Monday, October 27, 2008

EPL Update - P1 Report

Mehul's report:

Since Arsenal's 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge in February 2004, Chelsea had gone 86 games at home without defeat. Liverpool ended the streak yesterday on a first half Xabi Alonso goal. The win puts Liverpool at the top of the table, 3 points ahead of Chelsea.

Xabi Alonso's solitary first-half goal ended Chelsea's 86-game unbeaten home league record and put Liverpool three points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

Alonso struck in the ninth minute when his 20-yard shot deflected off Jose Bosingwa and left Petr Cech wrong-footed.

It was Chelsea's first defeat under new boss Luiz Felipe Scolari, but Liverpool were always in charge of a pulsating contest at Stamford Bridge and look real title contenders on this form.

Chelsea had not been beaten at home since Arsenal's 2-1 success in February 2004 but Liverpool deserved their triumph with an impressive display.

Chelsea began the brighter of the two sides and their initial thrusts almost resulted in an opening goal.

Nicolas Anelka dribbled his way into the penalty area in the third minute but was tackled before he could test Jose Reina.

The ball fell to Deco but the Chelsea midfielder's shot was deflected to safety.

Liverpool went ahead in the ninth minute with their first attack of the game.

Chelsea failed to deal with a thrown-in when John Terry could only half-clear Dirk Kuyt's clever back-header.

The ball fell to Alonso on the edge of the penalty area and his shot deflected off Chelsea right-back Bosingwa into the net.

Arsenal took 3 points from a win against West Ham at Upton Park. An own goal by West Ham defender Julien Faubertin the 75th minute gave the Gunners the lead and a 90th minute strike from Emmanuel Adebayor sealed the 2-0 victory.

Arsenal capitalised on a poor weekend for title rivals Chelsea and Manchester United to secure maximum points from a hard-fought 2-0 win at West Ham.

Following Liverpool's victory at Stamford Bridge earlier this afternoon, and United's failure to beat Everton, Arsene Wenger's side knew just what was at stake as they looked to keep pace with the Barclays Premier League leaders.

The Gunners - fresh from a fine 5-2 Champions League trashing of Fenerbahce in Turkey - certainly had to dig deep for their win, which came courtesy of an own goal from Julien Faubert when he deflected a shot from substitute

Emmanuel Adebayor late in the second half, which was harsh on inspired West Ham keeper Robert Green, before the African wrapped things up in stoppage time.

Nevertheless, it is these such keenly-contested clashes which Wenger's young squad will have to come through if they are to have a say in the destiny of the title come May - and on this afternoon's evidence, they could still just have the final word.

With 25 minutes left, Wenger made a double change as Adebayor and Abou Diaby - who had played so well in Turkey - were introduced, replacing Nasri and Walcott.

Green was having an inspired afternoon and made another fine one-handed save to keep out Van Persie's low, angled drive.

When the England stopper was finally beaten by a stinging 25-yard free-kick from the Dutchman, his luck held as the ball cannoned off the base of the post and bounced away.

Arsenal, though, finally got the breakthrough with quarter of an hour to go when Adebayor weaved his way into the area and hit a low shot back across goal.

With Bendtner lurking in the six-yard box, the unfortunate Faubert stuck out a boot which diverted the ball past Green.

Adebayor should then have done better when following up his own shot, only to stab over from close range.

The Togo frontman eventually made sure of what could yet prove to be three vital points in an intriguing title race when he latched on to a long pass up field from Bendtner to round Green and smash the ball into an empty net.

To compound the misery for West Ham, referee Phil Dowd showed striker Carlton Cole what seemed a somewhat harsh straight red card for a sliding tackle from behind on Song.

Man United settled for a point in 1-1 tie at Everton, dropping them to 6th place with a game in hand.
Everton outmuscled Manchester United to claim an unexpected 1-1 draw thanks to a spirited second-half comeback.

The champions had dominated the first 45 minutes of the Premier League clash with a controlled and confident display, to the point that Everton were chasing shadows.

United held a deserved lead through Darren Fletcher at the break, but in the second period Everton stormed back with a physical performance, with Marouane Fellaini heading the equaliser.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was able to make five changes to the United side that outclassed Celtic in the Champions League in midweek.

Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra were back from injury, while Ryan Giggs returned as captain. Wes Brown and Ji-Sung Park were also recalled.

Everton had former United striker Louis Saha up front with Ayegbeni Yakubu, while Joseph Yobo and Phil Neville returned from injury.

The hosts were either brave or foolhardy to play two wide-men in Steven Pienaar and Mikel Arteta, leaving Leon Osman and Fellaini sometimes cruelly exposed in central midfield, where Giggs pulled all the strings.

United found space with ease. Dimitar Berbatov may seem to show an economy of effort, but his clever link-up play kept United moving forward with menace.

Everton did have a couple of decent half-chances early on, firstly when Fellaini took a pass from Joleon Lescott and saw a shot on the turn blocked by Nemanja Vidic.

From the corner by Mikel Arteta, Belgian midfielder Fellaini headed just over. Then Wes Brown needed to make a hasty block when Saha struck a low drive from the edge of the box.

But United's movement, quality passing - and the amount of men they got forward so quickly - had Everton constantly stretched.

Fletcher had a header from Giggs' corner deflected wide, and Neville blocked a drive from Cristiano Ronaldo. Wayne Rooney then blasted wide after a free-kick had been blocked.

A goal from the champions has been on the cards for a while when Fletcher broke the deadlock after 22 minutes.

Another week, another win for Hull as they continue their red hot start with a 3-0 road victory at West Brom. Since the game was a day before the Liverpool-Chelsea clash, Hull had a brief share of 1st place with their 20 points.

Hull produced another stunning performance to claim an unlikely share of the Barclays Premier League lead this afternoon.

The promoted Tigers were second best to West Brom for large parts of a full-blooded encounter at The Hawthorns but hit the hosts with three goals in the second half.

In a blistering 20-minute spell, Hull - earlier indebted to goalkeeper Boaz Myhill and the crossbar for keeping them in the game - snatched victory trough Kamil Zayatte, Geovanni and Marlon King.

Hull's fourth successive win, amazingly, put them level with Chelsea and Liverpool at the top of the table and left them in good heart for clashes against the Blues and Manchester United next week.

It was a second successive heavy defeat for the Baggies and, like last week's 4-0 loss to United, was one in which the scoreline barely reflected their effort.

The result could hardly have been anticipated at the break after the hosts enjoyed a number of opportunities.

Ishmael Miller, recalled to add some firepower to the goal-shy home attack, proved a particular handful for the Hull defence and Myhill had to be at his best.

West Brom took an early grip on the game and earned their first opportunity from a free-kick on the edge of the box after Andy Dawson chopped down Miller.

Miller's deflected effort was easily gathered by Myhill but left-back Dawson had been injured in the challenge and was limping out of position as the Baggies attacked again.

In another news from the weekend, Tottenham fired manager Juande Ramos and hired Harry Redknapp away from Portsmouth. A day after the switch, Spurs were victorious for the first time this season, but not enough to keep them out of last place. Tottenham were 2-0 winners to Bolton.

Harry Redknapp took less than 24 hours to deliver what Tottenham wanted all season - a victory, 2-0 over Bolton, to kick-start their Barclays Premier League campaign.

Roman Pavlyuchenko and Darren Bent grabbed the goals against Bolton at White Hart Lane but all eyes were on Redknapp after his appointment to succeed Juande Ramos as Spurs boss.

They are still bottom of the table but have made up ground with other strugglers and crucially have a morale-boosting first league win of the season, at the ninth attempt.

Bolton, who had Gavin McCann sent off, gave Spurs nervous moments but there is enough for Redknapp to work with when he gets to work this week, with key contributions coming from players who struggled under Ramos.

Ramos' hasty departure came too quick for the club to change the matchday programme, so fans were given a chance to read the Spaniard's final notes.

"If you believed everything that was being speculated on then your perception of the club would be far removed from the reality,'' he wrote.

The reality was Ramos heading back to Spain and Redknapp in the dressing room and dugout, even though reserve-team coach Clive Allen picked the team.

Redknapp was unveiled to the Spurs fans before kick-off - something not afforded to Ramos due to the embarrassing manner of Martin Jol's departure a year ago.

The encouraging sign for Redknapp was skipper Ledley King being available, four days after playing in the defeat to Udinese - it was the first time he had been ready for games in such quick succession for 10 months.

As expected of a team with a new manager, there was an extra zip to the hosts, something missing so far this season.

In other scores from the weekend:

Newcastle 1 - Sunderland 2
Middlesbrough 1 - Blackburn 1
Stoke 0 - Manchester City 3
Aston Villa 4 - Wigan 0
Fulham 1 - Portsmouth 1

Standings after Round 8

1. Liverpool - 23 pts.
2. Chelsea - 20
3. Hull - 20
4. Arsenal - 19
5. Aston Villa - 17
6. Man Utd - 15 (game in hand)
7. Portsmouth - 14
8. Man City - 13
9. Sunderland - 12
10. West Ham - 12
11. Blackburn - 12
12. Middlesbrough - 10
13. West Brom - 10
14. Everton - 9
15. Wigan - 8
16. Fulham - 8 (game in hand)
17. Bolton - 8
18. Stoke - 7
19. Newcastle - 6
20. Tottenham - 5

And, Edith…gulp…

Edith's Soccer Blog

I just arrived back home this morning after a long flight. First of all, thanks to Bob Sturm for expensing my trip to report on the Chelsea v. Liverpool game match. Let me assure you, Bob, I did not rent those movies that the hotel will certainly accuse me of having expensed to my room.

As you have surely heard by now Liverpool defeated Chelsea 1-0 in an offensive showdown that would make Don Coryell wet his pants.

Xabi Alonso scored the only goal of the match when his nine minute shot was deflected beyond goalkeeper Petr Cech by the Blues full-back as I bellowed “MOOOOOOOOSSSSSEEE” from the stands.

The result ended Chelsea's incredible 86 match unbeaten home league record in the Premier League.

Game Story

A first half goal from Xabi Alons ended Chelsea's' 86 match unbeaten home league record and put Liverpool three points clear at the top of the Barclay's Premier League.

Alonso struck in the ninth minute when his 20 yard shot (that's nothing to be proud of, Russ. Yep 20 yards!!) deflected off Jose Bosingwa to leave goalkeeper Petr Cech flat footed.

Chelsea had their moments but Ashley Cole wasted their best chance of the match in 73rd minute by firing wide from eight yards.

Chelsea began the brighter of the two sides and their initial thrusts almost resulted in an opening goal.

Nicolas Anelka dribbled (somehow this is not a penalty) his way into the penalty area in the third minute but was tackled before he could test Jose Reina.

The ball fell to Deco but the Chelsea mid fielder's shot was deflected to safety.

Liverpool went ahead in the ninth minute with the first attack of the match.

Chelsea failed to deal with a throw when John Terry could only half clear Dirk Kuyt's clever back-header.

The ball fell to Xabi Alonso on the edge of the penalty area and his shot deflected off Bosingwa past Petr Cech.

Match Report

Now on to the mailbag:

Dear Edith,

What makes you think you are qualified to report on soccer?


Dear Marcus,

I don't think my work would be on the Internet if I were not qualified.


This Saturday I will be traveling to cover the Chelsea v. Sunderland match at Stamford Bridge and will have a full report next week.


Edith Wordsworth

And finally, Brandon:

Liverpool 1, Chelsea 0

Allow me to editorialize here as a newbie Reds fan:



With that out of the way, Liverpool served notice that while they may
have had a great bit of luck in pulling off some last minute victories
against mediocre competition, they are very much a legitimate threat to
ending a drought in the Premier League that has lasted since 1990. And
they did it by becoming the first visiting team in 87 matches to defeat
the Blues at Stamford Bridge. A streak that spanned 56 months.

Coming into Sunday's match, Chelsea had not allowed a goal in six
Premier League matches. But it didn't take long for that streak to end.

10 minutes in, Liverpool had won a throw in on the far side on Chelsea's
end of the pitch. Alvaro Arbeola threw in to Dirk Kuyt, whose chip into
the box was headed out by John Terry but only to the edge of the box
where Xabi Alonso gathered it, and fired a shot that was intended to
curl towards the right side of the net and away from Petr Cech. Along
the way, it deflected off defender Jose Bosingwa and Cech could only
watch helplessly as the ball bounded into the left corner.

Armed with a 1-nil lead, the Liverpool defense headed up by veteran
Jamie Carragher took over, thwarting the Chelsea attack over the next 80
minutes with an Ashley Cole slice wide at the 73rd minute proving to be
the only cause for concern for Pepe Reina.

Like previous matches, this tilt had it's chippy moments with four
yellow cards handed out. Captain Steven Gerrard was questionably booked
for what appeared to be a good challenge on Bosingwa just before
halftime. Then in the second half with Chelsea pressing on a corner,
Jason Terry fouled Reina, causing the Spanish goaltender's blood to rise
for a bit before cooler heads prevailed.

Alonso had a golden chance 17 minutes into the second half to pick up
his second goal of the match when his free kick bid eluded the vision of
a frozen Petr Cech. The Czech goaltender was bailed out however by the
post to his left

Everton 1 Manchester United 1

The Red Devils had gotten back into the race in recent weeks, but may
very well look back at this visit to Goodison Park with disgust come May
in a result that left Fergie whining about the officiating.

United opened the scoring 22 minutes in when a through ball from Ryan
Gigg was gathered by Darren Fletcher who fired low and across former
United goaltender Tim Howard. Moments later, United missed two golden
opportunities to stretch their lead when Howard made two fabulous saves
on Ronaldo and Nemanja Vidic five minutes later.

United held the lead at the half, but saw that lead vanish 18 minutes
into the second half when Phil Neville's cross was headed past Edwin Van
der Sar by the 6'5" Maraouane Fellaini. Both clubs battled to a tie over
the next 27 minutes but not without a little drama from Merseyside's own
Wayne Rooney, who was booked at the 68th minute for clobbering Mikel
Arteta. Rooney, who started his career with Everton, heard it from the
Toffee supporters and responded by kissing the United badge on the front
of his jersey, which is technically a bookable offense.

The referee decided to let it slide. Yet, Fergie decided to question
Alan Wiley's decision for reasons only known to him.

“The referee was to blame, and the crowd was egging him on and there was
every chance he may have been sent off, and not for anything he did in
the game.”

Yeah, OK. Don't expect the FA to do anything to golden boy Fergie, whose
side sits eight points behind Liverpool with a game in hand.

Arsenal 2 West Ham 0

The Gunners averted a draw with a pair of goals in the last 15 minutes
against a frustrated West Ham squad at Upton Park to stay four points
behind Liverpool. Arsene Wenger's squad finally broke through thanks to
an own goal by Julien Faubert, whose clearing attempt on Emmanuel
Adebayor's shot instead found the back of his own net. Adebayor would
ice it in extra time with a goal of his own off a counter attack,
causing frustration to boil over for Carlton Cole, who was sent off two
minutes later for a reckless swing on Alexandre Song.

The Hammers fell to 10th with their 5th loss in the Premier League season.


dingus mcdouchey said...

an EPL review with not one mention of a Robinho hat-trick. total bollox.

Anonymous said...

Manchester United Vs West Ham United is a surewin of 8.27%
Michael Carrick could return to first-team duties for Manchester United against former club West Ham at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.