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This week saw loving figure Mario Balotelli depart the Premier League for Milan in the January Transfer Window, but the controversial figure certainly wasn’t missed this weekend!
Top three games this weekend:
Manchester City 2 Liverpool 2
If the reverse fixture way back in August was anything to go by, this was certainly going to be an enthralling encounter between two teams that will certainly be up there when the climax of the 2012/13 campaign draws closer.
Liverpool kept the ball really well in the opening stages, with some neat passages of play between the majority of the Reds’ squad.
However, that all counted for nothing as Edin Dzeko got on the end of a well-timed cross from James Milner to send the Citizens 1-0 to the good. Then, less than six minutes later, former City youngster Daniel Sturridge drilled home from range upon his return to Etihad with muted celebrations.
The goal had a somewhat controversial aspect in the build-up of the goal as Liverpool centre-half Agger slid through the back of Dzeko who stayed down injured. That sparked frustrations from around the stadium as that break in play was the fundamental reason as to how the Reds broke away on the counter-attack.
1-1 was how it stood at the break, and Man City took their foot of the gas so to speak, and Liverpool certainly played some football that was very pleasing on the eye indeed. It took until the 72nd minute for the next goal to fly in, and it was certainly worth the wait.
Gael Clichy’s soft ‘hoofed’ clearance found the anticipating Steven Gerrard who thumped in from twenty-five yards past helpless custodian Joe Hart to give the visitors the lead. That was cancelled out by an equally as good goal thirteen minutes from time.
Sergio Aguero, who missed numerous chances throughout the game, took two touches to score. The first, a heavy touch which found itself centimetres away from the by-line, the second, a lob over the on running Pepe Reina who was on the edge of the area and into the far corner. A spectacular goal it was.
There was absolutely no need for Reina to come for that, and on reflection, I think he’d agree. Two points dropped for City? Certainly. They now stand nine points of the leaders, Manchester United. It’s still not over by any means.
Newcastle 3 Chelsea 2
The Toons were perhaps the most active of Premier League sides during the recent transfer window, signing five French players, those being Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Massadio Haïdara and Mathieu Debuchy.
Newcastle took the lead courtesy of a rare goal from Jonas Gutierrez as he used the pace of the ball from Santon’s cross and he guided home a header into the far corner with five minutes to go until the interval.
Lampard then scored a peach of a goal to make it 1-1 before Juan Mata curled in a scorcher which found the top left-hand corner. Then, the game turned on its head. Sissoko made an instant impact on Tyneside by drawing level with a drive from deep inside the penalty area.
He then doubled his tally for the afternoon with a great strike from outside the box to give Alan Pardew’s side a much needed boost. Demba Ba’s return to Tyneside was cut short as he was forced off after suffering a broken nose after Toon Captain Fabricio Coloccini cleared the ball but caught his face in the process.
I thought there was nothing wrong with that, but Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez called for the Argentine to be sent off. Mixed emotions from the Spaniard it seems.
Everton 3 Aston Villa 3
This was a brilliant game. Benteke scored his 13th goal of the season inside the opening two minutes. Anichebe then levelled before Gabriel Agbonlahor restored Villa’s lead with a well taken header.
The Belgian Benteke doubled his tally and put his side 3-1 up. Fellaini then reduced the deficit, but Villa couldn’t prevent a flurry of last minute attacks as Fellaini scored once more to earn a vital point for the Toffees.
A great point for Villa, although I’m sure they would have liked to have held on for just ten more seconds so they could earn an invaluable three points for their battle to beat the drop.
Team of the Week
Written by Adam May
Follow him on Twitter @Amay132
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