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Premier League Review

Here at The Sports Lowdown, we bring you a weekly review of all the weekend’s Premier League action. Leicester shocked the nation when they travelled to Manchester while the Red Devils and Chelsea took a point each from their encounter.

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Liverpool 2-2 Sunderland.

Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana put the hosts ahead but they could not hold onto their two goal advantage as Adam Johnson and Jermain Defoe scored late on to earn a point for the visitors.

Alberto Moreno recorded the first attempt of the match, but his shot well saved, before Firmino had a good chance not long after, but could only direct his effort over the bar. The Brazilian had another good chance in the opening exchanges of the first half but failed to hit the target yet again.

The deadlock was broke however in the 59th minute, James Milner’s superb cross was met well by Firmino who headed across goal and into the opposite corner. The hosts had doubled their lead in the 70th minute, Firmino’s unselfish pass to Lallana for the Englishman to tap into an empty net. At this point, Liverpool were cruising and the win looked definite.

In the 77th minute, around 25% of the home fans decided to walk out in protest of the club raising the price of match tickets. When they arrived home I’m sure they were shocked to see the game finished 2-2. It appeared that Simon Mignolet left with them as he was at fault for Johnson’s free kick. The free kick was placed in the bottom corner, Mignolet had reached it but could not keep it out, another costly mistake from the goalkeeper. Defoe completed the comeback in the 89th minute, his turn and finish was good, and gave Mignolet no chance.

Another two points dropped for the hosts, is that the European dream over for another season? While the Black Cats showed good character to get back into the game and pick up a vital point.


Stoke 0-3 Everton.

One of the most one sided games of the season, Stoke just failed to turn up. Goals from Romelu Lukaku, Aaron Lennon and Seamus Coleman confirmed the win.

The visitors took the lead in the 11th minute after Jack Butland brought down tom Cleverley to concede a penalty, there was definite contact and it was the correct decision. Lukaku stepped up, placed it down the middle while Butland dived to his right. They doubled their lead in the 28th minute as Stoke struggled to get into the game. Cleverley’s dangerous corner was met well by Coleman who placed his header into the bottom corner. Their third was scored three minutes before the interval and sealed the game within the first half. Lennon pouncing on a poor pass and running straight to Butland’s net, beating the keeper to round off an excellent first half for the visitors.

Ross Barkley decided to join in on the action in the second half, but could only direct his shot into the side netting. Butland had to be at his best to prevent Everton adding more in the second half, his fine stop from Lukaku’s header kept the score at 0-3. He was then called into action again to stop the Belgian adding more to his season tally. Stoke did have two late attempts, the first from Glen Johnson, saved with ease. Stephen Ireland found himself in a good position to perhaps net a consolation for the hosts, but mistimed his shot awfully as the ball flew well over the bar.

Another great away win for Everton, if only they could transfer some of their away form to their home form, they’d be contending for a top four finish. Stoke have hit a rough patch of late and need to find some wins to inspire that good form they had before the Christmas break.

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Manchester City 1-3 Leicester City.

Was this the game the nation accepted the Foxes as title favourites? They were incredible throughout the game and deserved their three points. Two goals from Robert Huth and a stunner from Riyad Mahrez put the Foxes three goals up, while Sergio Aguero netted a late consolation for the home team.

Leicester were ahead in the 3rd minute after Huth was first to the ball from a Mahrez free kick to give the visitors the dream start. Joe Hart had to be quick off his line to deny Jamie Vardy from doubling the lead. David Silva had the home side’s first attempt of the day, but his effort was wide of the target.

Leicester started the second half just like they did the first, and were rewarded almost immediately. A moment of pure genius from Mahrez was the difference. His fantastic run, stopovers and well placed finish left the Etihad stunned.

To the disbelief of perhaps every football follower, the Foxes added a third. Huth once again rising the highest, wanting the ball more, to nod home from a Mahrez corner and give them some serious breathing space. Vardy should have made it four as his effort flew into the side netting. Aguero did get himself on the score sheet, albeit controversial. His header flew into the Foxes net, replays suggest that the Argentinian was offside when the ball was played. Aguero could have made it very tense for the away fans early into stoppage time, Danny Simpson did not acknowledge Aguero behind him when he played his back pass, only for the forward to miss the target.

Probably the biggest result this Leicester team has produced this year, an excellent performance, now they are favourites to lift the title come May having acquired a five point lead. For Manchester City, announcing that Manuel Pellegrini would be leaving at the end of the season so early, might seriously hinder their chances of the four competitions that they are currently competing in.


Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Watford.

A single goal from an unsurprising candidate nicked the points for the home team. Kieran Trippier got the games only goal in the second half.

But Spurs were dominant throughout and the only question was when they would break the deadlock. Ben Davies had two good opportunities to open his account with Tottenham. The first was deflected that appeared to be going in, the second was a good save from former Spurs goalkeeper, Heurelho Gomes. Harry Kane had his chance too, volleying over the bar from close range. In the second half Gomes was at his best to prevent Kane from scoring.

The goal came in the 64th minute; Dele Alli’s good low cross was met well by Trippier who looked delighted to get his first goal for his new club. Gomes was then called into action yet again, as he stopped Christian Eriksen from a tight angle.

Despite the home side dominating play, the best player performance has to go to Gomes; he was unstoppable and managed to keep everything out other than the one goal, a great performance from a keeper who is having an excellent season thus far. Also, Watford as a team proved why they’re difficult opposition, pressing Spurs throughout the game.

The win lifts Spurs into second place and are now serous title contenders, if they win their next five on the bounce they could be top of the table and in a commanding seat come May.  Watford have dipped a bit in form of late but it’s nothing to worry about, they’ve still been the most impressive of the three teams that gained Premier League status last season.

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Aston Villa 2-0 Norwich City.

A massive win for Villa when they hosted relegation rivals on the weekend thanks to goals from Joleon Lescott and Gabriel Abonlahor.

Norwich forward Steven Naismith recorded the first attempt of the afternoon, his effort flying wide of the target. Sebastien Bassong then had a good chance from close range, but his header flew over the bar. Lescott put the hosts ahead in the 45th minute, his header beating Declan Rudd in the away goalmouth.

It only took six minutes into the second period for Villa to double their lead, Abonlahor was through on goal when Rudd came rushing out to meet him, before Abonlahor got to the ball first and produced a simple finish to leave Rudd red faced. Russell Martin saw his headed effort cleared off the line late into the game, as the match finished 2-0.

A big win for Villa as a defeat on Saturday would have seen they thirteen points away from safety. These are the games they must win, it will be games when they go in as underdogs they need to win if they want to keep their Premier League status. After an impressive start to the season it seems that Norwich are starting to deteriorate in form and look to be in for a big fight to stay in the English top tier.


Newcastle United 1-0 West Brom.

A good win for the Magpies that see them pull the visitors nearer the relegation zone. A single goal from, Aleksandar Mitrovic was the difference.

Andros Townsend made his home debut and had a chance to open the scoring early on, but his shot was well saved by Ben Foster. The former England goalkeeper then had to be at his best to stop a well-directed header from Mitrovic.

Cheick Tiote then thought he had his first goal in five years. His long range effort beat Foster and the goal seemed to be deemed legal. That was until the linesman flagged Mitrovic for offside as he was obstructing the view of the Baggies goalkeeper, the correct decision.

Two minutes after the incident and Newcastle had the ball in the net yet again, this time the goal stood. Jonjo Shelvey producing a simple yet intelligent ball for Mitrovic to run onto. As Foster came rushing to the forward he kept his cool and calmly slotted past the Englishman.

In the second half, Townsend hit the post for the hosts as they managed to hold on to a huge three points. A great result for the Toon as they need to start picking up points to lift them from the dangerous position that they are currently in. The visitors failed to cause United any problems throughout the afternoon, it was probably the worst they’ve played all season.

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Southampton 1-0 West Ham.

A great result for the Saints as they held on to a narrow win, despite being down to ten men for a third of the game. Maya Yoshida with the goal for the home side.

The goal came in the 9th minute; Japanese defender Yoshida with a close range finish to lift the mood at St Mary’s, before Fraser Forster had to be at his best to stop a flying header from Winston Reid.

Victor Wanyama was given his marching orders shortly into the second half, his nasty challenge being deemed a straight red. Shane Long had a chance to double the lead, but his effort was just over the bar.

Emmanuel Emenike should have recorded his first goal for his new club, but his effort wide of the target when he really should be hitting the target. Charlie Austin saw his late effort wide of the target as the hosts held on to a valuable three points.

With this win the Saints close the gap between themselves and the Hammers to two points. If both teams go on good runs, they can contend for Europa League football.


Swansea 1-1 Crystal Palace.

Palace have struggled of late, and they fail to win again here. Gylfi Sigurdsson opened the scoring for the hosts while Scott Dann equalized for the London team.

Sigurdsson’s excellent free kick opened the scoring in the 11th minute, and gave Swansea the start they needed to push on and apply more pressure to their struggling visitors. Andre Ayew had a good chance to double the lead, his effort just wide of the post. Wayne Routledge saw his effort wide of the post too as Swansea were all over their visitors.

The second half team talk seemed to work wonders as Palace hit back in the 47th minute. Dann scoring from Yohan Cabaye’s corner to set up an entertaining second half. Despite the equaliser, it was Palace who were involved in most of the defending, first to prevent Ashley Williams scoring in consecutive league games and then Wayne Hennessey produced a fantastic stop to deny Sigurdsson his second late on.

A point for both sides will be welcomed, Palace needed to avoid defeat in this game and they done just that. The appointment of Francesco Guidolin seems to have sparked life into the Welsh side as their impressive form continues.

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Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal.

Sunday saw Arsenal get their title challenge back on track with an impressive 0-2 display. Goals from Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain killed the hosts off.

Early into the encounter, Mathieu Flamini committed himself to an early dodgy challenge. Despite winning the ball, his studs were in the air and a foul was given against him. Looking back on the challenge it was a real nasty one, and the Frenchman was extremely lucky to still be on the pitch. Alexis Sanchez had the first attempt for the Gunners, his effort over the bar.

Olivier Giroud’s headed touch to Ozil, who then kept his cool to produce a good finish opened the scoring in the 23rd minute. The away side got their second goal one minute later, Aaron Ramsey unleashing Chamberlain from a tight angle to finish in off the post.

Petr Cech was called into action to stop Harry Arter getting his team back into the game. Adam Smith saw his volley fly into the side netting as Bournemouth were building pressure onto the Gunners. Right at the death, Cech was once again incredible, his double save to deny Steve Cook and Arter kept his clean sheet intact.

Despite the loss, Bournemouth were not afraid of going forward and caused problems for the Gunners’ back four. Perhaps the home side showed too much respect in the opening exchanges and found themselves two down early on. This was a win Arsenal needed to record, and they will hope this fuels them on to get back to the summit of the table.


Chelsea 1-1 Manchester United.

A game for the goalkeepers, no doubt. Both keepers were incredible throughout the entire match and saved their respective teams on countless occasions. Jesse Lingard opened the scoring while Diego Costa’s late strike ensured the points would be shared.

Thibaut Courtois was at his best again, keeping Anthony Martial at bay with a superb fingertip save. Diego Costa saw his effort midway through the first half fly past the post. During the second half Courtois was needed again to keep the scores level, preventing Lingard the opener. Kurt Zouma then fell awkwardly on his leg and has been confirmed to be out for six months, his screams of pain while lying on the floor was a clear indication of the severity of the injury.

Lingard did open the scoring in the 61st minute, his excellent turn and volley gave the Chelsea stopper no chance. Chelsea started to pile pressure on the visitors and it almost paid off when Branislav Ivanovic’s sweetly timed volley had to force David De Gea into an incredible stop to keep his teams lead intact.

But late on, Cesc Fabregas played the ball into Costa for his shot to be blocked, with no-one backing up he scored with his second attempt into an empty net. Costa could have stolen the points late into stoppage time but De Gea was once again down early to prevent any late celebrations at Stamford Bridge.

The Red Devils were better on the day, but some substitutions from Louis van Gaal were questionable. Why was Memphis Depay brought on in stoppage time when they had defensive options on the bench? The pressure is starting to get to the Dutchman as the Jose Mourinho speculation will not go away.


AFC Bournemouth Swansea City

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