Saturday, January 16, 2016

It Happened in England: Poor officiating hurts Everton and Leicester

Tottenham 4-1 Sunderland
Tottenham had their hearts broken by Leicester City late in midweek, but Sunderland is the right team to welcome in if you want to get back on track. Despite 70% possession and blasting 15 first half shots, it didn't look good in the 40th minute. That's when Patrick Van Aanholt have the visiting Black Cats the lead with a nice run down the flank and a well placed shot inside the near post. Christian Eriksen was able to right the ship two minutes later. His curling effort was nearly cleared off the line, but the deflection tucked under the cross bar.

Tottenham was able to continue their attacking domination after the break. It took them far less time to score in the second half. Moussa Dembele scored at the hour mark with a low shot from the edge of the area. Eriksen then launched his second of the day in the 67th from about a mile and a half away from the goal. The Dane took an ambitious shot that bent perfectly into the top corner. Because a two goal lead wasn't enough for Spurs' level of domination, Harry Kane add a fourth in the 79th minute to finish the blowout. Spurs are in a distant fourth, for points behind the three way tie at the top of the league. Sunderland are still firmly entrenched in the relegation zone.

AFC Bournemouth 3-0 Norwich City
Two relegation candidates in need of points to stay alive met on the south coast. Dan Gosling gave the Cherries a tenth minute lead. Bournemouth went further in front in the 54th minute with a goal from Charlie Daniels. Benik Afobe erased any doubt with a 75th minute goal to make it 3-0 to the home team.

Chelsea 3-3 Everton
Guus Hiddink actually admitted that his squad are in a relegation fight this week, so it looks as if things are getting urgent in West London. While there were no goals in the first half, Hiddink's Blues wasted little time giving us reason to laugh in the second. John Terry bumbled an interception of a cross into his own goal in the 49th minute. The second Everton goal was much more attractive. Kevin Mirrallas doubled the lead with a beautiful turn around half volley banger. Chelsea would not go down quietly, though. Diego Costa got onto a long ball amidst a stumbling Tim Howard in the 64th minute before walking it in to an open net. They would equalize less than two minutes later with a simple dissection of the Everton defense followed by a deflected shot from Cesc Fabregas. Ramiro Funer-Mori thought he had put the Chelsea comeback to bed just into second half stoppage time, but John Terry has other plans. With the final action of the match, the Chelsea captain got behind the Everton defense (he very well may have been offside) to equalize and earn his side a point.

Manchester City 4-0 Crystal Palace
Tricky Palace was trying to become the next club to hurt Manchester City's title chances, but it simply was not to be. Fabian Delph scored his second of the season in the 22nd minute with a long range bouncer that evaded a diving Wayne Hennessey. City saw their lead stretch to two in the 41st minute. That's when Sergio Aguero hammered home the second goal. City would continue their complete control in the second half. In the 69th minute, some well organized passing confused the Palace defense enough to allow Aguero to nail his second of the match. The fourth came from David Silva with six minutes left to play. The win means Manchester City are temporarily in second with Arsenal still to play this weekend.

Newcastle 2-1 West Ham
The Hammers had won three straight and were without a loss in eight matches coming into this one agaisnt Newcastle, who had jsut scored a dramatic draw against Manchester United. They apparently had some momentum from that accomplishment. Ayoze Perez scored for them in the sixth minute. Georginio Wijnaldum doubled the lead in the 15th. West Ham would start their comeback effort right away in the second half. Nikica Jelavic got them within a goal in the 49th minute. Things got fast and furious with the Hammers looking for a tying goal, but there was nothing doing in the end, leading to West Ham's first loss in nine matches. Newcastle bumps out of relegation into 17th, with Swansea, who play Watford on Monday night, dropping down.

Southampton 3-0 West Bromwich Albion
You never really know what West Brom will give you, and today they didn't exactly offer very much. Southampton were in front with James Ward-Prowse's fifth minute stunner of a free kick. He made his brace in the 35th to make it a two goal Saints lead. It became a three goal advantage in the 72nd. Dusan Tadic had the third goal.

Aston Villa 1-1 Leicester City
Leicester City, fresh off their win over Tottenham, was in the mood to go to the top of the table with at least a point at lowly Villa. It took a half hour, Shinji Okazaki, and goal line technology to give the Foxes their lead. After a sprawling save kept an initial lob out if the net, the Japanese international swooped in to bury the rebound, which was almost swept off the line by Mark Bunn. It almost got worse for Villa pretty quickly. A 32nd minute sliding handball in the penalty area against Aly Cissokho led to Riyad Mahrez penalty. Thankfully Bunn was able to keep it out of the net.

Leicester had so far put in an unconvincing performance and they would come to pay for it. A 76th minute equalizer from Rudy Gestede took the scenic route into the goal on its own, but probably should have never had the chance to begin with. Gestede had played the ball down to his feet with his arm before taking the shot. The Foxes developed a sense of urgency towards the end of the match, but were unable to retake the lead and had to settle for a point. It still gets them into first place, at least until Arsenal pays Stoke tomorrow. Aston Villa are still in last despite the point.

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