Hello again everyone, and welcome to my latest installment of my EPL Blog!
The EPL is back in force again after the International and FA Cup break... with 6 matches that were played today.
Manchester United had the chance to move 15 points clear at the top of the table with a win against under-fire QPR, while Arsenal looked to end their 2-match losing streak with a home win against Aston Villa. Everton, Fulham, Wigan and West Brom were among the rest of the teams that were also in action today.
QPR 0 Manchester United 2
The Red Devils moved 15 points clear at the top of the EPL table with a comfortable 2-0 away win against relegation-fighters QPR. Right-back Rafael broke the deadlock for the away side with a powerful bullet in the 23rd minute.
|Unstoppable: Rafael broke the deadlock for United with a bullet strike into the top corner of the net. |
|Have that: Rafael celebrates his goal with his United team-mates.|
Ryan Giggs wrapped up the 3 points in the 80th minute and Sir Alex Ferguson's side moved closer to a record 20th EPL title.
|Doubling the lead: Giggs made it 2-0 in the 80th minute to give United a comfortable lead.|
|One hand on the trophy: Giggs celebrates his goal with team-mate Rooney.|
A negative which came out of the match was the fact that Robin van Persie had to be substituted due to a collision with a TV camera man near the billboard - which caused an injury.
|That's got to hurt: RVP loses his footing and drops into a mini pot-hole, injuring himself.|
|Ouch: Robin van Persie receives treatment for a collision with a TV cameraman during the attacking move that resulted in the 1st goal for United.|
Arsenal 2 Aston Villa 1
This match was played at The Emirates Stadium, as an under-fire Arsenal side looked to beat relegation fighters Aston Villa, or else they would have lost their last 3 home matches in a row.
The hosts dominated the first half quickly and with purpose. Cazorla broke the deadlock within the first 10 minutes after his first shot was blocked by an Aston Villa defender and his follow-up drive flew low past Brad Guzan into the bottom corner of the net to make it 1-0.
|2nd time is the charm: Cazorla scores from a follow-up shot to make it 1-0 to The Gunners.|
|Ahead: Cazorla celebrates his 10th EPL goal of the season with team-mate Walcott.|
Walcott had a chance just outside the box with a placed effort thanks to Abou Diaby's nice through ball to him, but the ball curled over the bar and ensured that Arsenal were only 1-0 up at half-time.
In the second half, Arsenal started lively again with right-back Carl Jenkinson running down the wing with pace before releasing a nice through ball across the box for Giroud, but he could not connect with the pass.
Against the run of play, Villa equalised in the 68th minute after some poor Arsenal defending from THEIR corner saw a 4 on 3 attack from the visitors.
Andreas Weimann ran from the centre circle to the edge of the area WITHOUT even being tackled, and unleashed a powerful drive to the left of goalkeeper Szczesny into the net.
The Gunners were desperate to make sure that they did not drop points, and pressed Aston Villa inside their own half for the rest of the match before Cazorla completed his double to give Arsenal the lead again in the 85th minute after full-back Nacho Monreal's darting run down the wing gave him space to find a pass for his fellow country man who was running inside the box to tap the ball into the net.
|Late-winner: Cazorla runs inside the box before slotting the ball past Guzan into the net to give Arsenal the lead.|
|Much-needed: Midfielder Santi Cazorla celebrates his 2nd of the day to put Arsenal 2-1 up at home.|
Fulham 1 Stoke City 0
Norwich City 2 Everton 1
Reading 0 Wigan Athletic 3
This match was played at The Madejski Stadium, as 19th placed Reading hosted 18th placed Wigan in a relegation scrap match.
The hosts did not start the match off well at all, and could have well been 1-0 down with Franco Di Santo having a great shot saved by Adam Federici.
The visitors broke the deadlock in the 44th minute after a scrappy corner was failed to be cleared away by the Reading defence and Figueroa headed the ball (despite a deflection from Kone) into the net. The goal went down as a Kone goal, because he was the last Wigan player to take a touch before it went into the net.
|Scrappy goal: Maynor Figueroa's header deflects off Kone before going past Federici into the net.|
Reading conceded another goal on the stroke of half-time after some poor defending saw the ball intercepted from the defenders (who were trying to while away the time, playing some intricate passing) before winger Jean Beausejour played a low fast ball to Kone who latched onto it easily before chipping the goalkeeper with ease and doubling the lead.
Wigan started the second half quickly, and eventually ended the match in the 48th minute after a slick pass-and move was finished off by Wigan full-back Maynor Figueroa who ran inside the box and slotted the ball through Federici's legs into the back of the net.
West Bromwich Albion 2 Sunderland 1
(MORE TO FOLLOW SOON)