League and Competition Previews



The battle for top spot in Barclay’s Premier League is still going on, only now there is another competitor, Manchester City, who is only 1 point behind league leaders Arsenal and Leicester (bot with 44 points). The first week of 22nd round matches were filled with goals.



Manchester City hosted Crystal Palace at Etihad Stadium, where they destroyed the “The Eagles” with (4:0). Manchester City has a respectful record of only 2 losses in 10 matches and the pressure got to Crystal Palace, as they had no answer to Manchester City attack. In the 1st half, the guests only managed 2 shots on the opposition goal, but it was enough for 2 goals. In 22′ Fabian Delph scored a spectacular long-range goal and has put into the books his 2nd goal in 10 appearances. The second goal came in 41′ by Manchester City top scorer Sergio Aguero who was left unguarded a few feet outside the penalty box and had a great scoring opportunity, he took the shot that was deflected by the Crystal Palace defender, who arguably helped Aguero to score.. The 1st half was decent with chances from both sides, but only one side could convert them.

The second half started with an Injury from Aleksandar Kolarov and was substituted by Gael Clichy, in 57′ Kelechi Iheanacho left the pitch and instead of him, Yaya Toure came into the play. Just 2 minutes after this substitution Crystal Palace had a great chance when Joe Ledley shot at the goal but hit the defender. in 63′ Crystal Palace had another chance to get a goal but Joel Ward shot just wide the post, those mistakes from Crystal Palace were punished in 68′ minute after great play from Manchester City players that left Aguero alone in front of the goal and scored after a pass from Kevin de Bruyne. Now he is the 7th best scorer in Premier League with 10 goals this season. In 84′ minute Sergio Aguero did an unselfish thing, when he was alone in front of the keeper and could receive his hat-trick, but decided to rather pass it to David Silva on the other side and that resulted in the 4th goal for Manchester City in a great performance from them.

Another match that was happening at the same time as Newcastle United and West Ham. Newcastle has a terrible season thus far, as they currently sit in the relegation zone, and this win has brought them to 18th place, only 1 point from leaving the relegation zone. This match at St. James’ Park sprung to life early with a goal in 6′ by Ayoze Perez, he fired a shot just outside the penalty box and the ball went in the bottom right corner and the keeper had no chance in saving that. Only 9 minutes later “The Magpies” scored another one, this time it was by Georginio Wijnaldum and it was his 9th goal this season. There were more chances for the guests to extend their lead but West Ham goalkeeper denied all the opportunities. In 43′ West Ham could reduce their opponents lead with a shot from Cheikhou Kouyate, but Rob Elliot blocked it with a great save. The 1st half was really entertaining, with the hosts shoving better performance.

Going into the second half West ham did not wait long to score a goal of their own, after a terrible mistake from Newcastle United defender, Nikica Jelavic used that mistake and converted it into a goal. The game then proceeded as in 1st half, with the guests trying to score another goal, to seal the deal, but in the end, it turned out 1 goal lead was enough to walk away with 3 points. With this loss, West Ham lost it’s 5th spot position and are now on the 6th spot, whereas Newcastle United are slowly climbing out of the relegation zone.

And now let’s take a look at the matches league leaders played. Both Arsenal and Leicester are trying to get some points to advantage from each other but it just does not go as planned, and with the 23rd round of Premier League is over, they are still both with 44 points, and are sharing a top spot in the league.

Let’s first take a look at Leicester match. Leicester, a team that is still holding strong at the top of the league visited Aston Villa at Villa Park, where they have yet to win since 2007. The game started off balanced until the 1st goal in 28′, when Shinji Okazaki scored after being at the right place at the right time, a block from Mark Bunn repelled the ball to Okazaki’s feet and he used the opportunity to give his team a lead. Only 4 minutes after Leicester had a chance to lead by 2 goals when Aly Cissokho handled the ball and the referee gave Leicester a penalty. Riyad Mahrez stepped up to take it but mark Bunn read him and saved an important penalty for his team. The game went on with nothing worth mentioning happened until the end of 1st 45 minutes. Both of the teams were playing very well and we could expect an interesting second half. The second half started well for both of the teams, as both of them had some opportunities to add a goal to the scoreboard. After many opportunities Aston Villa made their fans happy with a goal in 75′ from Rudy Gestede after a lucky bounce of the ball, it’s worth mentioning the ball bounced into his hand but the referee has not seen it, and the goal was approved. This goal made the match a bit more interesting as both of the team tried to score and win, but the match ended at (1:1), and both of the teams had to be happy with only 1 point.

About an hour drive away from that interesting match, another two teams clashed. Stoke hosted Arsenal at Britannia Stadium. Stoke is playing decently when it comes to home games, as the much-used phrase “But can they do it on a cold rainy day in Stoke” has some background. Even H2H matches between these two show Arsenal has a poor record looking at games they played at Britannia Stadium, with 4 losses and only 1 win in 8 matches against Stoke and Arsenal fans were hoping this match won’t turn into their 5th defeat. Stoke had to play the match without injured Xherdan Shaqiri after a hamstring injury and this abscess was surely noticed.

Stoke was the first team to had an excellent chance when Ibrahim Afellay shot just wide of the right post. Arsenal did not wait long to answer to Stoke, as Oliver Giroud had a chance to score a goal but his shot was denied by Jack Butland. Both of the teams had some opportunities to score, but the keepers were on top of their game. Stoke had better chances in my opinion, but Arsenal had a stronger will because they needed to get at least a point to return to the top spot of the league. The match unfolded with both of the teams playing balanced football, we could see some chances from both sides but nothing spectacular to keep fans o their feet, as both of the teams seemed as they wanted to have the ball at their feet. The match ended in 0:0 and Arsenal were back on the top of the league with 1 point the got that day, this game was a 10th clean sheet for Peter Chech and he received Man of the match reward.

Other matches:

SWANSEA v WATFORD ; 27′ Williams (1:0)
BOURNEMOUTH v NORWICH; 10′ Gosling (1:0), 54′ Daniels (p) (2:0), 75′ Afobe (3:0)
CHELSEA v EVERTON; 50′ Terry (og) (0:1), 56′ Mirallas (0:2), 64′ Costa (1:1), 66′ Fabregas (2:1), 90′ Mori (2:3), 90’+8 Terry (3:3)
SOUTHAMPTON v WEST BROM; 5′ Ward-Prowse (1:0), 35′ Ward-Prowse (p) (2:0), 72′ Tadic (3:0)
TOTTENHAM v SUNDERLAND; 40′ van Aanholt (0:1), 42′ Eriksen (1:1), 59′ Dembele (2:1), 67′ Eriksen (3:1), 79′ Kane (p) (4:1)

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