Sunday, 20 January 2013

Chelsea vs Arsenal, Tottenham vs Manchester United - LIVE Coverage:

Hello and welcome to my latest blog post, where I cover two of the biggest matches this weekend. 

First, at 1.30pm there is a London derby at Stamford Bridge between 3rd placed Chelsea and 6th placed Arsenal. 
Then, Tottenham host the EPL leaders Manchester United at White Hart Lane, as they look to beat United again, for back-to-back wins this season after their famous 3-2 win in October.

London derby: Chelsea host Arsenal at Stamford Bridge today. 

Chelsea vs Arsenal - Team Line-ups and Coverage:

Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole, Ramires, Lampard, Oscar, Mata, Hazard, Torres.

The midfield 3 of Oscar, Mata and Hazard all start for The Blues just behind Torres. 

Lampard and Ramires play as the two defensive midfielders in a 4-2-3-1 formation. 

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Coquelin, Wilshere, Diaby, Cazorla, Walcott, Giroud.

Coquelin and Diaby play as the two defensive midfielders, while Wilshere and Cazorla play in-front of them but behind Walcott and Giroud.

Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski are the notable absences from the starting 11 due to illness. 

Looking at the line-ups, Chelsea have a strong side and the pace and attacking flair of the midfield 3 could be too much for Mertesacker and Vermaelen to handle. 

If Arsenal had Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski today, they would be much stronger. But seeming as they are playing away from home, it does not look nice and bright for AW's side. 

13:30: The match has kicked off at a damp Stamford Bridge. 

1: Lampard has an ambitious shot from distance, but the shot flies into the stands. 

4: Walcott controls the ball well, and plays a through ball straight to Giroud inside the box... WIDE!!!
Giroud missed a golden chance to score there! Still 0-0.

5: GOAL! Chelsea have broken the deadlock already! Winger Juan Mata gets on the end of a lovely floated pass by Oscar, and he controls the ball well before shooting high into the top corner past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. 

Deadlock broken: Chelsea winger Juan Mata scores in the 5th minute with a high finish.
Quickfire: Chelsea mob Juan Mata after his goal puts the hosts ahead.

6: Controversy, as replays show that defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin was fouled by Chelsea midfielder Ramires before he lost the ball.

9: Arsene Wenger is furious at the decision to allow the goal, but midfielder Santi Cazorla has a shot from 25 yards out towards goal.... PARRIED!! by Cech. 

11: Chelsea forward Eden Hazard gets past the Arsenal defence with pace before forcing Szczesny to make a save at his near post.

Chelsea midfielder Ramires is tripped by goalkeeper Szczesny inside the box after weaving some magic to get past the defenders. Szczesny is booked for a clumsy challenge. 

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard steps up to take the penalty....  GOAL! Straight down the middle!

FACT: Lampard has scored Chelsea's 90th goal from the penalty spot in EPL history. He has scored 39 of the 90.

This could get ugly for Arsenal now..

22: Chelsea are just dominating possession now, they have Arsenal at their mercy.. Passing the ball well and keeping it too. 

25: Chelsea are happy to play "keep ball" now, and none of the Arsenal players are seeming to want the get the ball back for their team apart from Jack Wilshere who is the one-man team at the moment. 

He cannot do it all by himself though... still 2-0.

35: Wilshere's through ball to Walcott finds him in space by himself on the edge of the area.... OFFSIDE.
That just sums up Arsenal's half. 

37: Arsenal's full-back Bacary Sagna hobbles off the pitch in pain after being clipped on the foot by Oscar before going down in agony.

39: Sagna is back on the pitch after recieving treatment.

45: The fourth official has signalled for just the 1 minute of stoppage time at the end of the first-half.

45+1: The referee has blown his whistle to end the first half of action at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea leading comfortably by 2 goals to nil against their London rivals Arsenal. 

Not looked good for the away side, as Chelsea are dominating possession and Arsenal are struggling to get into the match.
They need to get back into the game quickly if they are going to equalise and get something in this match.
Another goal for Chelsea will be the killer blow though, so The Gunners need to tighten up at the back and be deadly on the counter attack.

There will be a pitch inspection at White Hart Lane at 2.50pm to see whether the pitch is playable or not, between Tottenham and Manchester United.

14:33 - The second half has just kicked off at Stamford Bridge.

46: Ashley Cole is warned by the referee Martin Atkinson after he takes forward Theo Walcott down from 30 yards out after he beats 2 defenders with blistering pace and skill.

47: Defender Per Mertesacker has a shot from 8 yards out towards goal as Chelsea fail to clear the ball away, but the shot is straight at goalkeeper Petr Cech.

50: Arsenal are starting this second half much better than they played throughout the first. Giving Chelsea's defence pressure. 

52: The match has been temporarily halted due to Olivier Giroud in pain on the ground. 
The physio have come on and he is limping off the pitch grimacing. 

55: Arsenal are playing much better now, but need to test Cech more if they are to score and get back into this match.

58: Arsenal substitution:
Aaron Ramsey ON
Francis Coquelin OFF

60: GOAL!! Arsenal are suddenly back in the match! Theo Walcott halves the deficit with a lovely high curled finish over Cech's head into the net after a quick counter attack found Cazorla's through ball straight to his feet.

Back in it: Arsenal forward Theo Walcott scores against Chelsea in the 60th minute. 
Hope: Walcott is congratulated by team-mate Jack Wilshere after scoring his 9th EPL goal this season.

Game on with half an hour to play.

65: Arsenal are pressing Chelsea now... full-back Ashley Cole is getting a bit heated against his former club by conceding a free-kick from 25 yards out. 

66: Midfielder Santi Cazorla steps up to take it.... blocked by the Chelsea wall!

The pitch inspection has taken place, and the Tottenham vs Manchester United match is ON.

70: Torres has failed to take a golden opportunity to put Chelsea 3-1 ahead, after some great footwork sees him beat Mertesacker and Vermaelen, but Szczesny comes out and he loses the ball before sliding down on the turf. 

70: Chelsea striker Demba Ba is seen warming up on the touchline. 
Coming on soon for Torres maybe? 

71: Chelsea are about to take a corner, but before that they will make a substitution:

Ryan Bertrand ON
Oscar OFF

72: The ball is cleared away by the Arsenal defence, but it falls to Ramires from 20 yards out who takes a touch to control the ball before unleashing a bullet drive towards goal.... PARRIED! by Szczesny. 
The ball is out for another corner.

73: Nothing comes of the corner, and Arsenal push out of the box. 

75: Arsenal substitution:
Andrey Arshavin ON
Abou Diaby OFF

79: Chelsea midfielder Ramires went on a darting counter attacking run, before Thomas Vermaelen made a last-ditch tackle to stop him from shooting..

80: Chelsea substitution:
Demba Ba ON
Fernando Torres OFF

Ba gets 10 minutes against the side that he scored twice against in the 7-3 loss when he was playing for Newcastle on December the 29th. Benitez is playing him, as he hopes he will kill off Arsenal's hopes of getting back into the match with the fatal blow. 

81: Arsenal winger Andrey Arshavin tries to beat full-back Cesar Azpilicueta with pace as he looks to deliver a cross into the box. The one-on-one battle ends with Arshavin losing the ball and the ball going out of play. 

83: Chelsea go on the counter attack, with a long ball played up for Demba Ba to chase. 
He does well to control the ball, and Szczesny sees no defenders back so comes out to put the Senegalese man off. Ba goes around him before taking another touch to shoot..... BLOCKED!! by Arsenal captain and defender Thomas Vermaelen. 

Great defending by Vermaelen, who sprinted 60 yards to block Demba Ba's shot from going in and sealing the 3 points for Chelsea. Still 2-1 to Chelsea with just over 5 minutes plus stoppages to play. Very entertaining second half. 

86: Chelsea lose the ball in a very dangerous area to Sagna... he tries to run with the ball at his feet on the edge of the area... FOULED!!! by full-back Ashley Cole. 

Very close to being a penalty for Arsenal, Cole is given a yellow card because he knew what he was doing there...

87: Thomas Vermaelen shoots from the free-kick.... JUST WIDE!!!! Close by the defender, hit the ball hard and low but too much to the left. 

88: Chelsea substitution:
Marko Marin ON
Eden Hazard OFF

Fresh legs for Benitez to see the match out now... 2 minutes left plus stoppage time for the German winger to make his mark on the match. 

90: The fourth official has signalled for 5 minutes of stoppage time to be added on at Stamford Bridge. 
The Chelsea supporters are absolutely fuming.. they want the match to be over as soon as possible. 

90+2: Walcott, Arshavin and Giroud are giving Chelsea fans trouble here.... still 2-1 though.. 

90+5: Giroud has the last chance of the match, with a header towards goal hitting the wrong side of the net, over the bar. 

The referee blows the whistle to end the match at Stamford Bridge. 
Chelsea move within 6 points of 2nd placed Manchester City, while Arsenal stay in 6th place behind Everton and Tottenham (5th and 4th respectively). 

The second half was a spirited fightback from Arsenal, with Walcott and Wilshere both playing very well as they looked to get back into the match. Chelsea struggled to reach the comfortable style that they had in the first-half and were struggling to make any chances. 

However, Arsenal failed to start the match well, and were punished with 2 goals in 16 minutes away from home which is never easy to comeback from.

Goes ahead: Tottenham WILL play against Manchester United today, despite fears that the match would not go ahead. 

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United - LIVE Commentary:


Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Caulker, Dawson, Naughton, Parker, Dembele, Lennon, Bale, Dempsey, Defoe.

Bale, Lennon and Defoe all start for the hosts Spurs today... while Parker and Dembele play as the two defensive midfielders in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Defoe the lone striker. 

Manchester United: De Gea, Rafael, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Carrick, Jones, Cleverley, Kagawa, Welbeck, van Persie.

Vidic and Ferdinand both start in defence for United today. 
No Rooney, so Welbeck plays up-front alongside Holland striker Robin van Persie.
4-2-2-2 formation from Sir Alex Ferguson with Kagawa and Cleverley behind the front two. 

15:56: The two teams have come out at White Hart Lane, and are doing the pre-match handshakes routine.
15:59: The Tottenham faithful are chanting "Come on you Spurs"

16:00: The match has kicked off now.

2: Lloris makes a poor clearance away, and United have possession of the ball but Parker closes down Manchester United defensive midfielder Michael Carrick well.

3: Tom Cleverley tries to find Robin van Persie with an over-the-top ball... but the pace on the ball is too much and Lloris comes out to collect safely. 

9: Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon uses his pace and good dribbling to his advantage, by pushing the ball past full-back Patrice Evra before Evra commits a foul. 

Tottenham free-kick comes of nothing though, as United captain Nemanja Vidic clears the ball away. 

14: CHANCE! Tottenham midfielder Clint Dempsey finds space, before unleashing a shot towards goal from 20 yards out. Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea parries the ball out, but the ball falls to striker Jermain Defoe who can only hit the ball back into De Gea's arms. 

Lucky let-off by United, and Defoe should have done better with the shot there.

21: Tottenham pressing for the first goal, with a corner now after a Gareth Bale delivery from a free-kick was cleared away inside the box.

United clear the ball away to safety, and Tottenham have to re-group and try again.

25: GOAL! Manchester United lead despite the Tottenham pressure! And guess who scored?! The one, and only Robin van Persie!
He leaped at the back post to head in a Tom Cleverley cross. Great header, and United are 7 points clear as it stands at the moment. 

Ahead: Manchester United striker Robin van Persie heads the away side ahead against Spurs 
Clinical: Robin van Persie celebrates his 18th goal in the EPL this season with his team-mates.

FACT: That is Robin van Persie's 18th EPL goal this season, and his 10th in 10 EPL matches.

27: David De Gea shows that he is alert despite hardly being troubled so far, with Jermain Defoe's low drive curling in at the left near post, before he punched the ball behind. 

35: Manchester United staying strong and holding firm at the back, despite Parker and Dembele probing towards goal.

41: Tottenham winger Gareth Bale has a powerful piledriver from 20 yards out on the volley.. the ball flies in the air and takes a deflection off Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand before hitting De Gea's knee and bouncing back into play. 

Good shot, lucky deflection... Could have been a goal if De Gea dived half a second too early/late.. 

45: The fourth official has signalled for 2 minutes of stoppage time to be added on at the end of the first-half.

45+2: The referee has blown the whistle to end the first-half action at White Hart Lane. 
Tottenham have played well with Bale and Lennon both pressing the United defence, but van Persie has been the difference between the two sides at half-time. 

It looks as though United will move back into a 7-point lead over title rivals Manchester City, unless Tottenham can repeat history with another victory over United today and test De Gea more in the second half.

17:03 - The second half has started at White Hart Lane, with United 45 minutes away from moving 7 points clear of rivals Manchester City in 1st place. 

49: Tottenham have started the second half where they left off, pressurising the United defence. 
This time, winger Gareth Bale has a finesse shot from 20 yards out, but it goes over the bar and does not trouble goalkeeper David De Gea. 

50: Tottenham continue on the offensive, with some good build-up play outside of the box, before a great through ball pass is fed to Dempsey and his shot is well parried away by De Gea. 
Close to an equaliser from the American... 

54: Tottenham are denied a penalty by the referee, after Parker is held down by Kagawa inside the box.

56: Second half possession stats:
Tottenham - 67%, Manchester United - 33% 

60: Slow build-up play by Tottenham, with Dempsey and Lennon both worrying the Manchester United defence. 

62: Manchester United SUB:
Wayne Rooney ON
Shinji Kagawa OFF

SAF is changing the United formation, and now it is a 4-3-3 formation with Rooney helping Welbeck and van Persie. 

65: Tottenham SUB:
Benoit Assou-Ekotto ON

Kyle Naughton OFF

69: United counter attack sees midfielder Tom Cleverley find Rafael on the wing with a nice through ball to him. Rafael runs with pace before letting a low cross through into the box, while van Persie and Welbeck run into the box.

Welbeck connects with the ball at the near post, but his snapshot goes wide of the post and does not worry Lloris. 

72: Cameras show winger Antonio Valencia is getting stripped, and ready to come on for Manchester United as they look to bury this match and secure the 3 points away from home with less than 20 minutes to play.

75: Manchester United substitution:
Antonio Valencia ON
Tom Cleverley OFF

78: Tottenham go on the counter attack, with Dempsey playing a nice through ball straight to Defoe. He takes his time to control the ball before getting his shot away towards goal.... SLIDING CHALLENGE! by Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand.

That was a crucial sliding challenge by Rio, and Defoe would have equalised if he did not step in. 

80: Wayne Rooney is given a yellow card for a silly late trip on Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon who was running with pace and got taken down.

81: Tottenham SUB:
Tom Huddlestone ON
Scott Parker OFF

82: Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe has another shot from inside the box, but David De Gea saves well again. 

86: A stinging drive by winger Gareth Bale sees the ball spin towards goal, but a wicked deflection from Vidic sees the ball swerve at the last second and go out for a Tottenham corner. Lucky for De Gea, because he was not going to save that, and was not positioned well enough. 

90: The fourth official has signalled for 3 minutes of stoppage time to be played. Tottenham still trail, and have 3 minutes to equalise at home in style. 

90+2: GOAL!!!! And Tottenham have done it! A goalmouth scramble inside the box finds Lennon with the ball. 
He plays it to Dempsey who hits a low drive past De Gea into the net to equalise with seconds remaining of the match! What a time to score!

Clint Dempsey scores his 5th goal of the season to make it 1-1 in the last few seconds of the match. 

90+3: The referee has blown his whistle to end the match at White Hart Lane. 
Tottenham come from a goal down to equalise at the death, and that leaves Manchester United dropping two valuable points in the title race. City are now 5 points behind them, and they cannot afford to lose anymore.

Recap of the weekend's action:

  • Henderson, Suarez and Sturridge were among the goalscorers for Liverpool, as they thrashed Norwich 5-0 at home 
  • David Silva scored his first "brace" for City, as they beat Fulham 2-0
  • Reading came from 1-0 down, to win 2-1 against Newcastle thanks to two goals from "super sub" striker Adam Le Fondre
  • Swansea proved that they do not need Michu to win, by beating Stoke 3-1 at home thanks to a first senior goal from left-back Ben Davies and a double from de Guzman
  • £8million signing Loic Remy scored on his QPR debut, but Joe Cole secured a point for the hosts
  • Sunderland came back from 1 goal down to win 3-2 away from home against Wigan
  • In the evening match, Odemwingie scored a late equaliser to give West Brom a point at home against Aston Villa in a 2-2 draw
  • Goals from Juan Mata and Frank Lampard gave Chelsea 3 points against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in a 2-1 victory
  • A late goal from Clint Dempsey decreases Manchester United's lead at the top of the table to 5 points.
Here is the full EPL table after this weekend's action:

EPL Transfer News and Rumours:

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard is reportedly expected to confirm next week that he has agreed a deal to move to either U.S club LA Galaxy or Italian side AC Milan at the end of the season.

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard is expected to make a decision about his future next week.

Meanwhile, full-back Ashley Cole will sign a new one-year deal to remain at Chelsea in the next 3 days to stop the speculation over him moving to PSG or Real Madrid in the summer. 

Newcastle United have had a £7million pound bid for Montpellier defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa accepted, and they hope that he will become their second signing of the window next week.

Newcastle bound: Newcastle have had a £7million bid for Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa accepted.

Stoke are ready to make a £3million offer for FC Dallas winger Brek Shea, but are going to assess his fitness before doing so. 

Wanted: Stoke are ready to make a £3million bid for winger Brek Shea before January 31st.

Liverpool have reportedly made a £8million bid for Anzhi Makhachkala winger Mbark Boussoufa.

Interest: Liverpool are desperate to sign players in this transfer window, and Boussoufa is 1.

Crystal Palace's young startlet winger Wilfried Zaha will hold talks and undergo a medical with Manchester United tomorrow ahead of his £11million pound move to Old Trafford. He will however reportedly stay at Palace for the rest of the season.

Almost: Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha is on the brink of a £11million move to United. 

Manchester City are ready to open talks with defensive midfielder James Milner over a new four-year contract deal.

Barcelona midfield duo Xavi and Andres Iniesta have told the club that they want Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina to replace Victor Valdes (who declined a contract extension a few days ago), and they are reportedly interested in signing him at the end of this current season.

Homeland: Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina is reportedly wanted back in Spain at Barcelona. 

Norwich are ready to make an improved £6million bid for Celtic striker Gary Hooper, as they look to bolster their attacking options.

Sunderland are confident that they will win the battle with Norwich to sign Swansea striker Danny Graham this week. 

PSG are set to entice Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger with a £30million pound deal to join them as manager in the summer. 

Tempted: P$G want Arsenal's Arsene Wenger to become their new manager in the summer. 

Pep Guardiola reportedly has Liverpool striker Luis Suarez at the top of his transfer wish list when he takes over as Bayern Munich manager in the summer. 

Thank you for reading my EPL Blog.
I will be back later on next week, for a round-up of the 2 Capital One Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg matches and Southampton vs Everton (being played tomorrow).