Monday, December 28, 2015

EPL Review: Arsenal At The Summit, Van Gaal Got A Reprieve

Odion Ighalo continued where he left off on Boxing Day with yet another goal, Louis van Gaal got a reprieve with a goaless draw at Old Trafford, while Spurs re-affirmed their top four credential with another win against the in-form Watford.
The Hammers stop the rot of no Premier League win in eight matches and Stoke proved that the victory against United was no fluke by beating Everton.
Odion Ighalo celebrates scoring a goal for Watford
Watford 1-2 Tottenham Hotspurs
Odion Ighalo’s unbelievable rich vein of form continues unabated with a delightful finish from another assist by his strike partner Troy Deeney, to level the scoring on the 41st minute after Harry Kane put Spurs ahead at Vicarage road.
It was an even first-half with either team enjoying any significant control of the game. Spurs played the better football in the second-half, however, the match turned on its head after Nathan Ake himself sent off for dissent in the 64th minute.
Substitute Heung-Min Son capitalised in the dying minutes with a magnificient back-heel goal from Kieran Trippier swinging cross into the box. Spurs re-affirmed their top four position.
Norwich player, Jerome Cameron
Norwich 2-0 Aston Villa
Neither of the teams enjoyed any superiority over the first-half aside a stunning volley by Jonathan Howson in the 24th minute that nestled inside the right post for Norwich to open the scoring.
The lead was doubled three minutes to the end of the match when Wes Hoolihan finds Mbokani with a lofted pass before steering his header into the bottom right corner, giving Brad Guzan no chance.
Lukaku scored twice for Everton
Everton 3-4 Stoke
Shaqiri’s brace in the first-half, with Lukaku’s reply sandwiched between them kept the Potters ahead at the break.
Romelu Lukaku added to his first-half strike in the 64th minute from a terrific cross by Tom Cleverly, before calmly slotting home. Gerard Deulofue added the third with a cool strike when he found himself one on one with the goalie seven minutes later.
Joselu restored parity for Stoke with a first time shot that goes into the top of the net. Stoke claimed all the three points from the penalty box when John Stones was adjudged to have committed a foul. Arnautovic kept his cool and scored the spot-kick.
West Brom 1-0 Newcastle
The first-half was more entertaining than the score-line suggests. The home side played some attractive offensive football, while the away side created their chances using lightning fast counter attacks.
West Brom stepped it up in the second-half with the creation of a couple opportunities. The decisive moment of the match came in the 78th minute with a perfect lofted pass from Claudio Yacob which finds Daren Fletcher, who jumped the highest and steered a close-range strong and precise header that beat the Newcastle Keeper to score the winning goal.
Cyrstal Palace player on the ball
Crystal Palace 0-0 Swansea
This certainly was not the most exciting encounter in the EPL today, but extended Palace’s unbeaten run to six, although remaining fifth in the table.
There’s a lot of positives to be taken from this match against the high flying Palace by the managerless Swansea who have now claimed two clean sheets on the trot to aid their fight against relegation.
Arsenal 2-0 Bournemouth
The Gunners leapfrogged Leicester with goals from Gabriel Paulista and Mesut Ozil despite the Boxing Day trashing by Southampton.
Ozil was as expected, the star of the show yet again with another assist – taking him to 16, from the corner for Gabriel to notch home. He later secured the victory to confirm himself as the best player in the EPL this season bar none.
Bournemouth gave a good account of themselves with some adventurous and bold play but the Gunners were much too strong on the day.
Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea
It was not United’s best performance of the season but at least halted the recent run of defeats. The under fire manager Louis van Gaal can breathe a sigh of relief to come out of the match with at least a point against a Chelsea side struggling with confidence.
The match was more entertaining than the 0-0 score-line suggests, with United the livelier of the two sides. The two goalkeepers were outstanding, making some fine saves and United hitting the post twice.
West Ham player celebrates a goal
West Ham 2-1 Southampton
The Hammers run of eight games without a win came to an abrupt end at Upton Park against a Southampton side full of confidence after the mauling of Arsenal on Boxing Day.
An own goal by Jenkinson gave the Saints the lead with the Hammers drawing level in the 69th minute from a deflected ball off Michail Antonio before substitute, Andy Carroll heading the winner in the 79th minute.