Friday 27 April 2012

Chelsea march to Munich

The gap at the top of the Premier League was reduced to 3 as Manchester United were pegged back to 4-4 at home to Everton who hit their title-chasing hosts with 2 late goals in a match where Rooney and Jelavic scored twice for their respective teams while Manchester City picked up a 2-0 win at Wolves, relegating their hosts in the process. Ahead of their trip to Barcelona, Chelsea held Arsenal to a goalless draw at the Emirates and a double from Cabaye helped Newcastle to a 3-0 victory at home to Stoke while Tottenham lost 1-0 at Queens Park Rangers with goal-scorer Taarabt seeing red with 12 minutes to go. Wigan were defeated 2-1 to a last-minute goal at Fulham while Norwich lost 2-0 at Blackburn and Swansea drew 1-1 at Bolton. There was more disappointment at Anfield as Liverpool lost 1-0 to West Brom while Aston Villa drew blanks at home to Sunderland and sank further into trouble in midweek when Blackburn hit back immediately with 2 goals in quick succession to earn a 2-1 win at Villa Park.
In the Spanish league, Barcelona lost the top-of-the-table clash 2-1 at home to their bitter rivals Real Madrid before hosting Chelsea in the Champions League where John Terry received his marching orders in the 37th minute leaving the Blues to fight back from 2 down and eliminate the reigning champions with a 2-2 draw. Bayern Munich will meet Chelsea in the final after taking the match to extra-time with a 2-1 defeat at Real Madrid whom they overcame in a penalty shootout.
The Europa League final will be contested between 2 Spanish sides after Athletic Bilbao scored their 3-1 winner with 2 minutes remaining to avoid extra time against Sporting Lisbon and Atletico Madrid completed their double over Valencia with a single goal away from home.        

Friday 20 April 2012

Blues semi joy

Chelsea thumped Tottenham 5-1 at Wembley to reach the FA Cup final where they will meet Liverpool who came from behind to defeat Everton 2-1 with a late winner from Carroll while in the Premier League Arsenal failed to recover from 2 early goals and lost 2-1 at home to Wigan. Norwich City had their wings clipped 6-1 at home to Manchester City with Carlos Tevez claiming a hat-trick while Rooney scored twice at Old Trafford as United put 4 past Aston Villa without reply and bottom-of-the-table Wolves earned a point in a goalless match at Sunderland. Swansea eased 3-0 past their visitors from Blackburn and QPR fell to a single goal at WBA. In the Championship, after returning from a 3-1 victorious trip to Southampton, Reading sealed promotion to the Premier League with a 1-0 home win against Nottingham Forest in midweek.
In the Spanish league the top 2 both won with Real Madrid defeating Sporting Gijon 3-1 in the capital and Messi scoring both goals in Barcelona’s 2-1 win at Levante while Valencia were stunned 4-0 at Espanyol.
In the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals a single goal at Stamford Bridge gave Chelsea the advantage over Barcelona while Bayern Munich take a 2-1 lead to Real Madrid after a late goal from Mario Gomez at the Allianz Arena.
In the Europa League Falcoa netted twice as Atletico Madrid defeated Valencia 4-2 while Sporting Lisbon overcame Athletic de Bilbao 2-1 in the other first-leg semi-final.

Friday 13 April 2012

Easter shocks

A full week of fixtures was completed on Easter Monday and the evenings following it in which Manchester United suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at Wigan allowing Manchester City to narrow the gap after a 4-0 home win over West Brom with Aguero bagging a brace. Arsenal eased to a 3-0 win at Wolves who played most of the match with 10 men while Tottenham also suffered a shock loss, losing 2-1 at home to Norwich, and Chelsea shared the points in a 1-1 draw at Fulham. Andy Carroll scored a last minute winner for Liverpool at Blackburn after the 25th minute dismissal of Liverpool keeper Doni had helped Yakubu wipe out an earlier double from Maxi Rodriguez while Everton demolished Sunderland 4-0 at Goodison Park and Queens Park Rangers swept Swansea aside 3-0 at Loftus Road. Newcastle are level on points with 4th placed Tottenham after 2 goals against their visitors from Bolton while Stoke drew 1-1 at Aston Villa.
In Spain Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick as Real Madrid won 4-1 at Atlelico Madrid while Barcelona put 4 past visiting Getafe without reply and the top-of-the-table clash in Germany ended in a 1-0 win for hosts Dortmund against Bayern Munich

Monday 9 April 2012

Judgment day

In another week of poor refereeing Queens Park Rangers lost 2-0 at Old Trafford after the early and controversial dismissal of their captain Shaun Derry which lead to the opening goal from the spot and gave Manchester United an 8 point lead at the top as Manchester City lost 1-0 at Arsenal with Balotelli - who should have been shown red earlier - receiving his marching orders in the last minute. A gutsy performance by Wigan was not enough as they lost 2-1 at Chelsea with the officials once again at the centre of controversy while Newcastle won 2-0 at Swansea on Friday with Cisse scoring both goals and Tottenham played a goalless match at Sunderland. Clint Dempsey struck twice as Fulham triumphed 3-0 at Bolton and Blackburn lost by the same scoreline at West Bromwich Albion while Liverpool could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to Aston Villa and 2 goals from Jelavic gave Everton a share of the spoils at Norwich City. Wolves remain rooted to the bottom after losing 2-1 at Stoke.
Celtic cemented the Scottish title with a 6-0 avalanche at Kilmarnock while in Spain Barcelona narrowed the gap at the top with a 4-1 victory at Zaragiza as Real Madrid were held to a goalless draw at home to third place Valencia.   

Friday 6 April 2012

Late title race

Manchester United scored 2 stunning late goals at Blackburn on Monday evening to extend their lead at the top of the table as City had only managed a point at home to Sunderland with 2 late goals of their own after going 3-1 down to their visitors while Adebayor scored twice in Tottenham’s 3-1 home victory over Swansea to put the Londoners level on points with neighbours Arsenal who went down 2-1 at Queens Park Rangers. Two goals from Ivanovic and a late goal from Torres sealed a 4-2 win for Chelsea at Aston Villa while Bolton won 3-2 at bottom club Wolves and Fulham defeated Norwich 2-1 at the Cottage. There were 2-0 home wins for Everton against West Bromwich Albion, Wigan against Stoke and Newcastle against Liverpool with Papiss Cisse scoring both goals for the Magpies. Real Madrid and Barcelona both won in Spain with Real thumping their hosts Osasuna 5-1 and Barcelona putting 2 past Athletic de Bilbao at the Camp Nou while in Italy the most eye-catching result was Inter’s 5-4 win over Genoa.
 Chelsea progressed to the semi-finals of the Champions League with a 2-1 home win over ten-man Benfica where they will meet Barcelona who defeated Milan 3-1 with Messi scoring twice from the spot. Apoel’s dream ended 5-2 at Real Madrid who will meet Bayern Munich after Olic scored twice against their guests from Marseille. Spanish teams dominate the Europa League with 3 representatives in the semi-finals after Valencia smashed AZ from Alkmaar 4-0 and Atletico Madrid won 2-1 in Hannover while a 2-2 home draw against Schalke was enough to see Athletic de Bilbao through joining Sporting Lisbon who drew 1-1 with Metalist in Ukraine.