Thursday, 31 January 2013

Week 24: Premier League Tops & Flops

Sports - Football - Premier League - Picks of the Week


Wayne RooneySouthampton kept possession and pressure high against Manchester United, the stats were stunning! Even Sir Alex Ferguson knew his side were fortunate to escape with three points! That doesn't happen all too often at Old Trafford! Saints opened the scoring and made it 0-1 after just two minutes when Jay Rodriguez got the better of David De Gea after Michael Carrick's screwed-up pass back. Wayne Rooney equalised soon after off a nice loft in by Shinji Kagawa who hit woodwork minutes later. The former Evertonian then tapped in Patrice Evra's header off Robin van Persie's free kick to make it 2-1, United's 1600th Premier League goal. Both goalkeepers were kept busy till the end. De Gea spilled Rickie Lambert's free kick after Adam Lallana was fowled by Carrick, but the keeper reacted nice and quick after that to avoid the worst. Artur Boruc blocked a couple of chances aswell, including a great save off RVP, who also had a goal disallowed for offside. Rodriguez was blocked by Nemanja Vidic and De Gea got across to save Lambert's free kick to deny Saints a single point.


Theo WalcottThe Emirates saw great chances for both sides and a great comeback by Arsenal. With the defensive shambles of the Gunners, it could have been 3 or 4-0 to Liverpool! But the visitors stayed too deep and eventually lost their lead. We certainly saw the best and worst by both. Luis Suarez scored the opener finishing the job after slips and mess ups all over the place by the Arsene Wenger's men. Suarez and Daniel Sturridge were both far and fast ahead. Pepe Reina had to produce a couple of splendid saves against Theo Walcott at the other end too. But sloppy play ended up costing Arsenal again. Daniel Agger's header off a corner was cleared off the line before Jordan Henderson saw his shot high, Wojciech Szczesny was very lucky as he was off his line. Henderson's next shot was half-blocked by sub Andre Santos before it ricochet in to make it 0-2. But it took the Gunners only three minutes to come back into the game, Olivier Giroud heading in Jack Wilshere's free kick, unmarked, 1-2 and Walcott smashing in the equaliser from the right. Late action included Giroud's booking for simulation, messing up a walk-in chance and Suarez pulling a last-minute save out of Szczesny, both sides ending up dropping two points rather than winning one!


Fulham's Dimitar Berbatov and West Ham playersIt was a huge win for Fulham against West Ham at Craven Cottage! Dimitar Berbatov was brilliant and could have had a hat-trick!!! Damien Duff's free kick was squeezed in by the the Czech striker with a fine header from a very tight angle, 1-0. The goal looked offside, even he himself looked over to the linesman! Kevin Nolan put the Hammers level from a quickly taken free kick, Fulham were caught napping, 1-1. Seconds later, Hugo Rodallega headed in Duff's cross beating three defenders, 2-1. Berbatov saw a couple of chances go wide before Andy Carroll pulled a block-save out of Mark Schwarzer. At the other end, Rodallega pulled save out of Jussi Jaaskelainen before Mladen Petric hit the post off the rebound and Joey O'Brien eventually saw it into the back of his own net, JUST over the line to make it 3-1 and three points to Fulham!


Gareth Bale scoring the equaliserNorwich were much better than the side that flopped against Liverpool and Luton, whilst Tottenham disappointed until Andre Villas-Boas got his changes, notes and influence going. Wesley Hoolahan stroked the ball into an empty unguarded net after a fine one-two, one-touch build-up, to make it 1-0. Tottenham were nowhere. A handball appeal against Jan Vertonghen was not given. Norwich were on top before Spurs sub Lewis Holtby came on with a couple of notes for the team. The notes worked their magic, Gareth Bale equalising with a top-draw left-foot smacker after a fine run ten minutes from time. Gylfi Sigurdsson pulled brilliant last-minute save out of Mark Bunn, keeping one point for Norwich, dropping two for Spurs.


Reading celebrate Adam Le Fondre's equaliserWith five late goals in last three games, 10 in 13, Adam Le Fondre has been stunning for Reading once again! He pulled the first goal back against Chelsea with a sweet finish off a beautiful ball in to make it 1-2 three minutes from time. Adam Federici produced a fine leap-save off Ramires before taking late free kick deep into injury time for Le Fondre to curl in the equaliser after a couple of headers across the box. Super sub, or what?! It seemed like same old, same old for Chelsea, dropping goals and points late on, just like against the Saints the other week. And the Blues made such a strong start when Juan Mata was in off Fernando Torres, 0-1, showing off some top-class one-touch football! Frank Lampard claimed the second, seeing his header deflect in off a corner to double the lead. Oscar missed some golden chances, it could have been 3 or 4-0! Interim boss Rafael Benitez will be left scratching his head and wondering...


QPR v Man CityBrilliant saves by both keepers denied both QPR and Manchester City to alter the scoreboard, the prior being the happier winning the point whilst the latter will see it as two crucial points dropped in the title race. This clash was very different to the other goalless draw of the week between Sunderland and Swansea, the Welsh visitors creating more, but the whole game not having much to write home about.

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

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