disappointed because they did not win at least a point, despite going ahead in the first half.
They fail to move up to 10th place, and could move down into 15th place if Stoke and Newcastle both win today. 

3pm Team Line-ups: 

Reading vs West Ham United:

Reading: Federici, Gunter, Mariappa, Pearce, Harte, Leigertwood, Karacan, Kebe, Guthrie, McAnuff, Pogrebnyak. 

Subs: Taylor, Le Fondre, Hunt, Morrison, Tabb, Robson-Kanu, Cummings.

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Tomkins, Collins, Reid, O'Brien, Noble, O'Neil, Taylor, Nolan, Jarvis, Cole. 
Subs: Spiegel, Collison, Maiga, Vaz Te, Demel, Diarra, Spence. 

Pogrebnyak and Cole will both be looking to score for their respective sides today, while West Ham can move up to 9th place with a win. 
Reading are stuck in 19th place, but a win could see them move 2 points of 18th placed Wigan. So it is all to play for.

Aston Villa vs Wigan Athletic:

Aston Villa: Guzan, Herd, Clark, Lichaj, Lowton, Ireland, Holman, Bannan, Bennett, Weimann, Benteke. 

Subs: Given, El Ahmadi, Albrighton, Westwood, Bowery, Stevens, Carruthers.

Wigan: Al Habsi, Ramis, Caldwell, Figueroa, Boyce, McCarthy, Jones, Beausejour, Kone, Di Santo, Maloney.
Subs: Pollitt, Gomez, McManaman, McArthur, Boselli, Stam, Golobart.

Benteke and Weimann both continue to lead the line for Aston Villa. The hosts will hope to bounce back from 2 matches against London clubs Chelsea and Tottenham, where they were thrashed and conceded 12 goals.

Fulham vs Swansea City: 
 
Fulham: Stockdale, Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Briggs, Dejagah, Sidwell, Karagounis, Frei, Ruiz, Berbatov. 

Subs: Etheridge, Kelly, Riise, Senderos, Baird, Richardson, Rodallega.

Swansea: Tremmel, Rangel, Williams, Monk, Tiendalli, de Guzman, Agustien, Dyer, Hernandez, Routledge, Graham. 
Subs: Vorm, Bartley, Britton, Shechter, Moore, Ki, Davies.

Berbatov and Ruiz start in attack for the hosts today, while Swansea show a strong side with Pablo Hernandez and Nathan Dyer on the wings.


Norwich vs Manchester City:
 
Norwich: Bunn, Martin, Turner, Bassong, Garrido, Snodgrass, Tettey, Johnson, Pilkington, Hoolahan, Morison.

Subs: Rudd, Howson, Jackson, Elliott Bennett, Barnett, Ryan Bennett, Kane.

Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy, Toure, Barry, Aguero, Silva, Nasri, Dzeko. 
Subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Milner, Sinclair, Javi Garcia, Toure, Tevez.

Roberto Mancini starts Samir Nasri and Edin Dzeko in the attacking front.
Carlos Tevez and Javi Garcia are both on the bench along with wantaway defender Joloen Lescott who is disappointed at his lack of matches for City.

Stoke City vs Southampton:
 
Stoke: Begovic, Shotton, Huth, Upson, Wilkinson, Kightly, Whelan, Nzonzi, Etherington, Walters, Jones.

Subs: Sorensen, Palacios, Owen, Adam, Whitehead, Crouch, Jerome.

Southampton: Kelvin Davis, Hooiveld, Yoshida, Fonte, Shaw, Puncheon, Schneiderlin, Cork, Rodriguez, Do Prado, Lambert. 
Subs: Boruc, Steven Davis, Ramirez, Fox, Richardson, Mayuka, De Ridder.

Southampton midfielder Gaston Ramirez surprisingly starts from the bench, despite having a great game against Fulham on Wednesday. 
Striker Rickie Lambert wild hope to score his 8th goal of the season after helping The Saints win a point with a 85th minute penalty goal against Fulham. 
 
The away side will look to move a place into 16th with a win, but it will be tough against a strong Stoke side who do not normally lose at home.


Manchester United vs West Bromwich Albion:
 

Man Utd: De Gea, Smalling, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Carrick, Cleverley, Valencia, Kagawa, Young, Welbeck. 
Subs: Lindegaard, Ferdinand, Giggs, Hernandez, van Persie, Scholes, Buttner.

West Brom: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Tamas, Ridgewell, Thorne, Brunt, Rosenberg, Dorrans, Odemwingie, Long.
Subs: Myhill, Morrison, El Ghanassy, Jara Reyes, Lukaku, Dawson, Fortune.

Major news from Old Trafford is that striker van Persie starts from the bench, along with "super sub" Javier Hernandez. 
Vidic and Smalling both start in defence for The Red Devils, while midfielder Shinji Kagawa returns from injury to play his first match since October. 

15:00: The 6 3pm kick-off matches have all started.

15:03:
Carrow Road,
Norwich vs Manchester City:

Striker Edin Dzeko breaks the deadlock in the 3rd minute for the visitors after clinically finishing off a chance after a great through ball by midfielder David Silva! Great choice by Mancini to start the Bosnian strike, and that is his 7th goal of the season. 

No regret: Edin Dzeko celebrates his goal against Norwich with team-mates Silva and Aguero.
15:08:

Lots of goals flying in now:

Aston Villa 0 Wigan 1 - Defender Ivan Ramis in the 4th minute with a header.

Norwich 0 Manchester City 2 - Dzeko completes his double within 5 minutes after he was found inside the box with a pass by Aguero.

Reading 1 West Ham 0 - Defender James Collins' mis-placed pass finds striker Pavel Pogbrenyak instead of Jussi Jaaskelainen. He shoots and breaks the deadlock to give the hosts the lead after 6 minutes of play.

Manchester United 1 West Brom 0 - A bit of luck for the hosts (surprise, surprise) as winger Ashley Young's cross near the post into the box deflects off West Brom defender Gareth McAuley before going into the net.

15:11:

The Britannia Stadium,
Stoke vs Southampton:

GOAL! Stoke are behind at home
Guly do Prado's cross is headed into the net by in-form striker Rickie Lambert to score his 8th goal of the season. Stoke's unbeaten home run may be coming to an end, and against Southampton of all teams.

15:14:
Carrow Road,
Norwich vs Manchester City:  

Game on for Norwich. Winger Anthony Pilkington gets the home side back into the match with a 22-yard free-kick deflects off full-back Gael Clichy and beats Joe Hart.

15:17:
The Britannia Stadium,
Stoke vs Southampton:

Pressure easees off Stoke for a bit, as the hosts respond and deservedly find themselves level.
Full-back Ryan Shotton's cross into the box is nicely finished home by Stoke striker Kenwyne Jones, who scores his 2nd goal in 2 matches. 

15:20:
Craven Cottage,
Fulham vs Swansea:

We now have a goal in every match as Swansea's fringe striker Danny Graham responds to a Nathan Dyer shot being parried away by Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale, to score the rebound from close range. 

Long time coming: Danny Graham celebrates scoring his first goal since August to give Swansea the lead against Fulham.

1-0 to Swansea, and they have scored their 11th goal away from home today. 

15:25:
The Britannia Stadium,
Stoke vs Southampton:
 

Southampton are back into the lead! Lambert finds striker Jay Rodriguez with a nice through ball into the box, and he clinically strikes the ball into the net inside the 16-yard box. 

15:37:
The Britannia Stadium,
Stoke vs Southampton:

Shock so far from The Saints. Playing very well, and they have scored AGAIN to make it 3-1 away from home at Stoke! Lambert has a header from a cross, and he heads the ball back across goal before Stoke defender Andy Wilkinson bundles the ball into his own net.

3-1 up at half-time: Southampton striker Rickie Lambert celebrates his assist from an own goal.
Stoke are in trouble now...

15:43:
Carrow Road,
Norwich vs Manchester City:

No goal news to tell you all about, but City are down to ten men. Midfielder Samir Nasri, who was given a rare start today has been given a straight red card after a head-to-head clash with Norwich defender Sebastien Bassong.

Bust-up: Nasri and Bassong go head-to-head after Nasri was fouled by Bassong, and he reacted negatively.
Early shower: Nasri is given a straight red card after reacting phyiscally towards Bassong after being fouled by him.

He was initially fouled by him, but his reaction is the reason why he is off and going for an early shower. 
Will Norwich punish the defending champions now? Who knows.

15:50:

HALF-TIME SCORES:

Norwich 1 Manchester City 2
Aston Villa 0 Wigan 1
Stoke 1 Southampton 3
Reading 1 West Ham 0
Fulham 0 Swansea 1
Manchester United 1 West Brom 0

16:02: The second halves have all kicked off.  

 
16:11:


And 3 more goals have flown in at the start of the second halves: 

Norwich 1 Manchester City 3 - Striker Sergio Aguero scores his 6th goal of the season, as City continue to cruise despite going down to ten men thanks to Nasri's dismissal.

Fulham 0 Swansea 2 - Swansea midfielder Jonathan de Guzman doubles The Swans lead in the 51st minute.

AS IT STANDS: Swansea move up to 8th place above Stoke on goal difference.

Aston Villa 0 Wigan 2 - Aston Villa are on course for their 3rd loss in a row, and 3 at home. 
Wigan defender Emmerson Boyce has doubled the lead for the away side after nice 1-2 play with striker Arouna Kone, and it does not look good for Villa. 

16:15: 
Craven Cottage,
Fulham vs Swansea:

Bryan Ruiz scores his 2nd goal of the season to bring Fulham back into the match.... 2-1.

16:17:
Villa Park,
Aston Villa vs Wigan:

Aroune Kone scores his 5th goal of the season to make it 3-0. No way back for Aston Villa, surely?   
  
16:58:

FULL-TIME SCORES:

Aston Villa 0 Wigan 3

Aston Villa lost their 3rd match at home in a row, having now conceded 15 goals in the last 3 matches. Not looking good for Paul Lambert, as they are getting closer and closer to the relegation zone.

Trouble: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is suddenly becoming under-fire after losing 3 matches in a row.

Kone, Boyce and Ramis with the goals to move the visitors out of the relegation zone.

Early lead: Wigan defender Ivan Ramis headed the away side into the lead after 3 minutes.
Easier than we thought: Ramis celebrates his goal after returning from injury.
There we go: Boyce celebrates doubling the lead against Aston Villa after some nice 1-2 play with Kone.
Finishing touch: Arouna Kone makes it 3-0 to Wigan in the 56th minute to score his 6th of the season.
Stoke City 3 Southampton 3

What.A.comeback. Stoke were 3-1 down at half-time, and their heads were down as it looked as though they were about to lose their 1st match of the season at home.  

Whatever Tony Pulis said at half-time, it had an instant impact on the playters. Defender, Matthew Upson made it 3-2 in the 67th minute from a corner kick, to make for a shaky last 20 minutes for Southampton.

However, defensive midfielder Steven N'Zonzi was given a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on Southampton midfielder Jack Cork in the 71st minute though, and it looked as though Stoke were not going to equalise anymore as they were down to ten men.  

Straight red: Stoke midfielder Steven N'Zonzi was given a red card for a dangerous tackle on Jack Cork.
But guess what? Striker Cameron Jerome completed the impossible for the hosts in the 90TH MINUTE and equalised with a great volley from 25 yards out which flew into the top corner.

What a comeback: Striker Cameron Jerome celebrates his 25-yard strike with the home fans in the 90th minute.

Stoke won a well deserved point after a great second-half performance (just like Tottenham earlier...) and Southampton got a point away from home, at The Britannia Stadium in a 6-goal thriller which you never see very often....

Manchester United 2 West Brom 0

In the 8th minute, West Brom defender Gareth McAuley scored an own goal to break the deadlock after winger Ashley Young's cross deflected off him into the net. 

Assist: Manchester United winger Ashley Young's cross into the box was turned into the net by Gareth McAuley.
Wrong end: West Brom defender Gareth McAuley deflected the ball into his own net to give United a 1-0 lead.

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie came off the bench to double the lead in the 90th minute to ensure all 3 points for United at home. This result moves Sir Alex Ferguson's men 7 points clear at the top of the table on the last weekend of 2012, despite City's 4-3 win away from home at Norwich. 

14 for the season: Robin van Persie comes off the bench to make it 2-0 in the 90th minute with a nice strike.
Instant impact: Sir Alex rested van Persie for most of the match, but he came off the bench to score.

FACT: van Persie is now the highest goal-scorer in the EPL this season, with 14 goals. 

Norwich 3 Manchester City 4 

This match was played at Carrow Road, as Norwich hosted the EPL defending champions.

Manager Roberto Mancini was rewarded after giving a rare start to Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko, who scored twice in the first 5 minutes of the match to get City off to the perfect start thanks to some lovely play with Silva and Aguero. 

Norwich winger Antony Pilkington scored a deflected free-kick from 20 yards out to get The Canaries back into the match in the 14th minute. 

Nicely done: Pilkington gets Norwich back into the match after a free-kick took a deflection hit Clichy before going into the net.

Manchester City winger Samir Nasri was given a straight red card for a physical reaction after being fouled by Norwich defender Sebastien Bassong in the 44th minute, and the visitors were down to ten men. 

However, Aguero made it 3-1 to the away side shortly after half-time in the 50th minute with a cheek chip over Norwich goalkeeper Mark Bunn.

Cheeky chip: Aguero chips goalkeeper Mark Bunn to give City a 3-1 lead after 50 minutes.
7 for the season: Sergio Aguero celebrates making it 3-1 at Carrow Road.

Norwich defender Russell Martin gave the hosts a chance of an equaliser, after a header in the 60th minute beat Joe Hart and fell into the net.  

Back in it: Norwich defender Russel Martin heads The Canaries' 2nd goal, to make it 3-2.

Dzeko completed his hat-trick in the 67th minute after he beat the offside trap and had a shot but the ball bounced off Mark Bunn into his own net. Maybe it was an own goal, but Dzeko would want to claim it. 

Russell Martin made it 4-3 in the 75th minute with a tap-in after a corner was failed to be cleared by the Manchester City defence. 

The match ended 4-3, with Norwich not able to equalise.
Manchester City win a hard-fought 3 points away from home, and are now 7 points behind the EPL leaders Manchester United having played 20 matches.

Norwich are stuck in mid-table 11th place, having played well today but not scoring enough to equalise or win the match.   

Fulham 1 Swansea 2

This match was played at Craven Cottage, as Fulham hosted Swansea. 

Goals from Danny Graham and Jonathan De Guzman gave The Swans a comfortable 2-0 lead with just over 35 minutes to play.

Fulham winger Bryan Ruiz scored his 2nd goal of the season to provide a tense last 30 minutes, but the away side held on for all 3 points. They stay in 9th place because of Stoke's last minute draw, while Fulham are in 14th.

Reading 1 West Ham United 0 

Pavel Pogrebnyak scored the only goal of the match in the 5th minute after West Ham defender James Collins' misplaced pass was intercepted by the Russian. 

West Ham were not able to get back into the match, and Reading win only their 2nd match of the season, but stay in 19th place. 


Arsenal vs Newcastle United:  

The last match of 8 today comes from The Emirates Stadium, as 7th placed Arsenal host Newcastle United who are stuck in 15th place.

Team Line-ups:

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla, Oxlade Chamberlain, Podolski, Walcott.

Subs: Mannone, Rosicky, Giroud, Ramsey, Djourou, Coquelin, Gervinho.


Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, Perch, Santon, Obertan, Bigirimana, Tiote, Marveaux, Ba, Cisse.

Subs: Harper, Shola Ameobi, Sammy Ameobi, Ferguson, Tavernier, Abeid, Streete.

  
18:18: HALF-TIME:


Arsenal 1 Newcastle 1


Theo Walcott broke the deadlock for The Gunners in the 20th minute after slotting the ball past Tim Krul into the net from a good through ball from striker Lukas Podolski.

Nicely done: Arsenal forward Theo Walcott slots the ball past Tim Krul to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Sign me up! Theo Walcott wheels away to celebrate his 6th goal of the season.

Newcastle striker Demba Ba scored his 12th goal of the season with a free-kick from 20 yards out which took a deflection off midfielder Jack Wilshere and wrong footed goalkeeper Szczesny, before finding its way into the net.  

Curling free-kick: Newcastle striker Demba Ba equalises in the 41st minute from 20 yards out.
Equaliser: Newcastle striker Demba Ba celebrates his goal with Perch, Marveaux and Cisse.
  
19:25: 

FULL-TIME: 

Arsenal 7 Newcastle United 3  

Arsenal showed domination and clinical finishing in the second half, with a 10 goal thriller on show.

Midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored his 3rd goal in the EPL since February with a strike from 20 yards out in the 51st minute.

Clinical: Arsenal startlet Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain makes it 2-1 to the hosts in the 50th minute.
There we go: Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates his goal which put Arsenal back ahead - but not for long.


Newcastle winger Sylvain Marveaux exposed the Arsenal defensive frailties by making it 2-2 in the 59th minute.

Lukas Podolski scored his 6th goal of the season to make it 3-2 in the 64th minute, before Ba equalised again to make it 3-3.   

Everything on the line: Arsenal striker Lukas Podolski heads The Gunners into a 3-2 lead.
It's Ba again: Demba Ba takes advantage of a weak Arsenal defence to score his second of the day.

Walcott doubled his tally for the day with a goal in the 73rd minute, before substitute Olivier Giroud scored twice in 2 minutes to make it 6-3 to the hosts

Diving header: Arsenal striker and substitute Olivier Giroud comes off the bench to score twice for the hosts.
Super sub: Olivier Giroud celebrates his 6th goal in the EPL this season with team-mate Santi Cazorla.

Walcott ended the rout in the 90th minute to make it 7-3, and move Arsenal into 5th place with one match in hand over most sides. 

EPL Recap:

  • Robin van Persie came off the bench to score for United, as they won 2-0 at home against West Brom.
  • Tottenham came back from losing 1-0 to win 2-1 at Sunderland in the early afternoon fixture.
  • Wigan piled on the misery for Aston Villa with a 3-0 victory at Villa Park.
  • Swansea showed they can win without Michu, with a 2-1 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage. 
  • Pogrebnyak scored the only goal of the match as Reading beat West Ham 1-0.
  • Dzeko scored a hat-trick, and Aguero also got on the scoresheet as City beat Norwich 4-3 at Carrow Road. 
  • Stoke came back from 3-1 down at half-time, to draw 3-3 against Southampton to keep their unbeaten home run alive.
  • Arsenal and Newcastle involved in a 10-goal thriller, with Walcott scoring a hat-trick for the hosts in a 7-3 victory at The Emirates.   

Thank you for joining me today, and I will be back tomorrow for the last 2 matches which can hopefully be as enthralling as today. 
Hard to beat though, with 35 goals from 8 matches. Great advert for the EPL.