Thursday, 12 November 2015

Gunners Join City on Top While Eagles Defeat Reds

Ahead of the final International break of the year, gameweek 12 of the Premier League saw a fairly low scoring programme with just only three sides scoring twice while seven secured shutouts.

Saturday's opening game saw Bournemouth host Newcastle at the Vitality Stadium with both sides looking to improve on poor runs of form that put them both in the bottom four. The game was a tight affair overall but the Magpies came out on top with a 28th minute winner from Ayoze Perez securing a narrow 1-0 win.

In the first of five 3pm games, high-flying Leicester City hosted Watford at the King Power Stadium with the chance to close up on the top two. They did just that by moving joint on 25 points with a 2-1 win over the Hornets with the first goal coming on 52 minutes from N'Golo Kanté before Jamie Vardy slotted in a 64th minute penalty to score for the ninth game in a row. Watford remained in the hunt with a penalty of their own in the 76th minute from Troy Deeney but it was only a consolation as the hosts held firm.

Manchester United hosted West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford looking to end a run of three consecutive defeats to the visiting Baggies who themselves hoped to move into the top half. A tight first half from both sides meant the Red Devils had now gone three and a half games without a goal but that ended just seven minutes after the break as Jesse Lingard made it 1-0. The lead remained a narrow one until the final minutes as the visitors suffered a double blow with the sending off of Gareth McAuley which saw Juan Mata seal a 2-0 win with the resulting spot kick.

Norwich City and Swansea City met at Carrow Road with both eager to move away from the fringes of the bottom three. A tight encounter saw the Canaries come out on top with the crucial strike coming on 70 minutes as Jonny Howson secured a 1-0 win.

Sunderland played host to Southampton at the Stadium of Light looking to bounce back from their thriller at Everton which left them just above bottom spot in the table while the Saints hoped to climb up the top half. The visitors came out on top but left it late to secure a 1-0 win with the vital strike coming just four minutes from the end as Dusan Tadic scored an 86th minute penalty.

West Ham United and Everton have both had mixed form this season so it was no surprise that in their meeting at Upton Park, they both came away with a point each. The Hammers struck first with a 30th minute strike from Manuel Lanzini but the Toffees struck back just before the interval as Romelu Lukaku slotted in on 44 minutes to make it 1-1. Both sides battled in the second half for a winner but it proved elusive in a close draw.

The evening kick-off saw Chelsea travel to face Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium but due to suspension, Jose Mourinho was missing from the Blues dugout as they looked to gain revenge for their recent cup exit to the Potters. The game was a tight one as is always expected in Stoke but what came as the biggest surprise was Marko Arnautovic's stunning 53rd minute strike which he volleyed past Asmir Begovic to secure a 1-0 success.

Super Sunday began with Remi Garde's first game as manager of Aston Villa as they hosted Manchester City at Villa Park. City looked to open a gap at the top but were halted by a superb defensive performance from Villa as they held the league leaders to a 0-0 draw. The point moved City top overall but leaves Villa still languishing at the bottom.

The second installment came from the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal and Tottenham faced off in the North London derby with the Gunners knowing a win would see them leapfrog Manchester City at the top. However, their pursuit suffered a blow before a positive as Harry Kane fired the visitors ahead on the half hour mark. Arsenal drew level in the second half as a rare strike from Kieran Gibbs on 77 minutes secured a point in a 1-1 draw.

In the other 4pm game, Liverpool hosted Crystal Palace with the Eagles looking to extend their hoodoo over the Reds who had former captain Steven Gerrard watching on keen for his former side to exact revenge for the Eagles defeat in his final game. However, it wasn't to be as Palace went ahead as early as the 21st minute through Yannick Bolasie whose opener was then cancelled out by a clever equaliser from Philippe Coutinho on 42 minutes. The Reds had yet to suffer defeat under Jurgen Klopp but the usually excitable manager had to deal with a first blot on his record as Scott Dann secured a 2-1 win in the 82nd minute.