Monday, March 18, 2013

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE WEEK 29 REVIEW by David Obasogie


It was an exciting weekend of exhilarating footie on display, breath-taking goals and fantastic performance for the likes of League leaders Manchester United who edged out stubborn Reading. Though not a vintage performance, but who cares, 3 points in the bag and knowing that rivals Manchester City lost away at the Goodison Park, makes it the more enjoyable.

By virtue of the win, Man United moves 15 points clear of second place Man City, thanks to a Wayne Rooney 21st minute deflected goal at Old Tafford over relegation battlers Reading.

Elsewhere, Queens Park Rangers's top-flight future was left in tatters after they crashed away at the Villa Park to a Benteke's marshalled Aston Villa.


>>EVERTON VS MANCHESTER CITY:

Leon Osman and Nikica Jelavic struck as 10-man Everton delivered a big blow to Manchester City's title hopes. Everton spent the whole week soul-searching and smarting after their home defeat by Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup quarter-finals but they looked back to their best in a fiery Barclays Premier League match at Goodison Park.


Denied: Carlos Tevez's strike was handled in the box by Marouane Fellaini (not pictured)
Kevin Mirallas had a goal disallowed before Osman scored from long range after 32 minutes and the Toffees held on despite the dismissal of Steven Pienaar and made sure through Jelavic in injury time with the second goal of the game for Everton leaving City 15 points adrift of leaders United.

    >>ASTON VILLA VS QPR:


Christian Benteke eased Aston Villa's relegation fears and pushed bottom-placed Queens Park Rangers nearer to the drop as his late winner settled a pulsating Barclays Premier League clash.


Afternoon to forget: Julio Cesar drew the ire of defender Chris Samba after his mistake led to Aston Villa's equaliser in Saturday's match
Harry Redknapp’s side dominated the opening half at Villa Park and deservedly led through a goal from midfielder Jermaine Jenas, only for Gabriel Agbonlahor to level against the run of play. Andreas Weimann put the home side ahead early in the second half and, after Andros Townsend made it 2-2, Villa's Austrian striker set up the winner for Benteke. 

It was Benteke's seventh goal in the last eight league games and took his overall tally to 17 since his summer move.

    >>Southampton vs Liverpool:
 

Jay Rodriguez inspired relegation-threatened Southampton to what could prove to be a vital victory against Liverpool. The 23-year-old joined from Burnley in the summer and showed why the Saints went for his services. Rodriguez put Mauricio Pochettino on course for a second win at the helm in the sixth minute, nodding a Gaston Ramirez cross into Morgan Schneiderlin's path to slot home.

Liverpool fan Rickie Lambert soon doubled the home side's advantage with his 13th goal of the season coming when his 25-yard free-kick deflected home off Daniel Sturridge. 

However, Philippe Coutinho reduced the deficit in first-half stoppage time. Brendan Rodgers' side pushed hard for a leveller but Rodriguez made sure of the three points with 10 minutes remaining, putting the Saints seven points clear of the drop zone in front of a record Premier League crowd at St Mary's of 32,070.

    >>STOKE CITY VS WEST BROM:

 Stoke City's losing streak came to an end but they had to settle for a point after failing to make a breakthrough against West Bromwich Albion at the Britannia Stadium. 


After Asmir Begovic kept out an early strike from Albion captain Chris Brunt, the hosts - who went into the contest having lost their last three Barclays Premier League games and seven of their previous nine - were the better side in a scrappy first half. They could not pose any great threat to West Brom goal, though, with a deflected Jon Walters effort being their closest attempt.

The match improved after the break, but neither team could find a winner, with West Brom's Romelu Lukaku and Stoke's Peter Crouch unable to convert headers. Stoke substitute Kenwyne Jones passed up a good opportunity in stoppage time, with Ben Foster claiming his shot. The result takes Stoke up to 10th place in the table, while Albion stay eighth.

    >>SWANSEA VS ARSENAL:
                                                          

Party time: Arsenal celebrate after Nacho Monreal's scored the opening goal against Swansea
Arsenal kept themselves firmly in the race for Champions League qualification with a comfortable 2-0 victory away to Swansea City. Arsene Wenger’s side had by far the better of the contest and Nacho Monreal’s first goal for the club gave them the lead with 16 minutes remaining, before substitute Gervinho struck in stoppage time.

Swansea faded badly after a promising opening and, aside from a couple of half-chances, they barely worked Lukasz Fabianski in the Arsenal goal. The win moves Wenger’s side to within two points of fourth-placed Chelsea- and four of third-placed Tottenham Hotspur- with their rivals in action on Sunday.
    

    >>MANCHESTER UNITED VS READING:
 

Wayne Rooney's 11th Barclays Premier League goal of the season was enough to propel Manchester United 15 points clear with just nine games remaining in the Barclays Premier League title race. Rooney's deflected first-half effort saw off a dogged Reading outfit, who worked hard but could not fashion an equaliser.

Reading’s hopes of avoiding relegation were hit as they slid seven points adrift of safety with eight matches remaining.

 Thirteen points will clinch a record 13th Barclays Premier League title, and 20th overall, for United and, given one of their remaining games is against nearest challengers Manchester City, they might not even need that.

No way: Nemanja Vidic says United will not let their rivals City pip them this time around

 After Brian McDermott's exit in the week from the post as Reading manager, Eamonn Dolan became the 15th manager, including caretakers, to face the Red Devils in their first Premier League game in charge.

    >>TOTTENHAM VS FULHAM:
 

Respect: The striker swept in Sascha Riether's cross but didn't celebrate
Dimitar Berbatov came back to haunt his former club as Tottenham's chances of UEFA Champions League qualification suffered a blow with a shock home defeat by Fulham.

Blow: Dimitar Berbatov scored the only goal as Fulham upset Tottenham at White Hart Lane
Having scored three goals in his last four matches, Berbatov was always going to be Fulham's main goal threat, but even he could not have imagined how easy it would be to score his first goal at White Hart Lane since leaving Spurs in 2008.

The Bulgarian, who scored 46 goals in two seasons at Tottenham, spun off his marker and his mis-timed shot flew past Hugo Lloris to give the Cottagers their first win at White Hart Lane in 10 years and his manager Martin Jol his first taste of victory at Spurs since being dismissed by the club in 2007 after two top-five finishes.

       >>WIGAN VS NEWCASTLE:

 There was late drama at the DW Stadium where Wigan Athletic boosted their prospects of avoiding relegation with a 2-1 triumph against Newcastle United. 


The Magpies must have thought they had done enough to earn a point after Davide Santon cancelled out Jean Beausejour’s first-half strike on 72 minutes. But Arouna Kone scrambled home a last-minute winner to seal three points to take the Latics, who have a game in hand on their immediate rivals, to within three points of safety.
 
Substitute goalkeeper Lee Camp ensured 10-man Norwich left Sunderland with a point on a day when the Canaries' luck deserted them.

Chris Hughton's men were leading 1-0 at the Stadium of Light through Wes Hoolahan's close-range header when keeper Mark Bunn was dismissed for handling outside his area, and their fortunes took a further turn for the worse five minutes before the break when defender Sebastien Bassong conceded a penalty.

Craig Gardner levelled from the spot and then forced a vital 59th-minute save from Camp as the Black Cats strove in vain for the goal they needed to secure a first win in seven Barclays Premier League matches.

    >>CHELSEA VS READING:
 

Chelsea are up to third place in the Barclays Premier League after overcoming West Ham United at Stamford Bridge after Tottenham Hotspur lost at home against Fulham.

Evergreen: Frank Lampard put Chelsea ahead en route to an important victory
Frank Lampard scored his 200th Chelsea goal to lift his side to third place in the Barclays Premier League after a victory over his old club West Ham United in the London derby at Stamford Bridge.

On his 595th Chelsea appearance, Lampard headed in Eden Hazard’s 19-minute cross to move to within two of Bobby Tambling's clubscoring record of 202 goals.

Former West Ham striker Demba Ba might have scored three times in the first half, but Chelsea went two goals ahead when the impressive Hazard netted after 50 minutes.

Victory took Rafael Benitez's side above Tottenham in the race for a UEFA Champions League qualifying place, with the west Londoners boasting a game in hand.

    >>SUNDERLAND VS NORWICH CITY:
 

Substitute goalkeeper Lee Camp ensured 10-man Norwich left Sunderland with a point on a day when the Canaries' luck deserted them. Chris Hughton's men were leading 1-0 at the Stadium of Light through Wes Hoolahan's close-range header when keeper Mark Bunn was dismissed for handling outside his area, and their fortunes took a further turn for the worse five minutes before the break when defender Sebastien Bassong conceded a penalty.

Craig Gardner levelled from the spot and then forced a vital 59th-minute save from Camp as the Black Cats strove in vain for the goal they needed to secure a first win in seven Barclays Premier League matches.
 

It was a game Sunderland simply had to win after slipping to 16th place in the table as a result of their barren run, although they kicked off holding a six-point cushion over the sides in the bottom three.


Follow David Obasogie on his previews and reviews of the English Premier league every week on Premium Sports Center.


   

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