Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Clarets Dent Chelsea Gap While Reds Defeat Spurs

Ahead of the return of European action and the next round of the FA Cup, the Premier League action reached gameweek 25.

The weekend began with Arsenal hosting struggling Hull City at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners opened the scoring through Alexis Sanchez after 34 minutes before the striker wrapped up the points with a penalty late on.

Manchester United moved into fifth with a 2-0 win over Watford at Old Trafford.

The hosts went ahead on 32 minutes with an opener from Juan Mata before Anthony Martial doubled the lead on the hour mark.

Middlesbrough remain on the fringes of the bottom three after securing a 0-0 draw at home to in-form Everton.

Crystal Palace remain in the bottom two with a two point gap to safety after suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat to Stoke City.

The crucial strike came on 67 minutes as Joe Allen struck to seal the win.

Sunderland sit rock bottom after being hammered 4-0 by Southampton.

The Saints went ahead as Manolo Gabbiadini made it two goals in as many games on the half-hour. He added a second just before half-time for a 2-0 lead at the interval. The hosts' afternoon got worse late on as Jason Denayer hit into his own net before Shane Long completed the rout.

West Ham United stayed tenth after drawing 2-2 with West Bromwich Albion.

The Baggies continued their run of scoring early in games as Nacer Chadli struck inside six minutes, the lead lasted until just after the hour mark when Sofiane Feghouli levelled for the Hammers. Manuel Lanzini completed the comeback for the hosts and looked to have sealed the win with a strike on 86 minutes. However, the visitors were not to be denied a point as Gareth McAuley sealed a point in added time.

The late-kick off saw a battle between two title challengers at Anfield as Liverpool hosted Tottenham Hotspur.

The Reds continued their run of positive results against their title rivals as they sealed a 2-0 win with both goals coming inside the first 20 minutes. Sadio Mané struck the opener on 16 minutes before doubling the lead in stunning style two minutes later.

Sunday's action began at Turf Moor as Burnley hosted league leaders Chelsea.

The Blues opened the scoring inside seven minutes through Pedro before the Clarets levelled with an excellent effort from Robbie Brady on 24 minutes and held on to secure a 1-1 draw.

Leicester City's turbulent season got worse as they suffered a 2-0 defeat to Swansea City.

The Swans went ahead with a strike from Andy Mawson in the 37th minute with Martin Olsson doubling the lead just before half-time.

The final action of the weekend came on Monday night as Bournemouth hosted Manchester City.

City moved to second spot with a 2-0 win over the Cherries with Raheem Sterling striking an opener in the 20th minute ahead of an own goal from Tyrone Mings in the 69th minute.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Chelsea Extend Summit Stay As Hull Humble Reds

Gameweek 24 sees a minor addition with a short review of the sole FA Cup Fourth Round replay.

Chelsea moved 12 points clear at the top after a 3-1 win over fierce London rivals Arsenal.

Marcos Alonso fired the Blues ahead inside 13 minutes before Eden Hazard made it 2-0 seven minutes after half-time. The points were wrapped up five minutes from the end as former Gunner Cesc Fabregas struck but Arsenal did have the last say as Olivier Giroud scored late on.

Sunderland remain bottom but cut the gap to safety with a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace. 

Lamine Kone put the visitors ahead inside just nine minutes before Didier N'Dong doubled the lead two minutes before half-time. A stunning first half for Sunderland saw Jermaine Defoe strike an added time brace for 4-0.

Everton closed the gap to the top four as the took the points in a nine-goal thriller against Bournemouth. A rapid start from the Toffees saw Romelu Lukaku strike inside the first minute with James McCarthy doubling the lead before Lukaku sent the hosts into the lead with a 3-0 lead. 

The Cherries battled with a brace from Joshua King on 59 and 71 minutes before Lukaku completed his hat-trick and reached four for a 5-2 lead. Harry Arter made it 5-3 before Ross Barkley rounded off a 6-3 win.

Hull City remain in the bottom three despite a surprise 2-0 win over Liverpool who dropped out of the top four. The hosts went ahead just before half-time as Alfred N'Diaye struck before Oumar Niasse sealed the points with five minutes to go. 

West Ham United moved into the top half after a 3-1 win over Southampton. 

The Hammers fell behind with 12 minutes gone as Manolo Gabbiadini struck before Andy Carroll equalised two minutes later. The points were wrapped up by strikes either side of half-time as Pedro Obiang struck on 44 minutes and Mark Noble on 52 minutes.

Watford moved into the top half with a 2-1 win over Burnley. 

The Clarets suffered an early blow with Jeff Hendrick sent off inside six minutes and the Hornets took just four minutes to take advantage with Troy Deeney opening the scoring. M'Baye Niang doubled the lead at the interval with Ashley Barnes pulling one back for the Clarets with a 78th minute penalty.

West Bromwich Albion retained eighth spot with a narrow 1-0 win over Stoke City.

The winning goal for the Baggies was scored after just six minutes as James Morrison's strike sealed the points. 

The evening kick-off saw Tottenham open up a gap in second spot after a narrow 1-0 win over Middlesbrough. 

The crucial strike came on 58 minutes as Harry Kane converted a penalty.

Manchester City sit third after securing a 2-1 win over Swansea City.

The hosts went ahead in the 12th minute as Gabriel Jesus struck for 1-0, a lead that looked to be enough for the win as the game entered the final ten minutes. Gylfi Sigurdsson looked to have salvaged a draw for the Swans but Gabriel Jesus struck his second late on to claim the win.

The final game of the weekend saw Manchester United close on the top four with a comfortable 3-0 win over Leicester City. 

The visitors claimed the points with three strikes in the space of eight minutes either side of half-time. Henrikh Mkhitaryan put United ahead on 41 minutes with Zlatan Ibrahimovic doubling the lead into the interval. The third goal came on 49 minutes as Juan Mata struck. 

After the FA Cup Fourth Round saw just one game result in a draw, the sole replay took place in midweek as Leicester City hosted Derby County.

The Foxes went ahead through Andy King four minutes before half-time but the Championship side drew level through Camara just after the hour mark. The tie remained at 1-1 which resulted in extra time in which the Foxes secured a 3-1 win with goals from Ndidi and Demarai Gray. 

Friday, 3 February 2017

Chelsea Stay Nine Clear After Reds Draw

After an exciting and unpredictable FA Cup fourth round saw some sides make mass changes and even face a shock exit, Premier League action resumed with a midweek set of games.

Arsenal missed the chance to cut the gap at the top as they lost 2-1 to Watford.

The Hornets raced into a 2-0 lead inside 15 minutes with a strike from Younes Kaboul followed up by Troy Deeney's effort. The Gunners cut the deficit with a goal on 58 minutes from Alex Iwobi but were unable to equalise as the Hornets claimed a famous win.

Crystal Palace remain in the bottom three despite securing a 2-0 win over Bournemouth.

The Eagles went ahead with a strike from Scott Dann two minutes after half-time before Christian Benteke wrapped up the points late on.

Leicester City remain on the fringes of the crop zone after suffering a narrow 1-0 loss to Burnley.

The Clarets rose to tenth in the standings after Sam Vokes struck the winning goal in the 87th minute.

Middlesbrough are also on the fringes of the drop zone despite coming from behind to secure a 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion.

Both goals came early in the game with the Baggies taking the lead inside six minutes through James Morrison but they were soon pegged back by Alvaro Negredo's penalty in the 16th minute.

Sunderland continue to prop up the standings but did well to secure a 0-0 draw against Tottenham Hotspur.

The goalless draw benefits the hosts more than the visiting Spurs who missed the chance to cut the gap to Chelsea at the top.

Swansea City moved outside the bottom three after a 2-1 win over Southampton.

The Swans took the lead with six minutes left of the first half as Andy Mawson struck the opener. The Saints drew level with 56 minutes on the clock as Shane Long equalised but Swansea were not to be denied the win as Gylfi Sigurdsson sealed victory with a 71st minute effort.

Leaders Chelsea travel to fourth placed Liverpool with the sides sharing the points in a 1-1 draw.

The Blues opened the scoring in style as David Luiz clipped in a free-kick that swept past the helpless Simon Mignolet in the Reds goal on 24 minutes. Liverpool levelled with a clever effort from Georginio Wijnaldum but could have gone behind when Chelsea were awarded a penalty. Diego Costa stepped up but saw his shot saved as Mignolet went from zero to hero.

Manchester City kept up their top four hopes with a comfortable 4-0 routing of West Ham United.

The Hammers fell behind on 17 minutes as Gabriel Jesus opened his account for the club with David Silva doubling the lead four minutes later. Kevin De Bruyne made it 3-0 six minutes before half-time with the gloss on the win coming on 67 minutes with a penalty from Yaya TourĂ©.

Manchester United remain in sixth after being held to a 0-0 draw by Hull City. The visitors remain in the bottom three themselves but will be the happier of the two sides in taking a point.

The final game of midweek saw Stoke City and Everton draw 1-1. The Potters took the lead inside seven minutes as Peter Crouch scored his 100th league goal and capped it off with a 'robotic' celebration. Everton levelled five minutes before half-time as Ryan Shawcross hit into his own net. 

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.