Saturday, August 28, 2010

Premier League Rundown: 8/28

Arsenal-2 Blackburn-1: Today's early game pitted Arsenal against a physical Blackburn team at Ewood Park. Arsenal struck first in the game, with a 20th minute goal from Theo Walcott. Walcott great low strike settled into the side netting. Walcott has been great so far for the Gunners.

Blackburn equalized just seven minutes later. Mame Biram Diouf tapped the ball past Arsenal keeper Manuel Alumunia. Diouf did a great job finding open space in the box and seeking out the cross. Andrey Arshavin quieted the Rovers fans in the 51st minute with a goal off a deflection. Cesc Fabregas had a shot deflected, and it bounced right to Arshavin, who put it away. Arsenal wore down Blackburn with their passing and possession for the rest of the game.

Blackpool-2 Fulham-2: Very evenly matched game, each team getting their chances to score. Fulham forward Bobby Zamora capitalized on a chance in the 35th minute, when he leapt up to meat the ball with his head, and put it into the goal. Zamora did have to leave the game with an injury in the second half. Fulham was hit with more own-goal bad luck in the 71st minute, when a ball deflected into the net off defender John Pantsil.

The game swung dramatically late, starting with that own goal. Blackpool forward Luke Varney, who was involved in the own goal, put his team on top in the 76th minute. A complete turnaround now saw Fulham a goal down. Dickson Etuhu made sure Fulham could at least get a draw, when he chipped the ball over Blackpool keeper Matthew Gilks.

Chelsea-2 Stoke City-0: Although Chelsea only scored two goals this week against the Stoke City, make no mistake, they dominated this game. Florent Malouda, continuing his good form, opening the scoring in the 32nd minute. He was released by a pass from John Terry, and put the ball past the keeper.

Chelsea scored their second goal on a penalty in the 76th minute. Ironically, Chelsea were awarded a penalty in the 11th minute, but keeper Thomas Sorensen saved the attempt. Didier Drogba buried the second penalty into the back of the net. While this win wasn't as dominant as Chelsea's recent performance, they still have 9 points in three games.

Wigan-1 Tottenham-0: This is the most shocking upset of the Premier League so far. Wigan, who were  utterly destroyed in their first two matches, edged out a win at White Hart Lane. Wigan were powered by an outstanding match from keeper Ali Al Habsi. The game remained scoreless until the 80th because of the many great saves made by Al Habsi.

Hugo Rodallega scored the game winner in the 80th minute. Rodallega found some space and fired the ball past Spurs keeper Carlo Cudicini. This was an epic moment for Wigan, the first bright spot in their season. As for Tottenham, they should be deeply disappointed to have lost to such a team at home.

Wolves-1 Newcastle-1: Wolves have continued to play solid football, and as a result, have not lost a game yet. Even though they managed only one shot on goal (six total), they were able to work a draw out of Newcastle. Newcastle had many more chances to score, but were only able to cash in once.

Wolves opened the scoring late in the first half, when Sylvan Ebanks-Blake put one in on a volley. Newcastle rallied back and finally scored in the 62nd minute. Andrew Carroll headed home the equalizer off a set piece taken by Joey Barton.

Manchester United-3 West Ham-0: Man United dealt very easily with West Ham United today at Old Trafford. Wayne Rooney ended his 13-match scoreless streak in the 33rd minute. Ryan Giggs was brought down in the box, and Rooney deposited the ball from the penalty spot. Nani, who had a terrific game, scored the second goal in the 50th when Man United blasted through the West Ham defense. Nani finished it off with a nice strike.

The third goal was one of the better goals of the Premier League season so far. Nani crossed the ball into the box and right to Dimitar Berbatov. Berbatov performed a magnificent scissor-kick move and the ball whizzed into the net. West Ham better pick up the pace or we could see them down in the Championship this time next year.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fulham Late Equalizer Stuns Man United

Manchester United and Fulham competed in a thrilling game contested at Craven Cottage. The game took two dramatic turns in the last ten minutes. The game ended in a 2-2 tie, a deserved point for each team. Fulham yet again has stymied Manchester United at Craven Cottage.

Manchester United jumped out to an early lead in the 11th minute, when Paul Scholes, from 30 yards out, drove a low strike into the corner of the net. Scholes received a perfect pass from Dimitar Berbatov, who had his back to the goal. Scholes has been terrific early on this season.

Fulham had some chances to score in the first half but failed to. United keeper Edwin Van der Saw made several key saves in the game, but Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale was just as good. Stockdale would make the most important save of the match late in the game.

Simon Davies tied the game for Fulham in the 57th minute. Damien Duff started the attack by beating Patrice Evra with a nice move, then gave the ball to Zamora, who fed Davies. Davies had a nice finish, securing the ball in the back of the net.

The two teams looked evenly matched until late in the game. United took the lead in the 84th minute, when a corner from Ryan Giggs defelcted off Brede Hangeland and into the back of the net. Horrible moment for Hangeland, scoring an own goal is the worst for a defender. He would get his revenge, however.

Manchester United blew a chance to go up two just two minutes later. A penalty was awarded to United, when Damien duff had a ball hit his thigh then deflect off his hand in the penalty area. It looked as though United would surely earn three points from this game. Nani was chosen to take the shot, and he hit a strike towards the goal post. Stockdale made a great save on the shot, but really Nani should have done better.

Fulham would make Manchester United pay for missing that chance to extend their lead. Duff again was involved in Fulham's equalizer in the 89th minute. Duff guided a corner into the heads, and Brede Hangeland put the header past Van der Sar. Fulham fans rejoiced as Brede Hangeland certainly redeemed himself from his mistake just five minutes earlier.

Fulham showed great resilience, coming back to tie the game twice. They showed they can really battle with the top clubs at home. Traveling to Craven Cottage is never an easy experience for any club and Fulham proved that today. As for Manchester United, this might be one of those games they look back on at the end of the season if they don't win the league.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Premier League Rundown: 8/21

Birmingham City-2 Blackburn Rovers-1: This was a thrilling game at St Andrews Stadium in Birmingham, and the home side came out on top. Birmingham City goalkeeper Ben Foster made a magnificent save on a penalty. Morten Gamst Pedersen was on the receiving end of the save in the 50th minute, and that was a big moment in the game.

Blackburn did take the lead a few minutes later however, when a header from Steven Nzonzi found the back of the net. Birmingham city rallied back to when it though. Craig Gardner was the hero, scoring two great goals in the 57th and 71st minutes.

Everton-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers-1: Althought Everton controlled the ball for most of the game, Wolves were able to come away from Goodison Park with a point. Tim Cahill scored for Everton late in the first half, but Wolves equalized on a goal from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake in the 74th minute.

Everton have to be disappointed with their performance today. This are the kinds of games they have to win (especially at home) if they hope to finish in the top-10 at the end of the year. Wolves will be thrilled to get a result in this one.

Tottenham Hotspur-2 Stoke City-1: Another close, thrilling game took place at Britannia Stadium. Gareth Bale opened the scoring in the 19th minute, when a ball deflected off his face and into the net. Stoke came back and equalized, when Ricardo Fuller scored in the 25th minute. Gareth Bale, five minutes later, put Tottenham up for good with his second goal of the game. It was a terrific volley from Bale.

Now comes the controversy. Stoke, trying to equalize late in the game, appeared to have put the ball across the line but it was ruled not a goal. Jon Walters, making his debut, headed the ball towards the net. It was cleared by Peter Crouch but looked to go over the line first. Unfortunately for Stoke, the referee ruled no goal on the play.

West Bromwich-1 Sunderland-0: This game, while not as exciting as the others, was just as close. West Brom and Sunderland battled it out and both failed to score until West Brom took the lead in the 81st minute. Peter Odemwingle was the hero for West Brom.

This is a great bounce back game for West Brom, who were thrashed 6-0 by Chelsea last weekend.

Bolton-3 West Ham-1: West Ham's bad luck has continued. It started in the 33rd minute, when Carlton Cole kicked his penalty shot right into the arms of Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelanien. The misery continued when Matthew Upson netted an own goal in the 48th minute. West Ham really have to start playing better if they want to stay in the Premier League.

As for Bolton, Johan Elmander was the star, scoring two goals and leading Bolton to the win.

Chelsea-6 Wigan-0: Think about this stat: Chelsea's goal differential this season is 12 goals scored and 0 goals against. Wigan's goal differential is 0 goals scored and 10 goals against. That basically tells the story of this game. Chelsea dominated all game, and Wigan struggled yet again.

Nicolas Anelka and Salomon Kalou each scored two goals for Chelsea.

Arsenal Score Six in Win

Theo Walcott
Hat trick hero Theo Walcott
(uploaded by Ronnie Macdonald on flickr)
Arsenal scored six goals today in a blowout win against Blackpool at Emirates Stadium. It was a great home debut for Arsenal, who scored five of their goals after Blackpool were forced to go a man down. Theo Walcott scored a hat trick in the game, to the thrill of the Arsenal faithful.

Walcott was the one who broke the scoreless tie in the 12th minute with a smartly hit ball that rolled into the corner of the net. Walcott looked great in this game, moving through the defense with exceptional speed and agility. Arsenal hope that Walcott can finally fulfill his huge expectations.

The turning point in the game came in the 31st minute, when Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh was brought down on the edge of the penalty area. Ian Evatt slid into Chamakh from behind and missed the ball on a clear scoring chance. Evatt was shown a red card, and Arsenal was awarded penalty. It looked as though contact was made just outside the box, but nevertheless, it was ruled a penalty.

Andrey Arshavin scored on the penalty, putting Arsenal up by two. It was all Gunners after that. Arsenal controlled the ball for the rest of the game, passing it around with easy. Abou Diaby and Chamakh also scored for Arsenal, in addition to Walcott's three lethal strikes.

Blackpool looked really sloppy and sluggish after going down a man. They hadn't played all that bad up until that point, but they collapsed under the constant pressure from Arsenal. Ian Holloway may not have thought that his team would win this game, but he certainly didn't expect to lose embarrassingly 6-0.

Cesc Fabregas and Robbie Van Persie both came in in the second half, and looked very well and fit. Both players have not been starting for Arsenal because they are trying to recover their fitness after playing in the World Cup. In, fact Fabregas and Van Persie played in the World Cup Final. Hopefully, those key players will be able to withstand heavier minutes as the weeks go on.

Overall, this is a great win for Arsenal (talk about goal differential). After beating Wigan 4-0 last week, this has to be a disappointing performance for Blackpool. They must get over it if they want to stay in the Premier League for any length of time.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tottenham Grabs Gallas

Former Arsenal defender William Gallas is getting set to join Tottenham Hotspur. Not a far move for the 30-year old; he will be staying in North London. Gallas, for his own sake, better not make any crucial mistakes in his first couple Tottenham outings. Fans already know he has one strike against him for being a former Arsenal player.

This was a free transfer for Spurs because Gallas' contract was up at Arsenal. Gallas is reportedly going to undergo a medical assessment tomorrow, before officially joining Tottenham over the weekend. It is not yet clear on the terms of the contract.

Gallas will surely help solidify the Tottenham back line. He has been a world class defender for years, but will his age start to catch up with him. At 33, he is no longer in his prime. Most players start to decline when they turn 30. Tottenham are hoping that Gallas still has some good years left.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Man U Out to a Flying Start

Manchester United faced off against Newcastle United at Old Trafford. Man U clobbered newly promoted Newcastle, 3-0. It was an easy opening fixture for the Reds, but at least they lived up to expectations by trouncing Newcastle. Newcastle looked good early in the game, but Manchester United dominated from then on.

Newcastle got the first real scoring chance in the game, when an header from Andy Carrol went wide. It was off a corner, and Carrol hit it well, but it was just to the left. Carrol was the one bright spot for Newcastle playing up top.

Manchester United broke through in the 33rd minute, when Dimitar Berbatov hit a very accurate strike into the corner. It was a tough angle, and a superb finish from the Bulgarian. Berbatov performed well alongside Wayne Rooney in the first half. Sir Alex should consider using the two striker formation again, instead of using Rooney as the lone man of top.

Rooney, who was taken out in second half, did contribute to United's second goal of the half. An inadvertent touch by Rooney rolled to Darren Fletcher. Flecther depsited the ball in the back of the net from close range.

The Reds' third goal was by far the best of the game. Paul Scholes, who had yet another magnificent game, crossed the ball to Ryan Giggs, who came in as a substitute. Giggs, who has played in every Premier League season, volleyed the ball into the back of the net. A beautiful left footed volley across the goal and into the corner of the net. Giggs has also scored in every Premier League season.

This is a game Manchester United should have won, especially at home, and they did. Man U had 66% of the possession, and dominant Newcastle. It was a flying start for the Reds, and Sir Alex will be pleased.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Arsenal-Liverpool 1-1 Draw to Open Season

Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina (uploaded by Nigel Wilson on flickr)
The premier match up in the Premier League this weekend was Arsenal vs. Liverpool today. The game ended in a 1-1 draw, with each team playing with ten men when the game finished. It was an exciting game, and both teams will be pleased to gain a point from their opening game.

Arsenal dominated possession in the first 45, passing the ball around with fluidity. They were not able to get many scoring chances. Liverpool's new signing Joe Cole got a straight red card in the 45th minute. Cole slid in late on Arsenal center back Laurent Koscielny. It was a play that could have seriously injured Koscielny, who was carried off on a stretcher. He did return in the second half

Going down to men on the pitch seemed to help Liverpool get their play going in the second half. In the 46th minute, David Ngog broke away from the defenders and blasted a shot past Manuel Almunia. Great strike from Ngog into the top netting, but the goal was caused by an Arsenal mistake. Young English midfielder Jack Wilshere made a bad pass deep in the defensive zone, and that lead to Ngog's goal.

Arsenal, a man up, struggled to tie the game up until their 90th minute goal. Tomas Rosicky, who came in as a sub, hit a great ball right on the edge of the penalty area. Pepe Reina made a great save on that one, which drew the cheers of the fans at Anfield. Only a few minutes later, those same fans would be jeering Reina mercilessly.

Arsenal's equalizer came on an own goal by the keeper Reina in the 90th minute. An Arsenal cross came in, which was misplayed by Reina. Then the Gunners new striker Marouane Chamakh hit the post. The ball deflected right back to Reina, who fumbled the ball into the net. It was a tragic moment for Liverpool, but a relieving one for Arsenal.

Ironically, Laurent Kocsielny picked up a second yellow and subsequent red in extra time. Liverpool had one last shot to make the home fans happy in extra time. A laser of a free kick by Frank Lampard was pushed away by Alumnia.

Both team will be somewhat pleased with the results. A point is a point, and you don't want to go into the second week with no points. Arsenal performed alright, escpecially considering some of their top players started the game on the bench. The young guys did well.

Liverpool will be disappointed they could not hold onto the win, but they have to be happy about how they played once they went a man down. Overall, a controversial and mistake filled game. Exactly what you would expect in a opening game.