Sunday, 29 January 2017

FA Cup Fourth Round Review

After a scintillating third round was followed by some upsets in the resulting replays, the fourth round of the FA Cup went even better with two non-league sides creating history while some top flight sides were humbled.

Friday night saw the opening tie of the round as Championship side Derby County hosted Premier League champions Leicester City.

The Foxes were gifted an early lead as Darren Bent converted into his own net inside eight minutes. However, the Rams attacker redeemed himself with a leveller on 21 minutes. Craig Bryson completed the comeback for the hosts just before the interval but they were denied the win late on as Wes Morgan struck to force a replay after a 2-2 draw.

Liverpool rang the changes as they hosted Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The Reds were stunned by an opener from Richard Stearman inside 53 seconds before Andreas Weimann doubled the lead four minutes before half-time.  Liverpool dominated possession but were blunt in attack until a lifeline came on 86 minutes from Divock Origi but his effort was to be only a consolation as Wolves held on for a famous 2-1 win.

A Lancashire derby at Ewood Park saw Championship side Blackburn Rovers hosting League Two side Blackpool.

Rovers started the better of the two sides with Sam Gallagher giving them the lead inside nine minutes before Elliot Bennett doubled the lead in the 22nd minute. Blackpool's afternoon got worse rather than better as they went down to ten men with the dismissal of Kelvin Mellor on 65 minutes on their way to the 2-0 defeat.

Burnley hosted Championship side Bristol City hoping to avoid an upset at Turf Moor.

They did just that as they secured a 2-0 win with goals in either half starting with Sam Vokes' opener on 44 minutes ahead of a sublime effort from Steven Defour on 69 minutes.

Chelsea avoided an upset as they eased past Championship side Brentford with a 4-0 rout.

The Blues went ahead in the 14th minute with a strike from Willian with an effort from Pedro doubling the lead seven minutes later. The win was safe by the 82nd as Branislav Ivanovic added a third before Michy Batshuayi converted a fourth from the penalty spot.

An all top flight battle saw Crystal Palace hosting Manchester City at  Selhurst Park. The Eagles looked to be going into the break having kept City out but were foiled by a 43rd minute opener from Raheem Sterling. City doubled the lead on 71 minutes via Leroy Sane before Yaya Toure completed a 3-0 win in added time.

National League side Lincoln City staged the upset of the round as they stunned Championship leaders Brighton and Hove Albion with a 3-1 win.

As expected, Brighton took the lead with Richie Towell striking on 24 minutes but the Imps hit back with an Alan Power penalty on 57 minutes before an unfortunate own goal from Fikayo Tomori gave the hosts a dream 2-1 lead.Dreams became reality as Theo Robinson confirmed a superb 3-1 win and first ever spot in the fifth round for the Imps.

Middlesbrough avoided an upset as they edged a 1-0 win over League Two side Accrington Stanley. The winning goal came on 68 minutes as Stewart Downing struck for the hosts.

Another upset came as League One side Oxford United stunned Championship high-flyer's Newcastle United with a 3-0 victory. The Magpies fell behind just after half-time as Kane Hemmings put the hosts ahead and Newcastle missed the chance to level as Aleksandar Mitrovic saw a penalty saved.

Curtis Nelson doubled the lead on 79 minutes before Toni Martinez completed the shock win in the 87th minute.

League One side Rochdale were humbled 4-0 by Championship side Huddersfield Town. The visitors went ahead through Collin Quaner before Isaiah Brown doubled the lead from the penalty spot.A brace in the 72nd and 84th minutes from Michael Hefele sealed the win.

A seven goal thriller at White Hart Lane saw Tottenham avoid suffering an upset to League Two side Wycombe Wanderers.  The Chairboys stunned the hosts as Paul Hayes swept in a sublime opener on 23 minutes before doubling the lead with a penalty on 36 minutes.

Spurs fought back with two goals in four minutes after the hour as Son Heung-Min struck ahead of Vincent Janssen's leveller from the penalty spot. Garry Thompson restored the lead for the visitors with just seven minutes to go but their hopes of a famous win were dashed by two late goals as Dele Alli levelled on 89 minutes and Son Heung-Min sealed a 4-3 win in added time.

Arsenal eased past Southampton with a comfortable 5-0 win over the Saints. The Gunners raced into a 2-0 lead via a brace from Danny Welbeck in the 15th and 22nd minutes. Former Saints attacker, Theo Walcott ended any hopes the hosts had of a comeback as he scored a hat-trick in the 35th, 68th, and 84th minutes.

Sunday's action began at The Den as League One side Millwall shocked Watford with a 1-0 win. The crucial strike came with just five minutes left of the 90 as Steve Morison sealed a spot in the fifth round for the Lions.

Another top flight side stunned was Hull City as they were defeated 4-1 by Championship side Fulham. The Cottagers went ahead with a 17th minute strike from Sone Aluko before Evandro Goebel levelled just after half-time.

Chris Martin restored the lead for the hosts before strikes from Ryan Sessegnon and Stefan Johansen completed the successful afternoon for the hosts.

Another huge shock came at Gander Green Lane as National League side Sutton United upset Championship side Leeds United with a 1-0 win.

The hosts took the surprise lead on 53 minutes as Jamie Collins slotted in from the penalty spot and the Whites woes got worse with the dismissal of Liam Cooper eight minutes from the end.

The final tie of the weekend came from Old Trafford as holders Manchester United hosted Championship side Wigan Athletic.

A battling first half from the Latics ended with them going behind to a headed effort from Marouane Fellaini and United were two goals to the good with a header from Chris Smalling on 56 minutes. The win was sealed for the hosts by strikes in the 74th and 82nd minutes from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

EFL Cup Semi Finals Review

The chance to claim the first trophy of the season was two games away for the quartet of teams in the last four of the EFL Cup.

The opening legs of the ties began with Manchester United hosting Hull City. The sides played out a goalless half ahead of United opening the scoring on 56 minutes through Marouane Fellaini. 

A two-goal advantage going into the second leg came late on as Juan Mata confirmed a 2-0 win.

The following evening, Southampton hosted last season's runners-up Liverpool.

Alike their meeting last season,the Saints went ahead as Nathan Redmond struck in the 20th minute but unlike back then, there was no response goal wise from the Reds who suffered a 1-0 loss.

The return legs began with Liverpool hosting Southampton with a single goal deficit to overturn.

The Reds dominated the game from start until almost finish as they were stunned in added time by a breakaway goal from Shane Long. The last-gasp strike doomed the hosts as the Saints celebrated a 2-0 win on aggregate.

Thursday night saw Hull City host Manchester United looking to overturn a two-goal deficit.

The hosts cut their first leg disadvantage in half as they took the lead with a 36th minute penalty from Tom Huddlestone. United regained their two goal aggregate lead with an equaliser from Paul Pogba on 67 minutes. The tie was to see a tense finish with Hull making it 2-1 on the night and 2-3 overall with an 85th minute effort from Oumar Niasse, However, they were unable to level the tie and despite claiming a 2-1 win, bowed out 3-2 on aggregate to United.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Chelsea Eight Clear While Swans Stun Reds

Ahead of the FA Cup fourth round, Premier League action reached game-week 22 which saw a few surprise results.

The weekend began with the early kick-off at Anfield between Liverpool and Swansea City. The sides played out a goalless first half before three strikes in seven minutes lit the game up.

Fernando Llorente struck twice within seven minutes of the restart to give the Swans a 2-0 lead before Roberto Firmino cut the gap for the hosts. Firmino levelled on 69 minutes but a superb move from Gylfi Sigurdsson sealed a 3-2 win for the visitors.

Bournemouth and Watford shared the points in a 2-2 draw at the Vitality Stadium which saw Christian Kabasele put the Hornets in front after 24 minutes. The hosts were level just three minutes after half-time with Josh King equalising before falling behind to Troy Deeney's 64th minute effort. The points were shared after Benik Afobe denied the Hornets the win with a 82nd minute leveller.

Crystal Palace slipped into the bottom three after losing 1-0 to Everton at Selhurst Park. The Toffees secured the points with three minutes left of the 90 as Seamus Coleman slotted in for a 1-0 win.

West Ham United moved into the top half with a comfortable 3-1 win away to Middlesbrough.

The Hammers went ahead after just nine minutes with a strike from Andy Carroll but were pegged back on 27 minutes as Cristhian Stuani levelled.

Carroll regained the lead for the visitors just before the interval with Johnathan Calleri confirmed the win in added time.

Manchester United closed on the top four with a 1-1 draw at Stoke City. United went behind on 18 minutes with an unfortunate own goal by Juan Mata. However, they battled back to salvage a draw in added time with a goal from Wayne Rooney which saw him eclipse Sir Bobby Charlton's record of 249 goals for the club.

West Bromwich Albion piled further pressure on struggling Sunderland with a 2-0 win at The Hawthorns. The Baggies sealed the points with a six minute spree with Darren Fletcher opening the scoring on the half hour mark before Chris Brunt doubled the lead.

Manchester City missed the chance to move into the top four as they were denied in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur.

Leroy Sane put the hosts ahead four minutes after half-time with Kevin De Bruyne doubling the lead five minutes later. Spurs battled back and soon pulled one back through Dele Alli who then went on to salvage a point with his second strike on 77 minutes.

Southampton continued their good start to 2017 with a comfortable 3-0 win over Leicester City

The Saints went into the interval 2-0 to the good after an opener from James Ward-Prowse and effort from Jay Rodriguez.  The gloss on the win came four minutes from the end of the 90 as Dusan Tadic struck from the penalty spot.

Arsenal sit second after a 2-1 win over Burnley at the Emirates Stadium, Shkodran Mustafi gave the Gunners the lead just before the hour mark but they were dealt a blow just six minutes later with the dismissal of Granit Xhaka.

Andre Gray pulled one back for the Clarets in the fifth minute of added time with a penalty but Arsenal were to have the last say as Alexis Sanchez converted a penalty eight minutes into added time.

Chelsea continued their stay at the summit after securing a 2-0 win over struggling Hull City.

The Blues went ahead with a strike from Diego Costa just before half-time and Gary Cahill wrapped up the points with nine minutes to go.

Friday, 27 January 2017

FA Cup Third Round Replays Review

After an exciting FA Cup third round weekend, several upsets came in the form of sides forcing replays and across Tuesday and Wednesday, the final spots in the fourth round were secured.

Tuesday's action began with League One side AFC Wimbledon hoping to avoid an upset from National League side Sutton United.

As expected, the hosts opened the scoring with Elliot striking inside ten minutes but they were dealt a blow with the dismissal of Robinson just five minutes later. The visitors drew level with 75 minutes on the clock with a leveller from Deacon but went on to stage a shock with a late double from Biamou and Fitchett for a 3-1 win.

Championship side Barnsley fell victim to a huge upset as they lost 2-1 to League Two side Blackpool.

The Tangerines took a surprise lead with a Mellor strike on the half-hour before they were pegged back by a Macdonald leveller four minutes after half-time. The sides remained level into a period of extra time which was settled late on as Osayi-Samuel sealed the win for the visitors.

An all top flight battle saw Burnley overcome Sunderland with a 2-0 win at Turf Moor.

The Clarets opened the scoring just before the interval with a strike from Sam Vokes. The win and a place in the fourth round were sealed seven minutes from the end as Andre Gray struck.

League One side Fleetwood Town exited the competition to Championship side Bristol City with a 1-0 loss. The crucial strike came after just 17 minutes from Paterson.

Crystal Palace avoided suffering an upset to League One side Bolton Wanderers with a 2-1 victory.

The Trotters took a surprise lead with a strike from Henry just three minutes after half-time before being pegged back by Christian Benteke levelled on 68 minutes. The Eagles secured the win as Benteke struck his second on 77 minutes.

The biggest upset of the round so far saw National League side Lincoln City dump out Championship side Ipswich Town with a stunning 1-0 win. The Imps secured the shock win right at the end as Arnold struck in added time.

Wednesday night's action saw an all Championship battle as Newcastle United secured a 3-1 win over Birmingham City.

An early penalty from Matt Richie got the Magpies rolling before Yohan Gouffran doubled the lead with 34 minutes on the clock. David Cotterill reduced the deficit on 71 minute but it was to be only a consolation as Richie wrapped up the win late on.

Liverpool avoided an upset as they edged League Two side Plymouth Argyle with a 1-0 win. The winning goal came from a surprise source as Lucas Leiva headed in on 18 minutes for his first strike in seven years.

The final replay of the evening saw Southampton edge past Championship side Norwich City. The Saints secured a spot in the fourth round with a strike in added time from Shane Long.

Chelsea Stay Clear As United Deny Reds

Catching up after a busy period with gameweek 21 of Premier League action which saw some surprise results at either ends of the table.

The weekend opened with the early kick-off at White Hart Lane as Tottenham Hotspur hosted West Bromwich Albion.

The hosts took just 12 minutes to go ahead as Harry Kane struck but the lead was soon doubled as Gareth McAuley hit into his own net. The Baggies afternoon got worse deep into the second half as Kane struck twice in five minutes to complete his hat-trick and a 4-0 rout.

Burnley secured a narrow 1-0 win over Southampton at Turf Moor to continue their rise away from the drop zone.

The winning goal came on 78 minutes as Joey Barton made an instant impact on his return.

Hull City moved off the bottom of the standings with a 3-1 win over Bournemouth at the KCOM Stadium.The Cherries started superbly with a third minute opener as Junior Stanislas struck from the penalty spot.

The hosts hit back with Abel Hernandez levelling on 32 minutes before completing the comeback with his second goal on 50 minutes.The points were confirmed just after the hour mark as Tyrone Mings hit into his own net.

Sunderland replaced Hull at the bottom as they suffered a 3-1 loss to Stoke City. The Potters raced into a 2-0 lead inside 23 minutes with a superb brace from Marko Arnautovic before Peter Crouch made it three on 34 minutes. A packed first half saw another goal though as Jermain Defoe made it 3-1 five minutes before the interval.

Arsenal closed up on Chelsea at the top with a comfortable 4-0 rout over Swansea City. Despite the high score, it took until eight minutes before half-time for the Gunners to strike with Olivier Giroud putting them ahead.

Two own goals from the Swans saw Jack Cork and Kyle Naughton boost the Gunners lead which soon reached four goals with a 73rd minute effort from Alexis Sanchez.

Watford and Middlesbrough both remain just outside the fringes of the drop zone after sharing the points in a 0-0 draw.

West Ham United eased to a derby win over Crystal Palace with a 3-0 win at London Stadium.

Sofiane Feghouli put the Hammers ahead on 68 minutes before a seven minute double saw Andy Carroll and Manuel Lanzini wrap up the victory.

Chelsea continued their stay at the top with a comfortable win over struggling Leicester City.

The Blues went ahead inside five minutes with a strike from Marcos Alonso who then doubled the lead six minutes after half-time. The win was wrapped up with Pedro's 71st minute strike.

Everton closed up on the top four with a superb 4-0 win over Manchester City at Goodison Park.

The Toffees opened the scoring with a 34th minute strike from Romelu Lukaku with Kevin Mirallas doubling the lead just after half-time.

A clever move saw Tom Davies strike his first goal for the club on 79 minutes before a superb debut goal from Ademola Lookman completed the rout.

The final game of the weekend saw a heavyweight clash between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford. The Reds opened the scoring with a penalty from James Milner on 27 minutes before Zlatan Ibrahimovic secured a point for the hosts at 1-1 six minutes from the end.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

FA Cup Third Round Review

A beak from Premier League action saw the hallowed FA Cup third round take place with a number of lower league and non league sides looking to cause upsets.

Friday night saw the round open with an all top flight battle as West Ham United hosted Manchester City.After a close-knit first half hour, the Hammers were carved open three times before the interval as Yaya TourĂ© converted a penalty ahead of a Nordtveit own goal and effort from David Silva.

Sergio Aguero continued the rout within five minutes of the restart with John Stones rounding off a hammering six minutes from the end.

Saturday's early kick off saw Manchester United join their city rivals in the fourth round after a comfortable 4-0 win over Championship side Reading.

An early opener from Wayne Rooney in the seventh minute saw him equal Sir Bobby Charlton's scoring record before Anthony Martial doubled the lead inside 15 minutes. A rapid double in the second half saw Marcus Rashford strike on 75 and 79 minutes.

An all League Two battle saw Accrington Stanley host Luton Town with the hosts claiming a 2-1 win.

Sean McConville fired Stanley ahead just before half-time with Gray replying for the Hatters on 54 minutes. The hosts regained the lead through Beckless just three minutes later with the visitors afternoon ending miserably with the late dismissal of Rea.

League One side Rochdale avoided an upset as they defeated National League side Barrow 2-0.

A brace from Henderson in the 18th and 61st minutes was enough to secure a win for the 'Dale.

An all Championship battle saw Birmingham City host Newcastle United with the sides facing a replay after a 1-1 draw.

An early opener from Murphy saw the Magpies lead inside six minutes but were denied a safe passage into the fourth round by Lucas Jutkiewicz's 42nd minute equaliser.

League Two side Blackpool secured a replay against Championship side Barnsley after holding their higher placed opponents to a 0-0 draw.

Alike Blackpool, Bolton Wanderers held firm against higher placed opponents as they claimed a 0-0 draw against top flight side Crystal Palace.

Championship side Brentford eased to a 5-1 thrashing of National League opponents Eastleigh. The hosts took just nine minutes to open the scoring with Barbet converting a penalty.

Field and Vibe made it 3-0 before the 24th minute before Obileye pulled one back for the visitors on 29 minutes.

A second from Field was followed by a Sawyers effort just before the interval which ended the spree.

Championship leaders Brighton and Hove Albion advanced to the fourth round with a 2-0 win over League One side Milton Keynes Dons.

The hosts took an early lead through Kayal inside nine minutes before Hemed doubled the lead with a 72nd minute strike.

Another Championship-League One battle saw Bristol City host Fleetwood Town with the sides facing a replay after a 0-0 draw.

An all top flight battle saw Everton hosting Leicester City with the Foxes looking to gain revenge for the recent defeat to the Toffees.

They did just that as they claimed a 2-1 win which saw them come from behind after Romelu Lukaku put the hosts ahead on 63 minutes. The comeback saw Ahmed Musa strike twice in the space of five minutes to secure the win.

Championship side Huddersfield Town stormed to a 4-0 win over League One side Port Vale to book a place in the fourth round.

The hosts opened the scoring on 28 minutes through Payne but were held out until midway through the second half when the visitors were carved open by three goals in 11 minutes with Palmer and Bunn striking ahead of Payne's second.

A battle between two struggling top flight sides saw Hull City pile the pressure on Swansea City with a 2-0 win.

The hosts went ahead on 78 minutes through Abel Hernandez's effort before Tymon confirmed the win late on.

One of the results of the day saw Championship side Ipswich Town avoid suffering an upset at the hands of National League leaders Lincoln City.

The Red Imps took a surprise lead inside seven minutes with a Robinson strike before being rapidly pegged back by a leveller from Lawrence. The visitors regained the lead on 65 minutes as Robinson struck for a second time and looked on course for a famous win as the game entered the final five minutes but the hopes were dashed by Lawrence's second leveller on 86 minutes but the visitors will be happy to take the Tractor Boys to a replay.

League One side Millwall dumped top flight Bournemouth as they defeated they much changed Cherries 3-0.

A 26th minute opener from Morison set the Lions on their way before Cummings doubled the lead. The superb victory was completed late on as Ferguson added a third for the hosts.

Championship side Norwich City left it late to force a replay as they drew 2-2 with top flight Southampton.

The Saints led on 38 minutes with a strike from Virgil van Dijk but were pegged back by a penalty from Whittaker in the 52nd minute.

Maya Yoshida restored the visitors' lead on 66 minutes but the Canaries were not to be denied a draw as Steven Naismith struck in added time.

An all Championship battle saw Queens Park Rangers suffer a 2-1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers.

The R's gifted the lead to Rovers with Lynch scoring an own goal inside eight minutes before Rovers got a second via Feeney on 58 minutes.The hosts cut the gap within three minutes with a penalty from Bidwell which proved only to be a consolation.

A Championship-League One battle which saw an upset was Rotherham United losing 3-2 to Oxford United.

Taylor put the visitors ahead four minutes before half-time with Ward levelling six minutes after the interval. A late show from both sides saw Edwards and Hemmings seal the win for Oxford at 3-1 before Adeyemi had the last say for 3-2.

Top flight Stoke City were handed an upset as Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers secured a 2-0 victory.

Wolves opened the scoring through Costa on 29 minutes before a strike from Doherty confirmed the win on 80 minutes.

A battle between two top flight sides saw Sunderland and Burnley play out a 0-0 draw which forces a replay.

National League side Sutton United will face a replay after claiming a well earned 0-0 draw against League One side AFC Wimbledon.

Top flight Watford avoided suffering an upset from Championship side Burton Albion as they claimed a 2-0 win.

The Hornets took the lead on 22 minutes with a strike from Christian Kabasele before Jerome Sinclair confirmed the win on 77 minutes.

Top flight West Bromwich Albion suffered an upset as they lost 2-1 to Championship side Derby County. Matt Phillips put the Baggies ahead on 35 minutes before they were pegged back by a leveller from Darren Bent and winning goal from Tom Ince within eight minutes of the half-time restart.

An all Championship battle saw struggling Wigan Athletic claim a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest. The Latics went ahead just before half-time with a strike from Will Grigg before Yanic Wildschut confirmed the win on 57 minutes.

League Two side Wycombe Wanderers avoided a replay as they edged Evo-stik Northern Premier League side Stourbridge 2-1.  The hosts went ahead through Wood two minutes after half-time before Dan Scarr levelled for the Glassboys on 70 minutes, Their hopes of a famous draw were dashed with just seven minutes to go as Adebayo Akinfenwa headed in.

Championship side Preston North End were denied a replay against top flight Arsenal as they lost 2-1. The Lillywhites started superbly with a Robinson strike putting them in front inside seven minutes. The Gunners levelled just after the interval through Aaron Ramsey before Olvier Giroud sealed the win in the 89th minute.

Sunday's early kick-off saw an all Championship battle with Fulham coming out on top with a 2-1 win over Cardiff City.

The Cottagers went behind inside eight minutes to a Pilkington strike before levelling just six minutes later through Johansen. The winning goal came on 33 minutes as Sessegnon struck.

An historic battle between top flight Liverpool and League Two side Plymouth Argyle saw a 0-0 draw. The Reds named their youngest ever competitive eleven and were held out superbly by Argyle who forced a replay after a great 90 minutes.

Chelsea eased to a 4-1 win over League One side Peterborough United. The Blues opened the scoring through Pedro on 17 minutes before Michy Batshuayi and Willian struck either side of the interval for 3-0.

John Terry was sent off on 67 minutes and and the visitors took advantage with a strike from Nichols just three minutes later. The last say went to the hosts as Pedro struck a second on 75 minutes.

Middlesbrough avoided an upset from Championship side Sheffield Wednesday with a 3-0 win. The hosts went ahead with a strike from Grant Leadbitter before having Daniel Ayala sent off a minute later.

Alvaro Negredo doubled the lead on 68 minutes before Marten de Roon confirmed the win in added time.

A battle between two former winners saw Tottenham Hotspur hosting Championship side Aston Villa with Spurs claiming a 2-0 win.

Ben Davies opened the scoring for the hosts on 72 minutes before Son Heung-Min confirmed the win on 80 minutes.

League Two side Cambridge United missed out on a replay against Championship side Leeds United as they lost 2-1 on Monday night.

The hosts went ahead through Ikpeazu on 25 minutes before a rapid double from Leeds saw Dallas level on 56 minutes and Mowatt secure the win on 63 minutes.

Blues Top Despite Defeat While Sunderland Deny Reds

Completing a bumper festive and new year schedule was gameweek 20 which was the last round before the hallowed FA Cup third round.

The round opened with Middlesbrough hosting champions Leicester City at the Riverside Stadium.

The sides shared the points in a 0-0 draw which saw the hosts avoid a potential drop into the bottom three.

Everton moved up to seventh with a comfortable 3-0 win over Southampton.

The Toffees struck three times in the final 18 minutes with Enner Valencia opening the scoring on 73 minutes ahead of a penalty from Leighton Baines. The gloss on the win came as Romelu Lukaku struck in the 89th minute.

Manchester City moved into the top four with a 2-1 win over Burnley. The hosts were dealt a blow on 31 minutes with the dismissal of Fernandinho but shrugged it off to lead 2-0 just after the hour mark, 

An opener from Gael Clichy was followed by Sergio Aguero's 63rd minute effort. Ben Mee pulled one back for the Clarets just seven minutes later but it was to be just a consolation.

Liverpool narrowly cut the gap to leaders Chelsea after Sunderland denied them a win in a 2-2 draw.

The Reds opened the scoring through Daniel Sturridge on 20 minutes before being pegged back within five minutes by a Jermain Defoe penalty. Sadio Mane looked to have given his side a parting gift ahead of leaving for the AFCON as he made it 2-1 on 71 minutes but he went from hero to villain as he conceded an 84th minute penalty which Defoe converted to salvage a point. 

West Bromwich Albion continued their good run of form with a 3-1 win over struggling Hull City.

The visitors opened the scoring through Robert Snodgrass on 20 minutes before being pegged back by Chris Brunt's leveller five minutes after half-time. Gareth McAuley gave the Baggies the lead just after the hour with James Morrison wrapping up the win in the 73rd minute. 

Manchester United continued their winning streak with a 2-0 win over struggling West Ham United.

The Hammers suffered an early blow as Sofiane Feghouli was sent off after 15 minutes (has been rescinded after appeal). However, the ten men did well to hold off the visitors until after the hour mark when Juan Mata struck an opener which was followed by an effort from Zlatan Ibrahimovic on 78 minutes.

Arsenal staged a stunning comeback to deny Bournemouth a win in a 3-3 draw. 

The Cherries raced into a 2-0 advantage with strikes from Charlie Daniels and Callum Wilson inside 20 minutes. Ryan Fraser put the hosts three goals to the good just before the hour mark before a superb fightback from the Gunners saw Alexis Sanchez and Lucas Perez make it 3-2. 

Simon Francis was dismissed for the hosts and the blow seemed to inspire the visitors as Olivier Giroud struck in added time to claim a point. 

Swansea City moved off bottom spot with a much needed win as they defeated Crystal Palace 2-1. 

The Swans opened the scoring with four minutes left of the first half through Andy Mawson and looked to be on course for the points as the game entered the final ten minutes but were pegged back by an equaliser from Wilfried Zaha on 83 minutes. The visitors did secure the win though with a late strike from Angel Rangel.

Stoke City closed the gap to the top half with a 2-0 win over Watford. 

The Potters took the lead just before the interval with a strike from Ryan Shawcross with Peter Crouch's effort four minutes after half-time enough to secure the win. 

Chelsea saw their record winning streak end at 13 after a 2-0 defeat to city rivals Tottenham Hotspur. 

Spurs secured the points with a superb headed braced from Dele Alli with the midfielder opening the scoring just before the interval before adding a second in the 53rd minute. 

Friday, 13 January 2017

Blues End 2016 On Top As Reds Defeat City

Gameweek 19 marked the halfway point in the Premier League season and in doing so also was the final round of games in 2016. 

Friday night saw a four goal thriller as Hull City and Everton shared the points in a 2-2 draw.

The hosts raced into the lead with a sixth minute opener from Michael Dawson before gifting the Toffees a leveller on half-time with a David Marshall own goal. Robert Snodgrass restored the lead on 66 minutes but the hosts were denied the win by Ross Barkley's 84th minute equaliser.

Burnley ended the year on a high as they secured a 4-1 win over struggling Sunderland. A superb hat-trick from Andre Gray saw him strike in the 31st, 51st and 53rd minutes to secure the first ever Clarets hat-trick in the division. Ashley Barnes completed the rout with a 67th minute penalty.

Chelsea claimed a record 13th consecutive win as they defeated Stoke City 4-2.

Gary Cahill put the Blues ahead on 34 minutes before Bruno Martins Indi drew the Potters level just after the interval. Willian restored the lead for the hosts on 57 minutes before a leveller from Peter Crouch made it 2-2. An instant second from Willian made it 3-2 before Diego Costa confirmed the win five minutes from the end.

Leicester City ensured they would enter 2017 outside of the bottom three after claiming a 1-0 win over West Ham United. The crucial strike came on 20 minutes as Islam Slimani secured the three points.

Manchester United closed the gap to the top four with a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough. After Grant Leadbitter struck a 67th minute opener, the visitors were stung late on by a United double as Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba sealed the win with strikes in the 85th and 86th minutes,

Southampton completed a miserable December with a 2-1 defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion. The Saints took the lead four minutes before half-time through Shane Long but were rapidly pegged back by a Matt Phillips leveller two minutes later. 

Hal Robson-Kanu completed the turnaround for the Baggies within five minutes of the restart and for the hosts, it only got worse with Virgil van Dijk dismissed late on.

Swansea City continued their torrid run with a 3-0 defeat at home to Bournemouth.

The Cherries took the lead on 25 minutes through Benik Afobe before Ryan Fraser doubled the lead just before the interval. The points were wrapped up by Josh King's 88th minute strike.

The final game of 2016 saw title challengers Liverpool and Manchester City face off at Anfield. 

The Reds came out on top and ensured they would enter 2017 with just Chelsea above them thanks to an eighth minute winner from Georginio Wijnaldum.

The first game of 2017 saw Watford hosting Tottenham Hotspur in a London derby that saw the Hornets lose 4-1.

A rapid brace from Harry Kane saw him open the scoring on 27 minutes before striking a second five minutes later. Dele Alli got in on the act with a brace either side of half-time for a 4-0 advantage that was dented late on by a strike from former Spur Younes Kaboul.

The second all-London battle of the day saw Arsenal host Crystal Palace with the Gunners winning 2-0,

Olivier Giroud put the hosts ahead after just 17 minutes with Alex Iwobi confirming the win with a 56th minute effort.