Sunday, 10 November 2013

EPL - Saturday's Matches:

Today, there were 6 games being played in the EPL with top clubs Liverpool and Chelsea being involved in action. 

Aston Villa 2 Cardiff City 0
This game was played at Villa Park, as 14th placed Aston Villa looked to leapfrog some mid-table sides with a comfortable win against a motivated Cardiff side who beat local Welsh rivals Swansea in the Wales derby last Sunday. 

Goals from strikers Leandro Bacuna and Libor Kozak late in the second half sealed a 2-0 win for Aston Villa. 

Rather late than never: Bacuna celebrates his goal against Cardiff to break the deadlock.

Chelsea 2 West Bromwich Albion 2 
The Blues moved on from their 3-0 win against German side Schalke in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday for a nervy 2-2 draw at home against versatile West Brom. 

They can either play very well, or very badly against the big teams, and they showed the former today against title challengers Chelsea despite going 1-0 down thanks to Samuel Eto'o's (handful) strike just before half-time. 

You could not say the lead was not deserved at half-time, with Chelsea dominating in terms of attacking threat with Hazard, Oscar and Eto'o all going close before the latter used his attacking instincts to tap past a defenders' leg and take advantage of Myhill who was on the floor after a good save from Hazard's low drive at his far post. 

Helpless: Eto'o scored his 3rd goal in 2 games after his double against Schalke in midweek.
Opener: Eto'o celebrates his strike just before half-time to give Chelsea the lead.
West Brom began to start pressing Petr Cech after the break, with Sessegnon having a header from 12 yards out hit the post - showing signs of worrying Chelsea's defence with Terry and Ivanovic not being able to contain Sessegnon and Berahino.

Shane Long scored the equaliser for West Brom in the 61st minute after a parry away thanks to defender Gareth McAuley's header from a corner, before the smallest player on the pitch jumped over Lampard and Ivanovic to head past Cech at the near post.

Anticipation: Long jumps highest to head past Lampard and Ivanovic to equalise

The Baggies did well to carry on their attacking threat, with midfielder Sessegnon doing well to get past his markers before having a low strike slip underneath Cech into the bottom corner of the net to give the visitors a 2-1 lead with 20 minutes to play. 

Solo effort: Sessegnon easily beat Terry on the ball before striking past Cech to make it 2-1

What a difference: West Brom went from 1-0 down to 2-1 up with 20 minutes to play

FACT: This was the first time that West Brom had scored twice in the league away from home against Chelsea since 1978.

Chelsea seemed to wake up after they conceded again (just like they did last week against Newcastle) and started to press again with Willian going close twice before a controversial penalty was given in the dying seconds of the game, with Ramires diving under the apparent challenge of defender Steven Reid. 

Hazard cooly slotted the ball past Myhill, and Chelsea equalised. 

Cool as you like: Hazard kept his cool to slot past Myhill and equalise for Chelsea.

I'll take that: Hazard slots past the goalkeeper to equalise for Chelsea despite the controversy that the penalty should not have been given in the first place.

Liverpool 4 Fulham 0
The Reds moved back up to second place behind the leaders Arsenal with a comprehensive 4-0 thrashing of Fulham at Anfield, with under-fire manager Martin Jol getting even more harsh criticism with most Fulham fans calling for him to resign or be fired. 

FACT: Fulham have now lost 7 out of their 11 EPL matches they've played this season.

Luis Suarez scored a double, and midfield captain Steven Gerrard also got on the scoresheet for the hosts, as they comfortably took apart the visitors. Fulham defender Fernando Amorebieta opened the scoring with an own goal from a cross which was accidentally headed into his own net past goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg. 

Unlucky: Amorebieta scores an own goal with a header in an aerial challenge with Agger.
Clinical: Suarez made it 3-0 with a powerful tap past Stekelenburg into the net. 
In-form: Suarez celebrates his finish to get him joint top scorer in the EPL. 

FACT: Suarez is now the joint top scorer in the EPL along with Aguero and Sturridge with 8 goals.

Southampton 4 Hull City 1
Southampton were one of the strongest sides in the EPL so far this season, having only lost one throughout and finding themselves in a healthy 7th place. However, a win at home would move them up to 3rd place against mid-table Hull who are not doing too badly in their first season back in the first flight of English football.

But, it was the big day of Southampton who celebrated 3 of their players getting called up to play for the England squad (simply because they were so impressive) with a 4-1 domination over their visitors. 

Midfielder Adam Lallana (who was one of the players who was called up) did well to get past two defenders on the wing before his inswinging cross was cleared away by the Hull defenders in the box - showing attacking danger and threats already only 5 minutes gone in the game.

Morgan Schneiderlin broke the deadlock in the 15th minute with a header from 6 yards out despite having 3 defenders marking him, as his power header hit the roof of the net after young English right-back Nathaniel Clyne's cross into the box. 

In the 29th minute, Lallana did well to get past his marker on the counter attack, before he was taken out by Hull goalkeeper Stephen Harper on the edge of the box with a late challenge. It was a penalty to the hosts, with striker Rickie Lambert stepping up to take it and he blasted it past Harper into the net to double The Saints' lead. 

Doesn't miss: Lambert blasted from the spot to double Southampton's lead.
FACT: Lambert has scored all of his 33 penalties for Southampton, not missing one. 

Lallana then showed his class with a wonderful solo goal, skipping past half of the Hull team before finessing the ball past Harper into the bottom corner of the net with an unstoppable finish to give Southampton a 3-0 lead before half-time, with England manager Roy Hodgson in attendance to see his new arrivals.

Great finish: Lallana showed his class, skipping past the Hull defence to slot into the net.

Deserved: Lallana celebrates his goal on the week he gets a call-up to the senior squad.

Guess who's watching: England manager Roy Hodgson was in attendance as he watched some of his new England players.

Hull struck back to make it 3-1 after a defensive mistake by midfielder Victor Wanyama, with striker Yannick Sagbo taking advantage quickly to scoring his second of the season 
with a 20-yard strike swerving past Boruc after 55 minutes. 

Southampton went back on the counter attack, with captain and midfielder Lallana doing well with a 1-2 with Lambert on the edge of the box, before his strike was parried away by Harper. Osvaldo almost made it 4-1 with 10 minutes to play after a great cross by young midfield startlet James Ward-Prowse, but his header was comfortably held on the line by Harper. 

The hosts upped the ante and made it 4-1 with 2 minutes to play after another great ball into the box by Clyne was controlled well and finished clinically by midfielder Steven Davis into the bottom corner of the net past a helpless Harper. It was the icing on the cake for Southampton, after a great week for the club having 3 players called up to the England senior squad, others getting U-21 call-ups as well as their manager Mauricio Pochettino winning the Barclays Manager Of The Month award. 

Well deserved: Pochettino won the Barclays Manager Of The Month award for some consistent managerial performances. 
FACT: This is the best ever start to a season for a Southampton side in the top flight. 

Crystal Palace 0 Everton 0 
A bore-all draw at Palace, with newly-promoted Crystal Palace doing well to hold on for a point at home despite that meaning they stay at the bottom of the EPL table with only 4 points from their 11 matches played. Everton had the chance to move up to 3rd place, but were unlucky not to finish their chances and as a result they stay in 5th place (which is not bad but there is still room for improvement) 

Norwich City 3 West Ham United 1