maandag 2 januari 2012

Premier League - January 2012

Wolves 1-2 Chelsea: Frank Lampard winner caps dramatic finale to give Andre Villas-Boas first victory in five games
Blues net late winner to bounce back from defeat at Stamford Bridge on Saturday after Stephen Ward cancelled out Ramires' 54th minute strike at Molineux

Chelsea bounced back from defeat at the weekend with a 2-1 victory against Wolves at Molineux thanks to goals from Ramires and Frank Lampard while Stephen Ward netted for the home side.
The Blues should taken the lead in the eighth minute through Mata when he was put through by Torres but the former Valencia man could not get decent contact on the ball and the chance was spurned.  

Andre Villas-Boas’ side were looking confident going forward and began to click into gear as Lampard and Torres played a lovely one-two to put the England man through on goal only for him to be denied by excellent defensive work from Christophe Berra and Richard Stearman.

Again the Blues threatened the Wolves goal moments later when Ramires was released by Mata down the right. The Brazil international beat his man before firing a powerful effort at goal, which crept just wide of the post.

Despite Chelsea’s dominance it was Wolves that came closest to breaking the deadlock when Roger Johnson headed Adam Hammill’s pinpoint free kick against the post with Petr Cech beaten, as the defender rose unmarked at the back-post.

The home side should have taken the lead seconds later when Hammill lifted the ball into the area and this time Ward rose unmarked in the six-yard box but he could only head his effort wide of Cech’s goal.  

Chelsea looked to be taken aback by the home side's near misses but got back into their passing game before the end of the half as Lampard and Jose Bosingwa tested the handling ability of Wayne Hennessey with powerful efforts which the Welshman was equal to.

Wolves had an excellent opportunity to open the scoring at the start of the second half but Hammill’s volley, from substitute Matt Jarvis’ cross, was brilliantly blocked by John Terry as the ball looked to heading for the net.

Chelsea responded to this threat straight away by taking the lead in the 54th minute through Ramires as blasted a right-footed shot into the top corner following the home side’s failure to clear a Mata corner.

The Blues took the pace out of the game after getting their goal to frustrate the hosts and the crowd inside Molineux with controlled passing to preserve their lead and stop Mick McCarthy’s side from building any attacking momentum.

The home side nearly got back into the game through Edwards who got behind the Chelsea defence and latched onto Henry’s ball over the top but couldn’t loop his header over Cech who made a comfortable save.

Chelsea tried to get a second goal to give them a cushion but couldn’t break through a stubborn Wolves rearguard action.

The visitors were to pay when Ward volleyed in an equaliser from close range beating Cech after latching onto sub Steven Fletcher’s knockdown from Hammill’s cross into the area to the fury of Villas-Boas on the sidelines.

However, Chelsea picked themselves up straight away and regained the lead through Lampard who tapped in from six-yards converting Ashley Cole’s cross and good link-up play between the left-back and Torres.

Doyle nearly grabbed a late point for the home-side in the dying seconds but was denied by an excellent save by Cech to give the visitors a much needed win and to save Villas-Boas’ blushes.

Fulham 2-1 Arsenal: Late Sidwell & Zamora strikes punish Djourou red card as Gunners collapse in final five minutes
Cottagers earn emphatic win after late goals steal all three points in entertaining affair, after Laurent Koscielny had opened the scoring for the Gunners with first-half effort

Fulham remarkably stole all three points from Arsenal at Craven Cottage, ending up 2-1 winners of a thrilling Premier League affair.
The Gunners had the run of the opening 45 minutes, with Laurent Koscielny validating their dominance after he powered home a header when totally unmarked in front of goal.

Fulham reversed the pattern in the second half, desperately searching for an equaliser. Bobby Zamora, Philippe Senderos and Bryan Ruiz, amongst others, failed to put the ball in the back of the net, before Steve Sidwell finally nodded home five minutes from time.

With the clock seemingly ran out, Zamora netted the winner in the last minute of stoppage time to earn his team all three points.

Arsene Wenger made two changes from the side that beat QPR 1-0 at the weekend, as Francis Coquelin came in to replace the injured Thomas Vermaelen, while Gervinho was recalled ahead of Andrey Arshavin.

Orlando Sa had to make do with a place on the bench for Fulham after his goalscoring exploits against Norwich, as Martin Jol opted to bring Zamora back into the fray after the striker recovered from an Achilles problem. Sidwell was also handed a start to bolster the midfield.

Arsenal enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges, with Aaron Ramsey testing Mark Schwarzer from the edge of the box, before Gervinho wildly volleyed over after a corner found him in solitude at the far post.

John Arne Riise then should have perhaps found the lurking Zamora with his whipped first time cross after being slotted in down the left.

The deadlock was broken in the 20th minute when Ramsey’s deflected cross from the left-side of the box found Koscielny totally unmarked and the centre-half nodded home.

Moments later the lead should have been doubled, as the ball pinballed around the penalty area, with Gervinho and Ramsey both failing to send it over the line.

  Gunned down | Arsenal were unable to hold onto Laurent Koscielny's opener

As the home side pushed for an equaliser, Ruiz went close with a mazy dribble and slotted finish that went just wide before tumbling to no avail in the box under a challenge from Alex Song.

Theo Walcott and Ramsey were both guilty of spurning chances from just outside the area for the Gunners before the referee blew for the interval.

Ruiz rifled into the arms of Wojciech Szczesny as the teams re-emerged, and Fulham started in a mood that suggested they would take the game to their visitors.

Genuine chances on goal came few and far between for either team though, with the flowing nature of the first half being replaced by a more fragmented game punctuated by niggling fouls and breaks in play.

Sidwell fizzed an effort just over the bar from 30 yards out on the hour mark before Clint Dempsey skewed one wide when he would have hoped to test Szczesny.

Danny Murphy’s freekick saw the Arsenal keeper come rashly off his line and if Philippe Senderos could have directed on target, the ex-Gunner would have drawn the Cottagers level.

It was all Fulham by this point and Dempsey powered over Per Mertesacker to send Ruiz’s delightfully dug-out cross fractionally wide of the upright.

Ruiz looked certain to slam home the equaliser when the ball dropped to him 10 yards out, though the Costa Rican could only fire his effort into the legs of Szczesny.

Johan Djourou then received his marching orders after earning a second yellow by hauling down Zamora when he was through on goal. From the resulting free-kick, right on the edge of the box, Stephen Kelly could only hit the wall.

With five minutes to go, Fulham finally got the goal they long deserved, with Szczesny only able to palm a corner onto the head of Senderos, who looped the ball back in for Sidwell to power home from a couple of yards out.

Remarkably, with just one minute of stoppage time remaining, substitute Sebastien Squillaci's skewed clearance dropped to Zamora six yards out and his scuffed, left-footed volley wrong-footed Szczesny at the near post to send all three points to Fulham.


Results from today matches

Wolves 1 - 2 Chelsea

Aston Villa 0 - 2 Swansea City

Blackburn 1 - 2 Stoke City

QPR 1 - 2 Norwich City

Fulham 2 - 1 Arsenal

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