Wednesday, 4 November 2015

City Deny Canaries While Reds Stroll Past Chelsea

Ahead of the return of the European competitions, the Premier League reached gameweek 11 with two games featuring no goals while one saw an eight goal thriller in a schedule that saw three other sides seal a shut-out.

Saturday's early kick-off saw Chelsea host Liverpool at Stamford Bridge with the Blues keen to turnaround their flagging season and thereby deny Reds manager Jurgen Klopp a first league triumph. Chelsea started superbly by taking a lead inside four minutes through Ramires but were pegged back just before the interval by a leveller from Philippe Coutinho for 1-1.

The Brazilian struck again in the second half as he put the Reds in front on 74 minutes and the win and three points were sealed with seven minutes remaining as Christian Benteke fired in for 3-1.

In the first of six 3pm games, Crystal Palace hosted high-flying Manchester United at Selhurst Park with both keen to move up the table. However, the sides had to be happy with a point each as they cancelled each other out in a 0-0 draw.

Manchester City looked to continue their stay atop the table as they hosted struggling Norwich City at the Etihad Stadium. A tight first hour saw the sides remain level something the Canaries would have been proud of given they were 4-0 down at that time in their last visit. However, City soon broke the deadlock as Nicolas Otamendi struck on 67 minutes but Cameron Jerome's equaliser with seven minutes remaining set up a tense finish. City were given a boost though as Russell Martin was sent off on 88 minutes with Yaya Touré slotting in the resulting penalty to claim a 2-1 win.

Newcastle United hosted Stoke City at St James Park with both sides looking to boost their mixed run of form which sees them bottom six. However, they had to settle for just a point apiece as they cancelled each other out in a tight 0-0 draw.

Swansea City hosted high-flying Arsenal at the Liberty Stadium with the Swans keen to boost their mixed run of form and deny the Gunners from closing up at the top. A tight first half saw the sides remain level at 0-0 into the interval but the visitors wasted no time in making a good start to the second half as Olivier Giroud struck on 49 minutes for 1-0.

The three points were wrapped up by a five minute double as Laurent Koscielny and Joel Campbell struck to confirm a 3-0 win.

High-flying West Ham United travelled to Vicarage Road for a London derby against Watford who had hopes of moving up the table. The Hammers have had great away success this season but saw their good form under threat after the hosts took the lead on 39 minutes via Odion Ighalo. The Hornets' striker made it 2-0 just three minutes after the interval and whatever hopes the Hammers had of staging a comeback were dashed in the 84th minute by the dismissal of James Collins as they slipped to a rare defeat.

West Bromwich Albion hosted high-flying Leicester City with the Baggies keen to stem the Foxes charge towards the top. The hosts took the lead on the half hour mark as Salomon Rondon struck but in what has become a tradition so far this season, the Foxes came from behind to lead as Riyad Mahrez scored twice either side of the hour mark to turn the game around at 2-1 before in-form Jamie Vardy extended his scoring streak to eight games with a 77th minute effort. The win was far from sealed though as Rickie Lambert slotted in an 84th minute penalty for the hosts for 3-2 but to their despair that was how the game ended.

Super Sunday opened with Everton hosting struggling Sunderland with the sides sharing eight goals in a thriller at Goodison Park. The Toffees struck first with Gerard Deulofeu scoring on 19 minutes before Arouna Koné added a second on 31 minutes before a late effort from Jermain Defoe made it 2-1 into the interval. The visitors were soon level though as Steven Fletcher equalised five minutes after the restart. However, the equality lasted just five minutes as Seb Coates hit into his own net for 3-2 before two goals in as many minutes on the hour from Koné and Romelu Lukaku put the hosts in control at 5-2 and the gloss on the win came on 76 minutes as Koné completed his hat-trick as the Toffees strolled at 6-2.

The second part of Super Sunday saw a South Coast derby as Southampton hosted Bournemouth with the Cherries keen to move away from the bottom four and deny their rivals from closing on the top four. The hosts struck first as they took the lead on 31 minutes through Steven Davis before Graziano Pellé doubled the lead just five minutes later for 2-0.

The Cherries received a boost with 12 minutes remaining as Victor Wanyama was dismissed but they were unable to utilise their numerical advantage as they slipped to defeat.

The weekend came to an end with Monday Night Football which saw Tottenham Hotspur host Aston Villa with Villa's newly acquired manager Remi Garde hoping for a good start as he watched from the stands. Tottenham has other ideas as the raced into the lead inside three minutes with an effort from Moussa Dembélé and they were two goals to the good at the interval as Dele Alli struck for 2-0. Villa got off the mark on 79 minutes through Jordan Ayew but it was to be a consolation goal as Harry Kane sealed the win for the hosts in the 90th minute. 

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Capital One Cup Fourth Round Review

After a four week break since the third round, the Capital One Cup resumed with a fourth round draw which featured potential upsets with three Championship sides facing top flight opposition while some of the all-top flight clashes had some high vs low 'fliers'.

Tuesday night saw the first four ties with the first coming in an all-top flight clash at Goodison Park as Everton hosted Norwich City. The Canaries broke the deadlock on 51 minutes with a strike from Sebastian Bassong but were soon pegged back by Leon Osman's 68th minute leveller for 1-1. Neither side was able to score for a second time in the 90 minutes as well as the period of extra time so penalties would be the decider.  Everton came out on top as they secured a 4-3 win on penalties.

In a Championship/Premier League clash at the KC Stadium, Hull City hosted Leicester City and despite the divisional gap, the sides remained level at 0-0 for the entire 90 minutes. Extra time saw a change as Leicester took a 1-0 lead through Riyad Mahrez on 100 minutes but just six minutes later the hosts were level at 1-1 as Hernandez struck and 1-1 was how the period ended. The penalty shoot-out had a surprise ending as Hull came out on top with a 5-4 win.

The night's other cross-divisional clash saw Sheffield Wednesday host Arsenal with the Owls keen to stage a huge upset. The chances of an upset grew inside 27 minutes as Wallace fired the hosts into a 1-0 lead and the joy of the Owls fans intensified further just before half-time as Joao made it 2-0.

The Gunners needed a huge second half to avoid an embarrassing exit but their task grew tougher just 11 minutes after the interval as Hutchinson made it 3-0 and despite a rally from Arsenal to comeback, it was in vain as they tumbled out of the competition as the Owls flew through.

As Stoke hosted Chelsea at the Britannia Stadium, the Blues had to try and defy the famous 'Can they do it on a cold Tuesday night in Stoke?' They looked to be struggling early in the second half as Stoke took a 52nd minute lead through Jon Walters and with the game entering the final minutes, the score remained at 1-0. However, Chelsea kept their hopes alive with an equaliser from Loic Remy with Stoke suffering another blow with the dismissal of Phil Bardsley ahead of the impending period of extra time. Neither side were able to score a second in the extended time so the game went to a penalty shoot-out. Stoke came out on top winning 5-4 to end the Blues chances of retaining the trophy.

Wednesday night saw the other four ties with the first seeing Liverpool host Bournemouth and Anfield with the sides meeting for the second year in a row. The Reds started well and went ahead inside 17 minutes as Nathaniel Clyne connected to a superb back heel effort from Joao Teixeira which had been cleared off the line. Bournemouth pushed to draw level but were unable to prevent the hosts from advancing into the last eight with a 1-0 win.

Manchester City hosted Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium with the Eagles keen to stage an upset on the current league leaders. However, they were behind as early as the 22nd minute as Wilfried Bony struck for 1-0 before Kevin De Bruyne doubled the lead just before the interval. The Eagles looked to be out of the contest early in the second half as Kelechi Ihenacho struck on 59 minutes for 3-0 and City confirmed their place in the last eight with a 76th minute penalty from Yaya Toure for 4-0. Palace scored a consolation in the 89th minute as Damien Delaney struck but fell to a 5-1 loss after Garcia Alonso completed the rout in the final minute. 

After sacking manager Tim Sherwood, Aston Villa travelled to face Southampton at St Mary's looking to hopefully entice a new manager with a win. However, the Saints made the first breakthrough as Maya Yoshida struck on 51 minutes and they piled further woe on Villa with a second on 77 minutes from Graziano Pelle. Villa did hit back as Scott Sinclair converted a penalty in the final minutes but they were unable to force extra time as the Saints secured a 2-1 win.

The final tie of the night proved to be the longest as Manchester United hosted Championship side Middlesbrough and despite the gap in league places, the two sides remained level past the 90 minutes and even the extra time period resulting in a penalty shoot out. Manchester United missed three from four attempts and tumbled out as 'Boro secured a 3-1 win.

The draw for the quarter finals is as follows...

Middlesbrough v Everton
Southampton v Liverpool
Man City v Hull City
Stoke v Sheffield Wednesday

Monday, 26 October 2015

City Top After Derby Draw While Reds Held By Saints

Gameweek ten in the Premier League and after the high scoring of recent weeks, this set of games saw just two sides score three or more while six teams kept clean sheets. In a rare weekend with no early kick-off or Monday Night Football, the ten games took place in a split of five 3pm's, an evening game on Saturday, a Super Sunday treble and single 2pm kick-off.

After the recent departures of Advocaat (Sunderland) and Rodgers (Liverpool), a third manager was to leave the league this weekend but at the kick-off of Aston Villa's hosting of Swansea City at Villa Park, the thought was non-existent. In a game where the Ayew brothers faced off, Jordan got the first joy as he put Villa ahead on 62 minutes but Swansea levelled through Gylfi Sigurdsson just six minutes later.

After his brother had scored earlier, Andre got in on the act with the winning goal for Swansea in the 87th minute and it proved to be even more vital as the 2-1 defeat for Villa saw Tim Sherwood dismissed as manager less than 24 hours later.

Leicester's superb form continued as they hosted fellow high-fliers Crystal Palace at the King Power Stadium and sealed a 1-0 victory courtesy of a 59th minute strike from Jamie Vardy who in scoring joined a select group of players to net in seven consecutive games.

Norwich City hosted West Bromwich Albion at Carrow Road with both sides keen to move clear of the bottom three. The Baggies had the better luck as they sealed a 1-0 win courtesy of a 46th minute strike from Salomon Rondon.

Two other sides who were on the fringes of the bottom three faced off at the Britannia Stadium as Stoke City hosted Watford. The Hornets opened the scoring just before the interval with a first top-flight strike for Troy Deeney on 43 minutes.

Almen Abdi doubled the lead to 2-0 on 69 minutes which proved to be enough to secure the three points. 

When West Ham United and Chelsea were paired on the fixture list, the fact that the Hammers would go into the game higher placed in the table was a prediction of fantasy with Chelsea languishing in 15th as they visited Upton Park. The hosts made the better start of the two as they opened up a 1-0 lead inside 18 minutes through Mauro Zarate before Chelsea's half got even worse with the sending off of Nemanja Matic on 44 minutes.

However, the ten men were soon level as Gary Cahill equalised on 56 minutes but the extra man advantage paid off for the hosts as they secured a 2-1 win on 79 minutes with a strike from Andy Carroll.

The evening game saw Everton travel to face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium with the Gunners looking to leapfrog Manchester City at the top. They made a good effort of doing so in the first half against the Toffees by scoring twice in as many minutes through Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny on 36 and 38 minutes. Everton responded just before the interval with a Ross Barkley shot deflecting in on 44 minutes for 2-1. The Gunners held the narrow lead until the end where Everton suffered a late blow with the sending off of Gareth Barry. 

Super Sunday kicked off with the Tyne-Wear derby at the Stadium of Light as Sunderland hosted fierce rivals Newcastle United looking to move off the bottom with a record breaking sixth win in a row against the Magpies. A tight first half sparked into action just before the interval as Fabrizio Coloccini was dismissed for impeding Steven Fletcher with Adam Johnson converting from the penalty spot for 1-0.

The hosts went further ahead just after the hour as Billy Jones tapped in n 65 minutes and the bragging rights were confirmed with four minutes to go as Fletcher fired in for 3-0.

The only game not televised on Sunday proved to be the highest scoring as Bournemouth hosted Tottenham at the Vitality Stadium with the sides sharing six goals. The Cherries made the perfect start with an opener from Matt Richie inside the first minute for 1-0. The visitors soon drew level as Harry Kane equalised with a ninth minute penalty but they then went ahead on 17 minutes as Moussa Dembele made it 2-1. Tottenham were in full control on 33 minutes as Eric Lamela struck to make it 3-1 leaving the hosts with a huge task to avoid defeat. Their task was made greater by Kane striking twice in five minutes either side of the hour mark to make it 5-1 as Spurs stormed to victory. 

The second derby of the day came from Old Trafford as Manchester United hosted city rivals Manchester City with both hoping to displace Arsenal at the top of the table. A tight game was expected and the whole 90 minutes proved to be just that as they shared the points in a 0-0 draw but one that meant City regained top spot.

The weekend came to an end with the Super Sunday trilogy culminating with Southampton's trip to face Liverpool at Anfield. Both sides have had mixed starts to the season so it was a surprise that the game was so tight and remained 0-0 well into the second half. However, the deadlock was broken by a superb header from Christian Benteke on 77 minutes but the Reds' joy was short lived as Sadio Mané equalised on 86 minutes for 1-1 before being sent off late on after a two rapid bookings as Liverpool drew for the seventh time in nine games.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Europa League Matchday Three Review

As the Champions League group stage had reached the halfway mark so has the Europa League with Matchday three featuring goals galore with only one game resulting in a 0-0 draw while the British trio all failed to win with a draw and two defeats between them.

After failing to win in either of their first two games, Fenerbache and Ajax faced off looking for the illusive first win. In what turned out to be a very tight game it was a late show from the Turkish side which saw them claim all three points as Santana struck on 89 minutes to secure a 1-0 win.

Molde hosted Celtic with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer returning as manager and what a superb return he had as his side raced into a 2-0 lead inside 18 minutes courtesy of goals from Kamara and Forren.

Kris Commons pulled one back for the Scots on 55 minutes but it was rapidly in vain as Elyounoussi made it 3-1 within a minute. The hosts held on to their lead to move three points clear at the top of the group.

FC Sion travelled to face Bordeaux looking to continue their unbeaten start after a win and a draw so far and they secured a narrow 1-0 win over the French side with Lacroix scoring the crucial goal on 21 minutes.

After drawing both games so far, Liverpool looked to make a perfect start under new manager Jurgen Klopp as they hosted Rubin Kazan. However, the Reds suffered an early blow as they fell behind to a strike from Devic on 15 minutes but the Russians suffered a double blow in the space of two minutes as Kuzman was sent off for a second booking on 36 minutes with Emre Can equalising from the resulting free-kick for 1-1. Both sides pushed for a winner but for Liverpool it was a third successive draw with the positive being remaining unbeaten.

After a win and a draw in their two games so far, Borussia Dortmund travelled to face winless FK Qabala who looked to avoid back-to-back defeats. The Germans opened up a 2-0 lead before half time with a brace in the 31st and 38th minutes from Pierre Aubameyang. The Gabon striker made 3-0 with his hat-trick strike on 72 minutes to wrap up the points but Qabala did have the last say on the scoreline with a 90th minute effort from Hilario for 3-1.

PAOK Salonica hosted FK Krasnodar looking for their first win having drawn both games so far while their opponents looked for a second victory. However, the only impact on the result came from a dismissal apiece late on with Jedrzeczyk sent off on 87 minutes for the visitors and De Macedo da Silva sent off two minutes later for the hosts as the sides drew 0-0.

Napoli travelled to face FC Midtjylland with both sides hoping to make it three wins in a row but something had to give and give it did as the Italians stormed to a 4-1 win. Callejon opened the scoring on 19 minutes for the visitors before a nine minute brace from Gabbiadini made it 3-0. Pusic pulled one back for the hosts just before half-time for 3-1 but it was to be a consolation as Higuain completed the rout in the 90th minute.

Legia Warsaw and Club Brugge faced off with both sides looking for their first points of the stage after two defeats so far. The Belgians opened the scoring on 39 minutes through De Fauw but were pegged back on 51 minutes by an equaliser from Kucharczyk as the sides shared the points in the 1-1 draw.

Dinamo Minsk made the long trip to face Villarreal looking to secure a first win of the stage after two defeats so far but were heavily beaten by the Spanish side who stormed to a 4-0 triumph. A first half brace from Bakambu on 17 and 32 minutes put the hosts in control before a third from Roberto Soldado on 61 minutes and fourth from Bailly on 70 minutes completed the rout.

After a perfect start of two wins, Rapid Vienna hosted Viktoria Plzen hoping to extend their joy at the expense of their visitors who also were unbeaten after a win and a draw. Plzen started the better of the two sides with the opening goal on 12 minutes from Duris but were pegged back on 34 minutes by an equaliser from Hofmann for 1-1. Two goals in 15 minutes either side of the hour mark from Schaub and Petsos put the hosts in control at 3-1 but Plzen cut the gap on 76 minutes through Hrosovsky to set up a tight last 14 minutes. However, the Austrians held on to their slim lead at 3-2 and remain clear on top of the group.  

A perfect start to the stage from Sporting Braga was under threat as they hosted a Marseille side looking for their second win. A tight first half from both sides saw them remain level at 0-0 into half-time and the equilibrium lasted past the hour mark before the sides shared a five goal thriller. Hassan and Eduardo put the hosts 2-0 up on 64 and 77 minutes before they were pegged back by two goals in three minutes. Alessandrini (84) and Batshuayi (87) struck for 2-2 but the French side's joy at drawing level was short lived as Silva secured a 3-2 win for the hosts two minutes from the end.

Two defeats in a row for FC Groningen left them travelling to face Slovan Liberec with hopes of avoiding the worst possible start while the Czechs looked for their first win. A tight game overall from both sides saw them remain level into the final ten minutes but the dismissal of De Leeuw for the Dutch side on 83 minutes followed by a goal from Luckassen for Liberec on 87 left them starring at a defeat. However, they battled on with 10 men and secured their first point of the stage with a last-gasp equaliser from Hoesen for 1-1.

St Etienne travelled to face Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk having earned just one point from a possible six while the Ukrainians looked for their second win. The French side managed to double their points tally as they secured a narrow 1-0 win courtesy of a 44th minute winner from Hamouma.

Lazio hosted winless Rosenborg looking to extend their unbeaten start after a win and a draw while the Norwegians hoped to avoid consecutive losses. The visitors were given an early boost as Nascimento was sent off inside six minutes for the hosts but they were unable to make the extra man count as they fell behind to a 28th minute strike from Matri. Lazio doubled their lead on 54 minutes as Gomes made it 2-0 but Rosenborg battled back with a 69th minute effort from Soderland but the ten men came out on top with at 3-1 with Candreva sealing the win on 74 minutes.

Two wins from two for Lokomotiv Moscow saw them go into the game at home to Besiktas on top of the group with the Turks just behind so it was no surprise when they shared the points in a 1-1 draw. The hosts struck first on 54 minutes through Bitencourt but were pegged back just ten minutes later by Gomez's equaliser and the visitors had the best chance to claim the win when Corluka was sent off for Loko on 69 minutes but they were unable to make the extra man into an advantage.

Sporting Lisbon looked to build on their one point from a possible six as they hosted fellow winless side Skenderbeu Korce. The visitors suffered a blow when Salihi was sent off on 23 minutes and went into half-time 2-0 down after two penalties in three minutes from Aquilani and Montero. A brace from Pereira sandwiched a Figueiredo effort as the hosts stormed to a 5-0 lead but the visitors did have some consolation as Jashanica scored a late effort for 5-1.

After a perfect start of two wins, FC Basel looked to extend their success against winless Belenenses who had taken one point from a possible six so far. The Swiss side boosted their hopes with a 15th minute opener from Lang but that was to be their only joy as the visitors levelled through Leal on 27 minutes before sealing the points on 45 minutes through Miranda for a 2-1 win.

Fiorentina went into the home game against Lech Poznan on the back of their first win while the Poles looked to secure their first success. A tight first hour saw the sides remain level at 0-0 before Kownacki broke the deadlock for the visitors on 65 minutes. Gajos doubled the lead to 2-0 with eight minute remaining before a strange end for the Italians saw Rossi make it 2-1 followed by the sending off of Rebic as Lech secured their first win.

Anderlecht hosted Tottenham looking for their first win while Spurs looked for their second after both had mixed starts to the group stage. Tottenham started superbly and took the lead inside four minutes through Christian Eriksen but their joy was soon dampened by a 13th minute leveller from Gillet. The Belgians came out on top though as they sealed a 2-1 in the 75th minute with Okaka's effort.

After drawing their first two games, Monaco's pursuit of  a first win continued as they hosted a Qarabag side with a win and a draw to their cause. A tight game saw the sides remain level well into the second half at 0-0 before a crucial strike from Traore sealed a 1-0 win for the hosts on 70 minutes.

Schalke went into the home game against Sparta Prague having won both games while the Czechs had secured four points from a possible six so a 2-2 draw was a fair reflection of both sides. Di Santo put the hosts ahead inside six minutes only to have his effort cancelled out five minutes after half-time by Fatai's equaliser for 1-1. Lafata completed the comeback for the visitors as they took a 2-1 lead on 63 minutes but they had to settle for a point as Sané salvaged the draw for the hosts at 2-2 in the 73rd minute.

After losing their first two games, Apoel Nicosia looked for a first win as they hosted Asteras Tripolis who in turn also looked for their first success after a draw and a defeat so far. The visitors started the better as they took a 1-0 lead inside eight minutes through Lluy but a penalty from Cavenaghi on 43 minutes levelled at 1-1. The hosts completed the comeback with a winner on 59 minutes from Cruz Junior for a 2-1 success.

Partizan Belgrade hosted Athletic Bilbao with their perfect start of two wins under threat while the Spanish side looked for their second win. The visitors went ahead on 32 minutes as Raul Garcia struck before a late effort from Urkiaga on 85 minutes wrapped up a 2-0 win.

FC Augsburg woeful start of two defeats saw them travelled to AZ Alkmaar looking to claim their first success and deny the Dutch side a second win. The Germans had the better of the luck as they secured a narrow 1-0 win courtesy of a 43rd minute strike from Trochowski. 

Champions League Matchday Three Review

It is hard to believe that the Champions League group stage is already at the halfway mark with Matchday three completed and what a storming round it was with one game featuring eight goals alone while English quartet featured in two wins and two draws.

Tuesday night saw groups E-H take the focus and a stunning eight goal thriller between Bayer Leverkusen and AS Roma was the clear highlight. Javier Hernandez put the hosts 2-0 ahead inside 20 minutes with a fourth minute penalty followed by a 19th minute strike but a brace from De Rossi in the 29th and 37th minutes levelled the game at 2-2.

Roma completed the comeback and went in front on 54 minutes through Falque before Pjanic looked to have sealed the points on 73 minutes for 4-2 but Bayer had other ideas and salvaged a draw in the final six minutes with goals from Kampl and Mehmedi as the game ended 4-4. Barcelona continued their good form as they sealed a 2-0 win away to BATE Borisov with a second half brace from Ivan Rakitic on 48 and 64 minutes proved to enough as they remained unbeaten on seven points from a possible nine.

Arsenal hosted Bayern Munich looking to build on a mixed start to the campaign and they more than boost their campaign as they secured a 2-0 win against the much favoured Germans with a second half double. Olivier Giroud opened the scoring on 77 minutes with Mesut Ozil completing the victory in the 90th minute.

Olympiakos continued their good run with a narrow 1-0 win away to Dinamo Zagreb with the crucial strike coming in the 79th minute from Brown Ideye.

After a win and a draw from their first two games, Chelsea travelled to face Dynamo Kiev with hopes of boosting their campaign but their hopes were dented as they were only able to secure a 0-0 against the Ukranians.

FC Porto continued their unbeaten start with a 2-0 win at home to Maccabi Tel-Aviv and the hosts secured the points in the final minutes of the first half as Aboubakar and Brahimi struck on 37 and 41 minutes which left visitors still awaiting their first point of the campaign.


Zenit St Petersburg made it three wins in a row as they cruised to a 3-1 win at home to Olympique Lyonnais and they made a stunning start by scoring inside two minutes through Dzyuba. Lacazette equalised for the visitors four minutes into the second half but Zenit powered on with a strike from Hulk on 56 minutes before Danny confirmed the win on 82 minutes.

Gent looked to secure their first win of the stage as they travelled to face Valencia but fell behind early on to a Feghouli strike on 15 minutes. They levelled just before half-time as Foket struck but were denied even a single point as an unfortunate own goal from Mitrovic on 72 minutes sealed the points for Valencia.

Wednesday night saw the remaining groups A-D take the focus with the meeting between Paris St Germain and Real Madrid in group A being the most anticipated

The tie was a classic as expected but one which saw the defences dominate rather than the attackers as the teams shared the points in a 0-0 draw.

Malmo looked to kick-start their campaign as they hosted Shakthar Donetsk and it was the hosts who claimed the points as Rosenborg struck the crucial goal after only 17 minutes in a 1-0 win.  

Wolfsburg looked to bounce back from their first defeat as they hosted PSV Eindhoven with the visitors looking to avoid back-to-back defeats. However, it was the hosts who claimed the three points as they secured a 2-0 win with two second half strikes as Dost and Kruse scored in the 46th and 57th minutes.

After claiming their first win in their last game, Manchester United looked for consecutive wins as they travelled to face CSKA Moscow who also hoped to continue their success. However, both sides had to settle for a point each in a 1-1 draw which saw the hosts strike first with a 15th minute opener from Doumbia but United salvaged the draw in the second half as in-form Anthony Martial scored in the 65th minute.

Atletico Madrid's mixed start saw them earn four points from two tough games and as they hosted FC Astana, their hopes of a second win were high given the visitors had only taken one point from a possible six. The hosts raced into a 2-0 lead inside 30 minutes with goals from Niguez and Oliver before Martinez added a third on 65 minutes to strengthen their position and they rout was completed late on by an unfortunate own goal from Dedechko for a 4-0 final scoreline.

Benfica made a perfect start to the stage with two wins and looked to make it three as they travelled to face a Galatasaray side searching for their first triumph. The visitors made a superb start by taking the lead inside three minutes through Gaitan but they were pegged back on 19 minutes by a penalty from Inan before Lukas Podolski sealed the win with a 33rd minute strike for 2-1.


Juventus hosted Borussia Monchengladbach looking to claim a third successive win while the Germans looked to claim their first points of the stage so far. The two sides battled in a 0-0 draw which the visitors will be happier with having got their first point.

After claiming their first win in the previous Matchday, Manchester City hosted Sevilla with hopes of back-to-back wins while the visitors looked to avoid suffering consecutive defeats. Sevilla stunned the Etihad crowd with the opening goal on the half-hour as Yevhen Konoplyanka struck but the hosts were level within six minutes as Rami scored an own goal. The game looked certain to end as a 1-1 draw but City had other ideas in the 90th minute as Kevin De Bruyne slotted in to seal a 2-1 win.  

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Sterling Treble Keeps City Top While Reds Hold Spurs

After an international break which saw two sides reveal new managers, the Premier League returned in stunning style with two games featuring 14 goals alone while the managers on debut had mixed starts.

Saturday's early kick-off came from White Hart Lane as Tottenham played host to Liverpool with the Reds under the stewardship of Jurgen Klopp for the first time.

A tight game saw both sides have good chances to score but to no avail as they shared the points and denied Klopp a perfect start after the 0-0 scoreline.

In the first of six 3pm games, Chelsea hosted Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge with both looking to improve on their mixed form. The Blues struck first on 34 minutes as Diego Costa put them ahead and the Spaniard looked to have scored a second on 54 minutes. However,  his effort deflected in off Alan Hutton for an own goal and 2-0 was enough for the hosts to seal a much needed win.

Crystal Palace looked to continue their high-flying status as they hosted fellow high-fliers West Ham United in a London derby. The Hammers started the better and went ahead on 22 minutes through Carl Jenkinson but were quickly pegged back by Yohan Cabaye's 25th minute penalty for 1-1.

The Eagles suffered a blow just before the interval as Dwight Gayle was sent off but they managed to hold at 1-1 until the final minutes when strikes from Manuel Lanzini and Dimitri Payet sealed a 3-1 win for the Hammers.

Ahead of Everton's hosting of Manchester United at Goodison Park, the football world learnt of the shock passing of former Toffee's manager Howard Kendall who led them through their greatest period of success and was well remembered ahead of kick-off. For the hosts though it wasn't to be their day as they fell to a 3-0 defeat which started with an 18th minute opener from Morgan Schneiderlin which was rapidly followed by a second strike as Ander Herrera scored. The win was wrapped up on the hour mark as former Everton striker Wayne Rooney confirmed a 3-0 win.

Manchester City looked to remain on top of the table as they hosted Bournemouth at the Etihad Stadium and they started superbly as Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Bony made it 2-0 inside 11 minutes.

The Cherries responded on 22 minutes through Glenn Murray but it was to be in vain as Sterling completed a first half hat-trick on 28 and 45 minutes for 4-1 at the interval with a fifth coming late on as Bony struck his second goal for a 5-1 triumph.

Leicester and Southampton faced off at the King Power Stadium as they both looked to close up on the top four and the hosts boosted their hopes with a rare strike from Jose Fonte before Virgil van Dijk doubled the lead on 37 minutes for 2-0. However, Leicester have been the experts at coming from behind this season and they continued as Jamie Vardy scored a brace on 66 and 90 minutes to salvage a 2-2 draw.

Sunderland travelled to face West Brom at The Hawthorns looking for their first win of the season and with Sam Allardyce installed as manager, hopes were boosted but to their dismay their poor form was to continue. The Baggies sealed a narrow 1-0 win with a 55th minute strike from Saido Berahino which moved them away from the danger zone.

The evening kick-off saw another London derby as Watford hosted Arsenal at Vicarage Road and in a tight first half, the Hornets did well to hold the Gunners to a 0-0 scoreline. However, their joy turned to misery in the space of 13 minutes as Arsenal sealed a 3-0 win with strikes from Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey which puts them just two points off top spot.

Super Sunday saw a truly stunning game as Newcastle United hosted Norwich City at St James Park with the Magpies looking for their first win of the season and in an eight goal thriller their wait was at an end.

Georginio Wijnaldum put the hosts ahead on 13 minutes before Dieumerci Mbokani levelled just seven minutes later for 1-1. Wijnaldum struck again for 2-1 before Ayoze Perez made it three on 33 minutes only to have his effort instantly followed by a reply from Norwich as Nathan Redmond made it 3-2. Aleksandar Mitrovic regained the two goal lead for the Magpies at 4-2 on 64 minutes before Wijnaldum completed his hat-trick for 5-2 just two minutes later. Newcastle's first win was long confirmed but on 85 minutes came a special moment as Wijnaldum struck a stunning fourth for 6-2 to become the first player to score four for the Magpies since Andy Cole.

Monday Night Football saw Swansea City host Stoke City at the Liberty Stadium with both sides keen to distance themselves from the danger zone. Stoke made a perfect start as they were awarded a penalty inside four minutes which Bojan Krkic slotted in to put them ahead and 1-0 proved to be enough for the Potters to secure a win that moved them above their opponents into 11th.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Five Star Aguero Send City Top While Reds Draw Derby

Ahead of an International break, gameweek eight saw two managerial exits from sides which wasted leads in games they ended up drawing while a five goal haul from a certain Argentinian striker left denied a first win for the Magpies.

Saturday's early kick-off came from Selhurst Park as high-flying Crystal Palace hosted West Brom with the hosts keen to close the gap at the top. A tight first half saw the sides remain level into the interval but Palace struck on 68 minutes through Yannick Bolasie before a late penalty from Yohan Cabaye wrapped up a 2-0 win.

In the first of a quintet of 3pm games, Aston Villa played host to Stoke City at Villa Park with both sides looking to move closer to the top half of the table. Stoke make the breakthrough just ten minutes into the second half as Marko Arnautovic secured a welcome three points which moved the Potters clear of the drop zone.

A battle between two of the newly promoted sides saw Bournemouth host Watford at the Vitality Stadium with both looking to boost mixed starts to the season. The Cherries struck first as summer signing Glenn Murray gave them the lead on 28 minutes but the Hornets struck back just before the interval as Odion Ighalo continued his superb scoring streak with a 45th minute equaliser which was enough to ensure a share of the points.

After a woeful start to the season, Newcastle travelled to the Etihad Stadium to face a Manchester City side who were keen to return to the top of the table and extend the Magpies poor run without a win. Newcastle stunned the City faithful as Aleksandar Mitrovic gave them the lead on 18 minutes, City levelled with four minutes left of the half through Sergio Aguero and the sides went into the break at 1-1.

Aguero ran riot in the second half as he completed his hat-trick within five minutes of the restart for 3-1 with Kevin De Bruyne adding a strike on 53 minutes for 4-1. However, Aguero's assault on the Magpies resumed just eight minutes later as he struck twice more in as many minutes to complete a stunning 17 minutes for the hosts and as they cruised to a 6-1 triumph.

Leicester City made a superb start to the season and looked to continue their high-flying as they travelled to Carrow Road to face Norwich City who looked to move into the top half. The Foxes started well and went ahead on 28 minutes through a Jamie Vardy penalty before Jeff Schlupp doubled the lead two minutes after the interval. Norwich stayed in the hunt and pulled one back on 68 minutes as Dieumerci Mbokani struck for 2-1 which is how the game ended.

Sunderland's miserable start to the season had the chance to improve as they hosted high-flying West Ham United and their hopes were given an early boost as Steven Fletcher and Jermain Lens put them 2-0 ahead inside 22 minutes. The Hammers cut the gap just before half-time through Carl Jenkinson and they were given a double boost either side of the hour mark as the hosts went down to 10 via Lens being dismissed and Dmitri Payet slotted in an equaliser for 2-2 to deny the hosts a first win and leave them in the bottom three. The result led to Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat leaving his post with them sitting in 19th.

The evening kick-off saw Chelsea host Southampton at Stamford Bridge with the Champions desperate to boost their flagging start to the season while the Saints hoped to remain in the top half of the table. The Blues started well and went ahead inside ten minutes after a superb effort from Willian but they went into the interval on level terms after Steven Davis' 43rd minute equaliser.

Southampton completed their comeback on the hour as Sadio Mané put them in front before a stunning strike from Graziano Pellé secured the points and a 3-1 victory to leave Chelsea in 16th.

Super Sunday began with the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park as city rivals Everton and Liverpool faced off with the Reds looking to boost a mixed start to the season while the Toffees were keen to move into the top four. As expected the first half was a closely fought one but despite being level at the interval both sides were on the board, Danny Ings put the Reds ahead on 41 minutes only for his effort to be cancelled out by Romelu Lukaku's 45th minute leveller. The sides remained level and shared the spoils but the result proved to be the last for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers who was sacked just two hours after the final whistle.

The second televised game saw fierce rivals Arsenal and Manchester United meet at the Emirates Stadium with the Gunners looking to leapfrog their opponents into second while United looked to reclaim top spot from City. An amazing start from the hosts saw them race into a 2-0 lead inside seven minutes as Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil struck in the space of two minutes. Sanchez doubled his tally on 19 minutes and the Gunners looked set to embarrass the visitors. However, the three goal gap remained as they secure the win and left United with work to do in the International break.

The final game of the weekend saw Swansea host Tottenham at the Liberty Stadium with both hoping to move up the table. Swansea started the better of the two sides a they took a 16th minute lead after a header from the in-form Andre Ayew but were soon pegged back by a clever free-kick from Christian Eriksen. Tottenham's joy was short lived as a bizarre own goal from Harry Kane restored the lead for the Swans but alike their first deficit, the visitors drew level with a second free-kick from Eriksen on 65 minutes to ensure they took away a point.