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|SoccerAnchor's EPL round-up - Round 13: Liverpool and Manchester City fight out entertaining draw, Man Utd & Arsenal held, Chelsea Spurs win|
Sunday, 27 November 2011
Liverpool v Manchester City
Liverpool became only the second side this season to deny Manchester City all three points in a Premier League match, recording a well deserved 1-1 draw against the league leaders.
City started the brighter of the two sides, with the Reds seemingly content to press and try and score on the counterattack with Luis Suarez left upfront on his own. The away side won several corners early on, and they were unlucky not to score from them, with Yaya Toure just missing a shot after the Reds failed to deal with one of the corners. Roberto Mancini's side did eventually capitalise on their chances from corners when Vincent Kompany headed in from the near post from a David Silva corner kick on 31 minutes. The away side enjoyed their lead for only two minutes however, Charlie Adam shot from just outside the box but a wicked deflection off Joleon Lescott sent the ball into the net past a stranded Joe Hart. Both sides had chances to go ahead before the break, with Silva and Sergio Aguero looking a particularly dangerous combination that kept keeper Jose Reina on his toes.
In the second half both sides spurned chances early on, Stewart Downing and Samir Nasri two of the culprits for missing the target. The in form Mario Balotelli was sent on just after the hour mark for Nasri, but his stay on the pitch lasted just 18 minutes with the fiery Italian collecting two red cards and subsequently was handed his marching orders. Despite Kenny Dalglish's side having the one man advantage for the closing stages of the match, they were unable to capitalise, with Joe Hart the hero, saving twice good attempts on goal from Suarez, and one from Andy Carroll.
Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City
Swansea v Aston Villa
Swansea and Aston Villa fought out a goalless draw at Liberty Stadium in Wales, with the result a fair reflection of the match.
Prior to kickoff a minute of silence was held as a mark of respect for the death of Wales manager Gary Speed, and with several of the players from Swansea's side in particular having played under Speed, there is no doubt some players had their minds in other places on a sad day for football. Both sides had chances in the first half to open the scoring, Scott Sinclair and Joe Allen had early ones for the home side, while Villa responded through Gabriel Agbonlahor and a Richard Dunne header from 15 yards which went over. Swans defender Angel Rangel was forced off with injury before the break with youngster Ashley Richards sent on in his place, but the forced defensive substitution didn't make it any easier for Villa to break down the home side.
After the break the game continued on in much the same manner as the first half, both sides creating a succession of half chances but neither side seemingly truly interested in risking a point to try and earn all three points. Alan Hutton almost scored for Alex McLeish's side with a chested down volley, but his shot went just over the bar, while late on Leroy Lita had two good chances but failed to take either.
Swansea 0-0 Aston Villa
Saturday, 26 November 2011
Stoke v Blackburn
Stoke got their season back on track with a comfortable 3-1 victory against league minnows Blackburn.
After an untidy start, Potters' midfielder Rory Delap latched on to the end of an in swinging Jermaine Pennant free kick to head the home side into the lead on 27 minutes.
Blackburn were hardly the second best team, as they took ownership of the game before half time. A series of long range shots, and ball play that had Stoke defending deep indicated that the ledger was fairly even going in to half time.
The Rovers had a golden opportunity to level when Ruben Rochina slalomed his way into the box, before cleverly back heeling the ball across the six-yard box, only for Mauro Formica to completely fresh air his shot which Stoke were able to clear.
Down the other end, Potters' defender Robert Huth climbed high to connect with a wonderful Matthew Etherington cross, only to guide his header wide of the upright.
The game began to open up and on 57 minutes the home side doubled their lead. Etherington forced his way down the left before squaring to Jonathan Walters, who squared to Glenn Whelan to strike the ball past a helpless Paul Robinson after a series of deflections.
Blackburn began to tire with Stoke's persistent long balls, and on 72 minutes yet another woof up forward carried the Rovers defence, which Peter Crouch pounced home and calmly finished to make it three.
Rochina was one of Blackburn's best, and with 5 minutes remaining his left foot strike from beyond the box was too good for Thomas Sorenson in goals, but it was all too late as Stoke bounce back with a 3-1 victory.
Stoke 3-1 Blackburn
Sunderland v Wigan
Wigan pulled off a remarkable 2-1 victory at the Stadium Light thanks to a late goal from striker Franco Di Santo.
The Black Cats got off to a flyer after a defensive mix up involving goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi, which left a loose ball for the returning Sebastian Larsson to slam home.
Sunderland dominated the first half, and if it was not for Al Habsi it could have been four. However just before half time, hero Sebastian Larsson conceded a dubious penalty to turn villain, which Jordi Gomez took responsibility of by sending 'keeper Kieren Westwood to make it 1-1 at the break.
Wigan had their fair share of possession in the second half, and both teams had their chances, but it was not until the dying moments when James McArthur broke on the counter to find Franco Di Santo, who polished off the counter attack with aplomb to give the Latics a memorable victory.
Sunderland 1-2 Wigan
Chelsea v Wolves
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas can breathe a lot easier after his side easily accounted for Wolves 3-0 at Stamford Bridge
Captain John Terry ensured the Blues started the affirmative when he rose to head home a Juan Mata corner on 7 minutes.
Mata was instrumental again in Chelsea's second on the half hour mark. The Spanish midfielder kept his feet from a challenge, and precisely measured his delivery to find a surging Daniel Sturridge to double the home side's advantage.
On the stroke of half time Chelsea made it three, and Mata secured the man of the match award. Ashley Cole broke down the left in typical fashion to find the Blues number ten who made no mistake from eight yards.
The home side were comfortable in the second half without being exciting, a much needed victory for the west Londoners.
Chelsea 3-0 Wolves
West Brom v Tottenham
The Spurs continue to march on with a 3-1 victory away to West Brom, however it was not all smooth sailing at The Hawthorns.
The Baggies got off to a flyer when Steven Reid streamed down the left to find Youssuf Mulumbu to head home for a shock early lead.
The Yid Army did not have to wait long before their side restored parity. Aaron Lennon was brought down by Nicky Shorey, and in the absence of Rafael van der Vaart, Emmanuel Adebayor stepped up to have his penalty saved by Ben Foster, but the ball deflected fortuitously back in his path to make it 1-1.
Manager Harry Redknapp decided to partner Adebayor up front with Jermaine Defoe as van der Vaart sat out, and with ten minutes remaining, his move paid dividends. The Togolese striker found Defoe outside the box, and with a venomous shot sent the ball into the bottom left corner to make it 2-1.
Gareth Bale ensured he had a say in the result when he found Adebayor for his second just minutes from time.
West Brom 1-3 Tottenham
Norwich v QPR
Norwich continued their impressive form with a 2-1 home victory in the battle of the promoted.
The Canaries opened the scoring on 15 minutes after defender Anton Ferdinand failed to clear a corner, which Russell Martin pounced on to score from close range.
QPR were still prominent in this game, and they found an equaliser on the hour mark. Midfielder Jamie Mackie hit his shot at the base of the upright, when Luke Young continued his run and finished the rebound from a tight angle to score his second goal this season.
Canaries manager Paul Lambert introduced Grant Holt and Wes Hoolahan, and it was the latter that provided the assist to the former to send Carrow Road into raptures.
Norwich 2-1 QPR
Bolton v Everton
Everton recorded a hard-fought 2-0 victory against a ten-man Bolton at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday.
The home side received a major setback just 17 minutes in when defender David Wheater was shown a red card for a bad foul on Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.
Everton showed little dominance with the man advantage, until early in the second half when they began to stretch Bolton wide. Leighton Baines got involved, and when his left foot cross found Marouane Fellaini at point blank range, Everton went ahead.
The Toffees put the game beyond doubt with ten minutes remaining, Leighton Baines the architect, Tim Cahill the assistant, and substitute Apostolos Vellios on hand to make it 2-0 from point blank range.
Bolton 0-2 Everton
Manchester United v Newcastle
In one of the most dramatic games to date, Newcastle held on to take a point from Old Trafford in one of the most desperate defensive displays seen.
Newcastle started the game in a forward fashion, isolating ex-United winger Gabriel Obertan who created plenty of issues for Patrice Evra and the United defence.
Mexican Javier Hernandez had numerous opportunities in the first half, but the best chance came to Ryan Giggs whose shot was spectacularly saved by impressive 'keeper Tim Krul to keep the game scoreless at half time.
Just minutes into the second half and the champions took the lead. Rooney struck his initial free kick into the wall, then struck the rebound with his left foot back towards goal, which deflected off a Newcastle defender before deflecting off Hernandez, who knew nothing about it to make it 1-0.
Newcastle were awarded a lifeline on the hour mark when they were handed a dubious penalty after Rio Ferdinand won the ball off Hatem Ben Arfa. After deliberation with his assistant, referee Mike Jones pointed to the spot. Demba Ba stepped up and sent David De Gea the wrong way to make it 1-1.
The second half was all United, and one could only feel a goal was imminent, as Ashley Young, Hernandez and Rooney continued to pepper the goals. But Toon 'keeper Tim Krul and his defensive helpers remarkably kept the ball out for a memorable 1-1 draw.
Manchester United 1-1 Newcastle
Arsenal v Fulham
Arsenal scuffed the chance to close the gap on the top four when they drew to Fulham 1-1 in the late kick off at the Emirates.
The first half was fairly even, both 'keepers called into action at crucial moments to ensure the scores remained deadlocked at half time.
The Cottagers enjoyed possession early in the second half, and after a penalty scare when Robin van Persie was brought down, they enjoyed a territorial advantage.
On 65 minutes, the visitors took the lead. Danny Murphy played in a precise lofted delivery into the path of John Arne Riise who did well to chest down, and as he went to get his shot away, Gunners defender Thomas Vermaelen came across to clear the ball, instead turning the ball into his own net.
As the game dragged on, the more desperate Arsenal got. On 82 minutes they drew level. After scoring at the wrong end, Vermaelen popped up at the right end to head home a wonderful Theo Walcott cross.
The Gunners kept pressing, but to no avail as Martin Jol's men walked away from north London with a valuable point.
Arsenal 1-1 Fulham
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