Saturday, 7 December 2013

EPL Match Reviews - featuring United + Chelsea both losing:

Hello and welcome to my latest blog post, where I have match reviews from all of today's EPL games being played: 7 in total. League leaders Arsenal host tough test Everton on Sunday afternoon, which gave the title chasers the chance to close the gap at the top of the table and put some pressure on The Gunners, who have shown some impressive early form while their title rivals have been inconsistent and not playing at the top of their game as of yet. 

Impressive: League leaders Arsenal are in inspired form so far this season.
In-form: French striker Olivier Giroud has been key for Arsenal in-front of goal.

Midfield maestro: Record transfer signing Mesut Ozil has impressed for his new club so far
Welsh wonder: Aaron Ramsey (centre) has also been influential for Arsenal this season.
Having said that, we are only 14 games into the EPL season and there are still 24 to play so anything can happen based on consistency and overall performances. 

Today's EPL matches:

Manchester United 0 Newcastle United 1
Yes, you read that right. After a shock 1-0 loss on Wednesday night against Everton, the defending champions Manchester United suffered their second consecutive home loss for the first time since 2002. 

Late finisher: Everton left-back Bryan Oviedo scored the only goal of the game as manager David Moyes lost against his former side.

Moving up: Everton moved up to 5th place with that 1-0 win during midweek.
French midfielder Yohan Cabaye was the only goalscorer of the game, with a deflected strike which beat De Gea and flew into the bottom corner of the net on the hour mark, and even though a desperate push for an equaliser by the hosts was valiant, Newcastle held on for a historical victory. 

Respect: United players hold a minute's applause for former South African president Nelson Mandela, who died aged 95 on Thursday night.

Important: French midfielder Yohan Cabaye celebrates his strike against United.
I know what you are thinking, it was a fluke right? Well not exactly. It is fair to say that United were not exactly on top form, especially without English talisman Wayne Rooney in the starting line-up, but you cannot blame the squad selection for a poor performance. Newcastle bounced back from a 3-0 loss during midweek against Swansea City to shock the champions, with a dogged performance for 90 minutes. 

Poor performance: United walk back to the centre circle after conceding to Cabaye's effort
They were very physical in midfield, and made sure the hosts had very little of the ball thanks to midfield powerhouses Cheick Tiote and Moussa Sissoko. The defenders performed well under pressure aswell, especially in the last 20 minutes when United began to realise the game was slipping from their grasp.

Full-backs Davide Santon and Mathieu Debuchy were clever on the flanks, helping to track back and also going forward very quickly on the counter attack which made it hard for Januzaj and Valencia to find space to pass to van Persie and Welbeck. 

Centre-back and captain Fabricio Coloccini was forced into making some brave headers from corners and crosses whipped into the box by Evra, who was unlucky to be denied by a goal-line clearance courtesy of Anita in the second half. van Persie had a goal flagged for offside as United were desperate for a goal back, and even though United had chances to score, they did not deserve to win the game. 

Youngster Adnan Januzaj was by far the bright spark for United in an otherwise lacklustre performance at home, working hard to win the ball back and find space to pass the ball to a team-mate. He made a few darting runs into space throughout, but no-one found him and Newcastle closed down space very well to make it harder.

So Newcastle beat United at Old Trafford for the first time in over 40 years, is it now a crisis? Can everyone start the hashtag #MoyesOut?

Disgruntled: United fans looked glum as they watched their team lose at home - again
United are not on top form, that's an understatement but the fact is the squad is not strong enough to warrant a place in the top four based on current form, hence why it is imperative they spend good money on good players in the January transfer window. You cannot simply blame the manager, he is simply trying to work with the team and current crop of players he has. 

Give him time, wait a couple of months before you pass judgement. 

Newcastle move into 6th place with those vital 3 points, while United stay stuck in 9th place, mid-table. If Newcastle continue with the kind of performance they showed today, they could be in contention for a spot in the Europa League next season. Who knows? 

Crystal Palace 2 Cardiff City 0
The "Tony Pulis effect" has definitely had some impact on Palace's season, surely? 6 points from 2 games, almost the same amount of points from 11 matches so far this season. 

All EPL clubs agreed to give a minute's applause to respect the life of Nelson Mandela.
Goals from strikers Cameron Jerome and Marouane Chamakh either side of half-time gave the hosts a comfortable 2-0 win against fellow newly-promoted Cardiff.

Opener: Jerome broke the deadlock for the hosts with a header against his former side

Jubilation: The Palace players celebrate Jerome's opener after just 6 minutes. 
Guess who's back: Chamakh celebrates his second goal in less than 4 days to make it 2-0.

That win moves Palace into 18th place, just a point below 16th placed Cardiff. The relegation battle will be tight this season.

Liverpool 4 West Ham United 1
The Reds were high on morale after their 5-1 thrashing of Norwich City at Anfield on Wednesday night, with talisman striker Luis Suarez scoring 4 of his side's 5 goals in an amazing solo performance. 

Stunning volley: Suarez stole the show against Norwich with 4 goals during midweek.

Number two: Suarez scored a header for his second of the night against Norwich.

Three for me: Suarez completed his hat-trick with a curling finish. 

Consistent free-kick taker: Suarez scores yet another free-kick to score his 4th of the night
Don't forget me: Sterling also scored in Liverpool's comfortable 5-1 rout on Wednesday
There we go: Sterling is congratulated with a big hug from fellow strike partner Suarez

Best in the EPL? Suarez is heavily-tipped to win the Golden Boot this year, and is regarded as one of the best strikers in the EPL.

Stoke City 3 Chelsea 2

Southampton 1 Manchester City 1
The Saints kept up their solid start of the season form with a well-earned point against title challengers Manchester City, who play against the league leaders next weekend.

West Bromwich Albion 0 Norwich City 2

Sunderland 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2