Welcome back to this weeks EPL Report. The week started with QPR playing host to Tottenham. QPR have been on better form since manager Harry Redknapp has arrived. The Rangers still sit in last place but are moving closer to the rest of the pack very quickly. The game played to an even 0-0 tie. QPR came away very happy while Tottenham disappointed dropping points in a game they need points from if they expect to stay in the top 4.
Chelsea bounced back from the disappointing QPR game with a 4-0 win over Stoke City. West Brom have been on bad form losing their last two coming into an away game vs Reading. This is a game that West Brom had to win as Reading are 2nd bottom. West Brom got ahead early as Chelsea loan man Lukaku was able to nock home a slotted cross and give the Baggies a lead in the 20th minute. Lukaku went close as he put a strong header off the upright in the 56th minute, but he was determined to score again in the 69th minute as he fired a shot from outside the box past the outstretched arms of the keeper. But Reading were not going to just give up and the got one back in the 82nd minute with a diving header from Kebe. In the 88th minute Reading was awarded a penalty and Le Fondre struck it home confidently. Reading completed the comeback in the 90th minute as a free kick came in from distance. The ball took a bounce and Pavel Pogrebnyak was able to latch onto it and chip over Ben Foster and give Reading a very important 3 points.
On Sunday at Old Trafford Liverpool were looking to come and make up some ground that West Brom had dropped the day before. Robin van Persie got the game started with another quality goal in the 19th minute as he redirected a cross into the back of the net. Cleverly went close in the 41st minute missing the frame by inches with a howler of a volley. In the 54th minute United doubled their lead with a set play that Evra was able to get his head on towards goal. The ball looked to be going wide until it struck Vidic in the face and was redirected into the net. In the 57th minute United got sloppy in the back losing the ball in a dangerous position. Gerrard was able to get a quality shot that De Gea parried wide but directly into the path of Sturridge who tapped it home. The game ended 2-1 and Man U continued their assault on the top of the table.
In a game that was full of controversy Arsenal hosted Manchester City. In the 8th minute Mike Dean decided that Koscielny’s tackle on Dzeko was a goal scoring chance and he was sent off and a penalty was awarded. Dzeko took the penalty but was saved by Szczeny and the gunners were able to stay level. The gunners held strong until they fell asleep on a set piece that and James Milner hit a stunner into the net and gave City the lead that they deserved. City continued to pressure and caught Arsenal’s defense out of shape. An initial shot from Carlos Teves was saved by Szczeny but Dzeko was there to clean up the mess and give City their second. Arsenal played with much heart in the second half creating a couple of chances. City were on their back foot and it was seen as Vincent Kompany dove into a tackle showing both cleats to Jack Wilshere and he was sent off to even the game. Arsenal did present more chances but they came to nothing and City took three huge points that they desperately needed to keep in the title race.
Upcoming matches on TV
9:00 AM on ESPN2/3 – Man City vs Fulham. Man City should make easy work of struggling Fulham who have won only won of their last 6.
9:00 AM on FSC – Liverpool vs Norwich. This is a game that Liverpool must win if they have any aspirations of gaining traction this year.
11:30 AM on FSC – West Brom vs Aston Villa. West Brom have been slipping in games they should be winning. Have the Baggies finally been exposed this year or can they turn it around against a weak Aston Villa side.
7:30 AM on FSC – Chelsea vs Arsenal. Chelsea have been quite poor under Rafa Benitez. Arsenal will look to capitalize on this and continue their momentum from the FA cup win over Swansea and Theo Walcott signing a 3 year deal this week.
10:00 AM on FSC – Tottenham vs Man United. Manchester United look to be in a class above everyone this year. It will be interesting if a trip to White Hart Lane can change that.
2:00 PM on ESPN3 – Southampton vs Everton. The pressure will be on Everton with Chelsea and Arsenal playing this weekend. They can either jump up into even points with Chelsea or let Arsenal jump them for 5th place.
1:45 PM on FSC – Arsenal vs West Ham. This is a make up game from Boxing Day that was canceled due to a threat on the tube heading to Emirates Stadium. Arsenal will need to take maximum points if they have any hopes of playing European soccer next year.