Sunday, 29 September 2013

EPL 7-Match Report, Reviews and Analysis:

Hello and welcome to my latest blog post, where I have a match report from all of today's 7 EPL matches, including the heavily-anticipated "master vs apprentice" between managers Jose Mourinho and Andre Villas Boas in the Chelsea vs Tottenham London derby match. Also both Manchester clubs were in action and potential shocks were on the cards as the EPL entered round 6 of the 2013-14 season. 

Tottenham Hotspur 1 Chelsea 1 
The early afternoon match was being played at White Hart Lane, as Spurs hosted London rivals Chelsea in the opening EPL fixture of this weekend. The hosts broke the deadlock and scored first, with Icelandic midfielder Sigurdsson scoring in the 19th minute. 

Aston Villa 3 Manchester City 2
A shock result, as Villa beat title contenders Manchester City 3-2 at home.

City started the game well and quickly on the counter attack, with midfielders Nasri and Milner both having early efforts on goal narrowly wide of the target. Yaya Toure broke the deadlock just before half-time with a tap-in finish from a Nasri corner (which was their 9th of the game) to score his 6th goal so far this season.

Aston Villa had an instant response and equalised with their first clear cut chance of the game - midfielder El Ahmadi scored with a low struck hit past Joe Hart at the far post when City were vulnerable at the back and were subsequently punished on the counter. The replays showed a hint of offside, but the goal was still given. 

Equaliser: El Ahmadi slots the ball into the net at the far post to make it 1-1 in the 51st minute. 

Dangerous: El Ahmadi celebrates scoring Villa's first real chance of the game.
Dzeko gave City the lead again 5 minutes later, after a corner was delivered well into the box by Nasri and the Bosnian striker connected with the ball (with his back) to make it 2-1.

Leandro Bacuna equalised with his first goal for Aston Villa, and what a goal it was. He scored a well-struck curling free-kick from 25 yards out, which Joe Hart was helpless to try and save the effort.  The swerving strike beat the City wall and flew into the top corner of the net in a flash - great finish. 

Unstoppable: Bacuna (not pictured) scored his first goal for Villa with a swerving free-kick. 

What a goal: Bacuna rushes over to celebrate his strike with manager Paul Lambert.
City conceded two minutes later, with young Austrian striker Andreas Weimann slotting the ball past Joe Hart on the counter attack from a long-range Guzan clearance to slide across into the net. 

Dramatic: Young Austrian striker Weimann scored for Aston Villa to make it 3-2 against City.
Home advantage: Weimann celebrates the winning goal in-front of the excited Villa fans

Fulham 1 Cardiff City 2

Hull City 1 West Ham United 0 

Manchester United 1 West Bromwich Albion 2
Another shock loss for a Manchester side - this time it was United at home losing 2-1 to West Brom. Despite their slender 1-0 win over Liverpool in midweek, they were still downbeat after getting completely dominated 4-1 by their local rivals Manchester City in the derby match last Sunday. 

Both sides started the game lively, with Sessegnon and Nani both going close early on but failing to hit the target with some good defending and timewasting (on Nani's part)

Berahino missed a golden chance for West Brom with a free header which skimmed the post, before United had a chance of their own with Nani's delivery into the box was headed over the bar by English striker Wayne Rooney. 

Portuguese midfielder Anderson headed and hit the crossbar for United just before half-time in a lively first half with chances for both sides. 

In the second half however, United were caught out at the back with French midfielder Morgan Amalfitano weaving in and out getting past the entire United defence before chipping De Gea to break the deadlock after 53 minutes. The hosts were left completely shocked and there was an instant reaction from United. 

Wayne Rooney equalised 3 minutes later from a set-piece, with a bullet drive from a free-kick which the goalkeeper should have saved but the shot swerved away from him and flew into the bottom corner of the net. 

West Brom made an instant reaction from the equaliser, because they were desperate to get a good result out of the game and did not want to settle for a draw - with young startlet Saido Berahino linking up well with Sessegnon to combine and score again for WBA in the 67th minute with a stinging strike. 

United did their best to equalise and get back into the game, but The Baggies held on for a shock victory away from home against the reigning EPL champions.

Southampton 2 Crystal Palace 0

Swansea City 1 Arsenal 2
Arsenal moved back to the top of the table and moved two points clear of close rivals Tottenham Hotspur with a comfortable 2-1 win over Swansea away from home in Wales at The Liberty Stadium.

Goals from young German forward Serge Gnabry and in-form Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey gave The Gunners a nice two goal cushion with just over 25 minutes to play. The hosts' week went from bad to worse, after they were knocked out of the Capital One Cup unluckily against Birmingham during midweek, but they got a consolation goal through left-back Ben Davies. 

Friday, 27 September 2013

Capital One Cup 3rd Round Match Review + Analysis:

The 2013-14 Capital One Cup 3rd Round has begun, with 32 clubs still in the competition.

This past Tuesday and Wednesday, the footballing world took a one-week break from the UEFA Champions League and Europa League (both European competitions which have just started their 2013-14 campaign this year) as domestic cups took their bow and began the "3rd round proper" with many EPL sides and Championship teams involved.

I have analysis + match reviews from all the big games over the past couple of days surrounding EPL teams, enjoy: 

Tuesday's games:

Aston Villa 0 Tottenham Hotspur 4
This game was played at Villa Park, in one of the many all-EPL ties being played on Tuesday night. The first half was dull, but England striker Jermain Defoe broke the deadlock in the 45th minute just before half-time with a headed finish from German midfielder Lewis Holtby's cross into the box. 

Holtby got his second assist of the game 4 minutes after the start of the second half, with a corner delivered perfectly into the box for Brazillian defensive midfielder Paulinho to smash into the bottom corner of the net. 

Belgian winger Nacer Chadli made it 3-0 in the 85th minute to score his first goal in a Spurs shirt, before Defoe scored his second of the night to rub salt into the wounds of the Villa side whose night went from bad to terrible in a matter of minutes. 

Hull City 1 Huddersfield 0
The newly-promoted Hull City side won with a slender 1-0 win at home against lowly Huddersfield, thanks to a goal by Nick Proschwitz in the 59th minute. They progress to the 4th Round, and will play against Tottenham Hotspur (more on the draw at the end of the blog post) 

Manchester City 5 Wigan Athletic 0
A bit of payback for City after their embarrassing 1-0 loss in the FA Cup final back in May to Wigan, who were relegated in the same season. A cup run is looking more and more unlikely for the FA Cup holders after they were completely dominated and thrashed 5-0 by the title contenders Manchester City. 

Southampton 2 Bristol City 0 
This game was played at St Mary's Stadium, as Southampton hosted Npower League 1 side Bristol City in a clear mis-match in terms of quality.

The hosts comfortably won the game 2-0, with goals from midfielder Gaston Ramirez (in the 15th minute) and defender Jos Hooiveld (after 83 minutes)  

Sunderland 2 Peterborough United 0 
This was officially Sunderland's first game since the departure of Italian manager Paolo Di Canio, who was sacked on Sunday night after a poor run of results culminating with a 3-0 away loss to West Brom (with their former key midfielder scoring on his debut against them) 

They were being managed by caretaker manager Kevin Ball, and goals by Giaccherini and Roberge sealed the unsurprising victory for the home side. 

Swindon Town 0 Chelsea 2
Lower league Swindon hosted Chelsea in the 3rd Round match-up, however the away side had no real problems dispatching their League 1 opponents thanks to goals from Fernando Torres and Ramires in the first half.

Sliding finish: Torres broke the deadlock in the 29th minute with a sliding effort. 

Breakthrough: Torres has been under harsh criticism over his goalscoring record, but he still scores..

Swindon did their best to try and challenge their EPL opponents, but The Blues were too strong for them and progress to the 4th Round where they play against ...... (you'll find out later)

Not all was good for Chelsea, despite key players Juan Mata and David Luiz both making their first starts for the side since Mourinho took charge.

Spot them: Mata and Luiz have been sitting on the Chelsea bench for the most part so far this season. Do they deserve to be there?

Obviously not: They were finally given a chance - in a less important game after intense criticism

Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel was stretchered off the pitch after just 7 minutes, with a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) which will keep him out of action for at least 6 months.  

Unfortunate: van Ginkel was given a chance to prove his worth, but got injured early on
Success: van Ginkel said that he "will be back" after the ACL surgery was successful.

Watford 2 Norwich City 3
Late drama involving Norwich, with English striker Gary Hooper scoring a late winner in the 115th minute, in extra-time after another late goal in the 5th minute of normal stoppage time to allow Norwich to progress through to the 4th Round, while avoiding a near miss with a possible shock exit on the cards against Championship side Watford who played well at home and also scored two goals (either side of half-time) 

West Ham United 3 Cardiff City 2
Another 3-2 victory, this time for West Ham at Upton Park in another all EPL tie. A late winner by wantaway Portguese striker Ricardo Vaz Te (who ironically put in a written transfer request just before transfer deadline day) gave West Ham a dramatic 3-2 win in a great game of football. 

English midfielder and former Manchester United youngster Ravel Morrison scored his second goal in two games after just a minute of play to give the hosts the lead, before winger Matthew Jarvis made it 2-0 7 minutes later. Cardiff were not down and out, with Craig Noone halving the deficit just before half-time and Odemwingie equalised with a quarter of an hour left to play. Then Vaz Te stepped up with minutes to play to score a late winner and give West Ham a place in the 4th Round.  

Fulham 2 Everton 1 
Slight surprise victory for Fulham, with strikers Berbatov and Bent ruling out Scottish forward Steven Naismith's early opener after 12 minutes for The Toffees. Everton deserved to go ahead after thoroughly dominating the first half with some good teamwork play thanks to Deulofeu and Lukaku. However, the hosts took advantage of a slender 1-0 lead and Fulham made them pay with 2 goals in 15 minutes from the forward duo (Berba and Bent) to give Fulham their first home win in just under 6 months. 

Wednesday's games:

Birmingham City 3 Swansea City 1
The scoreline does not reflect the game as a whole, with Swansea crashing out in the 3rd Round to a young Birmingham (and Championship) side. Both sides had chances to break the deadlock early on, but admittedly Swansea had the better chances. 

Young Spanish midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo hit the crossbar, and Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony missed two clear-cut opportunities in the first half. Winger Roland Lamah was deadly on the wing, using his pace and good dribbling to confuse the Birmingham defence into tackling him (and almost giving away penalties on numerous occasions, lucky they didn't - lenient refereeing)

Defender Dan Burn opened the scoring for the hosts in the 57th minute with a power header past Tremmel, before striker Matt Green made it 2-0 4 minutes later. Against the run of play? Yes.

Swansea were starting to realise that their Capital One Cup campaign was gradually slipping away from them at this point, and due to frustration they kept losing possession and giving away needless fouls. 

Then it went from bad to worse for Michael Laudrup's men, with Tom Adeyemi making it 3-0 with just over 10 minutes to play. The fact that The Swans were so unlucky that they could not score for 80 minutes just virtually killed all hope of a comeback, and even though Bony finally got on the scoresheet in the 5th minute of stoppage time it was only a consolation goal for a side who deserved more out of the game but were unlucky. 

Manchester United 1 Liverpool 0
Part 2 of the United vs Liverpool derby match, after their narrow 1-0 encounter two weeks ago in the EPL, Manchester United were desperate to get revenge. The main story going into this game was one player: Luis Suarez. 
The Uruguayan striker returned to Liverpool first-team football for the first time since April (when he bit Ivanovic and got a 10-match ban), and the Liverpool faithful could not wait for his return to action. 

It was not a high-paced game for the most part, but Suarez was heavily involved. He hit the crossbar with a free-kick effort in the second half, and despite looking slightly rusty he was lively throughout and looked to get past the United defence whenever he could. 

However, both sides had a solid back four, and United took advantage of Liverpool while they were at their most vulnerable point -just after half-time. Pacy Mexican striker Javier Hernandez ran past the Liverpool defence and before they knew it, the ball was past a helpless Mignolet into the back of the net. The Reds had many chances to score throughout the game, but United held on to progress through to the 4th Round and forget about their embarrassing 4-1 defeat to local rivals Manchester City on Sunday afternoon. 

Newcastle United 2 Leeds United 0
Not really much of a shock result for Newcastle at home, comfortably beating Leeds in-front of the Toon. Papiss Cisse scored his first goal for 5 months to help the hosts seal a 4th Round place, with French forward Yoan Gouffran also scoring to complete the win. 

Tranmere Rovers 0 Stoke City 2
Another easy to predict scoreline, well played to Tranmere though as they played well throughout but were unluckily punished on the counter attack against a stronger Stoke side. Irish midfielder Stephan Ireland opened the scoring in the 23rd minute to score on his Stoke debut after completing a deadline day move, before Crouch made it 2-0 late on in the 90th minute.  

West Brom 1 Arsenal 1* AET (3-4 on pens)
Probably the most enthralling game of the night, The Hawthorns hosted an in-form Arsenal side who were still ecstatic after the club-record arrival of Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Ozil, who joined the club on transfer deadline day for £42.3million pounds. 

However, Wenger was desperate to rest his first-team players ahead of Saturday's clash with Swansea away from home and the only "survivor" from their comfortable 3-1 win over Stoke City was German defender Per Mertesacker. The Gunners virtually put out a second string side with some youth team players included with Gnabry, Eisfield and Hayden all players given senior team debuts against a strong West Brom side.

Former Borussia Dortmund youth star midfielder Thomas Eisfield broke the deadlock just after 60 minutes, before Saido Berahino equalised 10 minutes later. 

There was drama late on in the second half, with Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner unable to finish his chances in-front of goal on his first start for Arsenal in over 2 years. The game went to extra-time, and the game only got more intense with players suffering from cramp late on.

Then penalties came. West Brom tried their best, but failed short in-front of their home fans. 

Here is the official 4th Round Draw:

Sunderland vs Southampton
Leicester City vs Fulham
Birmingham City vs Stoke City
Manchester United vs Norwich City
Burnley vs West Ham United
Arsenal vs Chelsea
Tottenham Hotspur vs Hull City
Newcastle United vs Manchester City

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Di Canio gets sacked - Analysis + Review:

In the past couple of days, Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has been officially sacked and lost his job as manager for the EPL side, who are yet to win a game this season and have only won one point out of a possible 15 on offer so far this season.

The Black Cats are sitting firmly at the bottom of the table, and it does not come as a surprise to me aswell as many football fans around the country, because of the Italian's poor player 

management and harsh criticism in the public press.

His arrival on Wearside was controversial at the back end of last season, after he replaced Martin O'Neil after a poor run of results despite claims the coach was doing well under the circumstances and was put under too much pressure to win against big sides with an average squad who under-performed at times during last season's campaign. 

Controversial: Di Canio was appointed as Sunderland manager at the back end of last season.
Di Canio came in but tried to change too many things at once, releasing average players who had a poor attitude as well as selling players who "were not 100% happy to play for the club", for example African midfielder Stephane Sessegnon who completed a £5million pound transfer deadline day switch to West Brom and ironically scored on his debut against his former club.

Sunderland's key midfielder and playmaker Sessegnon joined West Brom for £5m on deadline day. 

Here are Sunderland's most recent results this season:

Sunderland 0 Fulham 1, opening day - not good enough, especially at home on the opening day of a season.

Southampton 1 Sunderland 1, 24th of August - A draw away from home against an average Southampton team, decent result.

Sunderland 4 MK Dons 2, Capital One Cup 2nd Round - Not an exactly surprising win against a weak side in the 2nd round of the League cup, criticism over goals conceded however.

Crystal Palace 3 Sunderland 1, 31st of August - Footballing suicide. You cannot lose 3-1 against a newly-promoted side whoever you are, especially with the performance they showed. Shameful.

Sunderland 1 Arsenal 3, 14th of September - You cannot expect them to beat Arsenal, unlucky they played against them straight after the international break with Wenger unleashing his new club-record signing Mesut Ozil on The Black Cats. An exception. 

West Brom 3 Sunderland 0, 21st of September - Embarrassing  Simply embarrassing. Getting comfortably beaten 3-0 away from home against a side that are not exactly special and are on the same level as you, with your former key midfielder scoring against his old side on his debut for his new club. Ouch.

Ouch: Di Canio tells the Sunderland fans to keep their chins up after losing 3-0 to West Brom - in his last game in charge.

The bottom line is Di Canio is now no longer in charge at the helm, and many managerial figures have been tipped to replace him including former Chelsea and West Brom manager Roberto Di Matteo, who became the first person to win the UEFA Champions League with Chelsea - to be sacked the very next season (under very harsh circumstances it has to be noted)

Sunderland do not have an exactly easy run of fixtures, with Liverpool, both Manchester clubs and the Tyne-Wear derby coming up in the next 6 fixtures for the bottom side. Without a manager, they will be hoping to replace Di Canio quickly but effectively with a good manager who knows what he is doing. Gus Poyet and Roberto Di Matteo are rumoured to be in talks with the Sunderland board over the job position.  

Thanks for reading my latest blog post today, I will be back soon for more footballing content for you guys to enjoy including the Capital One Cup 3rd Round matches that took place on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and a look towards the weekend's fixtures in both the EPL and many other European leagues.

Spread the word to your friends and family about my blog (to people who enjoy and like football or soccer) so that this blog can grow and the football blogging community can grow as a whole. Thank you in advance guys, means a lot! Speak to you all later :)  

Sunday, 22 September 2013

EPL Super Sunday LIVE Coverage + Analysis:

Four EPL matches are on display for all you football supporters today, including Arsenal vs Stoke City at The Emirates and the heavily-anticipated Manchester derby between last year's EPL winners Manchester United and their closest rivals Manchester City. Both sides have a new manager than the previous derby, with United starting their first Manchester derby without Sir Alex in charge for the first time in over 26 years. 

Follow me today for LIVE Coverage of all four games, as I review and analyse with commentary and reactions from them all.

Here are the matches being played today:

Arsenal vs Stoke City - LIVE
The Gunners are leading 2-1 against a tough Stoke side, thanks to goals by in-form midfielder Aaron Ramsey and German defender Per Mertesacker.

In-form: Ramsey is mobbed after breaking the deadlock in the 5th minute for Arsenal.

Back in-front: Mertesacker converts Ozil's corner to regain Arsenal's lead and make it 2-1

£43.3million pound German signing and midfield maestro Mesut Ozil was involved in both goals, having a shot parried by Begovic for the first and delivering the corner which Mertesacker headed into the net for the second. 

The game has been an interesting one to watch so far, with just under 25 minutes to play at The Emirates, however Arsenal took their foot off the gas after breaking the deadlock early on and Cameron's rebounded effort to equalise woke up the hosts who now find themselves back in-front. 

Wake-up call: Geoff Cameron equalised just before half-time for Stoke to make it 1-1.

A late subsitutional change before the game had started, with English forward Theo Walcott falling ill and young starlet Serge Gnabry replacing him minutes before kick off. The youngster has looked impressive down the wing on his debut appearance for the senior team.

If the result stays like this, Arsenal will end the week at the top of the EPL table.
Crystal Palace vs Swansea City - LIVE
Newly-promoted side Crystal Palace hosted Swansea at home today, but are currently trailing to the Europa League side 2-0 thanks to goals by Spanish striker Michu and winger Nathan Dyer either side of half-time.
Michu broke the deadlock after only 2 minutes into the game, and you feel now that Swansea will comfortably take the three points back to Wales and move up further in the table today. 

Another one: Michu celebrates his 2nd goal of the week after his finish against Valencia in the Europa League group stage on Thursday.
Cardiff City vs Tottenham Hotspur - LIVE at 4.00pm

Manchester City vs Manchester United - LIVE at 4.00pm

15:10 - Ten minutes remaining in both the 1.30pm kick-off's, with Arsenal now extending their lead thanks to full-back Bacary Sagna who was fed an inviting ball by man of the moment Ozil at the near post and his header beat Begovic. 

Game over: Sagna heads well from Ozil's free-kick delivery to give Arsenal a comfortable 2-goal cushion.
15:23 - Full-time whistle blown by the referee to signal the end of the match at The Emirates. Arsenal move two places up to top spot in the EPL table after a comfortable display against Stoke, without getting into top gear for the most part but being clinical on the counter attack and taking goal-scoring chances when needed on set-pieces.

My Man of the Match: Mesut Ozil.
2 games for Arsenal, 3 assist already and he is already proving the doubters wrong that he is a top quality midfielder, and I fully stand by my decision to call him one of the best midfielders in the world. 

Fans favourite: If you look closely you'll see many Arsenal fans with "Ozil 11" already printed on their backs, welcoming him before his home debut earlier today. They all love him already!

Outstanding: Ozil made 3 assists today on his home debut as Arsenal won 3-1 against Stoke.

Was involved in all three goals and look bright from the first whistle as Arsenal cruised to a 3-1 win. Real Madrid will be kicking themselves.

One to Watch: Aaron Ramsey.
The young Welsh midfielder scored again today with an early opener, and he is in amazing form so far this season having scored 7 goals already in all competitions. Having had a horror injury two years ago, he has come back stronger, fitter and better than ever before and will be a key part of the Arsenal midfield for years to come if he keeps up his consistent displays.

Rejuvenated: Ramsey celebrates his 7th goal of the season to open the scoring against Stoke.

Nearly got my MOTM aswell :) 

15:45 - Manchester United vs Manchester City and Cardiff vs Tottenham are both poised to kick-off, just under 15 minutes until kick-off in the 4pm games.

15:50 - I will be back shortly for some analysis from the Manchester derby between City and United as well as Cardiff vs Tottenham. Speak to you in just over an hour :) 

17:25 - I am back! Second half has begun in both the 4pm kick-off's and Manchester City are dominating their local rivals so far today... the score is 4-0 to the hosts thanks to goals by midfielders Yaya Toure, Nasri and a double from Argentine striker Sergio Aguero.

Early opener: Aguero broke the deadlock after 16 minutes taking advantage of poor United defending.

Ahead: Aguero celebrates his finish to give City an early lead in the Manchester derby. 

Another one: Aguero slotted past De Gea again to make it 3-0 just after half-time.

Can't handle me: Aguero wheels away to celebrate his brace at home against United.
Doubling the lead: Yaya Toure headed highest to double City's comfortable lead over United.

Can't stop scoring: Yaya Toure celebrates his header to make it 2-0.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

EPL 6-Match Review + Analysis:

Hello again everyone and welcome to my latest blog post where I have a review + analysis of all of today's EPL matches that were being played, including Liverpool vs Southampton and West Ham vs Everton.

The household names in the league (Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham) were all not in action today, as they have games tomorrow. 

Here were the 6 matches being played in the EPL today: 

Liverpool 0 Southampton 1
The Reds suffered their first defeat of the season, and at home aswell which puts an end to an impressive unbeaten run of 4 games at the start of the season. 
They lost to a strong Southampton side who dominated away from home but Liverpool did not expect to be tested as hard as they were.

The only goal of the game came from Croatian defender Dejan Lovren in the 53rd minute with a bullet header past Mignolet into the back of the net.

Bullet header: Lovren reacts after scoring his first goal for Southampton against Liverpool.
Breakthrough: Lovren celebrates his finish to end Liverpool's 100% unbeaten run at Anfield.

Lovren celebrates his bullet strike with the Southampton faithful.

The only positive that the hosts will take from the game is the fact that Uruguayan striker and talisman Luis Suarez sat through his last game of his 10-match ban for biting Ivanovic at the end of last season today, so they will hope to have him match fit and back playing against Manchester United during midweek in the Capital One Cup. 

Back soon: Striker and talisman Luis Suarez was seen watching Liverpool lose at home.

West Ham 2 Everton 3
West Ham hosted Everton at Upton Park in an interesting match for both sides. West Ham had only won 1 of their previous 4 games so far this season, while Everton were still unbeaten and have now become the only side left in the EPL who are yet to lose a game. And then when I say that...

Anyways, this game was entertaining from start to finish, with 5 goals for all supporters to enjoy from both sides. Former Manchester United and young midfielder Ravel Morrison broke the deadlock in the 31st minute with a deflected strike just outside the box.

Deflected strike: Ravel Morrison broke the deadlock for West Ham after 30 minutes. 

A good assist by English winger Matt Jarvis, who did well to skip past the Everton defence before feeding Morrison who was lucky to score but happily took the strike as his own. 

Two spectacular free-kicks from left-back and key Everton man Leighton Baines gave the away side an equalising 2-2 result with just over  5 minutes left to play, after midfielder Mark Noble slotted home from the penalty spot.

Quality: Baines curled two free-kicks past goalkeeper Jaaskelainen from 25 yards out.

Unstoppable: Jaaskelainen tried a diving save to his right but could not stop Baines' free-kicks.

Top class: Leighton Baines celebrates scoring two free-kicks for Everton against West Ham. 

Then, in a bizarre turn of events, Mark Noble went from penalty hero to sending off zero getting a second yellow card after a late challenge on Everton wonderkid and young English midfielder Ross Barkley, a minute before Baines' second strike. 

Subsitute and loanee (from Chelsea) striker Romelu Lukaku came off the bench to score a late winner for Everton on his debut for his new loanee club in the 85th minute with a crunching header which then resulted in him needing treatment from the Everton physio. He suffered a huge blow to his head and was unconscious for a few minutes before he was treated. 

Warrior: Lukaku scored an 85th minute header for Everton before instantly falling down (below)

Concern: Lukaku was pictured on the floor in discomfort immediately after scoring for Everton.
Treatment: Lukaku was soon back on his feet, having being treated by the Everton physio.

Everton will be grateful for Lukaku and Baines, and glad that they won the game away from home however they will feel they need to take their chances more as Belgian striker Kevin Mirallas had 2 or 3 good goalscoring chances but failed to take them.

All in all the game was a very entertaining one for neutrals, but West Ham will feel hard done by as they lost so late on at home in-front of their faithful fans. You would hope that they can make more chances next time to avoid late drama.

My Man of The Match: Leighton Baines.
Baines was instrumental in helping Everton to win away from home today, he looked dangerous whenever he was on the counter attack and looked up to find a player in space. Two sublime free-kicks and a brave finish by Lukaku gave The Toffees the win, but Baines deserved MOTM for me. 

One to Watch: Ross Barkley. 
Fast-paced, quick on his feet and has an intelligent brain. Barkley is definitely a great young midfield player who has the potential to succeed at the top level of football. 
Looked dangerous on the counter attack and was fouled twice for both free-kick goals by Baines.

Norwich 0 Aston Villa 1:
This match was played at Carrow Road, as manager Paul Lambert faced his former side Norwich away from home with Aston Villa. 
  Both sides have not had the best of starts, despite Villa's shock 3-1 win over Arsenal on the opening day of the season and Norwich only winning 1 of their 4 games. 

Recent Villa signing and striker Libor Kozak scored the only goal of the game for Aston Villa after 30 minutes with a rebounded shot which he converted cooly into the back of the net.
Newcastle United 2 Hull City 3:
This game was played at the Sports Direct Arena, as Newcastle United hosted newly-promoted Hull. Both sides were closely linked in the EPL table up until now, but goals were low for both clubs also (hence a lack of wins for both) 

Newcastle's loanee signing and French striker Loic Remy broke the deadlock after just 10 minutes on his debut with a bullet header from a delivery and connection by Sissoko and Cisse. 

Young Hull City startlet Robbie Brady equalised for the away side in the 26th minute after some good pressing by the visitors, making the hosts look vulnerable at the back. A good pass by Aluko outside the box found Brady who turned a Newcastle defender inside out before striking the ball past goalkeeper Tim Krul into the net. 

West Brom 3 Sunderland 0:
This game was played at The Hawthorns, as midfielder Stephane Sessegnon played against former club Sunderland on his debut for West Brom following his shock deadline day transfer for a reported £5million pounds. 

Manager Paulo Di Canio meanwhile was criticizing his players in the local press, saying they lacked mental toughness in the wake of their embarrasing loss to EPL newcomers Crystal Palace away from home last week. 

He was desperate to win his first game this season, or The Black Cats would be stuck at the bottom of the EPL table for another week and questions would be asked about his managerial position with the club. 

Chelsea 2 Fulham 0:
The evening kick-off was played at Stamford Bridge, as Chelsea looked to move to the top of the EPL table on Saturday night with a win over their local West London rivals Fulham after a poor set of results both in the EPL last week with a 1-0 loss against Everton and a bad start to the 2013-14 UEFA Champions League with a 2-1 loss to Basel.

Goals from midfielders John Obi Mikel and Oscar gave the hosts a comfortable 2-0 win over their local rivals, who go top of the table on Saturday night carefully monitoring their title rivals, who all play tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

EPL LIVE Coverage:

Hello again everyone and welcome to my latest blog post, where I have LIVE Coverage of the EPL games being played later today as well as extras. 

After the long international break, the EPL is finally back in full swing this weekend, with 8 top-flight games being played today including Manchester United vs Crystal Palace, Sunderland vs Arsenal and Everton vs Chelsea as well as European games all over Europe (Bundesliga, Liga BBVA and Ligue 1) 

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

Manchester United vs Crystal Palace - LIVE at 12:45pm

Aston Villa vs Newcastle United
Fulham vs West Brom
Hull City vs Cardiff City
Stoke City vs Manchester City
Sunderland vs Arsenal
Tottenham Hotspur vs Norwich City

Everton vs Chelsea - LIVE at 17:30pm

Here are the team line-ups for the early afternoon game between Manchester United and Crystal Palace, with £27.5million pound new signing Marouane Fellaini poised to make his United debut under his former manager David Moyes (at Everton) 

Re-united: Fellaini signed for Manchester United for £27.5m within the last hour of Deadline Day. 

Manchester United: De Gea, Fabio, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Anderson, Young, Rooney, van Persie. 

Subs: Amos, Evans, Cleverley, Zaha, Fellaini, Januzaj and Hernandez. 

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey, Puncheon, Jedinak, Dikgacoi, Campana, Chamakh, Gayle. 

Subs: Alexander, O'Keefe, Phillips, Kebe, Jerome, Guediora, Bannan. 

13:00 - 
15 minutes gone at Old Trafford, and the scores are still goal-less.
The major news is that striker Wayne Rooney is starting the game for United, albeit with a big black headband covering his head wound that he suffered 3 weeks ago. 

Back: Rooney started the game for United today, with a headband over his head wound.

13:15 - 
30 minutes gone and Fellaini is seen on the touchline warming up getting ready to come on the pitch, no noticeable injuries but the Belgian just cannot wait to come on. 0-0 still, slightly dull game at the moment. 

13:17 - No real clear cut chances for either side at the moment, but Palace will be grateful that they are still in this game at the moment, with goalkeeper Speroni quiet in the Palace goal. 

Good defending by the newly-promoted side but questions will be asked as to why Anderson is starting ahead of Fellaini. 

13:21: Chance for United, after a good attacking ball was fed into the box for van Persie to turn into the net, but he was closed down quickly by the Palace defenders and his effort span past the post out for a goal-kick. 

13:24: CLOSE! Great counter attacking move by United, sees Michael Carrick get past the Crystal Palace defence with some fancy footwork before passing the ball to Rooney who pings a 50-yard ball to van Persie who takes a good touch to control before hitting the ball first time..... hits the post!!! 

This game has sprung into life now, with United realising they need a goal to win. Good attacking move, unlucky not to score for van Persie. 

13:28: CLOSE! Crystal Palace almost broke the deadlock with young striker Dwight Gayle getting past Rio Ferdinand on the overlap before having a chipped effort over De Gea but just past the post. Gayle was unlucky not to score, and you just have to think now that the deadlock will be broken sooner or later. 

13:31: PENALTY! Manchester United have a penalty! Ashley Young ran at the Crystal Palace defence, and he was brought down by midfielder Kagisho Dikgaco just inside the box. The referee Jon Moss points to the spot and gives Dikgaco a straight red card! Crystal Palace down to ten men, with van Persie poised to take the penalty. He hardly ever misses.

13:32: GOAL. Robin van Persie breaks the deadlock from the penalty spot sending Speroni the wrong way with a firing strike down into the bottom corner of the net. 1-0 to United at home, and Palace are now looking vulnerable down to ten men just before half-time. 

13:34: HALF-TIME: Manchester United lead at half-time due to a controversial penalty finished by van Persie. United score their first goal in 225 minutes of open play in the EPL, but it is surrounded by huge controversy as Young was judged to dive (outside the box aswell) and the referee Jon Moss gave a penalty and a red card decision. 

I personally do not think that it was a foul, it was a dive and it was outside the box. Red card just makes it even worse because now Palace have an uphill struggle to even get a result out of the game, let alone win. But it will be interesting.

13:48: Second half has begun at Old Trafford. 

13:52: Dwight Gayle could be a future star for Palace, his pace, dribbling and quick feet are a great combination and trouble for defenders. Brazillian full-back Fabio has just conceded a free-kick for cynically fouling him.

13:57: Yellow card brandished out for former Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh after a late, clumsy challenge on Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic near the middle of the pitch.

14:00: Team news and line-ups from all of the 3pm kick-off's coming up as soon as possible, including the eagerly awaited game - Sunderland vs Arsenal :)
(Ozil if you didn't know may feature) 

14:02: Crystal Palace SUB:
Jose Campana OFF
Adlene Guediora ON

Good substitute for Palace, with one of their new signings coming on as fresh legs as they are down to ten men and need as much energy as possible. 

14:04: Fellaini is warming up on the bench as I send this message, stripping into his Manchester United kit. 

14:04: Good chance for United to kill off the game, with Evra getting past two Palace defenders on the wing before feeding van Persie just inside the box but his strike was not struck properly and flew over the bar. Unlucky.

14:07: Manchester United SUB:
Anderson OFF
Marouane Fellaini ON

The home crowd get off their feet as their £27.5million pound signing Fellaini gets 30 minutes of football at home, despite many criticizing the decision to start Anderson ahead of him today.

14:09: Manchester United corner as Palace defend well to keep out van Persie and Evra on the overlap. Young to come off as young Belgian startlet Adnan Januzaj comes on for the English winger who has not played particularly well and is lucky not to be off the pitch already for simulation.

14:10: Lots of team line-ups and news spilling out from the 3pm EPL games, with the major news being record-breaking £42.5million pound midfielder Mesut Ozil starts for Arsenal. 

14:15: Ever since Januzaj and Fellaini have come on for United, the game has been more lively for the hosts. The crowd are more lively, and the play is more attacking. 

Fellaini had a half-volley strike from 25 yards out parried away by Speroni, and van Persie had a curling effort towards the top corner of the net just go over the crossbar. Close but it's still 1-0 and Palace still have a chance to equalise. 

14:22: Team news and line-ups will follow after the end of the United vs Crystal Palace game, still 1-0 to the hosts.
Manchester United SUB:
Robin van Persie OFF
Javier Hernandez ON

Hernandez replaces van Persie who has had a decent game, but could have had a hat-trick today. Played well and scored a goal for his efforts, but will be wishing his volley strike was a goal instead of hitting the crossbar. 

14:24: GOAL! Wayne Rooney doubles United's lead and virtually seals the three points for the hosts after a well-struck free-kick beat Speroni and fell into the bottom corner of the net to make it 2-0 with just over 8 minutes to play. 

14:34: The fourth official signals for 4 minutes of stoppage time to be added on at the end of the game at Old Trafford. United just casually holding onto the ball with Januzaj impressing with good ball control and composure. 

14:37: Patrice Evra is now limping near the touchline after a collision with a Crystal Palace midfielder, looks painful but he'll soldier on and finish the game.

14:38: And the game has finished at Old Trafford, with David Moyes winning his first game at home in charge of Manchester United. A comfortable 2-0 win against Crystal Palace, despite all the controversy surrounding the first goal, Rooney's finish ended all hope of a Palace comeback.

Poor referee decision with the away side down to ten men for 45 minutes but at the end of the day United get the win no matter how they get it. 

Team line-ups and news from 3pm games:

Stoke City vs Manchester City:

Stoke: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters, Walters, N'Zonzi, Adam, Wilson, Etherington and Jones.

Subs: Sorensen, Pennant, Palacios, Arnautovic, Crouch, Ireland, Whelan.

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Javi Garcia, Nastasic, Kolarov, Toure, Rodwell, Milner, Nasri, Jovetic and Negredo. 

Subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Boyata, Fernandinho, Navas, Dzeko and Aguero.  

Sunderland vs Arsenal: 

Sunderland: Westwood, Celustka, Diakite, Roberge, Colback, Johnson, Ki, Vaughan, Mavrias, Altidore and Fletcher.

Subs: Mannone, Brown, Larsson, Gardner, Wickham, Cuellar and Borini.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Sagna, Koscielny, Gibbs, Wilshere, Flamini, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud and Ramsey. 

Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Monreal, Frimpong, Miyiachi, Gnabry and Akpom. 

Hull City vs Cardiff City:

Hull: McGregor, Elmohamady, Chester, Davies, Figueroa, Koren, Huddlestone, Livermore, Brady, Aluko and Graham.

Subs: Rosenior, Bruce, Meyler, McShane, Jakupovic, Boyd and Quinn.

Cardiff: Lewis, Theophile-Catherine, Turner, Caulker, Taylor, Kim, Cowie, Gunnarsson, Medel, Whittingham and Campbell.

Subs: Hudson, Odemwingie, Gestede, Noone, Mutch, Maynard, Moore. 

Tottenham Hotspur vs Norwich City: 

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Rose, Dembele, Paulinho, Townsend, Eriksen, Sigurdsson and Soldado.

Subs: Friedel, Kaboul, Naughton, Sandro, Holtby, Lamela and Defoe. 

Norwich: Ruddy, Whittaker, Turner, Bassong, Garrido, Snodgrass, Fer, Johnson, Redmond, Elmander and van Wolfswinkel.

Subs: Bunn, Olsson, Martin, Howson, Hooper, Pilkington and Tettey. 

Aston Villa vs Newcastle United: 

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Okore, Luna, El Ahmadi, Westwood, Delph, Weimann, Benteke and Agbonlahor.

Subs: Bacuna, Helenius, Clark, Steer, Sylla, Tonev and Kozak.

Newcastle: Krul, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon, Sissoko, Anita, Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Cisse and Remy.

Subs: Elliot, Steven Taylor, Dummett, Marveaux, Gouffran, Tiote and Sammy Ameobi. 

Fulham vs West Brom: 

Fulham: Stockdale, Riether, Senderos, Hangeland, Richardson, Ruiz, Sidwell, Parker, Kasami, Kacaniklic and Berbatov.

Subs: Etheridge, Amorebieta, Zverotic, Duff, Karagounis, Taarabt and Rodallega.

West Brom: Myhill, Billy Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Amalfitano, Mulumbu, Yacob, Brunt, Anelka and Anichebe.

Subs: Popov, Morrison, Rosenberg, Sinclair, Luke Daniels, Dawson and Berahino.

15:00 - The 3pm kick-off's have all started in the EPL, meanwhile action in the Bundesliga begun at 2.30pm.

15:10: 1-0 to Arsenal away from home at The Stadium of Light, thanks to a nice assist by new German midfield signing Mesut Ozil who fed French in-form striker Olivier Giroud inside the box who couldn't miss and broke the deadlock to score his 3rd EPL goal of the season. 

Class: Mesut Ozil celebrates his assist with gooalscorer Olivier Giroud to break the deadlock against Sunderland. 

Goal-less everywhere else in the EPL, but you have to doubt it will stay like that for the rest of the day. 

15:20: GOAL! Newcastle break the deadlock at home, with French forward Hatem Ben Arfa scoring his second goal of the season after a goalmouth scramble in the box and Aston Villa failing to clear the ball found Ben Arfa in space able to smash the ball past Guzan into the net. 1-0. 

Ben Arfa reacts first to finish past Guzan into the net to break the deadlock against Villa. 

15:23: Another bout of poor defending, this time from West Brom after goalkeeper Boaz Myhill clears the danger from a corner but the ball falls to midfielder Steve Sidwell who hits a stinging drive past the keeper into the net to opening the scoring at Craven Cottage. 1-0 to Fulham. 

Stinging drive: Sidwell opens the scoring for Fulham against West Brom with a powerful strike past Myhill. 

16:30 - Second half has come and gone in the 3pm kick-off's, with Arsenal, Tottenham, Newcastle, Fulham and Hull City all leading at the half-time break. 

Due to some Internet problems which are preventing me from updating scores and commentary quick enough without lagging, I am unable to continue my LIVE Coverage but I will be back later on. 

Here are the scores with 10 minutes to play in the 3pm kick-off's:

Aston Villa 1 Newcastle United 2
Fulham 1 West Brom 0
Sunderland 1 Arsenal 3
Hull City 1 Cardiff City 1
Stoke City 0 Manchester City 0
Tottenham Hotspur 2 Norwich City 0
Everton vs Chelsea - 17.30pm kick-off

I will be back later on tonight for the rest of today's games, plus analysis and reviews. Speak to you all later (latest 11pm UK time) everyone :(