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Premier League Review

A review of the weekend’s Premier League action, including big wins for Chelsea and Southampton, while Liverpool edged a fantastic game at Carrow Road.


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Norwich City 4-5 Liverpool.

What an absolutely incredible game this one was. Goals galore as weaknesses in both the teams back four was exposed. Goals from Dieumerci Mbokani, Steven Naismith, Wes Hoolahan and Sébastien Bassong for the hosts, but goals from James Milner, Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson and a double for Roberto Firmino pinched the points for the visitors.

Jürgen Klopp’s side were ahead in the 18th minute, Milner playing in Firmino to get his first for the afternoon. The Canaries were level through Mbokani, his inventive back heel beating Simon Mignolet. Norwich pinched the lead four minutes before the interval, Hoolahan’s assist for Naismith to score on his debut, from a tight angle too, before the home side then had a two goal advantage to sit on after Alberto Moreno brought down Naismith in the box, Hoolahan converted the penalty.

The Merseyside team hit back less than a minute later, Emre Can’s cross met by a powerful half volley from Henderson. The scores were level in the 63rd minute as Lallana’s cross was met well by Firmino who chipped past Declan Rudd in the Norwich goal. Milner then latched on to a poor pass back from Russel Martin to put the visitors ahead.

Norwich’s defender Bassong equalized in stoppage time, his long range strike looked like the hosts had managed to salvage a point, but Lallana pinched it with the last action of the match, drilling his volley into the floor and flying into the top corner. Despite losing, Norwich showed great attacking play and deserved at least a point. A vital win for the away side as they could not afford to drop any more points in the race for Europe, particularly after last week’s defeat to rivals Manchester United.


Crystal Palace 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur.

Two late goals pinched this match for Spurs. Despite dominating throughout, they found it hard to get the breakthrough. Jan Vertonghen’s own goal put the hosts ahead, but Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Nacer Chadli netted for the visitors.

The first goal came in the 30th minute, Wilfred Zaha’s dangerous cross was converted into his own net by Vertonghen, completely against the run of play. Zaha had a chance to double the hosts lead, but could only direct his shot over the bar. Danny Rose had a golden opportunity in the closing stages of the half to get the equalizer, but his volley was well saved by Wayne Hennessey in the Palace net. Hennessey had to produce another fine save to keep out a strong Kane header.

Spurs were level in the 63rd minute after Chadli dinked the ball into the box for Kane to head home. The Eagles then hit the bar twice in quick succession, the first Joe Ledley followed by Scott Dann. The home side were made to pay for those misses though, as Alli produced what has to be goal of the season thus far. His first touch was good, he then flicked the ball over Dann’s head turned on the spot and hit the ball on the volley; the ball flew past Hennessey and Spurs were ahead. Alli could’ve doubled his goal tally, hitting the bar from close range.

Chadli finished the scoring for the afternoon, his long range strike flying into the bottom left hand corner. Another good win for Spurs that see them edge near the summit of the league, while Palace need to rediscover that impressive form they had during the initial stages of the season.


West Ham United 2-2 Manchester City.

A surprise result perhaps, but on the day the Hammers were ruthless going forward and deserved at least a point. Two goals from Enner Valencia and Sergio Aguero saw the spoils shared during an exciting Saturday evening match.

The home side were ahead within sixty seconds, Cheikhou Kouyaté’s cross was then finished by Valencia from twelve yards out. Aguero almost drew City level instantly, his incredible lob hitting the post, but the Argentinian did equalize in the 9th minute, the man in question being fouled by Carl Jenkinson in the box. Aguero kept his nerve with a tidy finish and it was all level. Dimitri Payet almost put the Hammers back into the lead, his fantastic free kick met by an even better save from England’s number one to keep the scores level.

Fabian Delph then hit the post for City as the teams went into the interval all square, however Valencia put the hosts into the lead in the 56th minute, latching on to a poor throw and keeping his cool to net past Joe Hart. Once again, Aguero equalized for the visitors, his finish from close range giving Adrian no chance. What happened to be the last action of the game, West Ham hit the bar through Kouyaté’s headed effort.

Two valuable points dropped for the visitors here, the fact Arsenal lost to Chelsea was a huge slice of luck. The Hammers played well throughout and the pace they present going forward is menacing for any team they come up against.


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Leicester City 3-0 Stoke City.

The Foxes returned to the summit of the table and are currently three points clear of Arsenal and Manchester City. Danny Drinkwater, Jamie Vardy and Leonardo Ulloa with the goals for the hosts. Stoke hardly threatened the Leicester goal all afternoon and struggled to find rhythm throughout the match.

Shinji Okazaki had the first attempt, his effort rising well over the bar, but Drinkwater broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute, his strike, his first for the club, beating Jack Butland in the Stoke goal. The Foxes had doubled their lead in the 66th minute, Drinkwater’s superb lobbed pass to play Vardy through who made no mistake, taking it round Butland and into an empty net. The scoring was complete in the 87th minute, Riyad Mahrez with some incredible skill to beat his man and put it on a plate for Ulloa.

A fantastic performance from the hosts, it looks like they can challenge for the Premier League title. Stoke needed to be on the ball more throughout the game to trouble the Foxes, something they need to work on.


Manchester United 0-1 Southampton.

Potentially the dullest game of the Premier League season. An 87th minute header from Saints debutant Charlie Austin was the difference.

Daley Blind saw his long range effort saved with ease, before Matteo Darmian was then forced to leave the field through injury, another one that can be added to the hosts already plagued injury list. Victor Wanyama saw his header just wide of the post. A pitch invasion from a mouse was one of the most exciting things to be taken away from Old Trafford Saturday. Despite the game looking to finish 0-0, James Ward-Prowse’s free kick was met by a brilliant, powerful header from Austin to steal the points late on for the visitors. The hosts mustered up one shot on target all afternoon and going forward there are clear problems. Although the visitors didn’t create many chances of their own, they’ll be delighted with the win and will look to keep their recent good form going.


Watford 2-1 Newcastle United.

The Hornets produced an excellent result when they hosted The Magpies on the weekend. Goals from Odion Ighalo and Craig Cathcart saw off the Toon, while Jamaal Lascelles netted for the visitors.

Rob Elliot was called into action early on with a fine double save, first from Troy Deeney then to keep out Étienne Capoue. Heurelho Gomes then kept Aleksandar Mitrovic at bay with a good save.

The deadlock was broken one minute after the interval, Ighalo latching onto a perfectly weighted pass by Deeney to open the scoring. Cathcart then doubled their lead in the 58th minute, his close range volley beating Elliot. Lascelles’ header pulled one back for the visitors but the hosts held on to pick up an important three points.

Watford looked in control from start to finish, and will feel confident of keeping their Premier League status. Worrying times for the Magpies though, at times they can look so good but at other times they are such a poor team. Good luck Steve McLaren.


Sunderland 1-1 Bournemouth.

The points were shared at the Stadium of Light on the weekend, Benik Afobe opened the scoring while Patrick van Aanholt equalized for the hosts.

The deadlock was broken in the 13th minute, Afobe’s brave diving header beating the Sunderland stopper. The Cherries should have had more goals and put the game to bed, first to be denied was Junior Stanislas and then Afobe. But van Aanholt made the visitors pay, scoring from a tight angle during first half stoppage time, his fourth goal in four successive games.

Lewis Grabban should have pinched the points late into the game, his effort going agonisingly close to the post. Both teams will welcome the draw and move onto next week, where they need to start picking up wins.


West Brom 0-0 Aston Villa.

The only goalless draw of the weekend. Both teams struggled to find their form and free flowing play. Ben Foster made his return for the Baggies and was called into action early, keeping out Jordan Ayew. Micah Richards was then booked for a disgusting challenge, studs showing and high in the air, lucky to stay on the pitch.

Ashley Westwood saw his attempt fly over the bar, before Villa brought on Rudy Gestede late into the game, but his header was wide of the target. The last attempt fell to Richards, but his headed effort was well wide of the target.

West Brom would be the happier of the two with the point, but if Villa don’t start winning games frequently then they’ll be in a heap of trouble come May.

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Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea.

Arsenal dropped three huge points in the race for the Premier League title. A single goal from the controversial Diego Costa was the difference.

Petr Cech had to be alert early on, keeping out the in-form Willian. Willian then produced an excellent defence splitting ball to unleash Costa, and Per Mertesacker was forced into a challenge he did not want to make and was shown a straight red for being last man. Chelsea were ahead in the 23rd minute, Branislav Ivanovic’s cross was met by Costa for a close range finish. Costa had a chance moments later, but Cech kept him at bay well. Ivanovic then saw his headed effort cleared off the line, as the first half was all Chelsea. Mathieu Flamini had a golden opportunity to bring the scores level on the stroke of half time, but getting his feet mixed up.

Chelsea should have had a clear penalty in the second half as Cesc Fabregas was pushed off the ball by Laurent Koscielny, the decision was not giving but Chelsea held on to pick up a massive three points.

Big win for the Blues, as they hope this impressive display can finally kick start their season. Due to Manchester City only drawing it’s not a complete disaster for the Gunners, but they’ll need to produce some impressive results if it finally is their year.


Everton 1-2 Swansea City.

Everton’s dismal form at home continued, as they were beaten by Swansea. Goals from Andre Ayew and Gylfi Sigurdsson confirmed the points, while Gareth Barry netted for the hosts.

Muhamed Besic hit the post early into the game, before the Serbian was susbafter picking up an injury. Swansea were awarded a penalty in the 17th minute, John Stone’s poor pass back left Tim Howard in trouble, Howard then kicked Ayew as he beat him to the ball. Sigurdsson stepped up and converted the penalty. The lead lasted all of nine minutes as Barry equalized for Everton, his back flick from a corner, tidy finish.

Ayew’s deflected shot then beat Howard and the Swans were back ahead. Romelu Lukaku saw his headed effort well saved and Seamus Coleman missed two sitters late on. Another disappointing home game for Everton as they seem to really struggle at home this season. Swansea make it back to back victories and look to be on the up.

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