Sunday, April 19, 2015

It Happened in England: Weekend Premier League and FA Cup Semi-finals

Crystal Palace 0-2 West Bromwich Albion.
Crystal Palace was forced to play from behind early when James Morrison knocked home a corner in the second minute. Palace did have control of the match, but their attack didn't produce any results. Craig Gardner buried another corner in the 53rd to put it out of reach. The win puts West Brom a fairly comfortable eight points above the drop zone.

Leicester City 2-0 Swansea City
Leonardo Ulloa scored in the 15th minute and Andy King sealed the deal in the penultimate minute of the second half to give Leicester all three points. The Foxes increase their chances of Premier League survival, but they still have work to do, however, as they are behind Hull on goal difference for the final spot to stay up.

Stoke City 2-1 Southampton
Just when you think the Saints are going to make another run at the top four, they slip up against Stoke. Things were looking good early for Southampton as Morgan Schneiderlin scored in the 22nd minute. The lead would only last until just after halftime when Mame Diouf equalized for the home side. Charlie Adam would get the late winner in the 84th. Southampton are now five points and two spots behind fourth place Manchester City for the final spot in the Champions League.

Everton 1-0 Burnley
Ross Barkley had a penalty saved but Burnley still couldn't hold off Everton. Kevin Mirallas put them in front shortly after the penalty save and that was all they needed. Burnley's chance at a comeback would be over when Ashley Barnes was showed a second yellow just before halftime. The defeat means Burnley sit in the Premier League's basement with 26 points, but they are still only two points from safety.

Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United
Eden Hazard scored in the 38th minute and Chelsea held off Manchester United to bring them closer to the title. United's defeat certainly wasn't for a lack of trying. They had 70% of the ball and launched 15 shots towards Thibaut Courtois, but only two made it on target. Chelsea are now two wins from securing their first title in five years. A win at Arsenal next week and again at Leicester a few days later can seal the deal.

Manchester City 2-0 West Ham United
Things never looked good for the Hammers in this one as City gets back on track to try and hold on to a Champions League position. James Collins put one into his own goal in the 18th and Sergio Aguero doubled the lead in the 36th. That was all City needed to keep their spot in the table.

Newcastle 1-3 Tottenham
It was the usual suspects for Spurs as they draw level with Liverpool for fifth place and keep their extremely slim top four hopes alive. Nacer Chadli scored in the 30th to give Tottenham a lead would last through halftime. Jack Collback leveled right after the break, but Christen Eriksen scored with one of his patented free kicks just seven minutes after the equalizer. Harry Kane finished the job in stoppage time with his 20th goal of the season, keeping him tied with Sergia Aguero as the Premier League's leading scorers.

Reading 1-2 Arsenal (FA Cup Semi-final)
Alexis Sanchez scored twice, including once in extra time, to send the Gunners to their second consecutive FA Cup final. Their lower league opposition gave them a strong fight in their first semi-final appearance since the 1920s, but extra time was as far as they would go.

Aston Villa 2-1 Liverpool (FA Cup Semi-final)
Steven Gerrard's quest for one last trophy at Liverpool will come up short as Aston Villa comes from behind to take down the Reds. Phillippe Coutinho got Liverpool on the board first in the 30tth minute, but six minutes later, Christian Benteke equalized for Villa. Fabian Delph scored in the 56th to put Villa in front and that was all she wrote. 

Aston Villa and Arsenal square off at Wembley for the FA Cup on  May 30.

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