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Welcome back to my Premier League column and I wish you all a Happy New Year! This has been a superb weekend of football, with lots of goals, controversial decisions and superb defending. Here I will discuss the top three games of the weekend.
Manchester United 2 Liverpool 1
This match is a mouth-watering prospect for any football fan across the world, and it lived up to those expectations, even if Liverpool were slow getting out of the blocks. Suarez was kept quiet throughout the game thanks to the United defence, most notably Ferdinand and Rafael. The Red Devils started the match very well, Rafael and van Persie linked up well in the early stages and it only took nineteen minutes for them to break the deadlock.
An intelligent bit of play by RVP to lose his man after a great ball in by Evra worked a treat, and it left for him to simply slide home. From then on, they hit another gear, although Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard had a couple of chances to set up Suarez for the visitors.
United then doubled their lead nine minutes after the interval. Robin van Persie’s floated free kick found an unmarked Patrice Evra. He leaped high at the near post and his header got deflected in via fellow defender Nemanja Vidic. That goal seemed to do Liverpool the world of good. From then on, they seemed to really push on, playing some great football, but it was too little too late.
However, substitute Daniel Sturridge, on his Premier League debut for the Reds, pounced on an initial save from United shot stopper David de Gea to give them some reinstalled hope.
The introduction of Borini and Henderson looked to have injected some urgency into the squad, but United had far too much experience and were able to see the game out.
All in all, a reassuring display from Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, and I’m sure Brendan Rodgers will feel that his side could have nicked a point.
Arsenal 0 Manchester City 2
It was vital that Manchester City didn’t slip up against the Arsenal after United’s three points against Liverpool. It was a dramatic game, and Laurent Koscielny was shown red inside the first ten minutes after he hauled down the on running Edin Dzeko in the box.
However, the resulting spot-kick, taken by Dzeko himself, was saved by Szczesny. The Gunners can have no arguments with that decision, as anybody who grabs someone by the hips inside the 18-yard box can really have no complaints. That completely changed the game in City’s favour.
They capitalised on the Gunners’ lack of organisation and took the lead on 21 minutes after a quick free-kick was taken and passed on through to James Milner who fired past Szczesny from a tight angle.
Edin Dzeko capped off a wonderful display after his early penalty howler by converting from close range after some great initial work by Argentine forward Carlos Tevez. Javi Garcia had a header cleared off the line by Arsenal’s stand-out player Jack Wilshere just before the half time whistle.
Man City didn’t look like they were missing the likes of influential players Sergio Agϋero and Yaya Toure who were unavailable. City kept up their impressive passing play throughout the second half but couldn’t influence the score-line any further.
Olivier Giroud had a couple of the chances for the hosts after he replaced Lukas Podolski. Man City were then reduced to ten men themselves after Vincent Kompany’s tackle was said to be too vicious.
I personally feel that there is nothing wrong with that sort of tackle as he clearly went for the ball, won the ball, and was one footed. I haven’t talked to anyone yet that actually believes that the tackle deserved a red. I’d love to know your opinions on this so please comment below!
Reading 3 West Brom 2
This five goal thriller was fantastic! West Brom have been fantastic so far this season, and Reading are doing poorly, finding themselves second from bottom. West Brom took the lead through star man Lukaku who has been outstanding this season.
His all round play has been brilliant this season. His strength, passing, heading, shooting and team play has really improved, and he will just get better as he plays more and more games. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him.
The Baggies doubled their lead on 69 minutes, again through Lukaku whose shot from outside the box sneaked past Adam Federici.
However, Reading forged back an incredible comeback. Kebe halved the deficit with eight minutes to go, before Le Fondre dispatched a penalty with two minutes to go. You would have thought that they’d play for the draw, but not Reading!
A ball was played into Russian forward Pavel Pogrebnyak who lobbed ‘keeper Foster to seal all three points. Baggies’ boss Steve Clarke was left “shell shocked” and rightly so. A terrific three points for Reading, and it may give them a much needed push in the second half of the season.
Results in full
QPR 0 – 0 Tottenham
Aston Villa 0 – 1 Southampton
Everton 0 – 0 Swansea
Fulham 1 – 1 Wigan
Norwich 0 – 0 Newcastle
Reading 3 – 2 West Brom
Stoke 0 – 4 Chelsea
Sunderland 3 – 0 West Ham
Man Utd 2 – 1 Liverpool
Arsenal 0 – 2 Man City
Team of the Week
Written by Adam May
Follow him on Twitter @Amay132
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