Saturday, March 5, 2011

Premier League Saturday Roundup: Gameweek 29

Bolton Wanderers 3-2 Aston Villa: Ivan Klasnic scored a late winner in the 86th minute to give Bolton the late win at home and clinch the crucial 3 points needed for Bolton to continue a fight for a spot in Europe. During the match, Ashley Young of Aston Villa had his penalty saved, which would've put the Villains ahead 3-1. Capitalizing on that mistake, the Wanderers scored 2 goals in the last 15 minutes to seal the 3 points.

Birmingham City 1-3 West Bromwich Albion: In a fairly even game, West Brom outplayed Birmingham, whose players were looking to continue their celebrations after winning the Carling Cup. Both teams are in a relegation battle, and now WBA sits 2 points ahead of Birmingham. It was the first victory for the new West Bromwich manager Roy Hodgson, and it's quite an important victory. All goals came in an excitement-filled second half. This win lifts West Brom out of the drop zone, 5 points ahead of last-placed Wigan.

Fulham 3-2 Blackburn Rovers: With Damien Duff scoring his first double since 1998, the score of this match was 2-2 until the 89th minute. Then, Aaron Hughes was fouled in the penalty area by Grant Harley, and Bobby Zamora took full advantage of the opportunity and scored the late winner for Fulham. Thanks to this victory, Fulham sit even on points with Blackburn, but are ahead on goal difference.

Newcastle United 1-2 Everton: In an intense first half, Leon Best gave Newcastle the lead after 23 minutes. Eight minutes later, Leon Osman equalized and put Everton back into this game. Capitalizing on the chance, Phil Jagielka guided Leighton Baines' free kick into the back of the net in the 36th minute, giving Everton the comeback lead which they would hold until full time. With that win, Everton closed the gap between them and Newcastle to 3 points, and the Toffees still have a game in hand.

West Ham United 3-0 Stoke City: Coming off of a hugely important victory against Liverpool, West Ham were looking to make it back to back wins for more the first time in 3 years. They did so, and quite comfortably, out-shooting Stoke 22 to 9. Demba Ba, who's on loan from Cologne in Germany, made it 1-0 in the 21st, scoring his 4th goal in 5 games. 8 minutes later, Manuel Da Costa gave the Hammers a 2-0 lead. 7 minutes from full-time, Hitzelsperger sealed the 3-0 vicory for West Ham. This win lifts them out of the relegation zone.

Manchester City 1-0 Wigan Athletic: Playing without their star defender, Manchester City was looking to close the gap on their title rivals Arsenal and Manchester United with a win over last-placed Wigan. During both halves, you couldn't tell that the value of the Citizens' squad was most likely worth 5 times more than that of Wigans'.  In the 38th minute, Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi quite literally handed David Silva a goal, not being able to contain a very tame strike. In the 2nd half, Wigan created a number of chances, striking the post, and substitute Conor Sammon failing to score Wigan's best chance in the stoppage time.

Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland: Without their stars Cesc Fabregas and Robin Van Persie, the Gunners were looking to close the gap to Manchester United to only 1 point. In the first half, the Latics' keeper Simon Mignolet only had 1 shot to save, tipping Bendtner's strike over the bar. In the 2nd half, Arsenal came to life. Attack after attack, Simon Mignolet continued to thwart the Gunners' plans. Chamakh put the ball onto the bar from a header, and Mignolet made a fantastic save to keep Samir Nasri's free kick out of the net. Then, it seemed as if Andrei Arshavin was going one-v-one with the keeper, but as he pulled to strike, was pushed by Titus Bramble, yet no penalty was given. Then, later in the match, another decision against Arsenal. Receiving a through ball, Arshavin broke free to once again go one on one with the keeper, but was called offside. Replays showed that clearly he was onside, and it's safe to say that the referee caused Arsenal to drop 2 points.

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