Adam’s Premier League Column – Rockin’ Robin

Welcome back to my Premier League column and I wish you all a Happy New Year! This has been a superb weekend of football, with lots of goals, controversial decisions and superb defending. Here I will discuss the top three games of the weekend.

 

Manchester United 2 Liverpool 1

This match is a mouth-watering prospect for any football fan across the world, and it lived up to those expectations, even if Liverpool were slow getting out of the blocks. Suarez was kept quiet throughout the game thanks to the United defence, most notably Ferdinand and Rafael. The Red Devils started the match very well, Rafael and van Persie linked up well in the early stages and it only took nineteen minutes for them to break the deadlock.

An intelligent bit of play by RVP to lose his man after a great ball in by Evra worked a treat, and it left for him to simply slide home. From then on, they hit another gear, although Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard had a couple of chances to set up Suarez for the visitors.

United then doubled their lead nine minutes after the interval. Robin van Persie’s floated free kick found an unmarked Patrice Evra. He leaped high at the near post and his header got deflected in via fellow defender Nemanja Vidic. That goal seemed to do Liverpool the world of good. From then on, they seemed to really push on, playing some great football, but it was too little too late.

However, substitute Daniel Sturridge, on his Premier League debut for the Reds, pounced on an initial save from United shot stopper David de Gea to give them some reinstalled hope.

The introduction of Borini and Henderson looked to have injected some urgency into the squad, but United had far too much experience and were able to see the game out.

All in all, a reassuring display from Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, and I’m sure Brendan Rodgers will feel that his side could have nicked a point.

 

Arsenal 0 Manchester City 2

It was vital that Manchester City didn’t slip up against the Arsenal after United’s three points against Liverpool. It was a dramatic game, and Laurent Koscielny was shown red inside the first ten minutes after he hauled down the on running Edin Dzeko in the box.

However, the resulting spot-kick, taken by Dzeko himself, was saved by Szczesny. The Gunners can have no arguments with that decision, as anybody who grabs someone by the hips inside the 18-yard box can really have no complaints. That completely changed the game in City’s favour.

They capitalised on the Gunners’ lack of organisation and took the lead on 21 minutes after a quick free-kick was taken and passed on through to James Milner who fired past Szczesny from a tight angle.

Edin Dzeko capped off a wonderful display after his early penalty howler by converting from close range after some great initial work by Argentine forward Carlos Tevez. Javi Garcia had a header cleared off the line by Arsenal’s stand-out player Jack Wilshere just before the half time whistle.

Man City didn’t look like they were missing the likes of influential players Sergio Agϋero and Yaya Toure who were unavailable. City kept up their impressive passing play throughout the second half but couldn’t influence the score-line any further.

Olivier Giroud had a couple of the chances for the hosts after he replaced Lukas Podolski. Man City were then reduced to ten men themselves after Vincent Kompany’s tackle was said to be too vicious.

I personally feel that there is nothing wrong with that sort of tackle as he clearly went for the ball, won the ball, and was one footed. I haven’t talked to anyone yet that actually believes that the tackle deserved a red. I’d love to know your opinions on this so please comment below!

 

Reading 3 West Brom 2

This five goal thriller was fantastic! West Brom have been fantastic so far this season, and Reading are doing poorly, finding themselves second from bottom. West Brom took the lead through star man Lukaku who has been outstanding this season.

His all round play has been brilliant this season. His strength, passing, heading, shooting and team play has really improved, and he will just get better as he plays more and more games. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him.

The Baggies doubled their lead on 69 minutes, again through Lukaku whose shot from outside the box sneaked past Adam Federici.

However, Reading forged back an incredible comeback. Kebe halved the deficit with eight minutes to go, before Le Fondre dispatched a penalty with two minutes to go. You would have thought that they’d play for the draw, but not Reading!

A ball was played into Russian forward Pavel Pogrebnyak who lobbed ‘keeper Foster to seal all three points. Baggies’ boss Steve Clarke was left “shell shocked” and rightly so. A terrific three points for Reading, and it may give them a much needed push in the second half of the season.

 

Results in full

QPR 0 – 0 Tottenham
Aston Villa 0 – 1 Southampton
Everton 0 – 0 Swansea
Fulham 1 – 1 Wigan
Norwich 0 – 0 Newcastle
Reading 3 – 2 West Brom
Stoke 0 – 4 Chelsea
Sunderland 3 – 0 West Ham
Man Utd 2 – 1 Liverpool
Arsenal 0 – 2 Man City

 

Team of the Week

 

Written by Adam May

Follow him on Twitter @Amay132

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Adam’s Premier League Column: Week 16- Villa ace Benteke stuns Anfield

This wasn’t the most memorable Premier League weekend to date, although there were three matches that really caught my eye.

 

Liverpool 1 Aston Villa 3

Brendan Rogers’ reign as Liverpool boss took another step backwards as Paul Lambert’s Villa took to Anfield. Lamert’s men didn’t enjoy the best opening to the 2012/13 season, although their form of late has increased slightly. That has been thanks to two players; Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke who have scored five and eight goals respectfully this season in all competitions.

Weimann has really stepped up to the plate this season, and I have been wholly impressed with the Austrian forward. He has the knack at the moment of being in the right place at the right time, coming up with three crucial goals for his team so far in the league. His all round play is improving from game to game and is a joy to watch.

Weimann and Benteke are like chalk and cheese. Weimann has neat footwork, low centre of gravity and is 1.88 metres. Benteke is a strong, powerful 1.91 meter powerhouse who is becoming even more reliable upfront.

It was Christian Benteke’s powerful display against Liverpool that helped them gain an all-important three points which lifts them further away from the relegation zone.

Benteke’s first goal of the afternoon came after just twenty nine minutes. The Belgium forward found himself some space 22 yards from goal before unleashing a thunderous strike which beat ‘keeper Pepe Reina at his near post. It was a sign of more things to come for the Villa.

Andreas Weimann doubled their lead eight minutes later. A slick back-heel from Benteke found its way into the path of the on-running Weimann who slammed the ball under Reina to shock the Kop.

Liverpool were on top prior to the two goals, but just couldn’t find their rhythm, however they found themselves 3-0 down five minutes after the interval. Christian Benteke showed some great footwork to make Agger look like a stranger to football before he calmly slotted past the goalkeeper to ensure that Villa headed back home with three points in the bag.

Two minutes from time, veteran Steven Gerrard reduced the deficit, although it was a mere consolation goal.

All in all, a great win for Villa. The three points were well deserved.

 

Newcastle United 1 Manchester City 3

Manchester City were simply brilliant, especially in the first half. Their slick build-up play made for an enjoyable watch, and the score could have been much more in favour of the Sky Blues. The Citizens made a great start when Yaya Touré picked up a brilliantly weighted ball from Nasri, who set up Sergio Agϋero who tapped-in from close range in the 10th minute.

Tevez and Nasri both had chances during the first half to double their lead, but ‘keeper Tim Krul was at hand to deny Man City. City’s second goal came four minutes prior to half-time.

Javi Garcia’s initial header took a slight deflection off the head of Santon who couldn’t prevent the header from crossing the line. Newcastle started the second half brightly, and were rewarded for their efforts. A Fabricio Coloccini cross found the head of Senegalese striker Demba Ba who turned it in to give the Toons a glimmer of hope.

From then on the game was much more even, but I feel City had plenty of opportunities to wrap the game up earlier. They did however score a third after Pablo Zabaleta’s cut back found the feet of Yaya Touré who slipped the ball past Krul to ensure they had three points in the bag with just over ten minutes spare.

A strong performance from City and despite Vincent Komany missing from the line-up as a result of an injury, their defence stood firm and in particular, Kolo Touré impressed me. He’s had a limited number of games this season as either Kompany, Nastasic or Lescott usually get the nod. However his tackling, heading and all round play was rather impressive.

Newcastle need to rediscover their form quickly if they want to finish in the top half of the table, if they don’t, then it may be a struggle, especially as they will no doubt lose some key players to the Africa Cup of Nations in the New Year.

 

Queens Park Rangers 2 Fulham 1

Harry Redknapp picked up his first win as QPR boss after taking over from Mark Hughes at Loftus Road. Redknapp seems to have injected Rangers with a bit of life after this impressive display against their London rivals, Fulham.

It was a pretty even contest in the first half, with both teams playing some good football. The second half was completely different and Adel Taarabt put in a fantastic sole performance. On 52 minutes, the Moroccan midfielder found some space before unleashing a shot which took a wicked deflection off Fulham defender Brede Hangeland to wrong foot Mark Schwarzer, and he couldn’t prevent the ball from crossing the line.

QPR really pushed on from there, and on 68 minutes, Taarabt doubled their lead with a wonder goal. He picked the ball up from inside his own half before dribbling past countless Fulham players, albeit with a couple of ricochets. Adel then showed a wonderful piece of skill as he did a roll-over and then poked home a fierce shot with the outside of his right boot from the edge of the box.

QPR had to hold on towards the end though, as two minutes from time Petric’s shot from distance looped over the head of Robert Green to give the Cottagers a life-line.

Green then showed late heroics as he was forced to make a superb save in the last minute to seal QPR’s first win of the 2012/13 campaign.

 

Team of the Week

 

Results in full

Newcastle 1 Manchester City 3
Liverpool 1 Aston Villa 3
Manchester United 3 Sunderland 1
Norwich 2 Wigan 1
QPR 2 Fulham 1
Stoke 1 Everton 1
Tottenham 1 Swansea 0
West Brom 0 West Ham 1
Reading 2 Arsenal 5

 

Written by Adam May

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Adam’s Premier League Column: Week 15 – Late drama at Etihad as RVP steals the show

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It was goals galore in the Premier League this week, with some top-class football played over the weekend.

 

Top three games of the weekend-

 

Manchester City 2 Manchester United 3

Sunday saw the arrival of the much anticipated Manchester derby. Of course titles cannot be won in December, but it enables the winner to send out a message to their rivals of what is to come. Manchester City started the game better, settling into the game quickly and passing the ball about with confidence and fluidity.

United made the Citizens’ possession count for nothing though, as Wayne Rooney’s sliced effort trickled into the bottom corner of Joe Hart’s goal to turn the game in favour of United with sixteen minutes played. The Citizens’ chances of getting back into the game took a further step back, as influential Captain Vincent Kompany was forced off through a groin injury, and was replaced by Kolo Toure, who has had a limited number of games this season.

Wayne Rooney further doubled United’s lead, as he scored his 150th Premier League goal.

The game looked to be out of reach, but there was more drama to come in the second half. Controversial forward Mario Balotelli was given a rare start, and was replaced by Argentine forward and former United player Carlos Tevez after the break, and this signaled a change in approach for Man City.

Yaya Toure installed some hope for City on 60 minutes after he calmly slotted in after some impressive saves from custodian De Gea.

United were then restricted to very few chances, and City finally drew level after right-back Pablo Zabaleta drilled home from just inside the box with four minutes left.

City then had numerous opportunities to snatch a win, but it was United who stole the three points. In the 92nd minute, Manchester United were awarded a soft free-kick, and van Persie dispatched it into the top corner, albeit with a hefty deflection off the boot of Nasri, to send the league leaders six points clear.

Man City were very impressive in this game, with David Silva and Zabaleta putting in crucial performances. This suggests City have enough about them this season, and there is certainly a lot of football to be played.

As for United, they managed to win without putting in a top notch performance, but I still fancy City to clinch the title due to the strength in depth they have in their team, and perhaps their exit from the Champions League will help improve the all-important league results.

 

Swansea 3 Norwich 4

Chris Hughton’s Norwich are all of a sudden enjoying life in the Premier League this season after picking up some very important wins, and this was a great result against a strong Swansea outfit who are impressing all in the league so far. Defender Steven Whittaker opened the scoring with a well struck effort, before Sebastian Bassong headed in on 40 minutes.

Holt then ensured that the Canaries went in at half time with a strong lead as he made the score 3-0 with a well-timed header. The first half performance was rather unlike the Swansea of late, but in the second half they almost staged a spectacular come-back!

Five minutes after the interval, Michu struck to give the Swans a lifeline. Eight minutes later, Canadian midfielder Jonathan de Guzman slammed in from inside the box to make the home fans start to believe. That belief was cut short though as Robert Snodgrass’ fee-kick found its way in to make the score 4-2 in favour of the away side with thirteen minutes left to play. Michu then halved the lead on 92 mins, but it was too little too late and it was the Canaries who took the three points back to East Anglia.

A reassuring attacking performance from Norwich, and against Swansea, they can take a lot of confidence from this game. It will be interesting to see how Swansea recover from this, but I’m sure manager Michael Laudraup will not let their heads drop.

 

Everton 2 Tottenham 1

David Moyes’ Everton have enjoyed a good start to the 2012/13 season, and continued in winning fashion against AVB’s Tottenham. Tottenham weren’t at their best, and they didn’t play very impressive football.

It was the second half though that will get everyone talking. On 75 minutes, Clint Dempsey sent the away side cheering with a stunner from long range. Spurs’ defence was still shaky, and could only hold on until the last couple of minutes.

Former Spurs’ man Steven Pienaar scored a rare headed goal for what he thought secured a point for the Toffee’s. However, Nikika Jelavic felt like Everton could snatch all three points, and in the 91st minute sent the home fans into raptures as his shot found the bottom left hand corner of the goal to leave manager David Moyes very pleased.

He told BBC Sport Football, “It is as good a finish as we’ve had. We’ve had a few like that where we’ve lost and felt low so we were due one. The position we are in the table doesn’t shame the way the players have been playing, they have been doing that well.”

 

Results in full-

Arsenal 2 – 0 West Brom

Aston Villa 0 – 0 Stoke

Southampton 1 – 0 Reading

Sunderland 1 – 3 Chelsea

Swansea 3 – 4 Norwich

Wigan 2 – 2 QPR

Manchester City 2 -3 Manchester United

Everton 2 – 1 Tottenham

West Ham 2 – 3 Liverpool

Fulham 2-1 Newcastle

 

Team of the Week

Written by Adam May

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Adam’s Premier League Column: Week 14 – West Ham breeze past Rafa’s Chelsea

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It’s been a brilliant weekend of football yet again, with plenty of goals and drama for us all to get excited about. QPR are slowly improving with the appointment of Harry Redknapp, who took charge after Mark Hughes was inadvertently shown the door. Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembélé enjoyed a successful return to Craven Cottage, as Spurs recorded a comfortable 3-0 win over Fulham.

Stoke also won at West Brom, and were only the second team to win at the Hawthorns this season, the other being Manchester City. The Citizens themselves earned a respectable draw against their bogey team Everton, but Mancini will have wanted to take home all three points.

Onto my three top games of the weekend fixtures, and it was a hard job to choose!

 

West Ham United 3 Chelsea 1

Rafa Benitez’s reign as the Chelsea interim boss hasn’t started too great really, has it? First there was the fan’s revolt, unhappy about the squad rotation, and now losing against West Ham. Take nothing away from the Hammers though as they fought to the bitter end.

However, Chelsea were dominant throughout the first half, and they were rewarded with their efforts. Fernando Torres pulled the ball back for fellow Spaniard Juan Mata who fired past Irons ‘keeper Jussi Jääskeläinen to give Chelsea a deserved lead.

So half time approached, and the game was completely changed by Big Sam’s substitutions at the interval. Mohammed Diame and Matt Taylor replaced James Tomkins and Gary O’Neil. The Hammers looked to have something else about them, and showed glimpses of what they have done in previous Premier League games. Their resilience and physical presence has been truly impressive and at times, a pleasure to watch.

It took until the 63rd minute for West Ham to break the defence, and Carlton Cole headed against his former employers to make the scoring level. Cole then became provider as he set up Diame who smashed his shot from deep inside the penalty box which provoked the travelling Chelsea fans to sing “There’s only one Di Matteo”, but it was only greeted by the Hammers belting out “Your’re getting sacked in the morning”. You’ve got to love the banter!

Modibo Maïga then made sure there was no way back for Chelsea, and he scored moments after coming on from the bench to secure the Hammers’ first victory against Chelsea in the Abramovich era.

A great result for West Ham, and how long will Benitez last?

 

Reading 3 Manchester United 4

This seven goal thriller was epic. Manchester United are now infamous for conceding early goals, and that came true again in this match. Robson-Kanu fired the home side into the lead on eight minutes, but unfortunately for them, it didn’t last too long.

A neat one-two with Ashley Young resulted in Anderson’s shot beating Adam Federici at his near post to level the scoring before Wayne Rooney, who was criticised earlier this week for not scoring enough, converted a penalty which was needlessly given away. Reading did well to get in front, but they didn’t do the basics in defending to keep United at bay. They simply gave away too many chances.

Despite the mediocre defending, Reading levelled, this time through Le Fondre’s headed goal, and that set them on their way. Reading miraculously went 3-2 up after Morrison scored, and that made the fans at the Majeski Stadium dream of a famous win.

Seven minutes later, Rooney scored his fourth league goal to yet again level the score. Reading couldn’t pull anything else out of the locker though and as a result found themselves 4-3 down thanks to Robin van Persie’s 34th minute winner.

Reading were incredibly unlucky here, and Man Utd were a tad fortunate, really.

 

Arsenal 0 Swansea 2

Arsenal fans seem to be losing patience with veteran manager Arsène Wenger after their recent league form. They seem to be missing that little spark that can win matches, and RVP has really been the missing piece.

Swansea however, have been very impressive this season under Michael Laudrup, especially after the signing of Michu, who scored a brace against the Gunners. The Swans had to wait until the 88th minute to score though, but it was well worth the wait.

Michu’s side footed effort was a joy to behold, and that sums up the sort of player he is. Reliable. Michu then doubled the Swans’ lead after Nathan Dyer pounced on a loose ball after some poor defending by Gunners full back Jenkinson before playing a well weighted through ball into the path of Michu, who then placed his shot past Szczesny.

 

Results in full

Norwich 2 – 1 Sunderland
West Ham 3 – 1 Chelsea
Arsenal 0 – 2 Swansea
Fulham 0 – 3 Tottenham
Liverpool 1 – 0 Southampton
Man City 1 – 1 Everton
QPR 1 – 1 Aston Villa
West Brom 0 – 1 Stoke
Reading 3-4 Man Utd
Newcastle 3-0 Wigan

 

My Team of the Week

Written by Adam May

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Adam’s Premier League Column: Week 12- Derby Delight for the Gunners

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Another great spectacle for us all to watch, savour and enjoy. I hope you enjoy this week’s premier league column, as it’s in a different style to the previous ones. I’d like to know your feedback, so feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the page!

 

Top three results of the weekend:

Arsenal 5 Tottenham 2

The North-London derby is a much anticipated tie when it reaches us, and it never fails to entertain. This season’s fixture was no different, with eight goals in the 125th meeting between the two rivals.

Tottenham took a deserved lead in the opening ten minutes. Spurs boss André Villas-Boas went against his beliefs, and he started with two up-front, with Jermain Defoe linking up with Emmanuel Adebayor.

It was those two who joined together to create Spurs’ first goal, as Defoe’s initial effort was parried by Gunners ‘keeper Wojciech Szczesny into the path of the on running Adebayor, who tapped into an open net to start the scoring against his former club.

Then, the game was turned on its head eight minutes later. Spurs went from domination, to defeat, and elation to despair. And Adebayor went from hero to zero, as he unfairly challenged Santi Cazorla, and left referee Howard Webb with no other option.

It didn’t take long for Arsenal to grab the game by the scruff of its neck and make the man advantage count, and on 24 minutes, Arsenal centre back Per Mertesacker jumped above all to wonderfully head in to level the scoring. From then on the Gunners never looked back.

Lukas Podolski put the Gunners ahead three minutes prior to the interval, with a shot that deflected off William Gallas and snuck in. On the stroke of half time, Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud doubled their lead with a well taken finish.

Tottenham made some changes come the second half and looked to push on, but it was too little too late for them. Arsenal’s fourth goal came from influential, midfielder Santi Cazorla on sixty minutes, when he converted Lukas Podolski’s cross to give the Gunners a cushion.

Gareth Bale then finished well to pull one back for Tottenham to make the score 4-2 with nineteen minutes left on the clock. I was wondering if they could mount a magnificent comeback, but it wasn’t to be.

Theo Walcott then showed why he should be considered for a more out-and-out forward role by netting from an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain set-up; his ninth goal of the season.

Entertainment: 5/5
Star man: Santi Cazorla (Midfielder, Arsenal)

 

Norwich 1 Manchester United 0

Manchester United again displayed their frailties as they visited Carrow Road for what was their third loss of the season. Sir Alex Ferguson opted to start in-form striker Javier Hernandez from the off, but even he couldn’t rescue at least a point for the Red Devils.

John Ruddy had a terrific game between the sticks for the Canaries, saving two shots from Ashley Young and Robin van Persie, to enable his side to stay in the game.

It was a goalless first half, with United perhaps shading the match, although Norwich took the lead on sixty minutes, with Anthony Pilkington scoring a wonderful header that looped over United ‘keeper Andres Lindergaard’s head and into the top right hand corner of the goal.

Norwich then took control of the match, and withstood some pressure, most notably from Ryan Giggs, Antonio Valencia and van Persie. It was a well-deserved victory, and will probably go down as one of the Canaries’ best ever results.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson congratulated Norwich on their win, “They deserved the win because they worked so hard for it. They defended really well and their goalkeeper made two or three really good saves at vital moments.”

Entertainment: 4/5

Star man: John Ruddy (Goalkeeper, Norwich)

 

Manchester City 5 Aston Villa 0

Man City were ruthless against lowly Aston Villa when the Birmingham outfit visited the Etihad. There were glimpses last week that suggested Villa might have something about them after going two nil up against City’s bitter rivals, Manchester United. However, the Citizens gave them a good hiding, and were 5-0 up with fifteen minutes to spare.

City struggled in the first half, and Joe Hart had to keep out an early shot from Villa frontman Christian Benteke. It wasn’t until the stroke of half time when David Silva broke the deadlock, stabbing home after a scramble in the box, after Villa were presented with numerous opportunities to clear.

It wasn’t until the second half that the champions kicked into top gear. Sergio Agϋero scored his fourth league goal for City after converting a penalty to the bottom right-hand corner of the goal. The penalty was awarded in controversial circumstances though, as replays suggest that it was a harsh decision to give the penalty for handball against Ciaran Clark.

Villa were then penalised again, this time Barry Bannan guilty of handball, and so Carlos Tevez felt up for the challenge and converted the resulting penalty, also striking to the right-hand side of the goal.

Sergio Agϋero was then presented with another opportunity to make the score 4-0, this time he pounced on a shot from inside the six yard box to add further humiliation on Villa. The final goal of the game came from his Argentinean counter-part, as Tevez tapped in from close range to score his second of the game.

The win was thoroughly deserved, and it will be interesting to see if Aston Villa chooses to add to their squad in January. It could really make or break their season.

Entertainment: 4/5

Star man: Sergio Agϋero (Striker, Manchester City)

 

The week’s underachievers- Queens Park Rangers

QPR were gifted a wonderful opportunity to get some belief running through the team, but they just couldn’t manage to perform against Southampton and subsequently lost 3-1. Mark Hughes has got a lot to sort out at QPR, and he needs time if he is to do so; however, I feel that the chairman Tony Fernandez is losing patience with him, but he really needs to appreciate the work at hand.

It’s time for the players to stand up and be counted. They have the individuals, but can they work as a collective unit? I’m not so sure. We will have to wait and see though, and it will be interesting to see what happens. I think they’ve got too much about them to go down.

 

Results in full:

Arsenal 5 – 2 Tottenham
Liverpool 3 – 0 Wigan
Manchester City 5 – 0 Aston Villa
Newcastle 1 – 2 Swansea
QPR 1 – 3 Southampton
Reading 2 – 1 Everton
West Brom 2 – 1 Chelsea
Norwich 1 – 0 Manchester United
Fulham 1 – 3 Sunderland

 

Team of the week

 

Written by Adam May

Follow him on Twitter @Amay132

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Adam’s Premier League Column: Week 11- West Ham beat Newcastle in a dramatic weekend of football

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Newcastle 0 West Ham 1

In Sunday’s clash, Sam Allardyce’s West Ham took on Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United. I have been really impressed with the Hammers so far on their return to the top-flight, and manager Allardyce should take the plaudits for the recruitments he has made in signing some physical players that can cope in the Premier League and ultimately win matches.

It was a scrappy first half with many stray passes and shots. The goal came on 37 minutes after Joey O’Brian’s miss-hit shot fell to Nolan who stabbed home against his former club.

Newcastle were not up to their usual best, although Demba Ba thought he had equalised, but the officials decided that Hammers ‘keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen had prevented his header from crossing the line.

On-loan forward Andy Carroll, also playing against his former employers, thought he gave his side some breathing space, and if it was not for Tim Krul’s brilliant save, he definitely would have done.

That save kept the Toon’s in the game, although Ba and Ben Arfa couldn’t capitalise on the chances they were given.

 

Aston Villa 2 Manchester United 3

Paul Lambert’s Villa haven’t had the season they would have wanted and expected so far, and the amount of injuries the club have suffered has been a large contributor to the under par performances.

However, after some impressive breaks of play in the first half, Lambert’s men took the lead just before the break through Andreas Weimann’s wonder goal. He then doubled their lead five minutes after the interval, to send the Villa into a position they haven’t felt this season.

Just before the second goal, Javier Hernandez, arguably Manchester United’s in form striker,was sent on for a game he will never forget. He halved the deficit via a low, hard strike to give the red devils some hope, and to rattle the Villa supporters’ nerves.

Hernandez then saw his 68th minute effort deflected in to level the scoring and then they really kicked into gear. They kept on testing Villa, and van Persie hit the bar on a couple of occasions to send warning signals to the opposition.

Three minutes from time, Hernandez headed in from close range to seal united top of the table.

 

Arsenal 3 Fulham 3

Olivier Giroud opened the scoring on 11 minutes with a superbly guided header, which Mark Schwarzer probably could have kept out. Arsenal looked in top form and were dominant in the early stages as Fulham struggled to settle into the game, and they then went further behind through Lukas Podolski’s close-range finish.

On 29 minutes, Dimitar Berbatov injected some belief into the Fulham players through his well taken goal. Then, substitute Kacaniklic levelled on 40 minutes to switch the focus to the Cottagers. Then, Fulham were awarded a stonewall penalty as Mikel Arteta pulled down Bryan Ruiz. Berbatov never looked likely to miss, and he slotted home the spot kick in cool fashion.

The lead didn’t last long though, and Olivier Giroud made amends from his shot which hit the post seconds before by netting his second goal of the game through a superb header. It was a close game in the end, but the drama didn’t stop there.

Bryan Ruiz played a long diagonal ball which played in Arsenal forward Andre Arshavin who then earned a dubious penalty as Chris Baird allegedly committed handball.

Justice was done, as Mikel Arteta’s penalty in the last second of the game was saved by the Fulham ‘keeper.

 

Manchester City 2 Tottenham 1

Man City’s second half display was a vast improvement on their first.

They looked lacklustre, and were very poor when it came to defending set pieces. They were punished by their own zonal marking system as Steven Caulker ran through unmarked to head home and give Tottenham a deserved half time lead.

The second half was an improvement for the Citizens, and that was partly because of Mancini’s decision to bring on Maicon and covert to three at the back, which I felt hasn’t worked for them and it has cost them games. Sergio Agϋero levelled for Man City with a brilliant left footed effort which guided past Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel.

Then it was time for the super sub! Edin Dzeko was brought on to do some damage which he has delivered time in time out this season. On 88 minutes, David Silva, who didn’t have the best of games, chipped a delightful chipped pass which fell to Dzeko who swiveled and struck a left footed volley to send AVB’s Tottenham back to London empty handed.

Bale, Adebayor and Lennon were all disappointing and were the reason why they didn’t collect at least a point.

 

Everton 2 Sunderland 1

Everton continued their impressive start to the campaign against a Sunderland side that have had a very different start to the season.

However, it was the Black Cats that got their noses in front thanks to an Adam Johnson goal. Prior to the game Sunderland had only one league goal scorer, and it surprised me what a shocking and uneasy start to the season they’ve had.

Everton came back fighting and scored two goals in as many minutes to make sure they didn’t slump to an embarrassing defeat. Midfield powerhouse Fellaini levelled with a good strike, and Jelavic sealed the three points on 79 minutes.

 

Chelsea 1 Liverpool 1

I thought this was easily Liverpool’s best performance under Brendan Rodgers. They moved the ball fluently and really look like they want to play in the philosophy that the manager enforces.

They went behind though on 20 minutes as John Terry made his return to the team after sitting out four games due to being found guilty of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. Terry rose above all to thump a header past ‘keeper Brad Jones who could only stand and watch.

Terry’s game was cut short though as he collided with Liverpool forward Luis Suarez, and at a first glance it looked like he had done some damage to his knee ligaments. Since the game, it has been reported that Terry has suffered “No significant damage”.

On 73 minutes, Luis Suarez headed home from a yard out to earn Liverpool a point, although they had numerous chances to score at least another two, and their performance merited a win.

 

Wigan 1 West Brom 2

West Brom have been brilliant so far this season, and Steve Clarke has done a superb job with the team. Morrison opened the scoring on 31 minutes with a well-timed header, and then their second came two minutes from time as Billy Jones’ strike took a deflection off Gary Caldwell who put the ball past his own ‘keeper.

1 minute later, Kone halved the deficit to rattle a few nerves, although the Baggies saw the game out to record their first away win of the season.

 

Stoke 1 QPR 0

QPR slumped to the bottom of the league with only four points from a possible 33 points after another lacklustre performance.

QPR seem to have too many individuals, and lack a leader who can change the game and keep the team motivated. It was a goalless first half, and it took a Charlie Adam strike, his first goal for the Potters, to separate the two sides.

Both had chances, although the score line doesn’t really reflect Stoke’s dominance.

 

Southampton 1 Swansea 1

The Saints showed yet again that they simply cannot hold onto lead. Morgan Schneiderlin scored his second league goal for Southampton with a header from close range with 64 minutes played. Nine minutes later, Nathan Dyer converted from just inside the penalty area to send the Swans back to Wales with a deserved point.

January will be a big opportunity to change the Saints’ fortunes, but it will have to take a big signing to do so with their frailties that glisten week in week out.

 

Reading 0 Norwich 0

Reading were perhaps the better of the two teams, although Canaries striker Grant Holt headed over a great chance in the second half.

Both teams have been poor, and I’m sure they will also have one eye on January.

 

Team of the week

 

Written by Adam May

Follow him on Twitter @Amay132

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Adam’s Premier League Column: Week 10- Vantastic! Robin scores in convincing win against Arsenal

Above: Convincing win. Van Persie with muted celebrations after he scores.

Above: Convincing win. Van Persie with muted celebrations after he scores United’s first.

Manchester United 2 Arsenal 1

Robin van Persie showed Arsenal what they are missing. Not creativity, they have that in abundance, but a proven goal scorer. Arguably they have one in Podolski and Gervinho, but in recent weeks they haven’t been firing, and that’s because of poor performances and injury.

Van Persie made an instant impact, pouncing on Vermaelen’s slip to slam home after the third minute.

United then took control of the match, missing numerous chances, but luckily they weren’t made to rue those chances as the Gunners didn’t turn up. Manchester United missed the best chance in first half injury time, as Wayne Rooney dragged a penalty wide after Santi Cazorla handballed a shot.

United’s second goal came from left back and Captain Patrice Evra, his second goal of the season. Wayne Rooney’s cross looped over the head of Arsenal centre back Per Mertesacker and left Evra to head home to give the Red Devils a comfortable cushion.

Two minutes later, Arsenal were finished, as Jack Wilshere was shown red by referee Mike Dean for two yellow cards. However, Cazorla netted a mere consolation goal as he shimmied to his right to curl a shot into the top corner.

A nightmare for Arsenal, Man Utd didn’t look much happier either, though.

 

Fulham 2 Everton 2

A game packed with drama and plenty of goals! It was truly an end to end game. The visitors didn’t have the best of starts as they went 1-0 down inside the first seven minutes. Everton ‘keeper failed to keep out a Brian Ruiz free-kick, and he could only tip it onto the post where it inadvertently cannoned off his back and into the goal.

Everton didn’t get back into the game until ten minutes after the interval when Kevin Mirallas used the ball well to set up powerhouse Fellaini who slotted home to give the traveling fans something to cheer. Fellaini then put the Toffees in front, leaving three quarters of Craven Cottage with something to chew on.

However, Steve Sidwell had other ideas, and leveled in the last minute for Fulham. Everton had numerous chances to seal the three points, but couldn’t take advantage of some sloppy Fulham defending, leaving manager Martin Jol to say: “Everton dominated us and all we could do was try to be positive. But it doesn’t mean anything in football if you don’t score the goals, we just never gave up.” (BBC Sport)

 

Norwich 1 Stoke 0

Bradley Johnson’s solitary strike was the only difference between the Canaries and the Potters, leaving manager Chris Hughton pleased. He told Norwich’s official site: “It’s satisfying. It was a real tough game, and irrespective of whether you play Stoke home or away, they are a team of quality.”

Stoke will no doubt be disappointed that they wasted numerous opportunities, most noticeably from Kenwyne Jones, who scuffed a chance early on in the second half.

 

Sunderland 0 Aston Villa 1

Sunderland have been dependent on main striker Steven Fletcher this season, but he couldn’t deliver the goods for the Black Cats who currently sit one place ahead of the Villa in 16th, although it was the lower placed outfit that took home the three points.

The score was goalless at half-time, and it took until the 57th minute to seal the points. Gabriel Agbonlahor had previously gone an incredible 28 games without a Premier League goal, so of course, he scored to send the Villa faithful home in delight.

Aston Villa are the lowest scoring side this season, and that was another reason for more celebration. The hosts had a penalty decision turned down, perhaps wrongly, as Benteke looked to have handled John O’Shea’s glancing header.

 

Swansea 1 Chelsea 1

Chelsea were enjoying their impressive start to the season, but Michael Laudrup’s side halted the celebrations. However, Chelsea took the lead after the break. Victor Moses’ impressive performance in their 5-4 Capital One Cup victory against Manchester United merited a start for the Nigerian international.

He grabbed the opportunity with both hands and put the Pensioners in front on 61 minutes with a header. I think that Moses is a superb talent, and if given game time, which could be unlikely with the depth of the Chelsea attack, he could be one of their main men.

Chelsea failed to see the game out, and with Oscar, Hazard and Torres all playing, you would have thought that they would pose much more of a threat. However, Swansea looked to have gained some confidence from their Capital One Cup victory against Liverpool at Anfield, and they eventually equalized two minutes from time.

Pablo Hernandez slotted past Chelsea custodian Petr Cech from the edge of the area to give the home side a share of the spoils.

 

Tottenham 0 Wigan 1

André Villas-Boas’ reign as Tottenham took a step backwards. Spurs were booed off at full time after their second successive defeat at White Hart Lane. The deadline was broken 10 minutes after the interval, as Brad Friedel could only get his hands to the ball when he was behind the line, seeing Ben Watson run away in jubilation.

Tottenham fans were left even further frustrated as AVB brought off Jermain Defoe, who is the clubs top scorer this season with five league goals, to bring on struggling forward Adebayor.

 

West Ham 0 Manchester 0

Manchester City were held to a stalemate after a goalless game at Upton Park. The home side should have been in front; as Kevin Nolan’s early strike was wrongly ruled out for offside. Man City had the best chances to take the three points back to Manchester through Gareth Barry and former Hammers star-man Carlos Tevez.

However, the Hammers defence stood strong and earned a respectful point, one that boss Big Sam will no doubt be pleased with.

 

Queens Park Rangers 1 Reading 1

It was a battle at the bottom, neither team has recorded a win yet, so a point doesn’t really do either team any justice. Reading took a deserved lead sixteen minutes in, former QPR centre back Kaspars Gorkss netting on a half-volley, although the Rangers ‘keeper Julio César won’t want to look back at it again as it was a shot that should never have troubled the Brazilian international.

QPR had to find some inspiration, and that came on 66 minutes, as Djibril Cissé scored his first goal since May to earn the Mark Hughes led side a draw.

Rangers threatened again, and Cissé could have bagged the three points, however the best chance fell to Adel Taarabt, who dribbled past numerous Reading players to shoot straight at impressive ‘keeper McCarthy’s legs.

 

Liverpool 1 Newcastle 1

Liverpool were forced to a draw at Anfield, and had to come from behind to do so. Newcastle dominated the majority of the match in truth, and went ahead two minutes before the break in spectacular fashion. Hatem Ben Arfa dribbled the ball to the by line, before pulling back a cross which found French midfielder Yohan Cabaye, who thumped the ball past Brad Jones.

It took a bit of individual genius for Liverpool to grab a point, after Luis Suarez controlled a long pass from Enrique to dribble round ‘keeper Tim Krul to leave himself with a tap-in on 67 minutes.

Newcastle centre back Fabricio Coloccini saw red seven minutes from time, which I feel was wrongly given.

My Team of the Week

 

Written by Adam May

Follow him on Twitter @Amay132

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Adam’s Premier League Column: Weekly Roundup 9- Drama at Goodison Park and Stamford Bridge

Above: Suarez celebrates his opener by pretending to dive in front of Everton boss David Moyes as the Everton faithful look on.

Above: Suarez celebrates his opener by pretending to dive in front of Everton boss David Moyes as the Everton faithful look on.

We witnessed yet again the wonders and drama that the Premier League delivers week in week out.

 

Everton 2 Liverpool 2

The honours were all even after a tasty Merseyside derby. Everton had to come from 2-0 down to draw level, and a point was about right for both sides. Liverpool took the lead early in the first half through a Suarez striker which took a slight deflection of Toffee’s left back Leighton Baines. Suarez then doubled Liverpool’s lead after heading in a perfectly weighted cross from captain Steven Gerrard after twenty minutes.

Two minutes later, Leon Osman netted to half the deficit, then Everton went on from there. Everton kept on pressing and were eventually rewarded, as Steven Naismith converted a Marouane Fellaini cross to draw level on 35 minutes. The pace slowed down come the second half, but still provided top entertainment.

In the dying embers of the game, Luis Suarez believed to have secured the three points, only to look across to see the Linesman’s flag raised. I think Everton will be very happy to come away with a draw, especially being 2-0 down. Liverpool clearly have some work to do, and if they didn’t have Suarez, then who knows what position they would be in.

 

Chelsea 2 Manchester United 3

I think Chelsea were still frightened from their Halloween party on Saturday night! They were caught cold by United, and in the fourth minute, a Robin van Persie shot cannoned of the post to hit the wrong footed David Luiz to put past his own ‘keeper. Eight minutes later, van Persie got his name on the score-sheet. His movement was world class to lose his man, and he took the finish well, curling in a right footed shot from a Valencia cross.

Manchester United were in utter control, although Chelsea still looked to be threatening, but they just couldn’t convert their chances from numerous set pieces, most notably Gary Cahill. Chelsea’s persistence paid off, and just before the interval Juan Mata wonderfully guided a free-kick past the helpless united goalie De Gea to send the Pensioners with something positive to think about.

This game was a true test for Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo, as since he took over from AVB he hasn’t been in such a challenging position (excluding the Champions League final, of course!) Chelsea came out fighting, and were yet again rewarded for their efforts, this time Ramires converted a header from close range.

The drama didn’t stop there though. Chelsea were the victims of two sending’s off, the first came on 62 minutes when the on running Ashley Young, who was back from injury, was clipped by Ivanovic who was the last man and he gave referee Mark Clattenburg no other option. Six minutes later, Torres was also shown his second yellow for an alleged dive, perhaps harshly. Justice was done however, as the Spaniard committed a dangerous foul earlier on in this fast-paced game.

The two red cards forced Di Matteo to reshuffle the side by bringing off Oscar, Hazard and Mata – his most influential players.

Prior to Torres’ sending off, Sir Alex Ferguson brought on Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, who changed the scope of the game completely. A scramble in the box saw Rafael stab the ball goal wards for it to find the Mexican, who was in an offside position, to slot past Peter Cech.

Chelsea will find themselves hard done by, and who can blame them.

 

Manchester City 1 Swansea 0

Man City wanted to bounce back from their mid-week Champions League heartache by beating a strong Swansea outfit. It was a close fought game, with a second half Carlos Tevez strike separating both sides. A reshuffle in personnel by boss Mancini, which saw Lescott replaced by Nastasic and Agϋro in for Dzeko, seemed to work.

The first half came and went, and the second half was a mere improvement. Carlos Tevez smacked in an effort from far out. Goalkeeper Vorm was injured as a result of the goal, and had to be stretchered off.

 

Wigan 2 West Ham 1

West Ham ended their run of good form at the hands of Wigan at the DW stadium. The Hammers looked weary throughout the game, and the Latics thoroughly deserved the three points. Wigan went in front in the eighth minute via a wonder strike from centre back Ramis, which saw his left footed volley (from a corner) sail past Jaaskelainen.

Wigan further dominated the match, and doubled their lead just after the interval, this time midfielder McArthur pounced on a miskick by the Hammers ‘keeper. West Ham failed to test Latics goalie Ali Al Habsi until the final minute, when James Tomkins netted to half the score line.

 

Arsenal 1 QPR 0

Arsenal left it late to secure the three points and avoid further embarrassment. Last weekend they lost 1-0 to Norwich and also lost 2-0 to Schalke in the Champions League.

The Gunners defence has been inconsistent lately, and the finger has been rightly pointed at assistant manager and former player Steve Bould, but they managed to keep a clean sheet against struggling Queens Park Rangers.

One of England’s and Arsenal’s most promising talents Jack Wilshere made his first senior appearance for seventeen months and played sixty minutes at the Emirates, and he didn’t look to have lost his magic touch. He has done really well to stay strong throughout his time on the side-lines, as it is a true test of one’s character. Nonetheless, he played really well and his future looks ever so bright.

Arsenal had a few chances to take the lead but couldn’t capitalise, and they were dominating the match more that the score line suggests. The winning goal came moments after Mbia was shown red for a kick on Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen. Arteta’s initial shot hit the bar, but he followed up to poke in from close range.

 

Aston Villa 1 Norwich 1

Villa boss Paul Lambert was the centre of attention in this game for only one reason. The legal battle that surrounds Lambert and the two clubs is still in the air, and all is not forgotten. Villa have been struggling for goals lately, but went 1-0 ahead via Belgium forward Benteke who slotted calmly past ‘keeper John Ruddy.

Villa were reduced to ten men after Joe Bennett was sent off for a second bookable offence. That sending off put Villa on the back foot, and from that moment onwards they struggled to contain the Canaries.

Norwich had the last chirp as Turner headed in to earn a deserved point.

 

Reading 3 Fulham 3

This was a cracker at the Madejski Stadium. The deadlock was broken after 26 minutes as midfielder Leigertwood scored a wonderful goal to put Reading ahead. Fulham then equalised after Bryan Ruiz came off the bench to make the score 1-1 with a spectacular strike on 61 minutes, his first of the season.

Fulham then turned the game on its head as this time they took the lead through Chris Baird’s near post header. Then a dramatic last five minutes ensued. McCleary leveled for Reading from seven yards out on 85 minutes. Three minutes later, Dimitar Berbatov curled in a shot for what he believed to be a winner.

In the 90th, Robson-Kanu came out on top in a defensive scramble to poke home past Mark Schwarzer to earn a point. In the last minute of injury time, Reading had a chance to win, but Schwarzer made two superb saves to keep the spoils even.

 

Newcastle 2 West Brom 1

Another dramatic game! Newcastle took the lead through Demba Ba’s strike on 31 minutes. Romelu Lukaku, on-loan from Chelsea netted to equalise. Newcastle were on the back foot for the majority of the match, but found themselves ahead with less than a minute to play, as Shola Ameobi’s shot cannoned off the back of Cisse’s back and into the goal.

When asked for his reaction to the loss, Baggie’s boss Steve Clark told BBC Sport, “I certainly didn’t think it would be a game we were going to lose. I thought we had good control in the first half and created good chances. I felt we were unfortunate to be behind at half-time. It was a horrible moment, a big deflection in injury time and it’s in the back of the net.”

 

Southampton 1 Tottenham 2

Gareth Bale headed in against his former club to give Spurs the lead after 15 minutes. Clint Dempsey then doubled the lead after Jermain Defoe’s initial shot was cleared off the line. Rodriquez then gave the Saints some hope after he scored to make the score-line 2-1.

Southampton couldn’t keep the momentum going, and Tottenham fully deserved their three points. A disappointing loss for Nigel Adkins’ Saints.

 

Stoke 0 Sunderland 0

A poor game, and one to forget really. Mignolet’s double save in the first half was the highlight of the game, and the Black Cats have him to thank for the point. A draw was well deserved for both sides, although I feel Stoke will be a bit frustrated with their performance.

 

My Team of the Week

 

Written by Adam May

Follow him on Twitter @Adam132Football

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Adam’s Premier League Column: Weekly Round Up 8- Coloccini master class in Tyne-Wear derby

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Sunderland 1 Newcastle 1

The Tyne-Wear derby never fails to entertain, and this tie was no different. Newcastle were the pace setters in the match, with Frenchman Yohan Cabaye scoring from fifteen yards out after only three minutes on the clock. The game was at a constant high tempo, with tackles flying everywhere, shirts being pulled, top class passing, and of course, a red card.

Toon midfielder Cheick Tioté was shown red, perhaps harshly, for a challenge where he looked to half pulled out of. However, referee Martin Atkinson deemed it malicious enough to send the power-house midfielder off. It didn’t ruin the game whatsoever, thankfully.

Newcastle centre back Fabricio Coloccini was absolutely superb, his heading, tackling and calmness on the ball was a great spectacle, and when he was forced off through injury, that’s when Newcastle fell to pieces.

The pressure was showing, and it took a rather unfortunate Demba Ba own goal to earn Sunderland a point they will no doubt be thankful for.

 

Swansea 2 Wigan 1

Micahel Laudrup’s Swansea earned a well needed three points at the Liberty Stadium, and all three goals took place within four minutes. The Swans took the lead through midfielder Pablo Hernandez’s well taken goal on 64 minutes, and then they doubled their lead through £2 million summer signing Michu two minutes later, his seventh of the season.

Wigan then pulled one back through Boyce on 69 minutes. Wigan were denied a second, as striker Kone headed in, for it to be wrongly ruled out for off-side.

 

West Brom 1 Manchester City 2

Another pulsating game to savour and enjoy. Unless you support West Brom, of course. The Baggies welcomed the champions to the Hawthorns on Saturday, and they were left pointless at the end of the ninety minutes when they thought they had done enough. James Milner was shown red for the Citizens after he brought down Shane Long on 24 minutes.

Apart from a piece of individual brilliance from controversial front man Mario Balotelli, where he perhaps should have scored, the score was goalless as referee Mark Clattenburg blew for half time. Shane Long tapped in a Peter Odemwingie through-ball, with shouts for off-side, although replays suggested it was a well-timed run from the Irishman, on 67 minutes.

Then, the game was turned on its head. Edin Džeko was brought on from the subs bench on 79 minutes. He levelled a minute later from a brave header. He wasn’t finished there. A superb save from apparently cocky ‘keeper (according to Roy Keane) Joe Hart kept out a Lukaku overhead kick which enabled the Citizens to break. Sergio Agϋero served Džeko with a perfectly weighted pass which he then converted past helpless Baggies ‘keeper Foster to seal the three points for Manchester City.

Džeko told BBC Sport after the game, “I don’t want to be called a super sub. I want to start.”

 

Tottenham 2 Chelsea 4

This game was more than just a London derby. Andre Villas-Boas faced his former employers Chelsea, and more importantly, his former assistant manager, Roberto Di Matteo. For one reason or another it just didn’t work for AVB at Stamford Bridge and, I was one of those doubters of whether he could perform at White Hart Lane. So it was time to see.

It wasn’t the best of starts for AVB, put it that way. England centre-half Gary Cahill thumped in a volley, albeit with a deflection, to send the Pensioners crazy! 1-0 was how it stood at the interval. Of all the possible scorers, Willam Gallas probably wouldn’t have sprung to mind, but he headed in to equalise. Seven minutes later, Defoe finished well to give Tottenham the lead. However, Juan Mata had other ideas of how the game should pan out. He was involved in all of Chelsea’s next three goals.

On 66 minutes, he drilled home to make the score level once more. Three minutes later, he netted again to put AVB back to route one. At this point there was no way back for Spurs. Juan Mata then set up Daniel Sturridge after England full back Kyle Walker dithered on the ball to seal the three points, and it was well deserved.

 

Norwich 1 Arsenal 0

Arsenal were dire to say the least. Every player in yellow outplayed those in red. Carrow Road was not expecting much, I feel, as Chris Hughton hasn’t had the best of start to his reign as Norwich boss.

Despite Arsenal’s 62% possession, they failed to penetrate with dangerous balls throughout the match, Olivier Giroud came the closest. Grant Holt opened the scoring when Gunners ‘keeper Vito Mannone parried Alexander Tettey’s shot into the path of the Englishman, who calmly tapped in from less than six yards.

Holt could have doubled their lead, but he thought about it for too long, and then lost his chance. The opportunity came after Thomas Vermaelen slipped, but Holt failed to capitalise.

 

Fulham 1 Aston Villa 0

I have a funny feeling that Paul Lambert’s managerial career at Villa could be over in a short while. It’s been a poor season for them, and they currently only have five points out of a possible twenty-four. Martin Jol’s Fulham left it late to seal the win though.

Baird netted to send the Cottagers fans home happy, and these are the sorts of games Fulham need to win if they are to meet their targets at the end of the season.

 

Liverpool 1 Reading 0

Liverpool recorded their first win at Anfield this season, and a win Brendan Rodgers will be thankful for, I’m sure. Liverpool were in utter control throughout the match, something that the score line shouldn’t suggest. Liverpool youngster and England hopeful Raheem Sterling scored his first ever senior goal, and a well taken goal it was too.

He will be a superb asset to the England set-up in years to come, but Liverpool boss Rodgers, and Roy Hodgson for that matter, need to be careful about when they play him. He shouldn’t have too much pressure piled onto him now at only seventeen years of age, otherwise he could flop.

I hope not, as in five or six years he could be the first name on the Three Lions’ team sheet.

 

Manchester United 4 Stoke 2

This was a strange game that summed up United’s season, unsteady. Wayne Rooney put Stoke in front with an own goal with only eleven minutes played. Welbeck, van Persie and Rooney scored (the latter twice to net his 200th club goal) to earn the three points for United. Rooney equalised on 26 minutes, van Persie a minute before half time, Welbeck then a minute after the interval with Rooney rounding the game off after 65 minutes after Michael Kightly ran through the United defence on 58 minutes to net.

 

West Ham 4 Southampton 1

West Ham were prolific against the Saints, although with their recent defensive form, it’s no surprise that the Hammers shipped in four goals. Ricky Lambert started on the bench, why, I am not entirely sure. It was a pretty non eventful first half, with chances restricted, so I’ll just write about the second half!

A minute after the interval, Mark Noble dispatched a free kick from 40 yards out, only for it to deceive all and bounce into the net to put the Hammers 1-0 up. Two minutes later, Kevin Nolan tapped in a cross from on-loan midfielder Yossi Benayoun to double their lead. Southampton tested the Hammers resolve when they Adam Lallana thumped into half the deficit.

Despite that setback, the Hammers carried on, and were rewarded as Saints centre back Fonde (who was in my last team of the week!) pulled down Andy Carroll needlessly to give away a penalty, which Mark Noble calmly slotted home as ‘keeper Boruc dived the wrong way. Maiga then rounded off with a curling shot which ended up in the top corner.

 

QPR 1 Everton 1

All in all, a poor game. QPR took the lead after only two minutes, as Junior Hoillet’s shot deflected off Leighton Baines to wrong foot goalkeeper Tim Howard. Everton then scored from a slice of fortune, as a shot hit the post and cannoned of the back of Juilo Cesar’s back to trickle into the net. Everton winger Steven Pienaar saw red for two mistimed tackles.

 

My team of the week

 

 

Written by Adam May

Follow him on Twitter @Adam132Football

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Adam’s Premier League Column: Weekly Round Up 7- Chelsea put four past the Canaries

Chelsea v Norwich City

 

Chelsea 4 Norwich 1

Chelsea were victorious at Stamford Bridge, putting aside their many off-field problems and sending them top of the pile. Endless Court Cases, disciplinary charges and Twitter rows surrounded the Blues, and eleven minutes in, things got worse as Norwich hero Grant Holt scored to put the visitor’s ahead. But after 14 minutes, all was forgotten as Spaniard Fernando Torres headed in to equalise.

It was the start of a torrid afternoon for the Canaries, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar, and Juan Mata all on top form and playing well. Frank Lampard still showed us what he can do by doubling Chelsea’s lead with a well taken goal from just inside the box. He has been a wonderful servant to the club, and he still has lots to give.

Eden Hazard continued his scintillating form in front of goal, by scoring Chelsea’s third of the afternoon. The scoring didn’t stop there as Ivanovic thumped in an effort to seal the victory.

Norwich paid for their missed chances, and they will no doubt be frustrated with themselves as they still search for their first league win and have conceded 17 goals.

 

West Ham 1 Arsenal 3

Arsenal had to come from behind to beat a very physical West Ham United side at Upton Park. The Hammers were blowing their bubbles on 21 minutes as midfield talisman Diame netted from an incredibly tight angle to stick the Irons noses in front.

West Ham’s defence stood strong throughout the first half, but was sliced open by a beautifully weighted cross by Lukas Podolski which found Olivier Giroud, who then tucked it away to score his first Premier League goal for the Gunners.

Arsenal kept mounting on the pressure after the interval, and it was only a matter of time before Arsenal scored a second. That’s what happened. The second half was dominated by Arsenal, with them having an impressive fourteen shots on target to West Ham’s three.

Kevin Nolan missed a sitter for the Hammers, and if he put that away, which he normally does, then the result would have been very different. A plethora of chances were pondered soon after, and it took Theo Walcott to come off the bench to put the Gunners in front and break the deadlock.

Then six minutes later, midfielder Santi Carzola, and perhaps the signing of the season for Arsenal, scored a spectacular goal to put the gloss on the deserved victory.

 

Manchester City 3 Sunderland 0

Manchester City silenced their critics with a comfortable victory over Martin O’Neil’s Black Cats at the Etihad. A defensive reshuffle saw City claim their first clean sheet of the season, with Richards and Lescott coming in for Nastastic and Kompany.

Sunderland were on the back foot as soon as the fifth minute as Carlos Tevez was brought down when through on goal, the resulting free-kick was turned in by Aleksandar Kolarov from a tight angle. Man City had to wait until 60 minutes to double their lead, although they had chances to score much earlier.

Still, Sergio Agϋero came off the bench to score the second, and the Citizens didn’t stop there. James Milner rounded off a fine afternoon for City, his free-kick took a slight deflection.

Man City will take lots of positives from this game, and I’m looking forward to what they can do when the Premier League returns in  two weeks’ time.

 

Swansea 2 Reading 2

Michael Laudrup’s Swans were swimming in deep water and had to come from two goals down to salvage a point at the Liberty Stadium.

Reading’s first goal could have been prevented and Swans ‘keeper Michel Vorm will be the first to admit it after he let Pavel Pogrebnyak’s shot underneath him. Hunt doubled the lead just before the break with a great volley.

Swansea came out fighting in the second half, and were rewarded with their efforts, Michu scoring his sixth goal this season to pull one back on 71 minutes. Wayne Routledge completed the comeback as the Swans drew level after 78 minutes.

Warning signs are there for Michael Laudrup, and he will need to start digging in to get results, although he shouldn’t alter his philosophy to just get wins, he needs to stick by what he believes in.

 

West Brom 3 Queens Park Rangers 2

QPR added to the disappointing loss at Loftus Road earlier on in the week at the hands of West Ham with a 3-2 defeat at the Hawthorns. Steve Clarke continues his fine run as West Brom boss and they now have fourteen points on the board.

The pressure is growing on Mark Hughes as QPR boss, although owner Fernandez has described his position as ‘safe’. Morrison opened the scoring as early as the fifth minute. Zoltan Gera doubled the lead before Adel Taarabt netted to draw one back.

The comeback was on, but Mulumbu thought otherwise, increasing West Brom’s lead to 3-1. Man of the match Granero scored a delightful goal for the visitors to make the score 3-2. Then, the best chance of the game came to QPR full back Jose Bosingwa to blast over, and that was to be the last kick of the game.

Under-fire QPR boss Mark Hughes talked to BBC Sport and here’s what he had to say; “In the early part of the game we gave ourselves too much to do. We talk about the fundamentals of defending and we didn’t do that. We didn’t start correctly. We were slow and not dynamic. They produced two good balls and we didn’t deal with them. If you go 2-0 down away from home it’s nigh-on impossible to get back into it. For the vast majority of the game I thought we were in control, but we need to take the defensive errors out of our game.”

 

Wigan 2 Everton 2

Leighton Baines rescued the point for Everton against his old club at the DW stadium. Kone put the home team in the lead; he put in a real shift and was absolutely superb on the day. The lead didn’t last long though, as a minute later Everton frontman Jelavic scored to pull the teams level. Wigan then went in front again.

 

Southampton 2 Fulham 2

Martin Jol’s Fulham thought they stole the three points at St Mary’s after coming behind to take the lead. Southampton initially went in front when Fonte guided in a header for it to find the top corner in the fourth minute.

Fulham then equalised on 70 minutes when Jon Arne Riise’s shot struck the foot of Hooiveld who deflected it in. Fulham, who were without star striker Dimitar Berbatov, carried in pressing and were eventually rewarded. Kieran Richardson netted to put the Cottagers in front. Fulham thought they had grabbed the three points, and so did some of the Southampton faithful, who actually left the stadium with time a plenty.

Southampton centre back Fonte scored his second goal of the game to earn a share of the spoils at St Mary’s for Nigel Adkins Saints.

 

Newcastle 0 Manchester United 3

Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United rectified last week’s disappointing loss at Tottenham with a comfortable win over Newcastle.

On 8 minutes Johnny Evans scored a free header to send the Red Devils in front, and seven minutes later the Toons were left fuming again as they conceded from yet another set piece, this time as Patrice Evra found himself unmarked to head United two goals to the good.

Tom Cleverley then rounded off the scoring with an attempted cross which found the back of Steven Taylor’s goal, to finish what was in truth, a walk in the park, Newcastle hardly threatened.

 

Liverpool 0 Stoke 0

It was goalless at Anfield, although both sides had a chance to capitalise. Pepe Reina’s back passes went astray on a couple of occasions, but the Potters couldn’t accept the gift. All in all, a poor game, and I’m sure Brendan Rodgers will be disappointed with his teams efforts.

 

Tottenham 2 Aston Villa 0

Andre Villas-Boas’ decision to omit Brad Friedel from the starting line-up ended his 310th consecutive Premier League appearance, meaning he hadn’t missed a game since May 2004, which is a fantastic achievement. So in came France Number one Hugo Lloris, and if truth be told, his distribution was quite poor.

Nonetheless, Spurs kept a clean sheet, and their frontline played well, linking up nicely. Steven Caulker scored his first goal in Tottenham colours, although at the time he didn’t know much about it, as the initial shot by England front man Jermain Defoe ricocheted into the back of the net via his leg.

Tottenham carried on pressing, and Aaron Lennon, who was recently called up to the England squad for their up and coming World Cup Qualifiers, doubled Spurs’ lead with a well taken shot which found the bottom corner.

 

Team of the Week

 

Written by Adam May

Follow him on Twitter @Adam132Football

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