Hello and welcome to my latest installment of my EPL Blog in this season's 2012-13 English Premier League. Today, there were 6 matches on show including Arsenal vs West Brom and Chelsea vs Sunderland in the 3pm kick-offs.
|Controversy: Arsenal were awarded a penalty after an apparent dive by Cazorla.|
|Clinical: Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta breaks the deadlock from the penalty spot.|
Arsenal dominated the match with their precise passing and showed glimpses of the old Arsenal who challenged hard for trophies every season, while bouncing back from the 2-0 defeat last Saturday against Swansea.
They move up to 6th place, within 2 points of local rivals Tottenham who play against Everton tomorrow in a crunch match at the top end of the table (4th vs 7th).
West Brom have now lost 3 matches in a row, and their good form at the start of the season is start to crumble in the run up to Christmas.
They are now in 5th place, behind Tottenham who are currently in the final Champions League spot.
Sunderland 1 Chelsea 3
This match was played at The Stadium of Light, as both managers Martin O'Neill and Rafael Benitez were under-fire after poor performances of late.
The game started well for the away side, thanks to a half volley from striker Fernando Torres to open the scoring after only 11 minutes.
|Impact: Torres breaks the deadlock after 11 minutes with a half volley past Mignolet.|
|Slowly, but surely: Torres celebrates his 5th goal of the season against Sunderland.|
Torres scored again to make it 2-0, but this time from the penalty spot just before half-time after Sunderland midfielder Sebastien Larsson fouled Chelsea winger Ramires inside the box.
|Clumsy: Larsson fouls Ramires inside the box to award Chelsea a stonewall penalty.|
|2 for me: Torres completes his brace from the penalty spot to give Chelsea a comfortable lead.|
Sunderland could not find a way back into the match, and were deservedly punished in the 48th minute after Torres' shot hit the crossbar, and the rebound fell to Juan Mata who did not fail to finish his golden chance to put the match to bed.
|Follow-up: Juan Mata takes advantage of the rebound from Torres' shot to make it 3-0.|
Sunderland's £10million summer signing Adam Johnson scored a consolation goal in the 66th minute, but Chelsea stuck firm away from home and got interim manager Benitez his first 3 points as boss.
|First three points on the job: Benitez wins his first EPL match as interim manager of Chelsea.|
|Partnership: Torres celebrates his 6th goal of the season, and has improved since Benitez took charge. |
|Stark contrast: Martin O'Neil looks frustrated as his side move back into the relegation zone.|
Southampton 1 Reading 0
This match was played at St. Mary's Stadium, with a relegation battle match between two of the bottom three in the league.
Midfielder Jason Puncheon scored the only goal of the match in the 61st minute to give the hosts all three points and push them out of the relegation zone into 15th place with 15 points.
|Vital: Jason Puncheon scores in the 61st minute to give Southampton an important 3 points.|
|Keep it up: Southampton move out of the bottom three after beating Reading today.|
Aston Villa 0 Stoke City 0
This match was a goal-less draw at Villa Park. The major news story was that Aston Villa's record signing Darren Bent was left on the bench AGAIN today.
|What about me? Bent has been left out of the Aston Villa squad on a number of occasions this season.|
|A bit surprising? Aston Villa's record-signing Darren Bent warms up during the match.|
|Injustice: Ryan Shotton tries to protest after being sent off by the referee after a dive by Delph.|
Swansea City 3 Norwich City 4
A 7-goal thriller at The Liberty Stadium in Wales, as Swansea lost their 5th home match of the season against a fired-up Norwich side.
The first half was all Norwich, with 3 goals by Whittaker, Bassong and Holt to give the away side a comfortable lead going into half-time.
|Cool as you like: Bassong celebrates his goal against Swansea to make it 2-0.|
|First-half rout: Holt celebrates his 4th goal of the season to make it 3-0 before half-time.|
Swansea midfielders Michu and Jonathan De Guzman each scored a goal between them during the second half in the 51st and 58th minute to give The Swans a lifeline and give Norwich pressure.
In the 77th minute, Robert Snodgrass made it 4-2 to Norwich which almost sealed the three points for the away side.
Miguel Michu doubled his tally for the day by scoring a late consolation goal in the 90th minute, but it was too late and not enough to earn his side a point.
|Frustration: Miguel Michu realises it is too late to equalise after scoring a late consolation goal.|
Wigan Athletic 2 QPR 2
This match was played at the DW Stadium, with a relegation battle clash between 17th placed Wigan and 20th placed QPR.
Midfielder James McCarthy broke the deadlock in the 18th minute to give his side a 1-0 lead.
|Deadlock broken: Midfielder James McCarthy scores in the 18th minute to make it 1-0.|
7 minutes later, defender Ryan Nelsen equalised for QPR thanks to a header past goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.
|Equaliser: Defender Ryan Nelsen heads QPR into an equaliser in the 25th minute.|
|Fighting spirit: Ryan Nelsen celebrates his rare goal for QPR to make it 1-1 against Wigan.|
Striker Djibril Cisse made it 2-1 to QPR after coming off the substitute's bench to cap off his return to the first-team, but McCarthy ensured that QPR did not win their first match of the season, and earned the home side a point after completing his double three minutes later.
|We are winning! Djibril Cisse scores for QPR to give them the lead in the 71st minute....|
|Flying high: Cisse celebrates his goal after coming on as a substitute.|
|Oh dear: McCarthy scores again to give Wigan a point, and deny QPR their first win of the season.|
Harry Redknapp's new boys continue their winless run. It is now 16 matches without a win in the EPL after a 2-2 draw against 17th placed Wigan - a side that they should be beating if they do not want to get relegated this season.
FACT: This is the worst winless run in the EPL since Sheffield United in the 1990-91 season.
Thank you for reading my EPL Blog, and I will be back tomorrow for LIVE Coverage of three matches:
|Clash of the titans: Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini go head-to-head tomorrow.|
Manchester City vs Manchester United: LIVE from 13:30pm at The Ethiad.
The most fierce derby in English history. The EPL leaders versus the defending champions.
Last year, Manchester City won both derby matches, and ended up with their first EPL trophy in over 40 years.
|Shock: Manchester City thrashed United at OT last season. Can they do it again at The Ethiad?|
|That was then: Kompany celebrates his winning header against Manchester United that sealed the title last season.|
This past week, they failed to qualify for the Europa League after a loss against Dortmund took them firmly out of the prestigious Champions League.
|This is now: City have now become the first English team not to win a CL group stage match after being knocked out last month.|
Who will have the impact in the traditional derby?
van Persie? Balotelli? Rooney? Tevez? Aguero? Hernandez?
|On-form: Robin van Persie has scored 10 in the EPL this season.|
|I am behind you: Carlos Tevez has got 7 goals in the EPL for Manchester City this season.|
|Balotelli's famous 'Why always me?' celebration after he scored in the 6-1 derby last season.|
|History: United fans will remember Rooney's overhead kick goal against City in 2011.|
Everton vs Tottenham Hotspur: LIVE from 3:00pm at Goodison Park.
This will be an interesting crunch match between two good sides who are desperate to play in Europe next season.
Tottenham have played well this season with 8 wins this season, while the hosts Everton could be in the top 4 if they stopped DRAWING.
|Top scorer: Jermain Defoe has scored 9 goals this season so far in the EPL.|
|Indispensable: Marouane Fellaini has scored 8 for The Toffees this term, and will be needed.|
Everton have drawn 8 matches this season, which is the joint-highest in the league along with Stoke.
And, West Ham United vs Liverpool: LIVE from 4:00pm at Upton Park.
An in-form West Ham host mid-table Liverpool in an interesting tea-time kick-off tomorrow.
There will be a huge gap left for both teams in the starting line-ups, as Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez are both unavailable to play due to injury and suspension respectively.
|Sidelined: Carroll will not be able to play against parent club Liverpool after suffering a knee injury.|
|Talisman out: Suarez is unavailable for Liverpool due to five yellow cards this season.|
West Ham could move up to 6th place with a win at home tomorrow, while Liverpool could leapfrog their opposition.