Hello and welcome to my latest blog installment of this season's English Premier League.
This lovely Sunday afternoon has 3 interesting matches for all of you die-hard football fans to enjoy and analysis with close detail, including the much anticipated Manchester derby at 1.30pm.
I am going to be covering all of the matches, while analysising.
|Fierce battle: Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini go head-to-head for the first time after City won the title.|
|Last season: Manchester City were crowned EPL champions for the first time in over 40 years.|
|But now: City will not play in Europe past Christmas after failing to qualify for the Europa League.|
|Back with a bang: Rooney starts against City today, after scoring an overhead kick against them in 2011.|
|A scene to forget: United fans were tearing their hair out after a 6-1 thrashing last season.|
Subs: Johnstone, Jones, Smalling, Giggs, Hernandez, Scholes, Welbeck.
FACT: This is van Persie's first Manchester derby today. Can he bring the goods away from home at The Ethiad?
FACT: Rooney and van Persie have together scored 14 goals this season - compared to 6 from Balotelli and Aguero.
|On fire: Robin van Persie has scored 10 goals for United this season so far - and he starts today.|
Subs: Pantilimon, Maicon, Lescott, Tevez, Javi Garcia, Dzeko, Kolo Toure.
|Playmaker: David Silva is back in the Manchester City squad after suffering a hamstring injury.|
FACT: Manchester City can go top with a win at home today.
FACT: City are unbeaten in the league this season. Can they maintain that against local rivals United today?
13:26: The teams are walking out of the tunnel onto the pitch now.. getting ready for the English version of the 'El Clasico'.
13:30: Manchester City defender and captain Vie nt Kompany is trying to encourage and motivate his fellow team-mates for this fierce derby match. The fans are all hyper and excited ready for the match.
0: The referee has blown the whistle to start the first Manchesster derby of the season between 1st placed United and 2nd placed defending champions City at The Ethiad Stadium.
3: The intensity levels have increased already after a cheeky foul by Rooney on Yaya Toure.
4: Manchester City free-kick after Aguero is pulled down by Ferdinand from 25 yards out.
5: Balotelli stands over the free-kick, and hits the ball low and hard towards goal.... PARRIED away by De Gea for a City corner. It was creeping in and curling at the last second, so De Gea had to get a touch to that to be sure.
8: Manchester City dominating and dictacting the pace of the match now, settling into the match and passing the ball well. Trying to make their rivals uncomfortable.
11: Nice passing by City, wonderrful football. Silva's through ball finds Clichy who runs down the wing and crosses the ball into Balotelli. He hits the ball toward goal.... OVER THE BAR!
That was a well wide shot by the Italian. He should have at least got the shot on target there.
12: Silva's corner whipped into the box is caught and fumbled by De Gea who eventually picks it up and throws it to Valencia who goes on the counter attack. There is no-one with him in support, and the counter breaks down.
13: Balotelli slides in on Manchester United defender Jonny Evans near the touchline. United free-kick, and Evans limps off the pitch to recieve treatment after the tackle.
15: Balotelli goes on a counter attack with a through ball towards Aguero who tries to contol the ball, but instead takes a big touch and De Gea comes out of goal to smother the ball.
17: A Manchester United counter attack finds winger Ashley Young beating his man with electric pace. He finds Rooney with a through ball in the centre off the wing.
Rooney runs with the ball at his feet past Clichy and Barry. He runs towards the 18-yard box before hitting a low, hard, slow strike towards goal......
GOAL! Against the run of play, United lead thanks to a trickling shot by Rooney which left Hart rooted to the spot.
|Against the run of play: Striker Wayne Rooney scores a low hard shot to give United the lead.|
|5th goal of the season: Rooney celebrates his goal with creators van Persie and Young.|
18: Chris Smalling and Kolo Toure are both getting ready to come on as substitutes due to injuries for Jonny Evans and Vincent Kompany who have both picked up knocks that they cannot run off.
20: There is the Manchester City substituion confirmed.
Vincent Kompany OFF
Kolo Toure ON
Kompany has limped off and is frustrated because he has a groin injury.
22: The composure and style that City had before hand has gone now, and United are pressuring City into another goal.
Last 10 minutes possession:
Manchester City - 35%, Manchester United - 65%
23: Aguero avoids 4 challenges from Evans, Ferdinand, Rafael before findind space inside the box to shoot towards goal.... SAVED by De Gea. Still 1-0 to United, as Aguero almost pulled back level.
If the shot was more powerful, slightly higher and not straight at De Gea, then it would have been a different story altogether.
25: A Manchester United corner comes of nothing as van Persie's delivery and follow up is blocked.
28: GOAL! United have doubled their lead! Rooney has scored again after a low cross into the box, and he hit the ball low and hard towards the far corner of the net and Hart was not saving that!
|Rooney scores his 2nd of the day to give United a comfortable 2-0 lead against rivals City.|
|Dominance: United celebrate Rooney's 2nd goal to give them a 2-0 lead at The Ethiad.|
FACT: That was Rooney's 150th English Premier League goal.
33: Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri has rolling around on the floor after a foul by Evans. Evans won the ball, but it was the follow through which caught Nasri. Free-kick to City now.
34: A ball into the box is comfortably saving and caught well by De Gea. City need to test the goalkeeper more often and quickly if they are to get back into this match.
36: Just under 10 minutes left to play in the first half at The Ethiad. City trail by 2 goals to nil thanks to Wayne Rooney.
37: Manchester City are having the ball, but they are not testing the goalkeeper or doing anything concrete with it. A City corner comes of nothing.
39: Manchester United free-kick after a collison between Pablo Zabaleta and Ashley Young sees the latter on the floor in pain.
Defensive duties come with a price for Young as he tried to stop Aguero from going inside the box.
45: The referee blows the whistle to end the first half at The Ethiad Stadium.
The away side, United are leading by 2 goal to nil after some good counter attacking punished City's defence.
City are certainly missing captain Vincent Kompany after he was substituted after suffering a groin injury.
City need to pressure the United goalkeeper De Gea more if they want to win or even get a point now that they are trailing by 2 goals to nil. United are in the driving seat, and if the score stays like this then United are 6 points clear of rivals City.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Gallas, Caulker, Vertonghen, Lennon, Sandro, Dembele, Dempsey, Adebayor, Defoe.
50: Manchester United are pressuring City's defence with crosses on the wing by Antonio Valencia.
51: Manchester City SUB:
Mario Balotelli OFF
Carlos Tevez ON
And we knew that sub was coming... Tevez has more goals this season, and has something to prove against his former club. He should have started though to be honest.
53: Samir Nasri is booked for decent after complaining to the referee.
56: Manchester City starting to play quicker and better football now... Aguero is found in by Clichy on the wing who takes a first tocuh to control the ball before curling the ball towards goal from 20 yards out.... CLOSE!!!!
Aguero was looking for a top corner finish there, and he almost got it!
58: Robin van Persie used good footwork to skill up a City defender before curling a shot towards goal..... OFF THE WOODWARK!!! The ball comes back to Young who shoots... GOAL!!! Young has surely wrapped up the mat.... OFFSIDE! Disallowed by the linesman.
59: GOAL! Manchester City have brought one back and are suddenly back into the match after a great double save by David De Gea! Yaya Toure found the ball at his feet inside the 16-yard box and hit the ball low and hard out of De Gea's reach. 2-1, and City are back with a shout in the match now!
|Scrappy: Yaya Toure gives City a lifeline after De Gea's double save is not enough to deny him.|
|Back in it: Yaya Toure celebrates his goal to give City hope with Nasri, 30 minutes from time.|
60: Controversy though at the other side because the goal that was disallowed for offside by Ashley Young has been replayed on the cameras, and it has shown that he was in fact NOT OFFSIDE.
The goals should have stood, and United should be 3-0 up now.
62: The intensity levels have risen ten fold now, with both sides flying in with tackles. City are desperate to win and equalise now.
64: Manchester United counter attack, with Patrice Evra running into the 18-yard box with Kolo Toure in-front off him while jockeying him. Toure clatters into him, and Evra drops to the ground.... NO PENALTY!! by the referee, as he waves play on. There was contact there, but was it enough?!
65: Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is given a yellow card after a dangerous tackle on former United team-mate Carlos Tevez, as Rafael is recieving treatment on a knock.
67: A dangerous counter attack by Manchester City, with a through ball by Aguero finding Tevez inside the penalty are. Evra is holding on to Tevez inside the box, and he stays on his feet to take a shot...... comfortable save by De Gea.
Weak shot as Evra was blocking him.
69: Manchester United corner whipped into the box by Wayne Rooney, but the header was not on target, and the ball goes out for a City goal-kick.
72: A whole host of players are warming up on the touchline, with Javi Garcia and Dzeko for City and on the other side, strikers Welbeck and Hernandez for United.
Elsewhere - Everton vs Tottenham Hotspur has just kicked off at Goodison Park.
73: Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney tries to stop Yaya Toure on his skillful run by sliding in. Yaya Toure jumps over the challenge and continues on his run before play is stopped by the referee, with no advantage being played.
75: Manchester City defensive midfielder Yaya Toure collides into United midfielder Tom Cleverley.
Toure is given a yellow card for a dangerous and late challenge on the Englishman, and is now on the floor suffering the effects of the collision.
77: Play has resumed, with a Manchester City corner being broken down by the United defence.
78: Rooney finds Cleverley with a neat little pass on the wing, who crosses the ball deep into the box for van Persie who is lurking....
van Persie heads the ball towards goal...... OVER THE BAR!!! Unlucky by the Dutchman.
79: David Silva with a lovely cutback inside the box past a United defender. He has a shot from the near post towards goal.... PARRIED away over the bar! by David De Gea.
I am not sure that De Gea knew the ball hit him, but the ball hit his shoulder before going out of play.
82: Manchester City are on the counter attack again after Valencia loses possession after suffering an injury in cramp. Nasri has the ball at his feet inside the box, but loses it and drops to the floor.
83: Manchester City SUB:
Yaya Toure OFF
Edin Dzeko ON
Toure limps off the pitch uncomfortably after the knock earlier on with Cleverley...
84: Manchester United SUB:
Antonio Valencia OFF
Phil Jones ON
Jones replaces Valencia as a precautionary measure after he suffered cramp.
86: GOAL! Manchester City have come back! 2-2 now after a corner found defender Zabaleta who hit a piledriver straight past De Gea into the bottom corner of the net.
|Piledriver: City full-back Zabaleta equalises with a powerful shot past De Gea to make it 2-2.|
|Against the odds: City were 2-0 down at half-time, and came back to equalise with 5 minutes left.|
87: This match has been end-to-end throughout, and City are looking to complete an epic comeback by scoring again.
89: Carlos Tevez is given a yellow card for decent after being pulled down in the box and not given a penalty.
90: The fourth official signals for 4 minutes of stoppage time to be added on at The Ethiad. 2-2 in the fierce Manchester derby.
90+1: Manchester United free-kick after Rafael was fouled just outside the box.
90+2: Robin van Persie steps up to take the free-kick..... shoots... GOAL!!!! The ball took a deflection on the way in, but beat Hart and fell into the bottom corner of the net! United take the lead again! Late drama at The Ethiad!
|Late: van Persie curls a free-kick past the City wall to score a late winner in stoppage time.|
|Mr.Consistent: van Persie celebrates his 11th EPL goal of the season in-front of the Red Devils.|
90+3: Late drama and controversy now, as Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has been hit with a missile of some sort by a Manchester City supporter. He is bleeding on his face and will require treatment from the touchline.
|Disgrace: Ferdinand is helped off the pitch by team-mate Welbeck after being struck by a missile.|
|Shame: Ferdinand walks off the pitch alongside the United physio after suffering a head cut.|
|Stepping in: Hart blocks a City fan from attack Ferdinand after he comes onto the pitch.|
90+4: Manchester City players are distraught after conceding the winning goal so late on in the match. They kick off, and they are absolutely livid after this.
90+5: The referee blows the whistle to end the match at The Ethiad Stadium.
Manchester United double their 3-point lead at the top of the table to 6 points.
Robin van Persie with a late free-kick winner to beat their fiercest rivals Manchester City, and what a way to cap off his Manchester derby debut.
City will be bitterly disappointed after coming back from 2 goals down to equalise 2-2 with 5 minutes to go.
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Collins, Reid, O'Brien, Taylor, Diame, Nolan, Noble, Jarvis, Cole.
11: GOAL! Liverpool have taken the lead away from home within the first 15 minutes of the match!
A great high, powerful strike by ful-back Glen Johnson who unleashed a thunderbolt shot which looped over Jussi Jaaskelainen's head into the back of the net.
|Unstoppable: Glen Johnson blasts a powerful, high shot looping over Jaaskelainen to break the deadlock.|
The Reds lead away from home already, and what a grat start. They can start to dictate the pace of the match, and control the tempo now that they rae a goal ahead.
27: Liverpool SUB:
Jose Enrique OFF
Joe Cole ON
Enrique is forced off the pitch due to suffering an injury, and is unable to continue so will be replaced by Joe Cole who will play on the wings and attack, as well as defend on the odd occasion.
31: Jonjo Shelvey has been booked after a silly, late challenge on West Ham midfielder Diame.
33: West Ham go on the counter attack with Diame sprinting towards the 18-yard box, and Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard slides in trying to win th ball, but instead fouls Diame.
Free-kick to West Ham in a dangerous position from 25 yards out, and Gerrard is given a yellow card for his troubles.
34: West Ham midfielder Matthew Taylor hits the free-kick hard and fast past the wall towards goal... COMFORTABLE SAVE! by Pepe Reina. It was sttraight at him, and he deals with the danger effectively.
35: West Ham are continuing to pressurise Liverpool with Jarvis whipping balls into the box, left, right and centre. They are troubling Liverpool's defence, and a shot is blocked by Joe Allen inside the 16-yard box..... PENALTY GIVEN!!!
36: West Ham midfielder Mark Noble steps up cooly to take the penalty.... he shoots towards goal.... GOAL!!! Reina guessed the right direction, but the shot was too powerful and fast for him to save or parry the ball out to safety. West Ham are back into the match, and have equalised.
|Equaliser: West Ham midfielder Mark Noble levels the scoring at 1-1 from the penalty spot.|
|Back on level terms: Noble celebrates his penalty goal past Reina with Nolan and Cole.|
37: West Ham's Matthew Taylor is given a yellow card after a dangerous tackle on Liverpool's 17-year-old winger Raheem Sterling, with studs up into his stomach. Free-kick, and he can have no complaints with being booked.
GOAL UPDATE - Everton 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1
Tottenham and American midfielder Clint Dempsey has broken the deadlock for the away side at Goodison Park with just under 15 minutes to play to score his 3rd EPL goal of the season.
|1-0: Tottenham midfielder Clint Dempsey breaks the deadlock with just under 15 minutes to go at Goodison Park.|
|On top of the world: Dempsey celebrates his goal with Huddlestone after putting Spurs ahead.|
Spurs will go level on points with 3rd placed Chelsea with a win against Everton today.
42: West Ham are trying to give Liverpool's defence trouble again now, with the score at 1-1 with a couple of minutes to play.
43: West Ham winger Matthew Jarvis whips a ball deep into the box for a header... the ball is headed into the net!! GOAL! West Ham are in-front after trailing 1-0!
44: Replays show that the goalscorer was actually Liverpool captain and midfielder Steven Gerrard, so it will unluckily go down as an own goal by Gerrard. 2-1 to West Ham.
|Unlucky: Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard accidentally heads the ball into his own net to give West Ham the lead.|
45: The fourth official on the touchline has signalled for 3 minutes of stoppage time to be added on.
45+3: The referee has blown the whistle to end the first half at Upton Park, where West Ham lead 2-1 after Johnson's strike put the hosts behind after 11 minutes.
GOAL UPDATE - Everton 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1
Midfielder Steven Pienaar has equalised for The Toffees in stoppage time to give the hosts a point against Spurs. Late drama there!
|Equaliser: Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar scores to make it 1-1 against his former club Tottenham.|
GOAL UPDATE - Everton 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1
What a turn around by the hosts! 1-0 down with 3 minutes to go in stoppage time, and striker Nikica Jelavic makes it 2-1 to Everton!
Tottenham are in shock, and so are Everton fans!
|Late winner: Everton striker Nikica Jelavic scores in stoppage time to make it 2-1 against Spurs.|
16:57: FULL-TIME SCORE:
Everton 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1
Late drama at Goodison Park, thanks to goals from Pienaar and Jelavic in stoppage time. Everton win all 3 points, and move up to 4th place, leapfrogging Champions League qualification rivals Tottenham and Arsenal in the process.
|Late drama: Everton celebrate their 2-1 win after trailing 1-0 with 3 minutes to go at home against Spurs.|
17:05: The second half has started at Upton Park between West Ham and Liverpool.
The hosts are currently leading by 2 goals to 1, and a win would see them move up to 6th place. However, Liverpool also need the 3 points as they are stuck in 12th at the moment.
It will be an interesting second half to say the least.
Still 2-1 in West Ham's favour with just over 20 minutes plus stoppage time to be played at Upton Park. Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey came close to equalising for The Reds after a delivery into the box found him on the head, but his header was wide.
Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson replaces Lucas Leiva as a substitution for Brendan Rodgers, meanwhile West Ham midfielder Mohamed Diame is replaced by James Tomkins after he suffered an injury and had to be stretchered off the pitch.
Lovely 1-2 play by Liverpool, with Sterling and Shelvey linking up well to find winger Joe Cole with a through ball inside the 18-yard box. Cole avoids the challenge of two West Ham defenders before hitting a stinging shot towards goal and SCORES!
2-2, and Joe Cole scores his first goal of the season against his old club West Ham to equalise with just under 15 minutes to go.
|Calm down: Joe Cole shows respect to his former club West Ham by not celebrating.|
FACT: Liverpool have not scored in the last 15 minutes of a match this season - until now.
Jordan Henderson ran down the wing with pace who delivers a low cross into Jonjo Shelvey who made a run before clipping the ball with his boot over the head of Jussi Jaaskelainen. GOAL!!! Shelvey scores for Liverpool and puts them back ahead with just over 10 minutes to go!
|Winner: Shelvey and Sterling celebrate the 3rd goal for Liverpool against West Ham in the 80th minute.|
17:50: The fourth official signals for 5 minutes of stoppage time to be added on at Upton Park.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is not happy about it though.
17:52: Shelvey is denied a stonewall penalty inside the box after being tackled by defender Winston Ried. No penalty, and West Ham are lucky not to be penalised.
17:56: The referee blows the whistle toe end the match at Upton Park, with the away side Liverpool beating West Ham 3-2 without their talisman Luis Suarez.
The Reds move up into the top half of the table in 10th with another 3 points.
West Ham drop down to 11th place.
Thank you for reading my EPL Blog, and I will be back to analyse these matches later on this week along with an EPL News Update:
Newcastle United vs Fulham - LIVE at 8:00pm
Sunderland vs Reading - LIVE at 7:45pm
Capital One Cup Quarter-Final matches:
Bradford and Arsenal, and Norwich vs Aston Villa.