Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Premier League Review - Match Day 27

This weeks round of games weren't as exciting as the week before but we still had some important results in terms of how they affect the table. Only one team won away this week and we had the rare sighting of two goalless draws at Craven Cottage and Ewood Park.

Wolves took the same team to the Emirates that beat leaders Man United the previous week but the were no where near to taking any points of the Londoners. Arsenal would have had more than their two goals if it wasn't for the impressive performances of Richard Stearman and Wayne Hennessey. Stearman made several blocks to stop the Gunners increasing their leads while Theo Walcott, Cesc Fabregas and RVP kept Hennessey on his toes throughout the ninety minutes.

Mick Mac's men only had one shot which involved Sylvan Ebanks-Blake shooting over the bar. Theo Walcott missed a great chance after great work from the energetic Jack Wilshere. While RVP took both goals to make him the highest Premier League scorer in 2011 with 11 goals in nine games. Andrey Arshavin seems to be finding his form again with him having a shot deflected wide by Stearman in the second half.

STAR MAN: Jack Wilshere - Why would you want to stifle that amazing natural attacking ability Fabio?
*Special mention for Wayne Hennessey who kept the scoreline at a respectable level for his team.

Obafemi Martins got his first start for his new club after his prolonged visa wrangle, starting up front alongside Nikola Zigic. This was another match where Stoke's frontmen were disappointing, defender Robert Huth is equal top scorer with striker Kenwyne Jones with seven goals so far. Something that needs to improve if Stoke are to achieve a top half finish.

Brum were the better of the two sides with the majority of possession and it was giant Nikola Zigic who scored their winning goal in injury time. Cameron Jerome sent a precise ball in to the box with the Serbian jumping higher than everyone else to score with his head for his third goal in three matches. Amir Begovic could have done better in a game where it loked to be heading for a goalless draw.

STAR MAN: David Bentley - Getting better with each game.


Once again Kevin Nolan was involved in drama on the pitch after a dangerously high tackle on David Dunn, which led to nothing but handbags between the two. As much as I respect Nolan's obvious passion for his team, I can't help thinking he is getting involved in too many skirmishes on the pitch in recent weeks.

Both sides had chances to win it but Paul Robinson and Steve Harper were in alert from with the former pushing the ball over from a great Fabricio Collocini shot after good work from Jonas Gutierrez. Robinson also pushed over from a Joey Barton corner. Newcastle were probably the more dangerous of the two but both managers will be happy with their clean sheets.

Jose Enrique - Some great offensive play.

Villa made four changes from their last game with Ashley Young starting as captain with Stiliyan Petrov out for the trip to Bloomfield Road. The worst thing about this game was the awful pitch, I've seen Rugby pitches look better. You have to wonder if this is why Ian Holloway's men have a worse record at home as it isn't exactly easy to get a flowing game together. Forgotten man Gabriel Agbonlahor gave the away side the lead from a counter-attack that started with Nigel Reo-Coker, he passed to Darren Bent with the striker sending the ball staight into Agbonlahor's path.

Richard Kingson came off his line but the Villa man rounded the goalkeeper to score his second goal of the season. Blackpool were level just five minutes later with Elliot Grandin. scoring the home teams 11th goal from a corner this season. Jean Makoun was given a straight red for a dangerous tackle on DJ Campbell and it was all Blackpool after that but Villa did well to hold on for a draw. A draw was probably the best result and even Gerard Houllier couldn't complain about the sending off. The Seasiders are the worst performers in 2011, with fewer points - 3; more defeats - 7 and more goals conceded - 20.

STAR MAN: Elliot Grandin - Could be a key man if Blackpool are to get the results needed to stay up.

There was still a Cahill on the scoresheet but luckily for the home team it was Gary, not the more familiar name of Evertonian Tim. Daniel Sturridge continued to endear himself to the Wanderers faithful with his third goal in three games since his move from champions Chelsea. It was a much needed win for the home team, having lost five of their last seven games. Everton had an early chance to draw level but Tim Cahill headed wide after a Leighton Baines cross.

David Moyes men could have done without losing another three points as they continue to sit too near the relegation zone for their managers liking. He will be disappointed they couldn't kick on from their previous win against Blackpool, this was a disappointing showing and they clearly miss the injured Louis Saha. Bolton are now eighth in the table and only three points off a Europa League spot.

Gary Cahill - Scored his first goal of the season and helped his team to a clean sheet.

Fulham will probably be the happier of the two with this result although they could have won it in the dying minutes. The home team had a penalty taken by Clint Dempsey and although Petr Cech saved it, it should have been retaken after Didier Drogba encroached so much he had to stop himself from being further forward than the penalty spot. Striker Drogba came of the bench to replace new boy Fernando Torres after he started alongside Florent Malouda and Nicolas Anelka.

It is clear the Spaniard will not repeat the instant success he had at previous club Liverpool and it will be interesting to see how long Carlo Anceotti persists with a formation that is clearly not paying dividends. Fulham look more dangerous than they did at the beginning of the season with players such as Damien Duff improving, this draw takes them to twelfth in the table.

KEY MAN: Clint Dempsey - Another good game from the American and he was unlucky with the penalty.

With Stevie G injured, Luis Suarez got his first start wearing the iconic no.7 shirt. The home team were the brighter in the second half with Dirk Kuyt sending a weak shot at Ali Al-Habsi which the goalkeeper found it easy to gather. The goal came from new fan favourte Raul Meireles, scoring another impressive volley after Fabio Aurelio crossed to the edge of the box. Suarez could have doubled the lead after good work from Glen Johnson but he sent his chance wide.

Wigan came out with more confidence in the second half with Hugo Rodellega being fouled by Jamie Carragher early on. Wigan's equaliser was surrounded in controversy over debates of whether Antolin Alcaraz was offside but it didn't matter as Steve Gohouri toe poked the ball in. Suarez had a couple of good chances to win it late on with a free kick that rattled the cross bar and a shot that flew over after a fine run from Aurelio.

STAR MAN: Luis Suarez - Fits perfectly into the Liverpool team and can't wait to see him with Stevie G in support.

For once City looked to actually want to win a match rather than just defend for Italy. United's top scorer Dimitar Berbatov started on the bench with Wayne Rooney the lone man up front. Micah Richards looked bright on his return to the team and he was involved it City's first chance with David Silva sending the ball wide just past the far post. City were giving the Spaniard too much space. Nani gave the home side the lead five minutes before half time; Edwin Van der Sar sent a long kick forward which was touched onto to Ryan Giggs by Wayne Rooney. A perfect pass from the Welshmen went straight to Nani, who took a superb first touch before shooting past Joe Hart.

Silva scored a well deserved goal to draw his team level on 64 minutes although he knew nothing about it as Edin Dzeko's chance was going anywhere but the goal until it bounced off Silva's back. Although City were the better side you can never bet against SirAlex's men and it took a wonder goal from Rooney to give them the three points. Roberto Mancini must admit his team are out of the title race and hopefully he will realise how god his team can be when they actually play to win.

STAR MAN: One goal and an assist for the winner. An accomplished show from the midfielder.


Once again Spurs came from behind to win at Stadium of Light, something they have done seven times this season. Niko Kranjcar got his second league start of the season and repaid 'Arry with another winning goal in the 57th minute, which happened to be a volley and John Menseh headed out of the box. Asamoah Gyan gave the home team the lead on the tenth minute after Kieran Richardson crossed into the box. After an impressive touch and spin he shot past Heurelho Gomes.

Michael Dawson levelled on the stroke of halt-time heading in a Steven Pienaar corner with the ball traveling through William Gallas and goalkeeper Craig Gordon's legs. Spurs will have to defend better against AC Milan if they are to carry on in the Champions League but they sit comfortably in fourth place and two points above Chelsea after Carlo Ancelotti's men drew yesterday.

STAR MAN: Niko Kranjcar - Another super strike to give his team all three points.


A six-pointer with six goals and some disappointing defending from teams now sitting 17th and 19th in the table respectively. The first 45 minutes was all the home team within 31 minutes, scoring their first two within the first seven. New manager will know the first thing to work on is his defense after watching from the stands. Graham Dorrans scored the opener after a Peter Odemwingie cross and Jerome Thomas doubled their lead after being given a ridiculous amount of space in the West Ham box. Carlton Cole did score while his side was 2-0 down but it was - wrongly - ruled out for offside. Albion's third was a Winston Reid own goal.

On his 100th Premier League start Scottie Parker gave his teammates a speech at half-time that according to Carlton Cole: 'brought a tear to my eye.' Whatever he said worked as Avram Grant's men looked like a completely different team. Debutant Demba Ba got two and Cole the other to give his side a well deserved point. If West Ham could just find some consistency they might not have spend all season in the bottom three.

STAR MAN: Frederic Piquionne - Was key to their second half revival.

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