Thursday, 3 January 2013

Week 21: Premier League Tops & Flops

Sports - Football - Premier League - Picks of the Week


Liverpool's Luis SuarezIt was only the second time this season Liverpool have won two games on the trot with their 3-0 home win against Sunderland. Raheem Sterling got things going with a nice finish off Luis Suarez, lobbing the ball over Simon Mignolet with loads of time and space, 1-0. Suarez doubled the score after advantage was played well from the right, the Uruguayan with a diagonal shot in, 2-0. Steven Gerrard then picked up Suarez with a peach of a pass, the Red number seven finishing off with one touch, two touch, into the back of the Sunderland net, 3-0. Gerrard saw his shot deflected off Glen Johnson and well saved by Mignolet, it could have easily been four! Suarez and Joe Allen saw their shots blocked too and Stewart Downing had his goal disallowed for offside. Poor Allen, no first goal for him! It could and should have been a much worse thrashing for Sunderland. Suarez scored more goals this season already than all of last season! Gerrard was magnificent, Jordan Henderson also impressed with some great awareness and a brilliant game!
Victor AnichebeNewcastle had SO many chances, but Everton took theirs alright! Demba Ba was a very noticeable absentee at St James' Park. The home side took the lead though after Tim Krul's kick was headed in by Papiss Cisse after one bounce, looping the ball over Tim Howard, I'm sure David Moyes was furious! Leighton Baines was denied a couple of times by a stubborn Krul, but the Toons were the more rampant! James Perch saw his header come off the post before Steven Pienaar was denied by Krul. Baines then levelled the score 1-1 with a smacker, like a rocket, a blast from over 30 yards out! After Shola Ameobi saw his chip go wide, Nikica Jelavic set up Victor Anichebe to give Moyes' Men the lead, a crucial change for Everton to make it 1-2. Both goalkeepers were kept busy till the end. Gabriel Obertan's shot was brilliantly saved by Howard on his near post. It was a crunch of a match!


QPR celebrate at the final whistleIt was a happy New Year for QPR indeed! You just never know what's around the corner! Rafael Benitez's first home defeat at Chelsea was a surprise-and-a-half! The Rangers definitely showed they learnt from Sunday's defeat against Liverpool! It was like their New Year's Revolution was complete when Shaun Wright-Phillips beat second-choice keeper Ross Turnbull from range, taking advantage of massive gap with a good finish off Adel Taarabt, 0-1 after all the Chelsea pressure and chances! Marko Marin was very lucky just to see yellow for his high kick! And Ryan Bertrand looked like a fool falling over his own feet! QPR kept out Chelsea and Frank Lampard had his record goal chalked off eventhough he looked nowhere near offside! It was just not Chelsea's day and it was Harry Redknapp who ended up a very happy man.


Michael DawsonIt could have been a four/five goal thrash after all of Tottenham's dominance! But Reading held solid and worked Andre Villas-Boas' side hard! Gareth Bale was suspended. Pavel Pogrebnyak tested Spurs defence, hitting the bar after winning a free kick, then heading in the rebound to make it 0-1. It was the earliest goal Spurs have conceded this season. Defender Michael Dawson headed in a corner at the near post, to level the score bang, 1-1 after nine minutes! Mousa Dembele wide and Jermain Defoe saw their chances go wide! Sandro's shot from outside the box, was deflected and saved by Adam Federici. Aaron Lennon banged the ball in from right creating nice cross for Emmanuel Adebayor to head it in to take the lead, 2-1. Lennon had another shot deflected and Jermain Defoe saw one go wide. After a fine run by Pogrebnyak, the Russian forward saw his shot saved and the header off the rebound went just wide. Jimmy Kebe created a fine break going wide. The following corner was cleared eventually, but the Spurs third-choice keeper Hugo Lloris was in trouble there! The game ended 3-1 thanks to a deflected shot by Clint Dempsey saw the ball fly over the keeper and in. This win takes Tottenham up to third, so, so far so good for AVB!


Gaston RamirezSaints 1-1 draw against Arsenal felt like a League Two game! Both sides produced and showed chaotic play, no coordination or organisation, just misses, slips and bloopers. Artur Boruc had a very disappointing game with slippery gloves! The Polish KEEPER did not seem to know he has to KEEP the ball! He is the Saints' 6th keeper this season! Gaston Ramirez took advantage of Arsenal's defensive mess to open the scoring, 1-0, after they were unable to clear the ball! Arsenal then saw their free kick netted by Guly do Prado, an own goal to level the score 1-1. Saints have only taken two points in nine games, but this was a fair result for a shambles of a game in the end! Saints should have been given the second goal which was disallowed for offside and/or a fowl, both looked rather dodgy! The Gunners were very disappointing after last week's 11 goal thrash against Newcastle! But the Saints can be more than happy and chuffed with their performance, the result and point.


Robin van PersieIt was all Machester United at Wigan. After Patrice Evra saw his shot saved, Javier Hernandez netted the rebound, 0-1. Robin van Persie's right-foot curl doubled the score, 0-2. It was all too easy for the visitors. Arouane Kone had a goal disallowed offside, JUST, before Hernandez headed another chance over the bar. After Rafael was caught by Gary Caldwell, RVP took the resulting free kick and after a double-deflection, Hernandez banged the ball into the back of the net, 0-3. RVP put another chance just over the top of the bar. When Kone was brought down by Chris Smalling, it looked like he was the last man but referee Andrew Marriner only pulled a yellow and the free kick by Jordi Gomez ended up just wide. Danny Welbeck found RVP who added another gift of a goal thanks to a defensive mess, 0-4, the 19th goal for the Dutchman, netting one goal after the other, bagging one win after another for United, still seven points clear of City at the top. 
Danny GrahamSwansea were on top early on at home against Aston Villa and took the lead thanks to Wayne Routledge's fine run and right-foot shot. Miguel Michu saw his shot come off the right post. After Pablo Hernandez's fine run and cross, Danny Graham's shot somehow ended up off target. Michu saw another chance comeoff the post again and Hernandez put one wide. Villa's equaliser came against the run of play, Christian Benteke with the through-ball to put Andreas Weimann in. Joe Bennett was caught out with with handball and it should have been a penalty, but nothing was given! Villa were finally pushing more, Weimann on the attack again. Villa were awarded a penalty for a tangle/fowl on Weimann by Nathan Dyer. It looked soft but those kind of fowls have been given in the past. Benteke netted the spot kick, 1-2. But only six minutes later, Graham smashed in the rebound after some ping pong in the box, a superb equaliser with the right foot, somehow found its way trough the crowded box. Poor defending cost Villa in the end, dropping two points and keeping them only one point away from the relegation zone.


Pablo Zabaleta Gareth BarrySergio Aguero produced chance after chance, miss after miss, save after save for Manchester City against Stoke. In the end it was Pablo Zabaleta who opened the scoring with an easy tap-in after Asmir Begovic's short clearance, 1-0. Edin Dzeko put one chance high before the Bosnian saw Aguero's shot come out of Begovic's gloves and caught the Stoke defence napping to tap the ball in, too easy, 2-0, his tenth of the season, making him the top scorer for City. Jonathan Walters put Stoke's high before Steven Nzonzi fowled David Silva on the edge of the box. It was very much a scene of a drama queen by the Spaniard, but a penalty was given and the game ended 3-0 thanks to Aguero's spot kick. James Milner hit the post before Aguero had to go off injured with a hamstring. City will hope the injury won't keep the Argentine out for too long, because he has been the top performer for City in their chase against their local rivals United for the top spot. Stoke were stubborn and City had to be patient, but it was a comfortable win in the end.


West Ham celebrate Joey O'Brien's goal against NorwichDecisions went against Norwich but West Ham dominated the game. It was definitely not a good game for Mark Clattenburg! After a penalty was given against Norwich defender Ryan Bennett on Winston Reid, Mark Noble netted the spot kick for West Ham sending the keeper Mark Bunn the wrong way, 1-0. Robert Snodgrass saw his free kick come off the post before handball appeals by Norwich against Reid were completely ignored by Clattenburg. Bunn created a brilliant save against Jack Collison, a terrific reflex save from close range. Joey O'Brien doubled the score then though after a fine move by Noble. Norwich were not happy as their midfielder Alexander Tettey was off the pitch thanks to a head wound inflicted by Carlton Cole. The Weat Ham number nine missed a golden chance before Norwich had another penalty appeal after Harry Kane was brought down on the shoulder of James Tomkins, but Clattenburg gave nothing again. Ricardo Vaz Te headed one chance wide for the Hammers before Russell Martin pulled one back for the Canaries with a right-footer into the right corner to make it 1-2 after a patient buildup. All the controversial decisions aside, the Hammers deserved the win with all their dominance seeing them up to eleventh place in the table, three points behind Stoke in tenth.


Dimitar BerbatovRomelu Lukaku's top performance for West Brom was all to no avail in the end! The Belgian striker was on Fulham's case constantly. Dimitar Berbatov on the other hand wasted chance after chance, but created a fine one-two with Ashkan Dejagha to net the ball bang in the middle, 0-1. The leveller looked offside when Billy Jones crossed the ball from the right to Lukaku who found the bottom right-hand corner from close range, 1-1. Fulham just couldn't handle Lukaku and he hit the post shortly after the equaliser. West Brom were much better after the break, seeing chances saved, one hit the bar and another lastly blocked out. It was an onslaught, before Fulham came back out of nothing! Alexander Kacaniklic produced Fulham's second with a fine touch, turn and then pass under the goalkeeper Ben Foster with just over half an hour to go! Lukaku put another header wide before Berbatov missed one too, yet again! Eventhough he was on the scoreboard, I feel Berbatov's attitude keeps letting him down!

My Predictions => Actual Results
West Brom 0-0 Fulham => 1-2
Man City 1-1 Stoke => 3-0
Swansea 0-0 Aston Villa => 2-2
Tottenham 3-0 Reading => 3-1
West Ham 1-1 Norwich => 2-1
Wigan 0-4 Man United => 0-4
Southampton 1-5 Arsenal => 1-1
Chelsea 5-1 QPR => 0-1
Liverpool 3-0 Sunderland => 3-0
Newcastle 1-2 Everton => 1-2

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