Sunday, 27 April 2014

Super Sunday EPL LIVE Coverage:

Hello again everyone, and welcome to my latest blog post where I have LIVE Coverage of football from the EPL - in yet another pivotal day at the top and bottom of the Premier League, with just a few matches left to be played.

Today's matches in the EPL having been played so far:

Sunderland 4 Cardiff City 0 
A brace from young striker Connor Wickham made sure that he was among the scorers as Sunderland climbed out of the bottom three with an emphatic home victory against fellow strugglers Cardiff, who are officially at the bottom of the EPL table. (20th)

Loanee striker (from Liverpool) Fabio Borini and Italian midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini were also on the scoresheet in an impressive display by Gus Poyet's men who were widely tipped to be relegated. 

Poor man-marking in the area gave Wickham the space to beat his man lurking inside the box, before his header gave the Black Cats the lead after 25 minutes of play at The Stadium of Light.

Cardiff were down to ten men just before half-time after defender Juan Cala mis-timed an attempted backpass to his goalkeeper, before Wickham took the ball from him just outside the area and burst onto the ball getting held back by Cala in the process. 

Wickham did well to stay on his feet and the referee played advantage, but as Cardiff cleared the ball away the ref brought the game back to the original foul and pointed to the spot, sending Cala off in the process. It was arguably controversial given the fact that the referee had let play continue, but if Wickham had gone down under the challenge - he would have sent Cala off anyway. 

Clear foul: Cala was holding onto Wickham after losing the ball in a dangerous area
Marching orders: Cala walks off the pitch in annoyance and confusion after getting sent off
Borini made no mistake from the resulting penalty, slotting the ball hard and low out of the goalkeeper's reach to double Sunderland's lead before the break. 

No mistake: Borini slots the ball past Marshall from the spot to make it 2-0
Borini celebrates his penalty strike to give Sunderland a comfortable lead before the break
2-0 at half-time and things were looking good for Sunderland. They were about to get a lot better! 

Despite half-chances from Cardiff (Medel and Mutch), Sunderland took their chance on the counter attack, after a splitting through ball by Borini was fed to the feet of Giaccherini, who slotted the ball past Marshall to virtually seal the victory with 15 minutes to play.

Slotting home: Giaccherini made it 3-0 after half-time

Gem: Giaccherini joined Sunderland from Juventus, will he stay in the EPL with Sunderland now?
And if that was not enough, Wickham put the icing on the cake to score his 5th goal in his last 3 matches with another headed finish from 8 yards out to make it 4-0 and complete the rout after 86 minutes. 

Another header: Wickham completed the rout with his second of the game with 5 minutes left
This was after a poor run of form previously meant that former manager Paolo di Canio had to be sacked by the board. It just shows you how much a team can change when they know that they have to perform.  
Out of the drop zone: Sunderland were comfortable and dominant against Cardiff.
The future is not looking bright for Cardiff, having only won one of their last six games - they still have to play against Newcastle and Chelsea, getting at least 3 points from their last two matches otherwise they will be automatically relegated back to the nPower Championship. 

Liverpool 0 Chelsea 2 
Another twist in the title race it seems? Chelsea have dealt Liverpool a blow (not a massive one, but a blow nonetheless) with a 2-0 away win against the league leaders.

Goals from Demba Ba and Willian either side of half-time has given The Blues some more confidence that they can take advantage and go on to fight for the title till the final day, while Liverpool will feel disappointed that they failed to beat Chelsea, which thus means that they have suffered back-to-back losses against Mourinho's men this season.

Ba cooly slots the ball past Mignolet to take advantage of Gerrard's slip before half-time
Ba celebrates another important strike, after his last-gasp winner against PSG in the CL
Mobbed: Ba's Chelsea team-mates mob him after his first-half goal on the stroke of HT
Exploited: Gerrard's slip proved costly as Ba took advantage to break the deadlock
Willian slots the ball into the net after he and Torres go on the counter attack late on and expose Liverpool's high line
Dirty but worth it: It was not a pretty win, but Chelsea took all 3 points, which is what matters.
Open: Liverpool know they need to win their last two games and hope their rivals slip up, otherwise they will not win the league this season.
Annoying or not, the "park the bus" tactic was adopted by Mourinho who fielded a significantly weaker starting line-up than one that you would expect from Chelsea - no Cech, Hazard, Terry, Ramires and Eto'o among others featuring for The Blues - but they got the job done at Anfield and that is all that matters!

City are now fully back in the title race, a win against Palace would highlight the fact... and guess what:

And the featured match, which I have LIVE commentary (of the second-half) is;
LIVE Commentary:

Crystal Palace 0 Manchester City 2 -

Here are the team line-ups from today's game, currently being played:

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward, Puncheon, Jedinak, Ledley, Bolasie (replaced by Ince 73'), Chamakh (replaced by Murray 69') and Jerome (replaced by Gayle 69').

Subs not used: Hennessey, Parr, Dikgacoi and Gabbidon.

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov, Milner, Javi Garcia, Yaya Toure (replaced by Fernandinho 66'), Nasri, Dzeko (replaced by Negredo 87') and Aguero (replaced by Jovetic 78'). 

Subs not used: Pantilimon, Richards, Lescott, Clichy.

Goals from Edin Dzeko and Yaya Toure (both before half-time) have given Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini something to smile about, as his side are comfortably leading 2-0 away from home at Selhurst Park - against a strong Palace side who have looked rejuvenuated since the arrival of new manager Tony Pulis from earlier on in the season. 

Early opener: Dzeko celebrates his early strike with team-mate Nasri to make it 1-0.
Good positioning: Dzeko positioned himself in-behind the Palace defence and got his reward
Well-worked goal: Yaya Toure made it 2-0 with a curled finish past Speroni.
Back with a bang: Toure celebrates his 19th league goal of the season to double City's lead. 
65 - City looking comfortable on possession as they look to see out the win which will take them to within 3 points of Liverpool, with a game in hand over the league leaders. 

Title race is hotting up, and the result from Anfield has had massive significance now. The control has shifted.

66: An audacious effort from Yaya TourĂ© goes over the bar, and it looks as though he will be substituted to avoid any further aggravations or sore muscles. 
Recently recovered from a groin injury which made him have to limp off during the Liverpool game a few Sundays ago, and it's a smart move by Pellegrini. 

67: Manchester City SUB: 
Yaya Touré OFF
Fernandinho ON

68: Dzeko is down on the turf holding his back in pain after an aerial collision with Palace midfielder Jedinak. Tony Pulis is on the touchline, preparing some changes. 

69: Dzeko is back up on his feet while there are substitutes coming on for Palace:
Marouane Chamakh OFF
Cameron Jerome OFF
Dwight Gayle ON
Glenn Murray ON

70: A yellow card is brandished to Palace defender Joel Ward, after a late clattering into Milner near the flank on the counter attack. Fair enough.

71: Aguero has a shot on-goal after good work on the flank from Milner, but his strike lacks power with the outside of his foot, and Speroni comfortably collects. 

72: Good reaction save from Speroni to deny Dzeko who weaves his way into the box, but his effort is blocked by the legs of the goalkeeper. 

74: Last change for Palace:
Yannick Bolasie OFF
Tom Ince ON 

76: Great cross from Kolarov on the flank, but no City players are there in the box to latch onto the delivery and Palace clear the danger away. Lucky escape, from an inviting ball!

78: Another case of resting quality players for City:
Sergio Aguero OFF
Stefan Jovetic ON

80: Palace have not looked as though they would really trouble City in the second-half, as if they are happy to sit back and invite pressure without testing Hart properly enough to get back into the game..

84: Dzeko has a shot from 20-yards out... but the ball is well seen by Speroni who deals with the danger, wrapping his arms around the strike.

87: Last change for City:
Edin Dzeko OFF
Alvaro Negredo ON

Fresh legs for City with a few minutes plus stoppage time to play, Dzeko has been effective but looks fatigued after having ran throughout the game - causing the Palace defence many problems. Good game from him. 

90: The fourth official has signalled for 3 minutes of stoppage time to be played. 

90+3: The referee has blown his whistle to end the match! City get the job done efficiently to beat Palace 2-0, and are fully back in the title race as a result of Liverpool's defeat to Chelsea earlier - it's fascinating how one result can have such an effect on a whole season's work..