Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Wednesday Boxing Day LIVE Special:



Hello everyone! I hope that you all had a great day yesterday on Christmas Day, and enjoyed lots of food and drink with your family. But now, it is Boxing Day also known as the day after the night before. 

Today in the English Premier League, there are 9 EPL matches for all to enjoy while everyone finishes their leftovers from last night. Arsenal vs West Ham is the only match which does NOT go ahead, due to a tube strike in the area which will not allow supporters to get into the ground safely.

Here are the matches being played today (3pm unless stated):

Everton vs Wigan Athletic:

This match will be played at Goodison Park, as Everton look to boost their qualification hopes for the Europa League with a win at home against Wigan. It will not be easy for them, as Wigan have a strong defence, but the visitors strikeforce of Gomez and Kone may not be enough to trouble David Moyes' men.

Fulham vs Southampton:

Craven Cottage is the home of 13th placed Fulham. They host 17th placed Southampton, who are desperate to get further away from the relegation zone in a bid to stay in the EPL in their first season after promotion last season.  

Could Dimitar Berbatov or Rickie Lambert be the difference?

Manchester United vs Newcastle United:

The EPL leaders host a Newcastle side who have lost 4 matches away from home this season. They drew against Swansea last time out, and will be hoping for a win today at home.

It will not be easy for them, as Newcastle are a solid side despite their injuries to their squad. 
But they need a win at Old Trafford today. Or else their grip on the title will slip with City right behind them.

Norwich City vs Chelsea:

Norwich have been a surprise to everyone this season. Sitting in 10th place, with 25 points out of a possible 54.

Chelsea have come back from their Club World Cup adventure with a bang. An 8-0 bang in this case. A 8-0 thrashing of Aston Villa on Sunday proves that The Blues are hungry for Champions League qualification.

They can prove it today against a side that are underdogs at home, but who knows. They could pull off an upset.

QPR vs West Bromwich Albion:

QPR have been poor this season. Winning 1 out of 18 does not bode well for their hopes of staying in the EPL this season. 
However, after the appointment of former Tottenham and Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp, QPR have looked much different despite losing matches. The question is whether they can win at home today.

They have a tough test against 7th place West Brom, who can move into the TOP 4 with an away win today (as long as results go their way).

Reading vs Swansea City:

Not a Christmas cracker at The Madejski, but Reading NEED 3 points. They are stuck at the bottom of the table in 20th place, and a win at home will see them go into 19th, provided QPR lose to West Brom.  

Swansea on the other hand can move up to 8th place with a win, so a lot is counting on this match.

Sunderland vs Manchester City:

Speaking of a lot counting on matches, The Stadium Of Light is going to be a tense atmosphere. 

The hosts are in 15th place, and anything but a win will see them further pushed back into the relegation battle.
Manchester City need a win also, because they want to continue the pressure on rivals United because they are only 4 points away from top spot.

It will come down to who wants it more....

Aston Villa vs Tottenham Hotspur - LIVE at 5:30pm

Stoke City vs Liverpoool - LIVE at 7:45pm


Team Line-ups: 

Manchester United vs Newcastle United:

Man United: De Gea, Smalling, Evra, Evans, Ferdinand, Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Scholes, Hernandez, van Persie.
Subs: Lindegaard, Vidic, Cleverley, Fletcher, Buttner, Wootton, Tunnicliffe.

A changed United line-up, with the absence of Rooney who is left out of the squad.
Giggs and Scholes both start, along with Hernandez and Carrick. 
Vidic drops to the bench, while Ferdinand comes back into defence.

Newcastle: Krul, Coloccini, Santon, Simpson, Williamson, Perch, Anita, Marveaux, Bigirimana, Cisse, Ba.
Subs: Elliot, Shola Ameobi, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Ferguson, Tavernier, Campbell.

Super sub Shola Ameobi (who scored the winner against QPR on Saturday) starts - FROM THE BENCH.
Gael Bigirimana is in the midfield, along with Vurnon Anita. 
5-2-1-2 formation for Alan Pardew.
Bigirimana and Anita the defensive midfielders, with Marveaux the lone winger. Ba and Cisse are up top, and the strikeforce.


Norwich v Chelsea:

Norwich: Bunn; R Martin, Bassong, Turner, Garrido, Pilkington, Johnson, Tettey, Snodgrass, Hoolahan, Holt.
Subs: Rudd, Howson, Jackson, Morison, E. Bennett, Barnett, R. Bennett.

Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole, Luiz, Mikel, Mata, Oscar, Moses, Torres.
Subs: Turnbull, Ake, Ferreira, Lampard, Marin, Hazard, Piazon.

Lampard and Hazard drop to the bench, while Oscar starts.
4-4-1-1 formation for Rafa Benitez.

QPR vs West Brom:

QPR: Green; Fabio, Ferdinand, Hill, Traore; Faurlin, Mbia; Mackie, Taarabt, Wright-Phillips; Cisse. 
Subs: Cesar, Diakite, Derry, Granero, Hoilett, Ehmer, Dyer.

West Brom: Foster; Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Popov Mulumbu, Morrison Fortune, Gera, Brunt, Lukaku. 
Subs: Myhill; Ridgewell, Rosenberg, Long, Dorrans, Odemwingie, Tamas.


Sunderland vs Manchester City:

Sunderland: Mignolet, Gardner, Rose, Kilgallon, Cuellar, Larsson, Colback, Johnson, McClean, Sessegnon, Fletcher.  
Subs: Bardsley, Campbell, Wickham, McFadden, Vaughan, Bramble, Westwood.

Man City: Hart, Kompany, Zabaleta, K Toure, Nastasic, Y Toure, Garcia, Silva, Milner, Aguero, Tevez.
Subs: Pantilimon; Lescott, Rekik; Razak, Sinclair, Barry; Dzeko.


Fulham vs Southampton:

Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Hangeland, Senderos, Riise, Dejagah, Sidwell, Baird, Kacaniklic, Berbatov, Rodallega. Subs: Stockdale, Kelly, Karagounis, Briggs, Hughes, Ruiz, Frei.

Southampton: K Davis, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Shaw, 
Schneiderlin, Cork, S Davis, Puncheon, Ramirez, Lambert. 
Subs: Boruc, Hooiveld, Rodriguez, Ward-Prowse, Guly, Richardson, Mayuka.

Everton vs Wigan:

Everton: Howard, Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Osman, Hitzlsperger, Gibson, Pienaar, Jelavic, Anichebe. 
Subs: Mucha, Heitinga, Oviedo, Naismith, Gueye, Barkley, Vellios.

Wigan: A
l Habsi, Boyce, Caldwell, Figueroa, Stam, McCarthy, Jones, McArthur, Beausejour, Maloney, Kone.

 Subs: Pollitt, Di Santo, Gomez, McManaman, Boselli, Ramis, Golobart.


Reading vs Swansea:



Reading: Federici; Harte, Mariappa, Pearce, Gunter; McAnuff, Karacan, Leigertwood, Kebe; Guthrie; Pogrebnyak. Subs: Taylor, Cummings, Morrison, Tabb, Robson-Kanu, Le Fondre, Hunt.



Swansea: Vorm, Tiendalli, Chico, Williams, Davies, Britton, Ki, Michu, Routledge, Dyer, Moore.

Subs: Tremmel, Bartley, Monk, Agustien, De Guzman, Schechter, Graham.




15:00: The 7 3pm kick-off's have all started, apart from the match at Loftus Road.
They have decided to delay the match until 3.15 due to safety.

15:03:

Old Trafford,
Manchester United vs Newcastle United:

GOAL! The hosts have conceded believe it or not. Their defensive errors this season have continued. Striker Demba Ba's shot was parried away by goalkeeper David De Gea, but the ball fell to full-back James Perch to tap the ball into the net.

15:07:
Chants of "You shouldn't be here!" at Manchester United striker Robin van Persie from the Newcastle fans. This is embarassing for Sir Alex, who said that he could have died with a hit to the head on Sunday against Swansea.

15:09:

Craven Cottage,
Fulham vs Southampton:

The battle between 13th and 17th place has truly begun.
Striker Dimitar Berbatov has broken the deadlock to score his 6th goal this season in the EPL inside 10 minutes after converting Sascha Riether's cross.
He has also recieved a booking for his troubles after revealing a T-shirt which read "Keep calm and pass me the ball"

Interesting...

15:25:

Old Trafford,
Manchester United vs Newcastle United:

And guess what! It did not take long, as defender Jonny Evans has equalised for United with a lunging tap-in from close range after a Hernandez shot was saved by Tim Krul. 1-1, and United are back into the match. 


Back in the match: Manchester United defender Jonny Evans equalises for the home side after 25 minutes.
15:29:

Old Trafford,
Manchester United vs Newcastle United:

Ignore what I said! Newcastle are back in-front. And guess who scored?! 
Jonny Evans with a deflected own goal.
Controversy, as Newcastle would not have been given the goal if the strike did not hit the defender, but it did so they are BACK in the lead.

But despite that, Newcastle take the lead again. 2-1. 

15:39:

Carrow Road,
Norwich vs Chelsea:

The deadlock has broken just before half-time, and the lead has gone to the away side Chelsea. Winger Juan Mata has scored his 7th goal of the season with a great strike past Mark Bunn to put Benitez's men ahead after a nice attacking move with midfielders Moses and Oscar. 


7th of the season: Chelsea winger Juan Mata has broken the deadlock at Carrow Road. 1-0.
Clinical: Mata celebrates his goal to put The Blues ahead in the 39th minute.

15:40:

Loftus Road,
QPR vs West Brom:

GOAL for the away side! West Brom midfielder Chris Brunt has opened the scoring with a great strike from 25 yards out after a good pass from team-mate Marc-Antoine Fortune.

Doesn't look as though QPR are winning at home today... 

15:48:

HALF-TIME SCORES:

Manchester United 1 Newcastle 2
Everton 0 Wigan 0
QPR 0 West Brom 1
Norwich 0 Chelsea 1
Sunderland 0 Manchester City 0
Fulham 1 Southampton 0
Reading 0 Swansea City 0

15:50:
Boos from the home side at Old Trafford as the players go into the tunnel. They are evidently unhappy about the players performance in the first half, as they are trailing to 14th placed Newcastle - which is not good for a side that want to regain the EPL title.

16:05:
Half time in the match between QPR and West Brom after the delayed start. 
And at the same time, all of the matches which started at 3pm have restarted with the second half underway.

Notably, Sir Alex Ferguson is not happy and is giving the referee and the linesman a talking to after the controversy surrounding Newcastle's 2nd goal.

16:11:

Goodison Park,
Everton vs Wigan Athletic:

It looks like Everton may end the drawing drought today at home. Midfielder Leon Osman has broken the deadlock with a deflected effort past goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.

16:12:

The Stadium Of Light,
Sunderland vs Manchester City:

The deadlock has been broken between 2nd and 15th place. And the latter have scored. 

Controversial goal, as Manchester City full-back Pablo Zabaleta was down injured on the floor, but winger Adam Johnson played on nonetheless to score against his former club and give the hosts the lead in the 54th minute. 
1-0, and the defending EPL champions are under the knife.

16:15: The second half has started at Loftus Road between QPR and West Brom. 1-0 to West Brom.

16:16:

Old Trafford,
Manchester United vs Newcastle United:

GOAL! United have equalised! Manchester United's left-back Patrice Evra has made it 2-2 with a strike that beat goalkeeper Tim Krul. 
Questions will be asked from the Holland international though, because he should have done better to keep it out. 

16:21:

Loftus Road,
QPR vs West Brom:

GOAL! And the hosts are surely down and out now? 
A corner is headed by defender Anton Ferdinand. Goalkeeper Robert Green parries at the ball, and it falls into his own net under pressure from West Brom midfielder Fortune.
49 minutes gone, and QPR have a game to save now, having gone 2 goals down.

16:26:

Old Trafford,
Manchester United vs Newcastle United:

GOAL! Newcastle have re-taken the lead once more with striker Papiss Cisse scoring a beautiful goal to end his goal-scoring drought. Assist goes to former Manchester United winger Gabriel Obertan. United are behind again with just over 20 minutes to play.

16:29:

Old Trafford,
Manchester United vs Newcastle United:

GOAL! This time, it is for the hosts! 
Robin van Persie has scored his 13th goal with a follow-up after his shot was parried away by Tim Krul. 3-3, and this match is a thriller. What a match.

16:36: 

Goodison Park,
Everton vs Wigan:

Defender Phil Jagielka has doubled the hosts' lead with a power header from a cross thanks to defensive midfielder Phil Neville on his 500th EPL appearance.

16:39:

Loftus Road,
QPR vs West Brom:

The comeback is on for the hosts. Striker Djibril Cisse halves the deficit after defender Stephane M'Bia splits open the defence with a nice through ball pass.

16:40:

Goodison Park,
Everton vs Wigan:

Arouna Kone gives Wigan late hope of salvaging something away from home after scoring from close range with a scrappy shot after the ball bounced around in the area and he was there to slot home.

16:42:

Craven Cottage,
Fulham vs Southampton:

PENALTY for Southampton. Fulham defender Chris Baird handles the ball inside the box, and striker Rickie Lambert steps up to take the penalty.....
He shoots... GOAL! Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer got a hand to it, but Lambert's strike was too powerful for him. 1-1, and Southampton have equalised. 

16:50:

Old Trafford,
Manchester United vs Newcastle United:

LATE DRAMA! Striker Javier Hernandez has started this match today, and repaid the faith shown in him by Sir Alex - by scoring a late winner in the 90th minute! United have completed the comeback, having trailed for most of the match!


Late winner: Hernandez scores in the 90th minute to give United all 3 points at OT.


16:52:


FULL-TIME SCORES:

Everton 2 Wigan 1
Manchester United 4 Newcastle 3
Norwich City 0 Chelsea 1
Reading 0 Swansea 0
Fulham 1 Southampton 1
Sunderland 1 Manchester City 0


17:00:
FULL TIME - QPR 1 West Brom 2

The evening matches (Aston Villa vs Spurs and Stoke vs Liverpool) will be covered in my next blog post tomorrow.