Saturday, 30 March 2013

EPL 8-Match LIVE Coverage:



Hello and welcome to my latest blog post, where I have LIVE 8 EPL matches on Easter Saturday for all you fanatic football fans to enjoy and dissect with analysis and your opinions. 
Among those 8 matches is Southampton vs Chelsea, Sunderland vs Manchester United and Arsenal vs Reading.  
United could move 18 points clear at the top of the table provided they beat Sunderland away from home, and City lose to Newcastle later today.

Before I go to the team line-ups for the early afternoon match at The Stadium of Light, here is some of the LATEST EPL News over the past few days, along with some highlights from the International break where many countries continued on the Road to Rio 2014 - World Cup Qualifying. 

EPL News and Rumours:

Everton manager David Moyes has said that he will wait until he knows what his transfer budget for next season will be before deciding on his Everton future. 

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert believes that he can hold onto rising stars Christian Benteke and Andreas Weimann, but it will be a fight.  

Liverpool are leading the race to sign Ajax playmaker Christian Eriksen, with the Dutch side revealing that The Reds have scouted him a lot of times throughout this season.  

Manchester United are ready to make a £20million bid for Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who wants to play first-team football every week to ensure that he has the best chance of developing into one of the best midfielders in the world and gets into the Spain national squad. 

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned all of his players that they are playing for their futures. 

BREAKING NEWS:
Sunderland vs Manchester United: Team Line-ups

Sunderland: Mignolet, Bardsley, Bramble, O'Shea, Rose, Johnson, Gardner, N'Diaye, McClean, Sessegnon, Graham.

Subs: Westwood, Larsson, Wickham, Kilgallon, Colback, Mangane, Mandron.

Man Utd: De Gea, Da Silva, Vidic, Smalling, Buttner, Valencia, Carrick, Anderson, Young, Kagawa, Van Persie. 

Subs: Lindegaard, Evra, Evans, Nani, Welbeck, Cleverley, Powell.

12:45: The match has kicked of at The Stadium of Light, with Sunderland hosting the side that beat them 1-0 at this ground on the last day of last season, but lost the EPL title on goal difference to Manchester City. 
Robin van Persie starts for United, after having scored 3 goals in 2 matches during the International break for Holland.

On fire: Robin van Persie scored 3 goals in 2 matches on International duty for Holland this week.

Suarez, I'm coming for you: Robin van Persie has scored 20 goals in the EPL this season - Luis Suarez has 22.

Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs are all rested by Sir Alex Ferguson, with Welbeck and Cleverley on the bench.  

The hosts meanwhile are weakened by the injuries of talismanic striker Steven Fletcher and defensive midfielder Lee Catermole. They will be hoping that they can get a decent result at home today against the side that are most likely to regain their EPL title this season. 
A shock win for the hosts would move them up to 12th place provided results go their way today.   

0: The referee has blown his whistle to start the match, and the first of many this weekend begins! 

2: Early injury worry for United, as Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic puts the ball out of play, clutching his back. He has not asked for treatment however, so the match continues.  

15: Sunderland are under the knife, and a point at home would be a good result for The Black Cats. United are dangerous on the counter attack, so the hosts should make sure they test De Gea as much as possible.

15: Sunderland go on a break with Adam Johnson passing the ball to Craig Gardner who has a low shot from 25 yards out..... blocked by England centre-back Chris Smalling.

17: United have a corner after Kagawa's lofted ball into the box for van Persie was headed away by Sunderland defender Titus Bramble.

18: England winger Ashley Young cuts inside before having a curling shot towards goal..... parried away by Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet! Corner again for United.  

22: Cameras show that Manchester United defender Jonny Evans is warming up on the touchline, as Vidic is still struggling with the back injury at the moment...  

25: Sunderland's new powerhouse Alfred N'Diaye is given a yellow card for a late sliding tackle on United winger Antonio Valencia. 

27: GOAL! Manchester United are ahead suddenly, after van Persie gets into the box without getting tackled and has a shot which deflects off two defenders before beating Mignolet into the far post of the net.

They all count: van Persie's shot deflected off Bramble and Bardsley before beating Mignolet into the net.

Ahead: van Persie celebrates United's goal, which came from his shot before deflecting off 2 defenders.

It will eventually go down as a Titus Bramble own goal. 

United will not care how they scored, as long as it is a goal they all count! 1-0 to the visitors, and Sunderland are in trouble now.  

32: Manchester United SUB:
Jonny Evans ON
Rafael Da Silva (groin injury) OFF

33: United have a free-kick from 25 yards out in a dangerous position... Ashley Young steps up to take it..... he shoots... WELL SAVED!!! and held by Simon Mignolet. Close by Young there...   

38: A good United counter attack, ending with Young playing van Persie inside the box, before the Holland striker has a shot on the edge of the area, but Mignolet holds the ball well and clears the danger.  

40: United free-kick after van Persie is brought down near the touchline at the corner flag. He takes a shot.... powerful.... parried over the bar! by Mignolet!!
United are pressing for the second goal - the killer touch.

44: It's as if Sunderland are afraid to get inside the United box at the minute. Midfielders James McClean and Stephane Sessegnon both had concrete chances, but they looked tentative and by the time they were ready to get into the box, the ball was intercepted.  

45: The fourth official has signalled for just the 1 minute of stoppage time to be added on at The Stadium of Light.

45+1: The referee has blown his whistle to end the first half of action. United have a 1-0 away lead thanks to a big deflection from Titus Bramble after van Persie's shot was deflected. 

The hosts look tentative whenever they are on the ball, and David De Gea has not had anything to do all game apart from one pass and a goal-kick.  
If Sunderland do not improve after the break, United will double their lead, because they look very dangerous on the break and have troubled Mignolet on several occasions.    

14:15:

73 minutes played, and it is still 1-0 in favour of Manchester United. Sunderland substitution coming up though, with striker Connor Wickham warming up, getting ready to come on for the hosts.

FACT: Manchester United have now gone 10 hours without conceding a goal in the EPL. 

75: Yellow card given to Sunderland full-back Phil Bardsley after he slides in late on full-back Alexander Buttner. 4th yellow card in the match now.

76: Sunderland SUB:
Adam Johnson OFF
Connor Wickham ON

78: United SUB:
Shinji Kagawa OFF
Danny Welbeck ON 

Sunderland SUB:
Phil Bardsley OFF
Sebastian Larsson ON

80: Manchester United full-back Alexander Buttner has a powerful swerving shot parried away by Mignolet, who is keeping his side in the match with 10 minutes to play. Good save, corner to United AGAIN.  

84: United SUB:
Anderson OFF
Tom Cleverley ON

86: Sunderland SUB:
Danny Rose OFF
Jack Colback ON  

90: Substitutions galore over the last 10 minutes for both sides, with 6 minutes of stoppage time to be added on due to 30 seconds per sub - and all 6 subs were made. 

90+1: United have not had much to do throughout this second half, just having to contain Sunderland. 

90+4: Possession:
Sunderland - 38%
United - 62%

90+6: The referee blows the whistle to end the match at The Stadium of Light, as United comfortably beat Sunderland away from home to increase their lead at the top of the table to 18 points clear of local rivals Manchester City, who play against Newcastle United in exactly 20 minutes.

Nothing less than a win will do for Roberto Mancini's side, because if they lose at home today, they will have virtually lost the EPL title before the rivals clash a week on Monday.  

My Man of the Match: Simon Mignolet

Standout goalkeeper, standout player for Sunderland today. He kept them in the match throughout, and made some great saves to deny Young, Buttner, van Persie as well as many others.

Team Line-Ups for the 3pm kick-offs: 


Wigan Athletic vs Norwich City:

Wigan: Robles, Scharner, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Boyce, McCarthy, Gomez, Beausejour, Maloney, McManaman, Kone. 

Subs: Al Habsi, Caldwell, Di Santo, Henriquez, McArthur, Espinoza, Stam.

Norwich: Camp, Martin, Turner, Bassong, Garrido, Howson, Johnson, Snodgrass, Elliott Bennett, Hoolahan, Kamara. 
Subs: Steer, Whittaker, Holt, Fox, Becchio, Tierney, Tettey.

Arsenal vs Reading:

Arsenal: Fabianski, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Arteta, Rosicky, Ramsey, Gervinho, Cazorla, Giroud.
Subs: Szczesny, Vermaelen, Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Coquelin, Jenkinson, Gibbs.

Reading: Taylor, Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Shorey, Leigertwood, Karacan, Guthrie, McAnuff, Robson-Kanu, Pogrebnyak. 
Subs: McCarthy, Gunter, Le Fondre, Hunt, McCleary, Morrison, Akpan.

Southampton vs Chelsea:

Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Shaw, Puncheon, Schneiderlin, Cork, Steven Davis, Rodriguez, Lambert.
Subs: Kelvin Davis, Fonte, Ramirez, Fox, Forren, Ward-Prowse, Do Prado.

Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Terry, Bertrand, Mikel, Lampard, Moses, Oscar, Marin, Torres.
Subs: Turnbull, Cole, Luiz, Ramires, Hazard, Benayoun, Ba.

Swansea City vs Tottenham Hotspur:

Swansea: Vorm, Tiendalli, Chico, Williams, Davies, Britton, De Guzman, Routledge, Dyer, Hernandez, Michu.

Subs: Tremmel, Bartley, Monk, Ki, Lamah, Moore, Shechter.

Tottenham: Friedel, Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Naughton, Parker, Dembele, Bale, Sigurdsson, Lennon, Adebayor.
Subs: Archer, Assou-Ekotto, Caulker, Livermore, Holtby, Huddlestone, Defoe.

Manchester City vs Newcastle United:

Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Lescott, Kompany, Clichy, Toure, Barry, Silva, Tevez, Nasri, Dzeko.

Subs: Pantilimon, Milner, Sinclair, Kolarov, Javi Garcia, Aguero, Toure.

Newcastle: Elliot, Simpson, Steven Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa, Gutierrez, Anita, Cabaye, Obertan, Sissoko, Gouffran, Cisse. 
Subs: Harper, Perch, Gosling, Bigirimana, Marveaux, Good, Campbell.

West Ham vs West Bromwich Albion:

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Reid, Collins, O'Brien, O'Neil, Diame, Nolan, Jarvis, Carroll, Vaz Te.

Subs: Henderson, McCartney, Tomkins, Carlton Cole, Collison, Taylor, Chamakh.

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

14:57: Many crunch matches being played today, with Chelsea and Tottenham both needing wins to boost their chances of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. 
Manchester City need to secure 2nd place, and a win against Newcastle will cement that position just that little bit more with 9 matches to play.
West Brom vs West Ham will be an intriguing match-up between 8th and 14th, while Wigan must win at home against Norwich if they want to boost their chances of survival this season.

Today will be an interesting day in the EPL, that's for sure.

15:00: All the 6 EPL matches have kicked off for the start of the first half. 

15:08:
Liberty Stadium,
Swansea City vs Tottenham: 

GOAL! Tottenham have broken the deadlock in the 8th minute, thanks to defender Jan Vertonghen. He ran 40 yards with the ball, before doing a nice 1-2 move with Welsh winger Gareth Bale who chipped the ball up into the air for the Belgian to cooly slot the ball past Michel Vorm into the net.
1-0 to the visitors. 

Belgian brilliance: Vertonghen celebrates his 6th goal in all competitions for Spurs to break the deadlock.

AS IT STANDS:
3rd: Tottenham with 57 points
4th: Chelsea with 56 points
5th: Arsenal with 51 points


15:12:
The Emirates Stadium,
Arsenal vs Reading:

GOAL! Well-worked goal by the hosts, with a good pass and move with Cazorla before he has a shot deflected towards goal. Ivorian winger Gervinho was lurking, and he tapped the ball past the goalkeeper into the net! 1-0 to the hosts, but you cannot say that it is not deserved from The Gunners.

Nicely done: Ivorian winger Gervinho celebrates his opener - and his 2nd goal in 2 matches for Arsenal.

French striker Olivier Giroud had a half-chance earlier, and Arsenal are dominating the game so far.   

Arsenal are still in 5th place, but as it stands;
3rd: Tottenham with 56 points
4th: Chelsea with 56 points
5th: Arsenal with 54 points  
Much closer between 3rd and 5th now!  

15:15:
Upton Park,
West Ham vs West Brom:

GOAL! The hosts are ahead after West Brom defenders fail to mark their men for the Gary O'Neil corner. 
England striker Andy Carroll towers above everyone inside the box to head the ball over Ben Foster into the roof of the net! 1-0 to West Ham.  

Striker Andy Carroll takes advantage of not being marked well enough to break the deadlock for West Ham
Back with a bang: Carroll celebrates his 3rd goal for his loanee club West Ham.

15:22:
Liberty Stadium,
Swansea vs Tottenham Hotspur:

GOAL! Welsh winger Gareth Bale doubles Spurs' lead away from home. Some nice team play with Vertonghen sees him bury a sensational strike past Michel Vorm into the net. 
2-0, and if Spurs do not finish the match off now, there will be a LOT of problems. 

Sensational: Bale hits a wonder strike against Swansea - in his home country of Wales for Spurs to make it 2-0

15:25:
St.Mary's Stadium,
Southampton vs Chelsea:

GOAL! Good teamwork from the hosts, with Lambert, Steven Davis and Jay Rodriguez all exchanging passes before the latter hits a strike past Petr Cech into the net for a deserved 1-0 lead.     

Ahead: Jay Rodriguez finishes off a nice Southampton move with a placed effort past Cech.

15:28:
Upton Park,
West Ham vs West Brom:

Great finish from the playmaker from the first goal - Gary O'Neil scored after controlling a Ricardo Vaz Te pass before shooting the ball powerful into the top corner of the net.  

Rare: Gary O'Neil hits a strike to make it 2-0 to West Ham, to score his first goal of the season

15:31:
St.Mary's Stadium,
Southampton vs Chelsea:

Chelsea defender John Terry wins a header to nod home German winger Marko Marin's corner.   
The Blues have equalised, and Chelsea restore the amount of points they had at the start of today. 1-1, and this match has just got interesting.

All square: Defender John Terry heads Chelsea into a 1-1 scoreline after 31 minutes.

Back in it - for 2 minutes to be exact: John Terry celebrates scoring the equaliser with team-mate Oscar.

15:34:
St.Mary's Stadium,
Southampton vs Chelsea:

GOAL! English striker Rickie Lambert scores a free-kick on his 500th league appearance from 30 yards out to restore Southampton's lead!     


Landmark: Rickie Lambert celebrates his 14th EPL goal of the season on his 500th league appearance.
15:40:
The Ethiad Stadium,
Manchester City vs Newcastle:

French full-back Gael Clichy whips a cross into the box for Argentinan striker Carlos Tevez, who clinically finishes off the chance to break the deadlock for City, closing the gap back to 15 points. 

AS IT STANDS:
1st: Manchester United with 77 points
2nd: Manchester City with 62 points

15:46:
The Ethiad Stadium,
Manchester City vs Newcastle:

GOAL! The hosts are absolutely dominating Newcastle now. French playmaker Samir Nasri shows some of that electric skill from his "good old days" at Arsenal to beat the Newcastle defender before playing in Spainsh midfielder David Silva to convert his chance well into the net. 
2-0, just before half-time.  

Doubling the lead: Despite not having the best of seasons, Silva celebrates his 7th goal in all competitions.

15:50:
HALF-TIME SCORES:
Arsenal 1 Reading 0
Manchester City 2 Newcastle 0
Southampton 2 Chelsea 1
Swansea City 0 Tottenham Hotspur 2
Wigan 0 Norwich 0
West Ham 2 West Brom 0

16:03: All the 6 EPL matches have restarted for the second half. 

16:06:
The Emirates Stadium,
Arsenal vs Reading:

For all of that hard work, The Gunners have finally doubled their lead! Spainsh midfielder Santi Cazorla continues his amazing debut season for Arsenal with his 11th EPL goal of the season after a cooly slotted shot after a pass from Gervinho. 
Well deserved, and surely the 3 points will stay in north London today? 

16:15:
The Ethiad Stadium,
Manchester City vs Newcastle United:

GOAL! Newcastle fail to clear away a corner, and Gareth Barry has a shot from the edge of the box which is converted into the back of the net by Belgian defender Vincent Kompany on his return to the City side after injury.
City have all but sealed the points now with another 35 minutes to play.

FACT: That is Kompany's first EPL goal since he scored the winner against rivals Manchester United last April. 

16:25:
The Emirates Stadium,
Arsenal vs Reading:

GOAL! French striker Olivier Giroud scores his 10th EPL goal of the season to secure all 3 points for The Gunners.  
The hosts could be 5 or 6-0 up, but surely this is too much for Reading and new manager Nigel Adkins (remember him?). 

16:27:
The Emirates Stadium,
Arsenal vs Reading:

Perhaps not! Reading have a glimpse of hope now with just over 20 minutes to play, with striker Hal-Robson Kanu scoring to make it 3-1.  

16:29:
The Ethiad Stadium,
Manchester City vs Newcastle:

Ivorian defensive powerhouse Yaya Toure picks up the ball and hits a bullet shot towards goal that Rob Elliot parries but the shot is too powerful to handle and drops into the net. 4-0 to City, and you begin to wonder whether they could have done this earlier on in the season. 
The title is virtually out of their grasp now, it's just all about sealing 2nd place. 

16:31:
Liberty Stadium,
Swansea vs Tottenham:

20 minutes to play in Wales, and Spainsh forward Michu has given the hosts hope of getting back into the match with his 15th EPL goal of the season to make it 2-1. 
Surely Spurs cannot blow another lead?!?!   

16:35:
The Emirates Stadium,
Arsenal vs Reading:

GOAL! Arsenal have made it 4-1 now! Young startlet Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was brought down inside the box by Reading centre-back Adrian Mariappa before Spainsh midfielder Mikel Arteta slotted the ball into the net from the penalty spot.

16:38:
DW Stadium,
Wigan vs Norwich:

Ivorian striker Arouna Kone breaks the deadlock for Wigan at home. As it stands, Wigan are out of the bottom three. 

16:41:
Upton Park,
West Ham vs West Brom:

3-0 now to the hosts, with Carroll completing his brace with a complicated volley which he had to control using his shoulder. 

16:47:
Upton Park,
West Ham vs West Brom:

Consolation goal for the visitors, with Graham Dorrans scoring from the penalty spot - straight down the middle after talismanic Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku was fouled by Matt Taylor inside the box. 3-1 to the hosts.  

16:50:
Upton Park,
West Ham vs West Brom:

Full-time whistle is only seconds away, but West Brom midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu is given a straight red card for dissent after kicking the ball away in frustration - and hitting Gary O'Neil in the process.
Silly, unneccesary action by the player.  

16:55:
FULL-TIME SCORES: 
West Ham 3 West Brom 1
Southampton 2 Chelsea 1
Arsenal 4 Reading 1
Manchester City 4 Newcastle United 0
Swansea City 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2
Wigan Athletic 1 Norwich City 0  

Thank you for reading my EPL Blog today, and for joining me for this LIVE Coverage. 
I will have a match report of the evening kick-off match between 6th placed Everton and tough test Stoke tomorrow, along with the match between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Villa Park.
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Please spread the word to all your friends and family and people you know that have an interest in football (or soccer) to help me achieve a small aspiration of mine - to become a professional part-time football journalist. 
Thanks once again for reading, remember to watch Match of The Day tonight at 10.25pm and stay safe. I'll speak to you all again very soon :)