Friday, 24 February 2012

London cup failure

Arsenal returned from their midweek mauling in Milan to surrender 2-0 at Sunderland in the FA Cup and Millwall lost by the same scoreline at home to Bolton Wanderers while the 2 other London clubs struggled to earn replays, with Chelsea coming from a goal down to draw 1-1 at home to Birmingham and Tottenham drawing blanks at minnows Stevenage. In other matches Blackpool came unstuck to 2 early goals at Everton and Norwich had their wings clipped 2-1 at home to Leicester while 2 goals at Crawley Town saw Stoke City through despite the visitors playing most of the match with 10 men, and Liverpool rocked Brighton 6-1 at Anfield thanks to 3 own goals.
In Spain Lionel Messi scored 4 times as Valencia were battered 5-1 at Barcelona while 2 goals for Karim Benzema helped leaders Real Madrid to a 4-0 home win over Racing Santander.
In the Champions League Chelsea lost 3-1 at Napoli while there were 1-0 home wins for Basel and Marseille over Bayern Munich and Inter respectively and Real Madrid drew 1-1 at CSKA Moscow.
City sailed 4-0 past reigning Europa League champions Porto in Manchester to go through 6-1 on aggregate while Stoke were knocked out 1-0 at Valencia and Manchester United lost 2-1 at home to Ajax but progressed to the next round 3-2 on aggregate.

Friday, 17 February 2012

North London rising

Arsenal came from a goal down to win 2-1 at Sunderland with a last minute goal from Thierry Henry but remain 10 points behind Tottenham who demolished Newcastle 5-0 at White Hart Lane while at the top Manchester City picked up another 3 points with a single goal at Aston Villa and 2 goals in quick succession from Rooney gave Manchester Untied a 2-1 victory at home to Liverpool. Jamie Mackie scored twice but Queens Park Rangers lost 3-2 at Blackburn and Swansea lost by the same result at home to Norwich with Danny Graham scoring twice for the Swans and Grant Holt netting a double for the victorious visitors. Bolton lost 2-1 at home to fellow-strugglers Wigan, and Stoke were beaten 2-1 at Fulham while Chelsea lost 2-0 at Everton. Mick McCarthy was sacked as Wolves were humiliated 5-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion with Peter Odemwingie claiming a hat-trick.
In Spain Real Madrid extended their lead at the top after a Ronaldo hat-trick gave them a 4-2 home win against Levante while Barcelona lost 3-2 at Osasuna for whom Dejan Lekic scored twice.  
In the Champions League Arsenal were thumped 4-0 away to Milan with Robinho netting a double and Bayer Leverkusen lost 3-1 at home to Barcelona with 2 goals from Sanchez while Benfica lost 3-2 at Zenit St Petersburg and Lyon gained a slender 1-0 lead to take to Apoel Nicosia.
Manchester United opened their Europa League account with a 2-0 win at Ajax and Manchester City triumphed 2-1 at Porto while Stoke were toppled by a Topal wonder strike at home to Valencia. Metalist were the biggest winners hitting 4 without reply at Red Bull Salzburg with Cristaldo on target twice for the Ukrainians.          

Friday, 10 February 2012

The catch-up game

With Manchester City winning 3-0 at home to Fulham, United needed a win to end the week level at the top but found themselves 3 down at Chelsea and had to fight back to earn a 3-3 draw with Rooney scoring twice from the spot while ten-man Blackburn were gunned down 7-1 at Arsenal with van Persie scoring a hat-trick to send the Gunners into 5th place ahead of Liverpool whose 0-0 home draw with Tottenham on Monday evening was also a favourable result for Newcastle who had picked up a 2-1 win at home to Aston Villa. Norwich beat Bolton 2-0 while the dismissal of Cisse at QPR helped Wolves come from behind to win with 2 goals in the second half and Swansea enjoyed the same scoreline at West Brom. Sunderland won by a single goal at ten-man Stoke who had Huth sent off and Everton drew 1-1 at Wigan.
In Spain there were narrow wins for the top 2 as Real Madrid won 1-0 at Getafe and Real Sociedad lost 2-1 at Barcelona who defeated Valencia 2-0 in the semi-final of the Copa del Rey at the Camp Nou in midweek.
In FA Cup replays the away teams all prospered with Blackpool scoring 3 at Sheffield Wednesday without reply, Millwall getting a last-minute 3-2 winner at Southampton and Sunderland winning 2-1 in extra-time at Middlesbrough.
The biggest talking point of the week was the resignation of Fabio Capello as England manager.      

Friday, 3 February 2012

Cup and League week

With FA Cup matches being played at the weekend a full fixture of league matches took place in midweek. On Friday evening Watford were knocked out of the cup 1-0 by their visitor from Tottenham and Fulham lost 2-1 at Everton while among other matches at the weekend Queens Park Rangers lost 1-0 at home to a controversial Chelsea penalty and Manchester United were beaten 2-1 at Liverpool.  Crawley Town claimed another scalp 1-0 at Hull and Newcastle lost by the same result at Brighton while Birmingham triumphed 4-0 at Sheffield United with Adam Rooney scoring twice. Millwall scored late to earn a 1-1 draw and a trip to Southampton and Swansea lost 2-1 at Bolton while there were 2-0 wins for Stoke at Derby and Leicester at home to Swindon. Arsenal came from 2 down at home to defeat Aston Villa 3-2 with the help of 2 van Persie penalties and West Bromwich Albion lost 2-1 at home to Norwich while Middlesbrough drew 1-1 at Sunderland.
In the Premier League a brace from Bale helped Tottenham win 3-1 at home to Wiagn while Liverpool won 3-0 at Wolves and Chelsea drew 1-1 at Swansea. Manchester United are level on points with Manchester City after winning 2-0 at home to Stoke while City lost 1-0 at Everton. Djibril Cisse scored on his debut for QPR at Aston Villa but the hosts came from 2 down to earn a draw and there were draws 1-1 for West Brom at Fulham and 0-0 for Arsenal at Bolton while Norwich lost 3-0 at Sunderland and Newcastle won 2-0 at Blackburn.
In Spain Real Madrid won 3-1 at home to Real Zaragoza while Barcelona coyuld only draw 0-0 at Villarreal. The big match in the Dutch Eredivisie saw Feynoord defeat Ajax 4-2 with Guidetti claiming a hat-trick.