Sunday, 4 June 2017

EL/FA/UCL Finals Review

The final post of the current season sees the trio of the Europa League, FA Cup and Champions League finals reviewed.

First up is the Europa League Final which was played at the Friends Arena, Stockholm as Ajax Amsterdam took on Manchester United.

United sealed a place in the 2017/18 Champions League with a 2-0 win that saw Paul Pogba put them in front with 18 minutes on the clock before Henrikh Mkhitaryan doubled the lead and confirmed the win three minutes after half-time.


Next up was the FA Cup final from Wembley as Arsenal looked to prevent newly crowned Premier League champions Chelsea from securing a double.

The Gunners made the perfect start as Alexis Sanchez struck inside four minutes for 1-0. The Blues were dealt a blow with the dismissal of Victor Moses but soon drew level through Diego Costa. However, Arsenal sealed the win and a record 13th title as Aaron Ramsey's strike three minutes later for 2-1.



The trilogy concluded at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff as Real Madrid looked to complete their defence of the Champions League trophy in the final against Juventus. 

Real went ahead through Cristiano Ronaldo with 20 minutes gone before a superb leveller from Mario Mandzukic made it 1-1 seven minutes later.

Casemiro restored Real's lead just after the hour with Ronaldo striking for a second time for 3-1 within three minutes. Juve's hopes of a comeback were scuppered by a double blow late on as Juan Cuadrado was dismissed before Marcos Asensio put the gloss on the win for Real in added time for 4-1.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Chelsea Crowned Champions As Reds Secure Fourth With Boro Win

The Premier League season finale saw the battle for fourth become the main focus with matters at the top and bottom already decided and a rarity as all 20 sides played at the same time.

Arsenal needed to better the result of Liverpool to secure a top four place and they did their utmost as they secured a 3-1 win over Everton.  The Gunners went ahead inside eight minutes with Hector Bellerin's strike but a blow saw Laurent Koscielny dismissed six minutes later. 

Alexis Sanchez doubled the lead before the half hour mark with Romelu Lukaku pulling one back with a 58th minute penalty. Aaron Ramsey wrapped up the win late on but the Gunners fate will be confirmed later in the review.

West Ham United ended the season on a high with a 2-1 win over Burnley. The hosts went ahead on 23 minutes through Sam Vokes but their fellow Clarets were level through Sofiane Feghouli within four minutes. André Ayew secured the points with a 72nd minute effort.


Chelsea's celebrated their title crowning in style with a 5-1 routing of Sunderland. However, the visitors threatened to derail the party as Javier Manquillo struck an opener three minutes in.  

Willian levelled for the Blues before an orchestrated guard of honour for Blues captain John Terry came in the 26th minute. Goals from Eden Hazard and Pedro put the Blues in control before a late brace from Michy Batshuayi rounded off the rout.

Hull City ended the season miserably they suffered a 7-1 thrashing from title runners-up Tottenham Hotspur. An early brace from Harry Kane put Spurs 2-0 up inside 15 minutes with Dele Alli making it 3-0 into half-time.

Sam Clucas ended Spurs' spree on 66 minutes for 3-1 but Victor Wanyama resumed the spree just three minutes later ahead of a hat-trick strike from Kane. The thrashing was completed by two goals in the final six minutes as Ben Davies and Toby Alderweireld slotted in.


Leicester City ended their season as champions with a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth who secured a ninth placed finish. Junior Stanislas put the Cherries inside the opening minute but the win was denied by Jamie Vardy's 51st minute leveller.

As mentioned above, Arsenal did what they needed to in the battle for fourth but they missed out due to Liverpool securing fourth spot with a 3-0 win over Middlesbrough.

The Reds cemented their place in the top four and a spot in next season's Champions League with an 11 minute spree which began with Georginio Wijnaldum's strike just before half-time.  Philippe Coutinho doubled the lead within five minutes of the restart with Adam Lallana wrapping up the win six minutes later.


Manchester United signed off ahead of the midweek Europa League final against Ajax with a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. United went ahead with a debut goal from young striker Josh Harrop on 15 minutes  before Paul Pogba struck just four minutes later.

Stoke City missed out on a top half finish despite ending with a 1-0 win away to Southampton. Peter Crouch secured the points with an historic headed effort on the hour mark as he became the first player to score 50 headers in the top flight.


After avoiding relegation, Swansea City ended the season on a high with a 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion.

The Baggies went ahead through Jonny Evans before Jordan Ayew levelled in the 72nd minute (the same time as his brother struck over at Burnley). Fernando Llorente sealed the win four minutes from the end.

The final league game of my 2016-17 reviews was also to be the last for Watford manager Walter Mazzari as he departed the Hornets after their 5-0 humbling from Manchester City who cemented third spot. A rapid start for the visitors saw Vincent Kompany strike inside six minutes before a brace from Sergio Aguero and an effort from Fernandinho gave City a 4-0 lead into half-time. The rout was completed before the hour mark as Gabriel Jesus made it 5-0 on 57 minutes.

Chelsea Seal Title While Reds Thrash Hammers

Catch-up on the final part of the Premier League season begins with a lengthy week 37 which spanned from Friday 12th May to Thursday 18th May. 

Friday night's action began at Goodison Park as Everton secured a narrow 1-0 win over Watford. The crucial strike came from Ross Barkley in the 56th minute.

Chelsea sealed the league title with a narrow 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion with a rare strike from Michy Batshuayi coming eight minutes from the end enough to secure the crown for Antonio Conte's men.



Manchester City kept up their hopes of a top two finish with a 2-1 win at home to former champions Leicester City. David Silva put the hosts ahead just before the half hour mark before Gabriel Jesus doubled the lead with a penalty seven minutes later. The Foxes halved the deficit just before half time through Shinji Okazaki but it was to be only a consolation.

Bournemouth moved closer to securing a top half finish as they claimed a 2-1 win over Burnley. The Cherries opened the scoring on 25 through Junior Stanislas before being pegged back with seven minutes to go by a Sam Vokes leveller. The hosts were bot to be denied a win though as Joshua King sealed the points in the 85th minute.


Southampton piled further misery on relegated Middlesbrough by securing a 2-1 victory. The Saints went ahead just before half time via Jay Rodriguez's 42nd minute effort and they were in control before the hour mark as Nathan Redmond doubled the lead. Boro had the last say on the scoreline though as Patrick Bamford struck in the 72nd minute.

Swansea City boosted their survival hopes with a 2-0 win over already relegated Sunderland. The Swans went ahead inside ten minutes courtesy of Fernando Llorente with Kyle Naughton doubling the lead just before half-time. 


Arsenal boosted their top four hopes with a comfortable 4-1 win over Stoke City. The Gunners went ahead just before half-time through Olivier Giroud with Mesut Ozil doubling the lead just before the hour mark. Peter Crouch got the Potters off the mark on 67 minutes but his effort was to be only a consolation as Alexis Sanchez made it 3-1 before Giroud's second strike ten minutes from the end.

Hull City needed to win to keep up their survival hopes as they faced Crystal Palace on Sunday, but a 4-0 loss saw their relegation confirmed. A rapid start from the Eagles saw Wilfred Zaha and Christian Benteke give them a 2-0 lead inside 15 minutes.  The win was wrapped up with two late goals as Luka Milivojevic slotted in a penalty ahead of a strike from Patrick Van Aanholt.

Liverpool ensured that the battle for fourth would go down to the final day as they cruised to a 4-0 win at West Ham United. Daniel Sturridge got the Reds going with a 35th minute opener before a five minute brace either side of the hour mark from Philippe Coutinho put the visitors in control at 3-0. The gloss on the win came on 76 minutes with Divock Origi's strike. 

Tottenham Hotspur signed off at White Hart Lane with a 2-1 win over Manchester United that ended United's top four hopes. A rapid start from the hosts saw Victor Wanyama score inside seven minutes ahead of a Harry Kane strike just after half-time doubling the lead. United had the last say on the scoreline as Wayne Rooney made it 2-1 in the 71st minute. 

 
Chelsea left it late to overcome Watford in a seven-goal thriller that saw the Blues win 4-3. John Terry put the hosts ahead on 2 minutes only to have his effort rapidly levelled by Etienne Capoue. Cesar Azpilicueta restored Chelsea's lead into half-time with Michy Batshuayi making it 3-1 within four minutes of the restart.

Daryl Janmaat and Stefano Okaka struck for the Hornets to level at 3-3 but their were dealt a double blow late on as Cesc Fabregas sealed the win on 88 minutes before Seb Prodl was sent off.

Arsenal set up a three-way battle for the top four as they claimed a 2-0 win over relegated Sunderland. A nine minute brace from Alexis Sanchez secure the win as he struck in the 72nd and 81st minutes.


Manchester City moved into third spot with a 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion. City were 2-0 to the good before the half hour mark via strikes from Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne.

Yaya Toure wrapped up the win before the hour but the Baggies had the last say on the scoreline with a late strike from Hal Robson-Kanu. 

Southampton looked to secure a top half finish as they shared the points in a 0-0 draw with Manchester United who would finish in sixth spot. 

Tottenham Hotspur cruised to a 6-1 hammering over Leicester City on Thursday evening with Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min giving Spurs a two goal advantage at half-time. Ben Chilwell cut the gap for the Foxes before the hour mark before the visitors ran riot. Kane and Heung-Min struck for a second time in an eight minute period before Kane completed his hat-trick and struck a fourth in the final minutes.  

Friday, 12 May 2017

Champions/Europa Semi Finals Review

As the domestic European seasons near the end, the semi finals of both the Champions League and Europa League saw the final four sides in European competition decided.

The first legs of the Champions League semis saw an all-Madrid battle as holders Real Madrid hosted Atletico Madrid.

The hosts went ahead inside ten minutes as Cristiano Ronaldo struck, he went on to claim a hat-trick and a comfortable 3-0 advantage for Real with further strikes in the 74th and 87th minutes.

Monaco and Juventus faced off in the other tie and it was to be the Italians who secured first leg success. Gonzalo Higuain's brace secured a 2-0 win as he struck in the 29th and 59th minutes.


The first legs of the Europa League semis began with Ajax securing a huge 4-1 advantage against Olympique Lyonnais. The hosts opened the scoring through Bertrand Traoré before Kasper Dolberg doubled the lead before half-time.

The win looked to be secure within five minutes of the restart as Amin Younes made it 3-0 but the visitors struck what could be a crucial away goal through Mathieu Valbuena. The goal was to be merely a consolation on the night as Traoré scored his second and Ajax's fourth.

Manchester United secured a narrow 1-0 lead against Celta Vigo.The visitors secured the win with an away goal from Marcus Rashford on 68 minutes.


The final step on the 'Road to Cardiff' saw Juventus secure a place in the final with a 2-1 win that saw them advance past Monaco with a 4-1 aggregate.

First half strikes from Mario Mandzukic and Dani Alves put the Italians in control at 2-0 (4-0) before Kylian Mbappe secured some consolation for the visitors.

Juve will face Real Madrid in the final despite Los Blancos suffering a 2-1 defeat to Atletico as they advanced 4-2 on aggregate.

Atletico went 2-0 up on the night inside 17 minutes as Saul Niguez struck ahead of a penalty from Antoine Griezmann. They were unable to level the tie though as Real secured their spot in the final with a strike just before half-time from Isco.


After a five goal thriller in the first leg, Ajax secured a trip to Stockholm for the final with a 5-4 aggregate win despite losing 3-1 to Lyon on the night.

Kasper Dolberg continued his scoring streak with the opener on 27 minutes before a superb brace from Alexandre Lacazette as he struck from the penalty spot and open play in the final minutes of the first half for a 2-1 lead (3-5 agg).

Rachid Ghezzal made it 3-1 and 4-5 on agg with nine minutes to go and with the dismissal of Nick Viergever, the hosts had hope of levelling but to no avail as Ajax's away goal was enough to win the tie.

The Dutch side will face Manchester United in the final after the Red Devils advanced 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw against Celta Vigo. An opener from Marouane Fellaini made it 1-0 (2-0 agg) but a late rally from the visitors saw Facundo Roncaglia strike an away goal for Celta before being sent off after an altercation with United defender Eric Bailly who was also dismissed. United managed to hold on and secure a spot in the final. 

Chelsea Close on Title as Saints Halt Reds

The Premier League run-in is in full swing with just two gameweeks left after the recent weekend-midweek gameweek 36.

The gameweek began on Friday night with a London derby as West Ham United hosted title challenging Tottenham Hotspur.  The Hammers claimed the points with a 65th minute strike from Manuel Lanzini who secured a 1-0 win.

Manchester City kept up their hopes of a top two finish with a comfortable 5-0 rout over Crystal Palace. The hosts started perfectly with David Silva scoring inside two minutes before Vincent Kompany and Kevin De Bruyne made it 3-0 before the hour mark. A miserable afternoon for the Eagles was completed in the final seven minutes as Raheem Sterling added a fourth ahead of a rare goal from Nicolas Otamendi in added time,


Bournemouth and Stoke City confirmed safety with a share of the points in a 2-2 draw. An own goal from Lys Mousset put the Potters ahead on 33 minutes before Junior Stanislas levelled for the Cherries on 63 minutes. A strike from Mame Biram Diouf restored the visitors' lead but they were to be denied the win by an own goal from Ryan Shawcross. 

Burnley all but secured safety as they salvaged a point in a 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion. Sam Vokes put the Clarets ahead on 57 minutes before Salomon Rondon levelled for the Baggies. The visitors completed the turnaround on 79 minutes as Craig Dawson struck but the hosts were to level with four minutes to go with a second strike from Vokes.

Hull City's safety hopes were dented as they suffered a 2-0 defeat to already relegated Sunderland. The visitors secured the three points with two second half strikes as Billy Jones opened the scoring on 69 minutes ahead of Jermain Defoe's effort in added time.

Leicester City moved into the top half with a comfortable 3-0 win over Watford. Wilfred Ndidi put the Foxes ahead on 38 minutes before Riyad Mahrez doubled the lead just before the hour. The win was rounded off late on by a strike from Marc Albrighton. 



Swansea City boosted their survival hopes with a 1-0 win over Everton. The result which kept the Swans out of the bottom three was secured by a 30th minute strike from Fernando Llorente.

Liverpool's top four hopes fell out of their hands as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Southampton. The Saints made it four out of four against the Reds in terms of clean sheets this season.

Arsenal kept up their top four hopes and dented Manchester United's with a 2-0 win that also restored Liverpool's control of their destiny.
The Gunners secured the points with a three minute brace as Granit Xhaka struck ahead of an effort from former United striker Danny Welbeck.

Monday night saw Chelsea edge closer to the title with a 3-0 win over Middlesbrough who had their relegation to the Championship confirmed. The Blues went ahead on 22 minutes with an opener from Diego Costa before Marcos Alonso doubled the lead before half-time.  The win was wrapped up by a superb strike from Nemanja Matic.

Wednesday night saw Arsenal move closer to a top four spot at they secured a 2-0 win against Southampton. The Gunners secured the points with a strike from Alexis Sanchez just before the hour mark and an 83rd minute effort from Olivier Giroud. 

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Chelsea Close In On Title While Reds 'Can' Watford

As the Premier League run-in continued, a mix of midweek-weekend schedules set to run until the end of the season began.

The first of the midweek games came on Tuesday as Chelsea extended their stay at the top with a 4-2 win over Southampton. An early opener from Eden Hazard came just five minutes in but the Saints were level by the half hour mark with Oriol Romeu's leveller. 

The Blues took control just before half-time as Gary Cahill made it 2-1 before Diego Costa made it 3-1 on 53 minutes. Costa wrapped up the win with his second strike before the final say went to the visitors with Ryan Bertrand's effort.

Arsenal continued their top four push with a narrow 1-0 win over champions Leicester City. The crucial strike came with three minutes left as Robert Huth deflected into his own net.

Middlesbrough boosted their survival hopes with a narrow 1-0 win that pushed Sunderland closer to relegation. The hosts sealed the win with a goal with just eight minutes on the clock from Marten De Roon. 

Tottenham Hotspur cut the gap to leaders Chelsea with a narrow 1-0 win at London rivals Crystal Palace. The winning goal came with 12 minutes left of the 90 as Christian Eriksen struck.

The battle for the top four continued as Manchester City and Manchester United faced off in the Manchester Derby. The sides were side by side in the table so it was no huge surprise that they shared the points in a 0-0 draw but one which saw United end with ten men after Marouane Fellaini's dismissal.



The weekend began with an afternoon dubbed as 'The Worst Ever Premier League Saturday'. The opening game of the review was a 0-0 draw between Southampton and Hull City. A result that boosted the visitors survival hopes.

West Ham United extended their gap above the drop zone with a point in a 0-0 draw at Stoke City.

The third game of the afternoon between Sunderland and Bournemouth had the potential to see the hosts relegated with a defeat. The sides remained locked at 0-0 as the game entered the final stages but the hosts were to suffer the big blow as Joshua King sealed a 1-0 win for the Cherries thereby relegating Sunderland.


Leicester City continued their push for a top ten finish with a narrow 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion.

The winning goal came just before half-time as Jamie Vardy continued his scoring run against the Baggies with a 43rd minute strike.

The evening game saw Crystal Palace miss the chance to all but confirm safety as they lost 2-0 to Burnley.

The Clarets went ahead after just even minutes as Ashley Barnes struck before Andre Gray confirmed the win with five minutes remaining.




Sunday's action began with Manchester United's top four hopes suffering a blow as they drew 1-1 win Swansea City who moved two points from safety.

United took the lead just before half-time as Wayne Rooney slotted in a penalty but they would be denied a win by a 79th minute leveller from Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Chelsea moved closer to the title with a comfortable 3-0 win at Everton.

A tight first hour saw the sides locked at 0-0 but the visitors took control with an opener from Pedro before Gary Cahill and Willian struck to seal the win.


Middlesbrough boosted their survival hopes with a 2-2 draw against Manchester City who missed the chance to move third. Boro opened the scoring six minutes before half-time as former City man Alvaro Negredo struck before Sergio Aguero levelled from the penalty spot on 69 minutes.

Callum Chambers restored the lead for the hosts just seven minutes later but they were to be denied a vital win by a leveller from Gabriel Jesus with five minutes remaining.

Tottenham cut the gap to Chelsea at the top with a 2-0 win over fierce rivals Arsenal who as a result would finish behind Spurs for the first time in over 20 years.

A four minute double for the hosts secured the points as Dele Alli struck ahead of a penalty from Harry Kane.

The final game of the gameweek saw Watford suffer a 1-0 defeat to a Liverpool side who strengthened their grip on third spot after capitalising on the woes of the sides below them. The Monday night game was settled in style as Emre Can struck with an overhead kick just before half-time. 

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Europa League Quarter Finals Review

The month of May is within sight and the European season has begun the final straight, this review focuses on the Europa League quarter finals.

The first legs began with Ajax securing a 2-0 aggregate lead over Schalke 04. An opener from Davy Klaassen from the penalty spot put the hosts ahead on 23 minutes before he struck for a second time seven minutes after half time to complete the victory.

A five goal thriller saw Celta Vigo secured a narrow 3-2 aggregate advantage over Genk.The visitors struck first with an effort from Boetius inside ten minutes before two goals in as many minutes from Sisto and Iago Aspas put the hosts 2-1 ahead.

A 38th minute strike from Guidetti made it 3-1 to the Spanish side before the visitors set up a tight final period with a second goal on 67 minutes from Buffel for 3-2.


Olympique Lyonnais secured a 2-1 aggregate advantage as they defeated Besiktas.

The Turks opened the scoring with 15 minutes played through Ryan Babel and the early strike looked to be enough to secure a potentially crucial away win. However, the hosts turned the game around in the space of two minutes late on as Tolliso levelled on 83 minutes before Morel sealed the win seconds later.

Anderlecht and Manchester United would go into the second leg level after drawing 1-1 in the first leg.

United opened the scoring through Henrikh Mkhitaryan with 36 minutes played and the visitors were on course to secure a narrow win with their away goal as the game entered the final stages but the Belgians had other ideas as Dendoncker levelled four minutes from the end of the 90.


After a smash and grab in the first leg, Lyon secured a place in the last four as they won 7-6 on penalties after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Besitktas on the night.

The sides ended the tie level at 3-3 on aggregate after Talisca had levelled the tie at 2-2 with the night's opening goal on 27 minutes. Lacazette levelled at 1-1 (2-3 agg) before a second from Talisca on 58 minutes made it 2-1 (3-3) and led to extra tie before the crucial penalty shootout.

Another tie which had to be settled in extra time was the five goal thriller between Schalke 04 and Ajax. The Germans went 2-0 up before the hour to level the tie at 2-2 as Goretzka and Burgstaller struck. Ajax suffered a blow with the dismissal of Veltman and the hosts took advantage in extra time to lead 3-0 and 3-2 on agg. However, the ten men of Ajax staged a superb fightback with Viergever scoring on 111 minutes for 3-1 (3-3) before a last-gasp strike from Younes made it 3-2 but secured a 4-3 aggregate win for the Dutch side.

Celta Vigo secured a spot in the last four as they drew 1-1 at Genk but progressed 4-3 on aggregate.

Celta opened the scoring on the night through Sisto on 63 minutes for a 2-4 aggregate lead. The hosts levelled on the night at 1-1 through Trossard just four minutes later but they were unable to avoid an exit on aggregate.

The final tie of the round was to be the third decided after normal time as Manchester United advanced after a 2-1 win and 3-2 aggregate success.

United raced into an overall lead after Henrikh Mkhitaryan struck inside ten minutes only for his effort to be levelled by Hanni's 32nd minute strike to level the tie. The sides could not be separated across the 180 minutes of both legs which led to extra time. United secured the win with a strike on 107 minutes from Marcus Rashford. 

Prem Lge/FA Cup Semis Weekend Review

A shortened Premier League weekend programme due to the FA Cup semi finals gave some of the chasing pack the chance to close the gap at the top while those at  the bottom hoped to boost survival hopes.

The weekend opened with Bournemouth denting Middlesbrough's survival hopes with a 4-0 rout at the Vitality Stadium. The Cherries raced out of the blocks with an opener inside two minutes from Joshua King before Benik Afobe doubled the lead with 16 minutes gone.

'Boro's afternoon suffered another blow with the dismissal of Gaston Ramirez just four minutes later. The hosts completed a comfortable win with two goals after the hour mark as Marc Pugh (65) and Charlie Daniels (70) struck.

Hull City remain on the fringes of the drop zone despite a 2-0 win over Watford. The hosts suffered a blow inside the first half hour with the dismissal of Oumar Niasse but defied the numerical disadvantage to secure the win with two goals in nine minutes after the hour mark as Lazar Markovic broke the duck on 62 minutes ahead of Sam Clucas' 71st minute effort.


Swansea City sit two points from safety after securing a 2-0 win at home to Stoke City.

The Swans went ahead inside ten minutes as Fernando Llorente struck before Tom Carroll wrapped up the points with 20 minutes to go.

West Ham United edged closer to securing safety after they claimed a point in a 0-0 draw with Everton whose hopes of a top four finish suffered a blow.



Sunday's action began with Manchester United boosting their top four hopes with a 2-0 win away to Burnley.

The Clarets went behind to a 21st minute opener from Anthony Martial before the visitors wrapped up the win before half time with a strike from Wayne Rooney.

Liverpool missed the chance to close the gap on the top two as they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace.

The Reds opened the scoring with a traditionally spectacular effort from Philippe Coutinho on24 minutes before they were hit by the curse of the ex-player as Christian Benteke marked his first return to Anfield with a leveller on 42 minutes before securing the win on 74 minutes with his second goal.


The FA Cup Semi finals saw a battle between four of the current top six in the Premier League.

Saturday afternoon saw a battle of the top two as league leaders Chelsea faced off against fierce city rivals Tottenham Hotspur. The Blues raced out of the block with an opener from Willian inside five minutes before being pegged back around ten minutes later by a leveller from Harry Kane. 

Willian restored the lead from the penalty spot just before half time but again Spurs came back with Dele Alli equalising on 52 minutes. Chelsea led for a third time as Eden Hazard struck on 76 minutes but this time Spurs had no reply as they fell to a 4-2 loss with a superb strike from Nemanja Matic completing the passage to the final for the Blues.

The second semi final saw a South v North battle as Arsenal faced Manchester City with both managers under pressure to secure silverware to boost mixed seasons. A goalless first hour between the sides was soon broken as Sergio Aguero put City ahead on 63 minutes. The Gunners levelled through Nacho Monreal just nine minutes later for 1-1 which is how the score remained until the end of normal time leading to extra time.

Arsenal secured the win and set up an all-London final with a strike four minutes before the end of the first half of extra time as Alexis Sanchez struck for 2-1.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Chelsea's Gap Cut While Reds Edge Baggies

As the Premier League run-in is set to begin this very weekend, the FA Cup semi finals clash means a reduced programme but last weekend saw a full schedule which threw up a surprise at the top.

The weekend opened with the Saturday lunchtime kick-off at White Hart Lane as Tottenham Hotspur hosted Bournemouth.

Spurs raced into a 2-0 lead with goals from Moussa Dembele and Son Heung-Min inside the first 20 minutes. Bournemouth looked out of the contest less than four minutes after half-time as Harry Kane struck for 3-0 before Vincent Janssen completed the 4-0 rout late on.

Crystal Palace remain clear of the drop zone after coming from behind to secure a point against Leicester City.

The Foxes struck early through Robert Huth before Jamie Vardy doubled the lead on 53 minutes. An instant reply saw Yohan Cabaye make it 2-1 before a superb leveller from Christian Benteke sealed a 2-2 draw.


Everton kept up their European hopes with a 3-1 win over Burnley at Goodison Park.The Toffees went ahead four minutes after half time as Phil Jagielka extended his scoring run but his effort was quickly levelled by a Sam Vokes penalty.

An own goal from Ben Mee saw the hosts regain the lead before Romelu Lukaku wrapped up the points three minutes later.

Stoke City kept up the pressure on relegation threatened Hull City with a 3-1 win. Marko Arnautovic put the Potters ahead inside six minutes but Hull hit back through Harry Maguire on 51 minutes. The hosts secured the win with two goals after the hour as Peter Crouch struke ahead of Xherdan Shaqiri's effort.


Sunderland remain bottom of the table but cut the gap to safety as they salvaged a 2-2 draw against West Ham United. The Hammers raced into the lead as André Ayew scored inside five minutes but the hosts were to level on 26 minutes through Wahbi Khazri.

James Collins restored the lead for the visitors just after half-time but Sunderland were to suffer defeat as Fabio Borini equalised late on with the Hammers ending with ten men after Sam Byram's dismissal.


Swansea City remain in the drop zone after losing 1-0 away to Watford with the Hornets sealing the points three minutes before half time through Etienne Capoue's effort.


Manchester City strengthened their top four hopes with a comfortable 3-0 win at Southampton. The sides remained level after a close run first half but the deadlock was to be broken by a surprise strike as Vincent Kompany put City ahead.

Two goals in three minutes sealed the points as Leroy Sané and Sergio Aguero struck on 77 and 80 minutes.

Liverpool also moved close to cementing a top four spot as they claimed a 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday. The crucial strike came in added time in the first half as Roberto Firmino sealed the win.



Chelsea's gap at the top was cut as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at Manchester United who themselves kept up their top four hopes.

An early opener from Marcus Rashford saw United lead inside seven minutes before Ander Herrera confirmed the win with a strike four minutes after half time.

The final game of the gameweek saw Middlesbrough host Arsenal on Monday night.

The Gunners opened the scoring three minutes before half time through Alexis Sanchez before Alvaro Negredo drew Boro level five minutes after the interval. The win was sealed for the visitors on 71 minutes by Mesut Ozil's effort for 2-1.


Thursday, 20 April 2017

Champions League Quarter Finals Review

Eight would become four as the Champions League reached the quarter final stage with Spain boasting three sides, Germany two and France and Italy with a single representative.

The opening tie of the round saw Juventus hosting Barcelona at Juventus Stadium. The hosts started superbly as Paulo Dybala put them ahead inside seven minutes before he doubled the advantage with 22 minutes on the clock.

A comfortable first leg victory was completed ten minutes after half time as Giorgio Chiellini struck for 3-0.

The tie between Borussia Dortmund and AS Monaco was played on Wednesday night after being postponed the previous night due to an explosion involving the Dortmund team bus.

The visitors struck first with a Kylian Mbappe scoring in the 19th minutes before the lead was doubled by a Sven Bender own goal.

Dortmund hit back with an Ousmane Dembele effort on 57 minutes though Monaco regained a two goal advantage with Mbappe's second goal with 11 minutes left. The hosts had the last say though as Shinji Kagawa made it 3-2 on 84 minutes to give Dortmund hope for the second leg.


Atletico Madrid hosted Leicester City at Vicente Calderon with the Foxes looking to continue their European fairytale. However, the visitors suffered a narrow 1-0 loss after a controversial penalty from Antoine Griezmann on 28 minutes gave the hosts a first leg advantage.

The final tie of the round saw Bayern Munich host Real Madrid at Allianz Arena. Bayern opened the scoring through Auturo Vidal with 5 minutes gone but were pegged back just after half time by a leveller from Cristiano Ronaldo. 

A blow for the hosts saw Javi Martinez sent off on the hour mark before Ronaldo struck for a second time on 77 minutes to secure a 2-1 win.



Leicester City looked to overturn the narrow deficit from the first leg as they hosted Atletico Madrid at King Power Stadium. Their hopes were dented inside 26 minutes as Saul Niguez gave the visitors the lead and made it 2-0 overall.

Leicester remained in the tie as Jamie Vardy levelled on the night at 1-1 and 2-1 overall but the visitors held on to end the Foxes dream run in the competition.

A six goal thriller saw Real Madrid and Bayern Munich battle at the Bernabeu. A close first half saw the sides remain level at 0-0 and 2-1 overall before Bayern levelled on agg with a Robert Lewandowski penalty.

Cristiano Ronaldo made it 1-1 on the night and restored Real's aggregate lead on 76 minutes before an instant reply saw Sergio Ramos hit into his own net for 2-2 (3-3 agg). The visitors were dealt a blow six minutes from the end with the dismissal of Arturo Vidal but Bayern held on to force extra time. Real took control in extra time as Ronaldo completed his hat-trick either side of the midway point for 4-2 (5-3 agg) with the latter seeing him become the first player to score 100 times in the competition. The hosts rounded off the win with a goal from Marcos Asensio to finish with a 6-3 aggregate.


After heroics against PSG in the previous round, Barcelona hosted Juventus at Nou Camp looking to overturn a three-goal deficit.

However, the Catalans were unable to break through the defence of the Italians as 'The Old Lady' became only the third team to prevent Barca from scoring in both legs of a tie as the sides drew 0-0

Borussia Dortmund had a single goal deficit to overcome as they visited AS Monaco at Stade Louis II.  However, they fell behind after just three minutes as Kylian Mbappe continued his scoring streak and were in big trouble when Radamel Falaco doubled the lead on 17 minutes.

Dortmund boosted their hopes just after half-time with a Marco Reus effort for 2-1 on the night and 5-3 on aggregate. The strike was to be only a consolation though as Valéré Germain confirmed a 3-1 win nine minutes from the end to complete a 6-3 aggregate success. 

Friday, 14 April 2017

Premier League Pre Easter Catch Up

The month of April began with the Merseyside derby as Liverpool hosted neighbours Everton at Anfield. The Reds took an early lead as Sadio Mané slotted the opener on eight minutes. Everton hit back as debutant Matthew Pennington levelled on 29 minutes but the equality was short-lived as Philippe Coutinho restored the hosts' lead three minutes later. A second half strike from substitiute Divock Origi wrapped up a 3-1 win for Reds.

Tottenham Hotspur continued their title challenge with a 2-0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor. Eric Dier and Son Heung-Min sealed the points with strikes on 66 and 72 minutes.


Crystal Palace caused an upset as they stunned fellow Londoners and league leaders Chelsea with a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge. A rapid opener from Cesc Fabregas five minutes saw Palace swiftly level through Wifried Zaha before Christian Benteke completed the comeback in the 11th minute.

Hull City boosted their battle against the drop with a 2-1 win over West Ham United. The Hammers took the lead with an Andy Carroll strike after 18 minutes before Andrew Robertson levelled on 53 minutes. The points went to the hosts as Andrea Ranocchia struck the winner on 85 minutes.


Leicester City's revival continued with a 2-0 win at home to Stoke City. The Foxes secured the points with Wilfrid Ndidi opening the scoring on 25 minutes before Jamie Vardy struck the second goal two minutes after half-time.

Manchester United missed the chance to close on the top four as they shared the points in a 0-0 with West Bromwich Albion.



Sunderland's hopes of avoiding relegation suffered a blow as they lost 1-0 away to Watford. The Hornets secured the points with a strike just before the hour mark from Miguel Britos.

The South Coast derby at St Mary's saw Southampton and Bournemouth share the points in a 0-0 draw.




Sunday's action began with Swansea City and Middlesbrough face off in a relegation six-pointer. The sides though had to share the points in a 0-0 stalemate.

A battle at the other end of the table saw Arsenal and Manchester City share the points in a 2-2 draw. An early opener for City saw Leroy Sane strike inside six minutes but the Gunners drew level with half-time approaching as Theo Walcott made it 1-1. City would go into the interval in front though after Sergio Aguero resotred the lead on 42 minutes. The Gunners hit back for a second time on 53 minutes as Shkodran Mustafi ensured the visitors were denied a win.


A full midweek programme opened on Tuesday night as Burnley secured a 1-0 win over Stoke City at Turf Moor. The Clarets claimed the three points thanks to George Boyd's 59th minute effort.

Leicester City piled further pressure on Sunderland at the bottom with a 2-0 win. Second half strikes from Islam Slimani (69) and Jamie Vardy (78) were enough to leave the visitors rooted to the bottom.

Watford moved into the top half after claiming a 2-0 win over high-flying West Bromwich Albion. The Hornets went ahead with a strike from M'Baye Niang on 13 minutes before Troy Deeney doubled the lead just after half-time. The Baggies hopes of a comeback were boosted by the dismissal of Miguel Britos on 65 minutes but they were unable to utilise the man advantage.

Manchester United made it two home draws in the space of a week as they salvaged a point in a 1-1 draw with Everton. The Toffees opened the scoring on 22 minutes with a clever strike from Phil Jagielka but there were to suffer a double blow late on as Ashley Williams was dismissed with Zlatan Ibrahimovic slotting in the resulting penalty.

Arsenal continued their top for hunt with a comfortable 3-0 win in a London derby against West Ham United. The sides played out a close run first half and the Hammers continued to keep their hosts out as the hour approached but Arsenal had other ideas as Mesut Ozil opened the scoring. The Gunners were 2-0 up ten minutes later as Theo Walcott struck and the gloss on the win came seven minutes from the end via an effort from Olivier Giroud.

A six goal thriller at the KCOM Stadium saw Hull City oust fellow strugglers Middlesbrough 4-2. A rapid opener from Alvaro Negredo gave Boro the lead but Lazar Markovic equalised for the hosts within eight minutes. A six minute double from Oumar Niasse and Abel Hernandez saw the hosts lead 3-1 but the visitors were to cut the gap just before the interval as Marten De Roon struck for 3-2. The win was sealed for the hosts with 70 minutes on the clock with a strike from Harry Maguire.

Crystal Palace remain on the fringes of the drop zone after a 3-1 defeat away a Southampton. The Saints fell behind to a 31st minute opener from Christian Benteke but went into the interval level after Nathan Redmond's late equaliser. The turnaround was completed in the last ten minutes as a two-minute double saw Maya Yoshida and James Ward-Prowse.

Swansea City remain in the drop zone after suffering a 3-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. The Swans took the lead early on through Wayne Routledge's 11th minute strike and they looked on course for a welcome three points as the game entered the final minutes. Spurs staged the ultimate turnaround as Dele Alli levelled on 88 minutes before an added time double from Son Heung-Min and Christian Eriksen sealed the win.

Chelsea moved closer to the title as they dented Manchester City's title hopes with a 2-1 win. Eden Hazard put the Blues ahead inside 11 minutes only for Sergio Aguero levelled for the visitors on 26 minutes. The points were sealed before half-time for the hosts as Hazard struck his second goal in the 35th minute,

The final game of the programme saw Liverpool and Bournemouth share the points after a 2-2 draw at Anfield. A lapse in the Reds defence allowed Benik Afobe to fire the Cherries ahead inside eight minutes. Philippe Coutinho drew the hosts level just before half time before Divock Origi gave the hosts a 2-1 lead on the hour mark. The Cherries were not to face a long miserable return journey though as Joshua King struck three minutes from the end to salvage a point and dent the Reds title hopes.

Tottenham Hotspur cut the gap to leaders Chelsea with a comfortable 4-0 derby win over Watford. After a tight first half hour, Spurs took full control with three goals before half-time as Dele Alli and Eric Dier struck ahead of an effort from Son Heung-Min. Son wrapped up the rout with his second and Spurs' fourth goal in the 54th minute.

Manchester City boosted their top four hopes and dented Hull City's survival hopes with a 3-1 win. The hosts went ahead on 31 minutes after an Ahmed Elmohamady own goal. City doubled the lead just after the interval with a strike from Sergio Aguero and the points looked to be safe just after the hour as Fabian Delph made it 3-0. Hull would have the last say though as Andrea Ranocchia scored his second goal for the Tigers.


Middlesbrough remained in the drop zone after sharing the points in a 1-1 draw with Burnley.

Liverpool sit third in the table after coming from behind to secure a 2-1 win at Stoke City. The Potters went ahead just before half-time via a strike from Reds nemesis Jon Walters. A double change at the interval saw the Reds' Brazilian duo come on and they turned the game around with a goal apiece in a two minute period as Philippe Coutinho struck on 70 minutes to level at 1-1 before Roberto Firmino (72) sealed the win.

A mid table battle at The Hawthorns saw Southampton claim a narrow 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion. The crucial strike came in the 25th minute as Jordy Clasie's effort saw the Saints cut the gap to their opponents to four points.

West Ham United moved clear of the drop zone after a 1-0 win over struggling Swansea City. The Hammers secured the points just before half-time with a strike from Cheikou Kouyate.

Chelsea continued their passage to the title with a 3-1 win away at Bournemouth. The Blues went ahead after an own goal from Adam Smith on 17 minutes before Eden Hazard doubled the lead three minutes later. Joshua King cut the gap for the Cherries just before half-time but it was only a consolation as Marcos Alonso wrapped up the win on 69 minutes.

Sunderland's woeful run continued as Manchester United got back to winning ways with a 3-0 victory at the Stadium of Light. Zlatan Ibrahimovic put the visitors ahead on the half hour mark before the hosts suffered blows either side of half-time with Seb Larsson dismissed in the 43rd minute before Henrikh Mkhitaryan doubled United's lead within two minutes of the restart. The visitors wrapped up a comfortable win late on with a third goal via Marcus Rashford. 

Everton continued their push for a European spot with a 4-2 win over Leicester City. The Toffees made the perfect start with Tom Davies striking the opener in the first minute but the lead lasted just three minutes as Islam Slimani levelled for the Foxes. Marc Albrighton put the visitors ahead in the tenth minute but the hosts hit back through Romelu Lukaku (22) before Phil Jagielka made it two goals in a week for a 3-2 half-time lead. The points were sealed just before the hour mark as Lukaku struck his second.

Arsenal's top four hopes were dented by a 3-0 loss to London rivals Crystal Palace. The Eagles went ahead via Andros Townsend's 17th minute opener before a five minute double after the hour wrapped up the points. Yohan Cabaye made it 2-0 before Luka Milivojevic slotted in a penalty.