BPL: Week Thirteen Review
Arsenal remain four points clear at the summit of the Barclay’s Premier League table after a 3-0 victory over Cardiff City in the Welsh capital on Saturday. Wales International Aaron Ramsey continued his fantastic form with two goals for the Gunners and has now found the net eight times this season, making him the highest scoring midfielder in the league. Ramsey, who joined Arsenal from Cardiff in 2009 as a 17 year old, refused to celebrate his goals as a mark of respect to the home supporters. Arsenal’s attacking prowess and midfield creativity proved too much for the Bluebirds, who have been formidable at home this campaign, recording positive results against Manchester City, Manchester United, and Swansea City. However, despite their impressive form at home Malky Mackay’s side sit only one place and three points above the relegation zone.
Everton returned to winning ways with an impressive 4- 0 thumping of Stoke City at Goodison Park on Saturday. Teenager Gerard Deulofeu, who is on-loan from Barcelona, was at the heart of Everton’s attack and opened the scoring with his first goal for the Toffees. Defenders Seamus Coleman and Byran Oviedo added to their advantage in the second half before Romelu Lukaku rounded off the scoring with his eighth goal in nine games. Everton currently sit fifth in the table and will be buoyed heading into their clash against former manager David Moyes and Manchester United on Wednesday.
Fulham slumped to a 3-0 defeat against fellow Londoners West Ham at Upton Park on Saturday. The Cottagers lacked an attacking threat and failed to muster a shot on target. Consequently, the decision was made to fire manager Martin Jol. The dismissal comes on the back of five straight defeats that leaves the Cottagers 18th in the table. First team coach Rene Meulensteen, who worked under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, has been appointed as Jol’s replacement.
Also on Saturday, Newcastle United recorded their fourth win on the bounce as they overcame West Bromich Albion 2-1 at St. James’ Park. Yoan Gouffran scored for a third successive match for the Magpies as they moved up to sixth in the BPL table. Tony Pulis’ first game in charge of Crystal Palace ended in defeat as Gary Hooper earned Norwich City a 1-0 win. The defeat left the Eagles bottom of the table, three points adrift of safety. Finally, Aston Villa and Sunderland played out a 0-0 stalemate at Villa Park. The point was only the second point Sunderland have earned on their travels this season.
Sunday’s impressive array of fixtures kicked off with a 2-2 draw between Tottenham and Manchester United at White Hart Lane. Spurs came into the match with manager Andre Villas-Boas facing increasing pressure following their humiliating 6-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City the previous week. Kyle Walker gave Tottenham the lead with an excellent free-kick before Wayne Rooney pounced on a defensive lapse from Walker to level matters before half time. Sandro restored Spurs’ advantage in the 54th minute with a thundering strike but the lead was short-lived. Rooney converted a penalty after Danny Welbeck was brought down in the box, the England forward moved into fifth on the Premier League leading scorers list with 164 goals.
Hull City claimed their first ever win over Liverpool as they picked up a surprise 3-1 victory at the KC Stadium. The result means Liverpool slipped to fourth in the table and have now conceded six goals in their previous two games. Manager Brenden Rodgers’ suffered a further set back as forward Daniel Sturridge was ruled out for six to eight weeks before the encounter. Hull have had the best start to the season out of the newly promoted teams, Steve Bruce has guided them to 10th in the table.
Chelsea moved into second place as they came from a goal down to defeat Southampton 3-1 at Stamford Bridge. The Saints took the lead after only 13 seconds, Jay Rodriguez capitalized on a inexplicable Micheal Essien pass to give the visitors the advantage. However, the Blues improved in the second half and goals from defenders Gary Cahill and John Terry put them in the ascendency. Terry’s goal was the perfect way to mark his 400th Premier League appearance. Jose Mourinho’s team are now only four points behind league leaders Arsenal. Southampton have now lost two in a row for the first time this season and have slipped to seventh in the table.
Samir Nasri scored twice as Manchester City moved into third in the table with a 3-0 win over Swansea City at the Etihad. Nasri’s second was Manchester City’s 29th home goal this season and helped maintain their 100% home league record. The Blues are only two points behind second placed Chelsea, and six points behind leaders Arsenal. If City can improve upon their lackluster away form then they could easily begin to apply pressure on the Gunners.
The Barclay’s Premier League continues with a full fixture list on Tuesday and Wednesday:
Crystal Palace v West Ham
Arsenal v Hull City
Liverpool v Norwich
Man United v Everton
Southampton v Aston Villa
Stoke v Cardiff
Sunderland v Chelsea
Swansea v Newcastle
Fulham v Tottenham
West Brom v Man City
Sources: BBC Sport, sportsmole.co.uk