Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Europa League Last 32 First Leg Results

FA Cup Fifth Round Review

The FA Cup continued this weekend with the fifth round with the remaining 16 sides all competing for a place in the sixth round which would put them just one win from a Wembley semi final. The eight ties took place over three days from Feb 20th-22nd.

Opening the round on Saturday was the rematch of the 2013 final between Arsenal and Championship leaders Hull City with the Tigers keen to end the Gunners long winning streak in the competition. Both sides made sweeping changes from their midweek games but a tight game saw the sides draw 0-0 with the prospective replay more welcome for the visitors than Arsenal who have another addition to their hectic schedule.

The two 3pm games saw a face-off between Championship and top flight sides starting with Reading hosting West Bromwich Albion at the Madjeski Stadium. A close run first half saw the sides remain level into the interval before a 54th minute strike from Darren Fletcher put the Baggies 1-0 ahead. McShane levelled for the Royals within five minutes before Hector put the hosts in front in the 72nd minute. The hosts sealed an upset late on as Lucas Piazon completed a 3-1 success to send them into the sixth round.

Watford hosted Leeds United at Vicarage Road looking to extend an already fine cup run while the visitors hoped to boost a mixed domestic season so far. The sides played out a goalless first half before Watford went ahead in the 53rd minute with an own goal from Wooton and the strike proved to be enough to secure a 1-0 win and send them into the next round.

The evening kick-off saw an all top flight battle between Bournemouth and Everton with both sides hoping to continue recent good runs of form as they faced off at the Vitality Stadium. A close first half saw the sides remain goalless before the Toffees struck an opener in the 55th minute through Ross Barkley. Everton were two goals to the good on 76 minutes as Romelu Lukaku ended a barren run in front of goal to make it 2-0 and seal a spot in the sixth round.

Sunday's early game saw Championship side Blackburn Rovers host top flight West Ham United hoping to stage an upset against the in-form Hammers at Ewood Park. Their pursuit of such an upset started well with Ben Marshall giving them a 1-0 lead inside 20 minutes. The Hammers fought back with a leveller from Victor Moses on 26 minutes before going ahead through Dmitri Payet's 36th minute effort. Rovers were dealt a blow on 55 minutes with the dismissal of Taylor and the Hammers took full advantage by making 3-1 through Emmanuel Emenike on 64 minutes before Cheikou Kouyake was sent off with 15 minutes left. Despite being back on level terms numbers wise, West Ham wrapped up a 5-1 rout with second strikes for Emenike and Payet in the 85th and 90th minutes

The first of two top flight battles on Sunday afternoon saw a London derby between Tottenham and Crystal Palace at White Hart Lane. A tight first half looked to be ending goalless but Palace had other ideas as they struck an opener in added time through Martin Kelly. The strike proved to be crucial as the Eagles held on for a 1-0 win that boosted a poor run of form in recent weeks.

Chelsea hosted Manchester City at Stamford Bridge looking to keep up their best hope of a trophy this season after a midweek European defeat while City looked to continue their pursuit of a quadruple. City made an array of changes from their last game while the hosts fielded a fairly strong starting 11. The opening goal came on 35 minutes as Diego Costa put the hosts ahead but a quick reply from City saw David Faupala level within two minutes.

However, Chelsea struck twice within five minutes of the half-time break to take control at 3-1 as Willian fired in on 48 minutes before Gary Cahill's 53rd minute effort and Eden Hazard made it 4-1 on 67 minutes. The rout was completed late on as Bertrand Traore continued his scoring streak on 89 minutes for 5-1.

The final game of the round saw League One side Shrewsbury Town host top flight Manchester United at Greenhous Meadow hoping to stage a huge upset against a United side in poor form. The Shrews did well in the first half to keep the visitors on level terms but suffered a double blow in the final part of the half as Chris Smalling and Jesse Lingard fired United 2-0 ahead with efforts in the 37th and 45th minutes. The tie was over as a contest just after the hour mark as Juan Mata sealed a 3-0 win in the 61st minute.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Foxes Gap Cut While Reds Humiliate Villa

Alike my other blogs this week, this week's review is a late one so rather than write up results that are 'out of date' it is just the images this week.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

FA Cup Fourth Round Replays Review

After a fairly straightforward set of results in the FA Cup fourth round saw no real surprises, there were only two ties forced into a replays with the duo taking place on the 9th/10th Feb.

Tuesday 9th saw West Ham United host Liverpool for the right to face Blackburn Rovers in the fifth round. Both sides fielded mixed sides not too dissimilar to the original tie but this time around there were goals to be had as the Hammers struck an opener just before the interval. Michail Antonio fired in for 1-0 in added time before his effort was cancelled out within three minutes of the restart as Philippe Coutinho swept in a superb free-kick to level at 1-1. The sides remained level until the end of the 90 minutes forcing extra time but with penalties looming for the sides, Angelo Ogbonna headed in to seal a 2-1 win for the hosts and dump the Reds out of the competition.

Wednesday 10th saw League One side Peterborough United host top flight West Bromwich Albion with the plum tie of Reading away awaiting the winners. A tight first half saw the sides remain level past the half-time break before Jon Taylor gave the hosts a surprise lead in the 55th minute. Darren Fletcher fired in a superb equaliser in the 71st minute which let to the sides playing extra time but that failed to separate them. The resulting penalty shoot-out saw two misses from Peterborough which was enough to give the Baggies a win at 4-3.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Foxes Five Clear While Reds Held By Black Cats

The Premier League season seems to be flying by with the first two thirds of the season now complete after gameweek 25 this weekend. A low scoring programme saw just six sides score two or more while just six teams claimed a shut-out.

Saturday's early kick-off saw a battle at the top as title hopefuls Manchester City hosted current league leaders Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium with the Foxes having the chance to open up a five with a win. Their pursuit of success started with rapid pace as Robert Huth fired them in front inside three minutes and they were in control just three minutes into the second half as the in-form Riyad Mahrez doubled the lead in style. City's day got even worse on the hour mark as Huth headed the Foxes into a stunning 3-0 lead.A perfect afternoon for the table toppers was only dented by an 87th minute strike from Sergio Aguero for 3-1.

In the first of six 3pm games, Aston Villa hosted fellow strugglers Norwich City at Villa Park looking to secure only their third win of the season while the Canaries hoped to end a run of four defeats. The sides looked to be heading into the half-time break on level terms after a tight first 45 minutes but Villa struck in the final seconds as Joleon Lescott put them 1-0 ahead. The Villa faithful had cause to celebrate again just six minutes after the restart as Gabriel Agbonlahor ended a long scoring drought to make it 2-0. Norwich battled to try and cut the deficit but were left to rue on missed chances and slip to a firth loss in a row while Villa cut the gap to safety.

Liverpool hosted struggling Sunderland at Anfield looking to bounce back from their midweek defeat while the Black Cats hoped to close the gap to safety. The build-up to the game included talk of a protest from the home fans in the 77th minute in reference to the reveal of next year's price rises to £77 in the main stand.

The sides remained level into the half-time interval before two goals in 11 minutes either side of the hour put the Reds in control at 2-0 as Roberto Firmino fired in on 59 minutes before a 70th minute effort from Adam Lallana. The proposed protest saw thousands of home fans walk out on 77 minutes and they missed a capitulation from their side as Adam Johnson made it 2-1 on 82 minutes before Jermain Defoe salvaged a 2-2 draw with a minute left of the 90.

Newcastle United hosted West Bromwich Albion at St James Park knowing a win would move them out of the bottom three while the Baggies had the chance to close on the top ten with a victory. The Magpies opened the scoring in the 32nd minute as Aleksandar Mitrovic made it 1-0 and the single goal proved to be enough to secure all three points and move them out of the drop zone.

Stoke City hosted Everton at the Britannia Stadium looking to close on the top half with a first win in four games while the Toffees hoped secure back-to-back wins. The Potters suffered an early blow as they conceded a penalty in the 11th minute which Romelu Lukaku slotted in to open the scoring and the visitors were two goals to the good in the 28th minute as Seamus Coleman out them in control at 2-0. The points were wrapped up just before half-time as Aaron Lennon made it three goals in as many games in the 42nd minute for 3-0.

Swansea City welcomed Crystal Palace to the Liberty Stadium hoping to extend their gap above the bottom three with a win while the Eagles had their eyes on a place in the top half.  Gylfi Sigurdsson put the Swans ahead after just 13 minutes but the visitors drew level just two minutes after half-time as Scott Dann made it two goals in the space of a week as he salvaged a point in a 1-1 draw.

High flying Tottenham Hotspur hosted Watford at White Hart Lane looking to move into second spot while the Hornets looked to remain unbeaten for a third game in a row. The sides played out a tight first half which ended goalless and the score remained 0-0 until just after the hour mark when Kieran Trippier sealed all three points with a 64th minute winner to claim a 1-0 success.

The evening kick-off saw Southampton host West Ham United at St Mary's Stadium with both sides hoping to close up on the top five with a win. The Saints started superbly by taking the lead inside nine minutes with a rare strike from Maya Yoshida before suffering blow nine minutes into the second half with the dismissal of Victor Wanyama. The Hammers battled to draw level but despite having an extra man for over half an hour they were unable to avoid a 1-0 defeat.

Super Sunday began with Bournemouth's hosting of Arsenal at the Vitality Stadium with the Cherries looking to claim back-to-back wins while the Gunners had the chance to move level with Spurs in second. The Cherries were hit by two goals in as many minutes after the 20 minute mark as Mesut Ozil opened the scoring in the 23rd minute before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made it 2-0 within a minute. The Cherries battled to cut the deficit and came close in the second half but were unable to avoid a defeat that left them just five points clear of the drop zone.

The final game of the weekend saw Chelsea host Manchester United at Stamford Bridge with the sides sitting 13th and fifth, a long way from the traditional title challenge that comes with this game. The sides remained level into the half-time interval before United struck an opener just after the hour mark as Jesse Lingard made it 1-0 on 61 minutes. Chelsea left it late to salvage a draw with Diego Costa levelling in the first minute of added time to claim a 1-1 draw.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Foxes Clear On Top After Defeating Reds

After an FA Cup weekend, it was strange to have a full midweek programme in the Premier League but the hectic schedule didn't dampen the results as six sides scored two or more while half the league kept a clean sheet in gameweek 24. Due to a busy week myself, an out of date review is a bit pointless so I will just post the results.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

FA Cup Fourth Round Review

After a number of 'cupsets' in the third round, the fourth round draw created the potential for a few more as eight top flight sides faced lower division opponents across a three day weekend.

Friday night saw Championship promotion hopefuls Derby County host top flight Manchester United at the iPro Stadium with the Rams hoping to stage an upset. However, the visitors put a dent in the hosts' hope as they took the lead on 16 minutes through Wayne Rooney but it was all square on 37 minutes as George Thorne made it 1-1 ahead of the interval. United regained the lead through Daley Blind on 65 minutes before sealing a 3-1 win and a place in the fifth round with Juan Mata's 83rd minute effort.

Saturday's early game saw League One side Colchester United hosting top flight Tottenham Hotspur with the hosts hoping to secure a huge 'cupset' that would boost their struggling season so far. They remained level until the 27th minute when Nacer Chadli fired Spurs ahead and the hosts did well to keep the score to just 1-0 long into the second half. However, two goals in 14 minutes put the visitors in complete control with Eric Dier (64) doubling the lead before Chadli's second made it 3-0 on 78 minutes. Colchester claimed a consolation just two minutes later but it came via an own goal from Ben Davies but the goal spree was to be completed a further two minutes later as Tom Carroll sealed a 4-1 win.

Holders Arsenal played host to Championship side Burnley looking to continue their pursuit retaining the trophy for a third season while the Clarets hoped to end the Gunners' streak. A superb opener from Callum Chambers set the Gunners on their way on 19 minutes only for the visitors to draw level through Sam Vokes on the half hour mark for 1-1. The tie was sealed just eight minutes after the restart as fit-again Alexis Sanchez fired in for 2-1.

In a battle between two tof flight sides at opposite ends of the table, Aston Villa hosted Manchester City with Villa looking to take away the focus from the league while City looked for back-to-back cup wins having sealed a League Cup final spot. Villa's afternoon turned bad inside the first four minutes as Kelechi Ihenacho made it 1-0 to City before he added a second from the penalty spot to make it 2-0 in the 24th minute. Villa's only real positive from the game so far was that they kept City out for the next 50 minutes until Ihenacho completed his hat-trick on 74 minutes before Raheem Sterling completed a 4-0 rout just two minutes later.

A Championship face-off saw Bolton Wanderers host Leeds United at the Macron Stadium with both sides eager to extend their cup run to take the the focus of struggling league campaigns. The visitors struck an early opener as Souleymane Doukara made it 1-0 in the eight minute before Toumani Diagouraga doubled the lead on 39 minutes. Bolton struck back late in the second with Darren Pratley's 80th minute strike but it proved to be just a consolation as Leeds reached the next round with a 2-1 win.

League One side Bury played host to Championship side Hull looking to stage a shock against the 2013 runners-up who had there eyes on a potential repeat of their famous run to Wembley. Chuba Akpom put the Tigers ahead in the 14th minute and he doubled the lead in the 57th minute via the penalty spot to leave the hosts with a huge task to avoid defeat but their chase was made even harder as Akpom completed his hat-trick on 69 minutes for 3-0. Bury claimed a consolation via Craig Jones' 86th minute effort for 3-1.

An all-top flight battle took place at Selhurst Park as Crystal Palace hosted Stoke City with both looking to extend their cup run after mixed league seasons so far. The tie proved to be a close one with just one goal separating the sides as Wilfred Zaha struck a 19th minute winner to seal a 1-0 success.

Championship side Nottingham Forest hosted top flight Watford hoping to claim a scalp against a side going well in the Premier League. The hosts did well to keep the tie goalless not only into half-time but as the end of the 90 minutes neared, a replay looked on the cards. However, the Hornets had other ideas as Odion Ighalo continued his superb scoring streak with late winner in the 89th minute.

League two side Oxford United hosted Blackburn Rovers hoping to secure back-to-back giant killings after dumping out Swansea City in round three. However, Blackburn took control in the first half with two goals in the final nine minutes of the half as Ben Marshall slotted in a 36th minute penalty before Tony Watt made it 2-0 just before the break. Oxford's hopes of a comeback were dashed midway through the second half as Marshall hit his second to complete a 3-0 win in the 76th minute.

League Two side Portsmouth hosted top flight Bournemouth looking to extend their cup run one step further with a giant killing that would edge them closer to adding to the memories of two finals in the 2000's. However, the Premier League side had other ideas as they sealed a 2-0 win but their place in the next round was not clear as the sides remained at 0-0 long past the hour mark. Josh King put the Cherries ahead in the 71st minute before Marc Pugh confirmed the win seven minutes from the end.

Championship side Reading hosted League One high-fliers Walsall with the Saddlers looking to claim a scalp over their higher placed hosts. The hopes of a 'cupset' were dented late in the first half as Hal Robson-Kanu made it 1-0 in the 37th minute before a Matej Vydra strike on 40 minutes gave the Royals a 2-0 advantage.

Walsall remained in the hunt despite the deficit but were cut adrift on the scoreboard by two goals in the final 15 minutes as Daniel Williams made it 3-0 on 75 minutes before a second from Vydra completed a 4-0 rout.

League One side Shrewsbury Town hosted Sheffield Wednesday hoping to secure back-to-back upsets after dispatching Cardiff City in round three.  Lewis McGugan put the Owls ahead with a 19th minute opener before a leveller from Jean Louis Akpa-Akpro came in the 57th minute. McGugan regained the lead for the visitors on 76 minutes before a late show from the Shrews sealed a famous 3-2 triumph as Shaun Whalley levelled on 87 minutes before an added time winner came from Jack Grimmer.

Top flight West Bromwich Albion hosted League One side Peterborough United at the Hawthorns wary of a potential upset but with hopes of extending their run in the competition. The Baggies struck first with an opener from Saido Berahino in the 14th minute and had to settle for just a single goal lead deep into the second half until Shaquile Coulthirst levelled on 79 minutes. Berahino struck his second goal on 84 minutes to make it 2-1 but the visitors forced a replay just two minutes later as Jon Taylor made it 2-2 and put them into the bag for the fifth round draw.

Saturday's evening game saw a top flight battle between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield with both sides meeting in the competition for the first time since the famous 2006 final. Both managers fielded weakened sides due to the league resuming in midweek but the fringe players brought in did well as they cancelled each other out in a 0-0 draw.

Sunday saw a double header of lower league sides hosting top flight sides starting with League Two side Carlisle United hosting Everton in the first game at Brunton Park since the December flood which drowned the stadium under 12ft of water. The Toffees wasted no time in taking control with two goals in the opening 14 minutes with a second minute strike from Arouna Kone added to on 14 minutes by Aaron Lennon's effort.  The tie was wrapped up just after the hour mark as Ross Barkley made it 3-0 in the 65th minute.

The final tie of the weekend saw Championship side Milton Keynes Dons host Chelsea hoping to take advantage of the Blues mixed season so far. The Blues opened the scoring with a strike from Oscar on 15 minutes before a leveller for the hosts came just six minutes later from Darren Potter for 1-1. Chelsea regained the lead with a second from Oscar on 32 minutes before he completed a first half hat-trick in the 44th minute for 3-1. Eden Hazard added a penalty on 55 minutes before Bertrand Traore completed a 5-1 rout in the 62nd minute.