dinsdag 17 januari 2012

Premier League 16 january

Wigan   0 - 1   Man City

Edin Dzeko's header saw Manchester City beat Wigan to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to three points over Manchester United.

Edin Dzeko scores for Manchester City
Manchester City have won all nine Premier League games Dzeko has scored in

The Bosnian leapt to deftly flick home David Silva's free-kick from the left midway through the first half.

Ali Al Habsi then denied Dzeko a second with a fine save before matching it by keeping out Silva's follow-up shot.

But, although James McArthur and James McCarthy had good chances, the hosts could not find a way past Joe Hart.

City could have made the game safe, with Dzeko's deflected effort again saved and Sergio Aguero shooting wide from 12 yards late on.

There was a moment of late controversy when Wigan defender Maynor Figueroa escaped with a yellow card after handling the ball on the halfway line to stop Aguero racing clear.

But City will be grateful for a hard-fought victory, their first away from home since beating QPR on 5 November and a return to winning ways after consecutive cup defeats.

While Wigan defended compactly, they could not contain their high-scoring opponents, who, in 21 games, are now on 57 goals, just three short of the total number they scored last season.

Defeat for Roberto Martinez's team means that they remain at the bottom of the table, continuing a miserable run of form at home, where they have not won in the league since August.

With Silva back in the side following an ankle injury, City had a good rhythm to their passing as they probed throughout the first half.

They suffered an early scare when, in a frantic passage, Hugo Rodallega could not capitalise on Joleon Lescott's error, Gareth Barry nudged over Jordi Gomez in the penalty area to wild appeals and McArthur's shot was deflected wide.

But, once they rode that storm, Silva proved his worth by floating into space and, although several moves broke down, the visitors were dominating possession.

Dzeko flashed a header wide from Gael Clichy's cross but that the lead came from a set-piece showed how hard Martinez's team were working with their five-man defence.

It took a fine jump by Dzeko to turn in Silva's free-kick, after the Bosnian had been tripped, and the striker's 14th goal of the season settled the visitors down.

Wigan did have their moments on the break with Victor Moses, playing behind Rodallega, firing over and McArthur testing Hart, although when City committed men to attack they were quick to counter and Al Habsi saved well from Aguero before half-time.

Despite their poor home record, the hosts had already drawn with Liverpool and Chelsea at the DW Stadium this season and they started the second period brightly, but only Al Habsi will know how he prevented City doubling their lead soon after the break.

The Oman keeper made a superb double stop to deny Dzeko, then Silva, and when Aguero dribbled his way into the six-yard box both the Argentine and Dzeko failed to make proper contact and the chance was spurned.

While Wigan were hanging on they always posed a threat, with Jordi Gomez impressive in midfield. And they were a toe's width from equalising when Rodallega put McCarthy through, his left-footed shot being well thwarted by England keeper Hart, who ensured his ninth Premier League clean sheet of the campaign.

Substitutes Ben Watson and Franco di Santo added some extra zeal to Wigan's play, although City had the better chances towards the end, Dzeko and Aguero both failing to take advantage of good opportunities.

City's fans were spitting mad when Figueroa only received a yellow card when, with Aguero on his shoulder, he handled the ball on the halfway line late on to stop another City counter-attack.

But, on a freezing night, City boss Roberto Mancini will be content to send his team's fans home with a victory which is evidence that, after a small blip, they have again warmed to their title challenge.

Source: BBC Sport

Swansea City 3 - 2 Arsenal

Golden Graham seals famous victory

Scott Sinclair pen v Arsenal

Danny Graham struck the winner as Swansea claimed the first major scalp of their maiden Premier League campaign with a thrilling victory over Arsenal at the Liberty Stadium.

The Gunners had silenced the home support by taking an early lead through captain Robin van Persie, but Scott Sinclair levelled from the penalty spot for Welsh side.

Nathan Dyer then fired Swansea ahead before Theo Walcott equalised, but Arsenal paid the price for a loss of concentration as Graham ran in to slot his ninth goal of the season less than a minute later to move the Swans up to 10th in the table.

Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers had called on England manager Fabio Capello to visit south Wales to watch his side in action, with Dyer and Sinclair having been linked with a call up to the national squad, and with the Italian in attendance the duo could not have done much more to enhance their aspirations in an enthralling encounter.

But there had been little hint of the drama to come when Arsenal took a fifth-minute lead.

Arsene Wenger had recalled Van Persie to his side after his recent extended break, and it did not take the Dutchman long to get back in the swing of things.

Andrey Arshavin's pass carved Swansea apart, and the striker made no mistake as he checked before firing past Steven Caulker and goalkeeper Michel Vorm from a tight angle for his 22nd goal of the season.

The breakthrough initially knocked the wind out of Swansea's sails - but they were level after 16 minutes.

After sharp play down the left by the excellent Joe Allen, Dyer went down under Aaron Ramsey's challenge for referee Michael Oliver to award what looked a soft penalty. Sinclair converted into Wojciech Szczesny's left-hand corner to maintain his 100% record from the spot this term.

The game was living up to predictions of an entertaining contest and the Gunners could have re-established their lead just two minutes later as Ramsey skipped past Vorm and pulled the ball across the six-yard box, only for a fortunate ricochet off Angel Rangel to land in the keeper's arms.

The visitors continued to carve out the clearer chances, and Van Persie should have done better when played in just before the half-hour mark.

Swansea captain Ashley Williams was caught hopelessly upfield after Leon Britton had been dispossessed by Yossi Benayoun, the Israeli's pass found his Dutch team-mate in acres of space but Vorm stood up well to repel his right-footed shot.

Arsenal could have mirrored their first half start but failed to make the most of two presentable chances in the opening moments of the second period.

Walcott blazed over after being located down the right channel by Van Persie, while Arshavin was equally wasteful after being teed up in space on the edge of the box.

But there was no let such let off at the other end when Dyer put Swansea ahead after 57 minutes.

Ramsey was easily robbed by Wales team-mate Allen and the midfielder picked out Dyer for the winger to shoot high into the net and give Swansea a merited lead.

Wenger had seen enough and Thierry Henry was sprung from the bench along with Tomas Rosicky as the ineffectual Arshavin and Benayoun made way.

Swansea were having their best spell of the game but they were made to pay for a poor lapse in defence as Johan Djourou's pass split Neil Taylor and Williams for Walcott to clip the ball over Vorm and level after 69 minutes.

But the parity lasted less than a minute as substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson's pass saw Graham race in and make the most of Szczesny's hesitancy in advancing from his line to put Swansea back in front.

Per Mertesacker should have levelled barely two minutes later but the German defender horribly scuffed his effort wide, then Ramsey aimed his bullet header from Walcott's cross straight at Vorm as Arsenal threw numbers forward.

The Gunners' last chance came when Rosicky drove to the edge of the Swansea box and forced Vorm to beat out his drive before gathering Laurent Koscielny's follow-up as the home side held out to spark delirious celebrations at the final whistle.

Source: ESPN

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