BPL Recap: Gerrard Brace Leads Rampant Reds At Old Trafford, Rosicky The Difference In The North London Derby, More

IMAGE, MANUTD.COM

BY MATTHEW LEVINE
Staff Writer

It had been five years since Liverpool last won at Old Trafford, but they ran rampant against Manchester United this weekend in just the latest setback of the Red Devils’ campaign.

To make matters worse, it was mistakes from United that eased Liverpool’s chances at a massive three points.

Luis Suarez looked to flick the ball past Rafael and the Red Devils’ defender made contact with the ball in his own box. Steven Gerrard stepped up to take the penalty and converted, giving the Reds the lead in the 34th minute.

Just after the halftime break, Joe Allen was attempting to chest the ball down in the United box and Phil Jones bundled into him, giving Liverpool a second penalty. Again, Gerrard stepped up and converted in the 46th minute.

It nearly got worse for United after Nemanja Vidic was shown a second yellow card, but it appeared Daniel Sturridge dived in the box. However, Gerrard, who looked to score a third penalty, saw his chance squandered as his attempt hit the post.

Liverpool did find their third goal as Suarez had acres of space in the box after a Sturridge pass and made no mistake, completing Liverpool’s 3-0 victory and adding to a woeful year for Manchester United.

Here are the match highlights:

1. Rosicky Rifle– The North London Derby is one of the best in world soccer. With implications on the race for a Top Four spot, it ramps up the pressure in an already tense affair.

If you blinked, you might have missed the most crucial moment of the match. Tomas Rosicky gave the Gunners the lead at the two minute mark. Rosicky received the ball out wide from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and returned the ball back into the English midfielder’s path. The ball bounced around Oxlade-Chamberlain’s feet, failing to control the ball, but a lucky bounce fell back into Rosicky’s path. Rosicky fired from inside the box with his right foot and gave Hugo lloris no chance as the ball found the side netting at the far post.

The game continued to go back and forth with Nacer Chadli missing a glorious opportunity to equalize. Laurent Koscielny somehow managed to get his body in front of the shot keeping Arsenal ahead.

Tempers boiled over in the derby as Tim Sherwood threw the ball at Bacary Sagna twice in the game’s dying minutes. Mikel Arteta had words with Spurs’ manager until Arsene Wenger acted as a peacemaker.

Tottenham’s form continues to struggle as Arsenal beat Spurs in White Hart Lane for the first time since 2007. Arsenal, sitting four points behind Chelsea with a game in hand, face off against the Blues next weekend.

2. Delph’s Fantastic Goal Sinks Chelsea– Chelsea lost control in the title race after falling to Aston Villa. With City chasing the Blues, but with three games in hand, the Manchester club now becomes the league favorite.

Willian was sent off with a second yellow card after pushing Fabian Delph from behind in the 68th minute. Aston Villa capitalized on their man advantage with a Delph goal in the 82nd — and what a goal it was. Delph won the ball in midfield and played Marc Albrighton on the left hand side. Albrighton sent a low cross in and Deplh was able to back heel the ball past Petr Cech in superb fashion.

For Chelsea, things got worse. Ramires was shown a straight red card for a foul on Karim El Ahmadi. The Villa player was in the course of winning the ball from the Brazilian midfielder in a sliding tackle and Ramires foot stamped down on El Ahmadi.

Referee Chris Foy sent off Jose Mourinho after the Special One confronted Foy about Ramires’ red card. More disciplinary action could come down on Mourinho for his actions.

3. City Gains– Despite Vincent Kompany’s early sending off, a ten-men Manchester City side dispatched of Hull City. The Citizens, still in fourth, are in striking distance for the Premier League. Although sitting six points adrift of the top spot, City have three games in hand.

Kompany took down Nikica Jelavic, who would have been clean through on goal, drawing a red card in the 10th minute. However, it didn’t take City long to respond.

Yaya Toure picked out David Silva and his curled effort beat Allen McGregor in the 14th minute. City then doubled their lead in the 90th minute through Edin Dzeko.

Although City scored twice with ten men, the victory wasn’t so clean cut. George Boyd saw two penalty shouts waved away, first after tripping over Joe Hart’s leg and the second after falling to the ground amid a Fernandinho challenge.

4. Out Of The Cellar?– Not quite out of the bottom yet for Fulham, but securing a massive three points will go along way for the Cottagers. The win is the club’s first in the last six matches and Felix Magath’s first in the Premier League.

With other clubs failing to gain many points around Fulham, the win puts them just one point from climbing out of the bottom spot in the league and four points away from getting out of the relegation zone.

It was Askhan Dejagh’s goal that separated Fulham over Newcastle in Alan Pardew’s first game suspended. The lone goal of the game came eight minutes after Dejagh’s introduction, scoring in the 68th minute. The substitute cut in from the left and fired a right footed shot. Tim Krul should have done better, but the shot bounced underneath him, giving Fulham a vital three points.

5. Everton Push Towards Fifth– Everton left it late, but was able to pull out a victory at Goodison Park.  Paired with Tottenham’s loss, the Toffees are two points out of the fifth place in the table and have a game in hand.

Everton was the better attacking side throughout, but had to wait just before an hour had gone to find the matches opener. Gerard Deulofeu’s shot deflected into the net in the 68th minute.

However, Cardiff City found an equalizer when Peter Whittingham whipped in a free-kick and Cala saw the ball bounce off his thigh and then chest before finding the back of the net.

Everton finally found their winner in stoppage time. Seamus Coleman mis-kicked a half volley attempt. Fortunately for him, the ball still managed to beat keeper David Marshall. Cardiff now fall further into relegation danger, one point above bottom-dwelling Fulham.

6. Survival Push– West Brom had yet to win under manager Pepe Mel’s reign, but that has finally changed. The Baggies got a crucial 2-1 victory over Swansea for their hopes of Premier League survival.

It looked like the Baggies would only be inching closer to relegation danger. Roland Lamah gave the home side the lead in the 2nd minute. West Brom defender Steven Reid rushed at Lamah for what he thought was going to be a cross. However, the Belgian winger cut back towards the center of the pitch and curled the ball to the far corner past Ben Foster.

In the second half, the Baggies overturned their slow start. Stephane Sessegnon’s effort from distance leveled the match. The Baggies then grabbed all three points late through Youssuf Mulumbu’s 85th minute strike. His shot from just outside the box went in off the post.

West Brom are now three points out of the relegation zone. Swansea is now only one point ahead and three places in the table further than West Brom, but are in no way safe just yet from the threat of relegation.

7. No Help With Draw– Both Sunderland and Crystal Palace needed a positive result. However, they had to settle for a goalless draw at the Stadium of Light instead.

Sunderland created more opportunities and nearly found a winner, but Fabio Borini’s shot crashed into the cross bar with seven minutes left in the game.

A win would have put the Black Cats ahead of Crystal Palace on goal difference. Instead, Palace remains one spot above Sunderland and the relegation zone. Sunderland, trailing Palace by three points, have two games in hand to make up the ground.

8. Norwich Still In Danger– Southampton proved too strong for a struggling Norwich side, scoring four of the six goals in the match. The Canaries are just four points out of the drop zone.

The Saints got the scoring started early with a Morgan Schneiderlin goal in the fifth minute. Schneiderlin latched onto Gaston Ramirez’s through ball and beat keeper John Ruddy with his shot. After a long ball from Jose Fonte, the ball dropped kindly to Rickie Lambert. The Southampton forward turned past Joseph Yobo and slotted the ball into the back of the net.

The Saints then pushed their lead to three in the 72nd minute. Ruddy stopped Guly do Prado’s initial effort, but the rebound fell to Lambert. He flicked the ball onto Ramirez, who finished the move off. s

Norwich did fight back, scoring goals in successive minutes. Johan Elmander took advantage of a poor back pass by Fonte and slotted the ball past Artur Boruc. Ricky van Wolfswinkel tested Boruc and then Robert Snodgrass turned in the rebound.

However, it was too little too late for the Canaries. Southampton scored their fourth goal in stoppage time to put the game out of reach. After a Yobo slip, Steven Davis squared the ball for Sam Gallagher, whose shot just crossed the line before it was cleared away.

9. Odemwingie Brace Leads Stoke After West Ham jumped to an early lead, Stoke City roared back with three goals to take all three points.

Andy Carroll gave the Hammers the lead in the 5th minute after heading home from close range. However, Stoke then took over the game, leveling in the 32nd minute through Peter Odemwingie. Peter Crouch’s headed effort came back off the cross bar and his flick struck Odemwingie’s shoulder and then into the net.

The Potters doubled their lead in the 69th minute when Odemwingie picked out Marko Arnautovic at the top of the box. Arnautovic beat a defender and then struck the ball past keeper Adrian. Odemwinge put the game in doubt 10 minutes later with his second of the match.

Both teams remain in comfortable positions in mid-table.

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