Sunday, 3 March 2013

EPL 8-Match Coverage and Analysis:

Hello and welcome to my latest blog post. I apologise for the fact that it is being published late tonight, but there are many reasons for that especially due to my poor laptop continously crashing which meant that I lost all of my data, along with the fact that I have not been feeling very well today. 
But anyways, enough about me, I will power through it and deliver a top-class post for all of your eager football fans out there.

Today, there were 8 EPL matches being played today, including Manchester United vs Norwich and Wigan vs Liverpool;

Southampton 1 QPR 2

This match was played at St. Mary's Stadium, as Southampton hosted their former boss Harry Redknapp in a big relegation battle match for QPR. 

£10million pound January signing and French striker Loic Remy broke the deadlock for the away side in the 14th minute with a calm and collected strike after not being marked by the defenders.  

Ahead: Loic Remy celebrates his opener with his team-mates.

Gaston Ramirez scored a cheeky chip over Julio Cesar to equalise for the hosts in the 45th minute, after Jay Rodriguez's shot was parried away by the Brazillian, before QPR's fringe striker Jay Bothroyd scored a tap-in to give QPR all 3 points in a vital win.  

Cheeky chip: Gaston Ramirez scores a follow-up shot to equalise for The Saints.

Jumping for joy: Ramirez celebrates his goal to make it 1-1.
Impact: QPR's fringe striker Jay Bothroyd taps the ball past Artur Boruc into the net to give QPR a 2-1 lead.

Important 3 points: Bothroyd celebrates his goal against Southampton to give QPR an away win.

Manchester United 4 Norwich City 0

United moved 15 points clear of local rivals Manchester City (who play on Monday against Aston Villa) at the top of the EPL table today with a totally comfortable 4-0 thrashing of 13th placed Norwich.

Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa scored a well-taken hat-trick to lift his goal-scoring tally this season to 5, before English striker Wayne Rooney scored a curling strike from 25 yards out in the 90th minute to rub the salt into the wounds. 

No.1: Kagawa breaks the deadlock with an outside of the boot shot which beats Bunn into the bottom corner

Breakthrough: Kagawa celebrates scoring his 3rd EPL goal this season.
No.2: Kagawa wheels away to celebrate his 2nd of the day at OT after a nice finish

Hat-trick hero: Kagawa completes his hat-trick with a cool chip over Bunn's head into the net.
Stealing the show: Wayne Rooney makes it 4-0 with a delightful curling shot in the 90th minute from 25 yards out.

Everton 3 Reading 1 

This match was played at Goodison Park, as Everton hosted 19th placed Reading at home after their 3-1 FA Cup win during midweek against Oldham Athletic.

The main story coming into this match for the hosts was that goalkeeper Jan Mucha started his first match for Everton after he signed for the club 3 years ago.   

Marouane Fellaini broke the deadlock for The Toffees in the 41st minute with a "textbook header", before South African midfielder Steven Pienaar doubled the hosts' lead in the second half with a powerful bullet from 20 yards out which flew into the top corner of the net. 

Height advantage: Marouane Fellaini heads Everton into a 1-0 home lead against Reading.

Clinical talisman: Fellaini celebrates his 11th EPL goal of the season.
Thunderbolt: South African midfielder Steven Pienaar doubles the lead with a brilliant strike from 20 yards out.

Comfortable: Pienaar celebrates his strike with team-mates Gibson and Baines.
Some nice Everton build-up play saw Kevin Mirallas on the wing with pace with a counter attack looming, before he cooly slotted the ball past Adam Federici into the net to make it 3-0 and almost certainly seal the victory for the hosts in the 66th minute.

Kevin Mirallas celebrates his well-taken strike to score his 2nd goal in 2 after his goal against Oldham in the FA Cup.

Reading scored a consolation goal in the 84th minute, when a cross was delivered into the box for Hal Robson-Kanu who towered over the Everton defence to head the ball past Mucha into the net. 
The result was already sealed for the hosts, and Everton move within 2 points of 5th placed Arsenal. 

Chelsea 1 West Bromwich Albion 0

This match was played at Stamford Bridge, as 4th placed Chelsea looked to leapfrog Tottenham (who play against rivals Arsenal tomorrow) with a home win against West Brom. 

Chelsea pressed throughout the first half with 2 chances from Oscar, a free-kick from David Luiz and finally got their reward in the 28th minute when a delivery by Brazil playmaker Oscar was whipped into the box at the far post, before defender David Luiz headed the ball back across goal to an unmarked Demba Ba who got up quickly to tap the ball into the net. 

Scrappy: Demba Ba slots the ball past the defender to score his 15th goal of the season + give Chelsea the lead.

Both sides had chances after this goal, but neither were able to convert any and the score stayed at 1-0 to The Blues who move into 3rd place, 1 point above London rivals Tottenham. 

Sunderland 2 Fulham 2  

This match was played at The Stadium of Light, as Sunderland hosted Fulham in a mid-table encounter. 

Fulham were comfortable in the first 35 minutes, with a 2-0 cushion after a penalty goal from Dimitar Berbatov and a follow-up shot from Sasha Riether.

And this is were it all fell apart for the away side..... Sunderland's midfielder Craig Gardner scored from the penalty spot in the 37th minute to make it 2-1 at half-time, before The Black Cats pressed for the whole of the second half. 

And in the 70th minute, midfielder Stephane Sessegnon scored on the counter attack with a fierce drive low past goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer. Berbatov had a great shot denied by Simon Mignolet seconds before, and if the shot had gone in, Fulham would have been 3-1 ahead.

The last 20 minutes were very tense, with both sides having chances to go into the lead, but the match ended 2-2 with both sides gaining a point. Sunderland made a mini-comeback and will be the happier of the two sides, despite being 14th in the league compared to Fulham's 10th. 

Stoke City 0 West Ham United 1 

This match was played at The Britannia Stadium, as "tough nut to crack" Stoke hosted 14th placed West Ham.    

There were barely any chances in the first-half, before the last minute of stoppage time where Vaz Te played a great pass to young midfielder Jack Collison who took a touch to control, before stroking the ball past Begovic into the net to make it 1-0 to the away side JUST before half-time.  

Patient play: Jack Collison broke the deadlock just before half-time with a lovely strike beyond Begovic.

Important goal: Collison celebrates his goal with team-mate Andy Carroll.
Stoke were not going to lose AT HOME without a fight, and pressed throughout the second half, but West Ham stuck firm to secure all 3 points and a crucial 1-0 away win. 

The Hammers move up to 12th place, 7 points off the "Magic 40" which almost certainly secures a team's place in the league the next season.  

Wigan 0 Liverpool 4  

This evening match was played at The DW Stadium, as Wigan hosted Liverpool at home. 

The hosts conceded early on in the first-half, in the 2nd minute after a great run by Phillipe Coutinho before his cross found winger Stewart Downing who headed the ball past Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi to make it 1-0.  

Rare: English winger Stewart Downing breaks the deadlock for Liverpool in the 2nd minute.

Can't quite believe it: Downing looks surprised to score for Liverpool so early on - with a header aswell....

Talismanic striker Luis Suarez was given a great through ball by Coutinho (yes, again!) before slotting the ball past Al Habsi to double the lead for The Reds in the 18th minute.  

Suarez scored his 3rd free-kick in 2 matches in the 34th minute (Zenit in the Europa League) with a deflected strike which beat Al Habsi before spinning into the net off the post to make it a comfortable scoreline for the away side, before he completed his hat-trick in the 49th minute after a great solo run by right-back Glen Johnson. 

Liverpool moved up to 7th place, above Swansea and West Brom, while the hosts Wigan stay in 17th place just above the relegation places.  

Swansea City 1 Newcastle United 0  

This match was played in South Wales, as Welsh club Swansea played their first EPL match after their 5-0 thrashing of Bradford City last Sunday to win the Capital One Cup. 

On the way to Europe: Swansea celebrate their win over Bradford to move them into the Europa League for next season.
Dominant: Swansea celebrate their win over Bradford.

Both sides played well throughout the match, with Swansea coming close on numerous occasions before substitute and striker Luke Moore broke the deadlock in the 85th minute after Newcastle failed to clear their defensive line.   

Sloppy: Luke Moore slots the ball beyond Rob Elliot in a crowded penalty area to give the hosts the win.