Thursday, January 14, 2016

Midweek Premier League Madness: Wild draw at Anfield, Leicester even at the top

Chelsea 2-2 West Bromwich Albion
Chelsea continues to look revitalized since the departure of Jose Mourinho, but they could only muster a single point tonight. They took the early lead with a goal from Cesar Azpilicueta in the 20th minute. They conceded an equalizer to Craig Gardner in the 33rd minute to send it to the break level at one. Chelsea grabbed the lead back thanks to a 74th minute own goal from Gareth McCauley, but it wouldn't last.  James McLean got West Brom even in the 86th to earn a share of the points.

Manchester City 0-0 Everton
These two met last week in the Capital One Cup with Everton coming out on top.  there was far less excitement this time around. Neither team scored despite Manchester City ripping off 22 shots with five on target. City stays in third place, three points back of the leaders, thanks to Leicester's win at Tottenham.

Southampton 2-0 Watford
Saints haven't lived up to expectations thhat trick providesis season and they were looking to get on track against Watford. Shane Long got them off to a good start with a goal in the 17th minute to put Southampton ahead. It would rage a while, but the lead would eventually grow in the 73rd minute when Dusan Tadic scored.

Stoke City 3-1 Norwich City
Norwich was forced to play this match a man down for close to an hour thanks to Gary O'Neil was sent off for an aggresive challenge from behind in the 31st minute. Stoke was unable to capitalize in the first half, however, and went into the break scoreless. They would jump pot if the gates and score early in the second half. Jonathan Walters put one home in the 49th minute. But ten man Norwich had a quick answer. Jonathan Howson leveled six minutes later. Stoke were off and running after that, though. Joselu put them ahead in the 67th and a 78th minute own goal off Ryan Bennett reach the 3-1 final score.

Swansea City 2-4 Sunderland
Sunderland got off to a fast start in this battle of relegation Candidates. Jermain Defoe had them in front in the third minute. Swansea was able to answer through Gylfi Sigurdsson's penalty in the 21st minute before they took a slight hit. In the 37th minute, defender Kyle Naughton was sent off for a rough tackle, forcing the Swans to play a man down. Andre Ayew didn't care that his team was shorthanded. He put Swansea in front just three minutes after the red card and they held it into halftime. Sunderland leaped into the lead in a little more than a quarter hour after the restart. In the 49th Patrick van Aanholt tied it and Defoe notched a second in the 61st to make it 3-2 to the visitors. Defoe's an provided insurance goal in the 85th. It wasn't enough to get Sunderland put off the relegation zone, though. They are still a point back of Swansea for safety.

Tottenham 0-1 Leicester City
Two teams who were looking to validate their credentials as title contenders met in North London. Despite getting outshot 23-10, Robert Huth was able to score for Leicester in the 83rd minute to give then all three points and move them level with Arsenal for first.

Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal
It's always a good time when Arsenal and Liverpool meet, and this one was no exception. It seemed you couldn't turn your head away without missing a goal in the first half. First off, it was Liverpool putting the early pressure on the table topping Gunners. Roberto Firmino hammered home a rebound in the tenth minute to give the Reds an early lead. Arsenal would produce a response against the run of play four minutes later. Aaron Ramsey was able to slide a shot inside the near post after a perfect assist from Joel Campbell. Firmino was unmoved by the equalizer. The Brazilian curled a shot through traffic into the upper 90 for his second to make it 2-1 to the Reds in the 20th minute. Arsenal wouldn't allow themselves to stay down. Olivier Giroud got the slightest of touches to a corner to level at two goals apiece in the 25th minute. He was unlucky to have not scored minutes later when he slid into a cross in the six yard area, but mistimed his slide and couldnt get enough of the ball to poke it in.

Halftime was a good chance for all of us to catch our collective breath after the bonkers opening 45 minutes. Olivier Giroud was able to get us right back on the goal scoring train ten minutes into the second half, though. He somehow managed to navigate a cluttered penalty area after another great feed from Campbell to slot home Arsenal's third goal. It looked like the Gunners would hold on to win until Joe Allen find a tying goal in the final minute.

The late equalizer means Arsenal are now level on points with Leicester for the top spot in the table, but hold onto it on goal difference. Liverpool remain in  ninth.

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