Saturday, April 4, 2015

It Happened in England: Saturday's Premier League Action

Highlight reel goals and a clearer top four picture were the tale of the tape this Saturday in the Premier League. Here's how they all turned out.

Arsenal 4-1 Liverpool
A sloppy first half hour quickly gave way to three beautiful goals from Arsenal. First, it was Hector Bellerin breaking the seal on Simon Mignolet's goal with a curler from just inside the box. Mesut Ozil scored on a perfect free kick just a few minutes later. Alexis Sanchez capped off the carnage with what could have been a goal of the week candidate just seconds before halftime. Liverpool did threaten a bit in the second half and they got one back on a fairly obvious penalty by Bellerin. Jordan Henderson buried the ensuing penalty kick. Any hope Liverpool had of a comeback was thwarted when Emre Can was sent off for a second yellow in the 84th minute. If that wasn't enough, Olivier Giroud buried another stunner from range right at the end of the 90 to finish the 4-1 scoreline.

Manchester United 3-1 Aston Villa
Ander Herrera scored twice, including the stoppage time clincher, but it will be Wayne Rooney's brilliant footwork on the half volley to put Man U. up 2-0 that stole the show. Christian Benteke would get Villa on the board just after that, but Herrera made sure it wasn't enough. The win, coupled with Liverpool's destruction in North London, pretty much solidifies United's return to the Champions League.

Swansea City 3-1 Hull City
Bafetimbi Gomis and Ki Sung-Yeung gave Swansea a 2-0 halftime lead before Paul McShane got Hull back in it just after the break. Gomis secured the points with his second, this time in stoppage time at the end of the game. Swansea are can't climb higher than eighth, but they will take wins against lower table opposition any day. Hull sits only three points above the drop.

West Bromwich Albion 1-4 QPR
QPR takes a very big, and very loud, step away from the basement. This one was 3-0 to QPR before West Brom even knew what hit them. Eduardo Vargas, Charlie Austin, and Bobby Zamora all scored in the first half for Rangers. Victor Anichebe got one for Albion in the middle of the second half just to make it look like they got off the bus this afternoon. Ticking time bomb Joey Barton scored in stoppage time, just to make the blowout worse. The loss doesn't really hurt West Brom at all and QPR still have an uphill battle to stay in the Premier League. They sit on 25 points, still a point inside the bottom three.

Everton 1-0 Southampton
Phil Jagielka tapped in a corner in the 16th minute and that was all Everton needed to pretty much end any talk of relegation. Southampton did scratch and claw, forcing Tim Howard to make some nice saves, but it wasn't enough to get them any points, Southampton's top four hopes are now just a distant memory.

Leicester City 2-1 West Ham
A pretty even, back and forth game that saw Andy King bury the winner in the 86th minute to keep the Foxes' slim hopes of survival alive. Esteban Cambiasso got it started for Leicester in the 12th. Cheikhou Kouyate leveled for the Hammers just after the half hour mark. The loss does nothing for West Ham, as have been resigned to a mid-table finish for a while. Leicester are still at the bottom of the pile despite the win.

Chelsea 2-1 Stoke City
Chelsea's title case gets even stronger and Stoke's mid-table position remains unchanged. Chelsea dominated first half possession and shots but it still took 38 minutes, and a desperate and unnecessary penalty by Phillip Wollcheid, to put them ahead at home. The lead didn't last long as Charlie Adam turned a few heads a minute and a half before halftime with what some may consider the goal of the year. Adam received the ball and started trotting down field when he noticed Thibaut Courtois out of position. So he launched shot from the wrong side of center that sailed over the goalkeeper's head and into the goal. Asmir Begovic, despite having a great game otherwise, would ruin Adam's goal by committing a major goalkeeping error, allowing Loic Remy to tap into an open goal for the win. Diego Costa made his return from a hamstring injury in the second half, but couldn't finish as he was subbed off just ten minutes into his day. 

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