Thursday 30 December 2010

Manchester leads London at New Year

The year will end with Manchester United and City at the top of the table ahead of London teams Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham. Dimitar Berbatov scored both goals in United’s win over Sunderland at Old Trafford on Sunday and another goal 2 days later away to Birmingham who denied the league leaders all 3 points with a controversial late equaliser. Manchester City picked up 6 points with Tevez scoring twice in their 3-1 win at Newcastle and Balotelli scoring a hat-trick as they crushed Aston Villa 4-0 at Eastlands. Arsenal dropped a point in their 2-2 draw at ten-man Wigan but will fondly remember Monday evening and their 3-1 home victory over rivals Chelsea who returned to the Bridge to beat Bolton 1-0 in midweek.. Tottenham are only a point behind Chelsea after winning 2-1 at Aston Villa and defeating Newcastle 2-0 at White Hart Lane. In other matches during the holiday period West Ham eased their troubles at the foot of the table with a 3-1 win at Fulham and a point in their 1-1 home draw against Everton. Stoke returned from Blackburn with a 2-0 win only to fall to 2 early Baird goals at home to Fulham while Blackburn picked up the pieces to win 3-1 at West Brom who had earlier lost 2-0 at Bolton. DJ Campbell scored both goals as Blackpool won at Sunderland, and Wolves lost 2-1 at home to Wigan before earning a memorable 1-0 victory against Liverpool at Anfield.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

There’s snow change at the top

Snow decimated the English Premier League fixtures with only 2 matches played at the weekend. Bolton Wanderers lost 1-0 at Sunderland, and West Ham picked up a point in their 1-1 draw at Blackburn. On Monday evening Manchester City missed the chance to overtake Manchester United and go into Christmas as league leaders when they lost 2-1 at home to Everton who played the last 30 minutes a man short after the dismissal of Victor Anichebe.
Away from the European snow, Italy’s Inter were crowned Fifa Club World Cup champions after cruising to a 3-0 win over Mazembe of DR Congo in Dubai.

Friday 17 December 2010

United top Gunners

A goal from Park Ji Sung at Old Trafford on Monday evening was the difference between Manchester United and Arsenal with Rooney missing his target from the penalty spot while a day earlier Drogba had scored for Chelsea before seeing his spot kick saved in their 1-1 draw at Tottenham. Manchester City won 3-1 at troubled West Ham and Liverpool lost by the same score at Newcastle while Aston Villa defeated West Bromwich Albion 2-1 at Villa Park. There were no goals between Fulham and Sunderland or Everton and Wigan while a single goals at Wolverhampton gave the hosts all 3 points against Birmingham, and Blackburn’s 2-1 loss at Bolton resulted in the dismissal of manager Sam Allardyce. Queens Park Rangers finally lost their unbeaten record in the Championship going down 3-1 at home to Watford.
The Europa League group stage came to an end as Manchester City topped their group with a 1-1 draw at Juventus followed by Lech Poznan who won by a goal to nil at Red Bull Salzburg. Champions Atletico Madrid bowed out of the competition with a 1-1 draw at Bayern Leverkusen who were joined in the next round by Aris Tessaloniki after their 2-0 home win over Rosenborg. Zenit St Petersburg became the only team to win all 6 group matches with a 3-0 victory at AEK Athens who saw Anderlecht overtake them and move into the knockout round with a 2-0 win at home to Hajduk Split. In an exciting match Borussia Dortmund failed to get the win they needed at Sevilla and shared 4 goals with their Spanish hosts who join group winners PSG in the next round. Liverpool who had already done enough to top their group played out a goalless draw at home to Utrecht and were joined by Napoli who beat Steaua into second place with a goal deep into stoppage time in Naples.
As the European cups go into a winter break; the draws for the next phases were made with 2009-2010 Champions League finalists Bayern Munich and Inter meeting in the Europa Cup and Arsenal facing Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16 to be played in February.

Friday 10 December 2010

Arsenal reach top

As Manchester United’s match at Blackpool fell foul of the weather Samir Nasri scored twice to send Arsenal top with a hard-earned 2-1 victory over Fulham at the Emirates while Chelsea could only draw 1-1 with Everton at Stamford Bridge. An early Tevez goal gave Manchester City all 3 points at home to Bolton while Tottenham drew 1-1 at Birmingham and Stoke shared 4 goals with their hosts Wigan and 3 goals for Blackburn sent Wolves packing. Newcastle United were defeated 3-1 at West Brom with Peter Odemwingie scoring twice for the baggies and West Ham lost 1-0 at Sunderland while on Monday Liverpool cruised to a 3-0 win over Aston Villa at Anfield.
League leaders Arsenal were the only English side not to top their Champions League group as a 3-1 home win over Partizan Belgrade send them through behind Shakhtar Donetsk who won with 2 late goals at home to Braga. Chelsea lost 1-0 at Marseille but qualified ahead of the French side while Manchester United drew 1-1 at home to Valencia, and a 3-3 away draw to FC Twente saw Tottenham top their group as Inter lost 3-0 at Werder Bremen. Karim Benzema scored a hat-trick as Real Madrid put 4 past Auxerre at the Bernabeu, and having parted with manager Martin Jol and already secured a consolation Europa League place, Ajax won 2-0 at AC Milan.

Friday 3 December 2010

United hammered in seventh heaven

Having drawn 1-1 at Newcastle, Chelsea were replaced at the top of the table by Manchester United who demolished Blackburn 7-1 with Demitar Berbatov scoring 5 of the goals at Old Trafford, while Arsenal kept up the pressure winning 4-2 at Aston Villa. Wolves grabbed a late winner in a 5 goal thriller against Sunderland at Molineux and West Bromwich Albion triumphed 4-1 at Everton while Bolton and Blackpool shared 4 goals at the Reebok Stadium. West Ham gave themselves some hope at the bottom of the table with a 3-1 home win against Wigan, and Tottenham beat Liverpool 2-1 with a last minute goal at White Hart Lane while Stoke earned a 1-1 draw with a last minute goal at home to Manchester City and Birmingham drew 1-1 at Fulham in a week that saw every Premier League team get on the score sheet.
In themost eagerly awaited match of the week Barcelona thrashed Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid 5-0 in the Spanish el classico.
In the Carling Cup Manchester United were hammered 4-0 at West Ham while Arsenal booked a semi-final place with a 2-0 win at home to Wigan where they will meet Ipswich who knocked WBA out with a single goal at Portman Road. A 2-1 victory for Birmingham over local rivals Aston Villa was marred by a pitch invasion at the end of the match bringing back unpleasant memories from the decades gone-by.
In the Europa League Mario Balotelli scored twice as Manchester City winged their way 3-0 past Red Bull Salzburg at the City of Manchester Stadium to go top ahead of Lech Poznan who drew 1-1 at home to Juventus while Liverpool remain at the top of their group after a 1-1 draw at runners-up Steaua Bucharest.
On Thursday England lost out to Russia in their bid to host the 2018 World Cup while the 2022 World Cup will be entrusted to Qatar.