English Premier League Week 21
After a weekend break for FA Cup third round matches, the English Premier League returned midweek, with a full compliment of games on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Table-topping Arsenal were held to a 3-3 draw in what was the pick of the matches, leading Yalla’s resident Gooner to complain about “the missed opportunity to take the three points by screwing up in the last 10 minutes”. A frantic opening 25 minutes saw the teams go into the dressing room 2-2 at half time, with Arsenal seemingly causing to victory after Oliver Giroud Arsenal’s third, and his second, on the 55 minute mark. Yalla’s Liverpool said, “Even though we equalised in the last minute, I feel it was 2 points dropped.”
The draw gave this season’s surprise package Leicester the chance to pull level at the top, but the Foxes hadn’t scored in the three previous games, leading some pundits to declare that their chase for a Champions League place was over. But Ranieri’s charges kept Spurs in check, and Robert Huth’s 83rd minute header reignited Leicester’s campaign.
West Brom earned a creditable draw at Chelsea, Everton’s game at Manchester City was goalless and Newcastle and Manchester United played out a 3-3 thriller at St James’ Park. West Ham beat Bournemouth away, and in doing so continued to stake a claim for European football next term, which will be the first season they play home games at London’s 2012 Olympic Stadium. Bottom of the table Aston Villa finally won at home, but it feels that 1-0 against Crystal Palace is too little, too late. Stoke beat Norwich at the Britannia Stadium. Southampton beat Premier League new boys Watford 2-0.
Finally, a clash at the bottom between Swansea and Sunderland was marred by a series of controversial decisions by stand-in referee Graham Scott who awarded a penalty to Swansea when the player tripped over his own feet, and sent off Swansea player Kyle Naughton for no reason. Sunderland went ahead through Jermaine Defoe, even though it was one of two goals he scored from an offside position in his first hat trick for Sunderland. A lifelong Sunderland fan in the Yalla office said, “Winning two in a row is essential if we’re to survive in the Premier League once more. It’s a hard job supporting The Black Cats.”