Tuesday, March 17, 2015

It Happened in England: Premier League Matchweek 29

The Premier League title race got even clearer than it already was this weekend. The top four picture however, is still quite muddy. Here's how the matches played out.

Crystal Palace 3-1 QPR
Palace got started early and often in this one. it was Wilfried Zaha in the 21st, then James McArthur in the 40th, and Joel Ward put the finishing touches on it in the 42nd. QPR was never really in it despite owning a slight edge in overall possession. They were rewarded with the consolation goal from Matthew Phillips just seven minutes from time.

Arsenal 3-0 West Ham
This was a fairly typical Arsenal game. They dominated possession and managed several nice passing set ups, They were doing everything well except putting the ball in the net until late on. West Ham, meanwhile, rarely had a sustained attack and often were unable to send more than two players forward at a time. Olivier Giroud scored just before halftime to give Arsenal the initial lead and Aaron Ramsey was on the business end of a wonderful passing play between himself and Giroud to add the second. Mattieu Flamini added the third just for kicks mere minutes after coming on as a sub.

Leicester City 0-0 Hull City
Both teams managed a few shots, nothing went in. Tom Huddlestone was send off for Hull for a second yellow in the 72nd, so Leicester will probably feel like they should have taken all three points.

Sunderland 0-4 Aston Villa
Tim Sherwood took over for Villa and suddenly they can score goals. It was the usual suspects this time around as Chrisitan Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor each had a pair for the Villains, who have now won three straight in all competitions.

West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Stoke City
Brown Ideye scored in the 19th minute and Hull never had an answer. Even with their 57-43 advantage in possession they were unable to out shoot their opposition.

Burnley 1-0 Manchester City
Manchester City's frustrating 2015 continues as now they fall to lowly Burnley. They had a massive edge in possession and a smaller advantage in shots, but simply couldn't get one beyond Tom Heaton. Burnley employed the tried and true tactic that teams such as Arsenal and Liverpool used to defeat City. They kept nine men behind the ball, frustrating the often organized City attack. Then they just found an opportunity in the counter. It was George Boyd with the moment in the 61st on a well struck header, After that it was the typical Manchester City story, they got down and looked defeated, rarely threatening to find the equalizer. When they did threaten, it wasn't quite at full strength as a miss or easy save was usually the result. It was the first win in eight tries for the Clarets.

Southampton 1-1 Chelsea
A solid back and forth game that really opened up in the second half as both teams aimed for all three points. Diego Costa scored early for Chelsea on an open header. You never give Diego Costa an open header. Southampton leveled when Dosan Tadic converted their first converted penalty of the year. The man of the match had to be Fraser Forster. Without the Southampton keeper and his heroic (and in some cases lucky) goaltending this one probably finishes 4-1 to the home side.

Manchester United 3-0 Tottenham
United got started inside of ten minutes with Marouane Fellaini. Michael Carrick continued the slaughter in the 19th. Wayne Rooney finished the job in the 34th, complete with a wonderful celebration mocking the "controversy" surrounding his boxing with a friend in his home. It wasn't exactly the best showing for Spurs. They were down and out far before they could even get going. They only managed five shots with one reaching the target. The win keeps United in the top four and Spurs six points out.

Everton 3-0 Newcastle
This was a win Everton needed badly. While not as clinical as Manchester United's 3-0 victory, they did hold the edge in every notable stat. James McCarthy scored in the 20th, followed by Romelu Lokaku converting a penalty early in the second half, and Ross Barkley adding the third for added effect just before the final whistle. They are now slightly more comfortable in their depressing relegation battle.

Liverpool 1-0 Swansea
A nitty gritty win for Liverpool that was earned by Jordan Henderson scoring in the 68th. Liverpool did well to pepper Luckasz Fabianski with shots, so it was only a matter of tome before one of them went in.Liverpool's top four hopes are bolstered, but they still sit a pair of points behind Manchester United.

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