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A Weekend of Drama in the English Premier League

epl logo1 A Weekend of Drama in the English Premier LeagueFans of the English Premier League need little reassurance that the English top flight consistently provides excitement and interest that is matched by no other domestic league.  Any dissenters or doubters just had to tune into some EPL coverage over the weekend to be rewarded with a full slate of action packed games which, in several instances, featured late game drama that had considerable impact, particularly at the top of the table. 

A quick review of the Saturday timeline:

(Note the match between Hull and Arsenal was the late game but the goals have been included in the timeline as it is based on the 90 minute game clock of the Saturday action)

4 mins:  WBA take the lead against Middlesbrough courtesy of Chris Brunt to get them on their way.
11 mins:  Danny Collins scores for Sunderland at home to in-form Villa.
30 mins:  Emmanuel Adebayor gives a rejuvenated looking Gunners side the lead at the KC.

HT:  All other games goalless which meant Man Unt were being held at Bolton and Chelsea were tied at home to Stoke.

52 mins:  Pablo Zabaleta scores for Man City at home against Wigan to relieve a little of the Eastlands pressure.
54 mins:  Richard Dunne gets sent off making the task that much harder for City.
54 mins:  Robert Koren adds to Gareth Southgate’s problems as WBA take a 2-0 lead.
60 mins:  James Milner pulls Villa level at the Stadium of Light.
60 mins:  Rory Delap gets in behind the Chelsea defense and Stoke, yet to win away this season, take the lead at the Bridge.

delap A Weekend of Drama in the English Premier League
61 mins:  Benny McCarthy scores from the spot and Blackburn grab the advantage against Big Sam’s ex-team.
62 mins:  From bad to worse at the Hawthorns for ‘Boro as Didier Digard sees red.
65 mins:  After being denied a penalty shout, Hull equalize through Daniel Cousin and Arsenal appear to be on the back foot.
66 mins:  Jason Roberts doubles Blackburn’s lead against Newcastle.
67 mins:  Koren gets his second and Brom’s third, and Boro’ are well beaten.
72 mins:  Villa star Ashley Young is sent off with the match still locked at one each.
80 mins:  Gareth Barry scores from the spot and short-handed Villa grab the lead.

barry A Weekend of Drama in the English Premier League
82 mins:  Arsenal get back in front at Hull through Samir Nasri as they look to avenge their defeat at The Emirates.

 nasri A Weekend of Drama in the English Premier League
83 mins:  Nicky Butt gets his orders at Ewood Park ending any unlikely Newcastle comeback.
86 mins:  Roberts gets another and Big Sam’s vengeance is complete.
86 mins:  Nicklas Bendtner finishes a sweeping Arsenal attack and there’s no way back for Hull.
88 mins:  Juliano Belletti, minutes after fluffing a free-kick opportunity, nods in an equalizer and Phil S. breathes a huge sigh of relief.

belletti A Weekend of Drama in the English Premier League
90 mins:  Dimitar Berbatov heads in a last gasp winner for the defending champs and they are back on top of the table.

bolton v manchester united dimitar berbatov p 1794736 A Weekend of Drama in the English Premier League

90 mins:  Frank Lampard hits a ferocious drive and, despite a valiant effort, Stoke will leave the capital empty handed.

 lampardgoal A Weekend of Drama in the English Premier League

Seven goals in the last 10 minutes and all four of the top five teams that were in action left it late before securing victory.  The strikes by Berbatov and Lampard, though similar in terms of the manner in which they secured the points, appeared to have somewhat different ratifications.  United’s goal was reminiscent of typical title contending squads in securing a game that they were expected to win.  In contrast, Lampard’s late score brought massive relief to both the Chelsea faithful and Phil Scolari alike.  Some of the home fans were headed for the local even before Belletti equalized assuming that Stoke had secured their first away victory of the season at their expense, as the Blues had appeared to be out of ideas.  But, the team continued to battle and after the comeback the manner in which Lampard and his mates headed to the bench to celebrate with Big Phil seemed to be a direct statement to dispel recent reports that the relationship between Scolari and his players had soured.

chelseacelebrate2 A Weekend of Drama in the English Premier League

This past weekend was another example of the ongoing excitement and drama that can be found around the English Premier League on any given week, even during the grinding winter months of the fixture list. This appears to be more evident in the 2008-09 season as the league is packed tighter than it has ever been this late into the calendar. 

Saturday’s action was followed by an intriguing matchup at White Hart Lane on Sunday as Harry welcomed his former club but watched in frustration as Pompey earned a deserved point.  West Ham continued their recent revival as they dispatched Fulham 3-1 behind an inspired performance by Carlton Cole; and the first of two Merseyside derbies in the space of a week is still to come.  Bring on the drama, and as always feel free to comment and record your thoughts on the weekend action.  Cheers!

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9 Responses to A Weekend of Drama in the English Premier League

  1. The Gaffer says:

    Just a few additional comments: Watching Man United pull off a late victory at the Reebok Stadium, they look like Premier League champions again at this rate. I couldn't envision Liverpool doing something similar against a team like Stoke, for example.

    I had a chance to watch a couple of La Liga matches this weekend, and was surprised at how the talent on display looked completely inferior to the Premier League. First game was Real Madrid against Osasuna, where the goalkeeping and referee decisions looked like something you would expect to see in the Coca-Cola Championship, not Premier League.

    The second match I saw was Almeria against Atletico Madrid. This time it was the defensive errors that plagued the game.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  2. Raatzie says:

    Gaffer,

    Liverpool did precisely that – against Sunderland and Boro – the first two weeks of the season.

    That's when you declared that they had no shot to win the league.

    They've also done it to Wigan and City.

    A little intellectual consistency, please?

  3. The Gaffer says:

    Liverpool could do it earlier in the season, but they haven't been able to do it since October 18th. Since then they've missed opportunities to grab late winners against Fulham, West Ham, Hull City and Stoke.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  4. Raatzie says:

    And United missed opportunities against Newcastle, Everton, and Spurs.

    And lost to Arsenal to boot.

    Your point still appears to be

    Liverpool – late winners in Aug-Oct – no chance in hell.

    Man. U. – late winners in Nov-Jan – have wrapped up the League.

    Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Because if that's your point, it's nonsense.

  5. The Gaffer says:

    Timing is everything. If United can keep on winning games like they have done as of late, that momentum is going to carry them through to the remainder of the season.

    Liverpool's momentum has come undone. They started the season with some lucky wins, and then some brilliant play, but they've not been playing as well as of late.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  6. Raatzie says:

    No, points are everything. Timing is nothing.

    The League isn't won in January any more than it is won in October.

    Your failure to acknowledge your intellectual inconsistency is disappointing, if not surprising.

    As is the anti-Red bias.

    P.S. Gerrard 68. So, so much for that theory.

    Liverpool – 2008-09 triple winners.

    Spurs – 2009 Carling Cup runners-up, 2010 Championship play-off runners up.

  7. Raatzie says:

    Never mind. You win.

  8. The Gaffer says:

    Raatzie, I would love it if Liverpool wins the title this year. BUT, their home form needs to improve and they need to be able to get late winners when they count.

    I'm not a Spurs supporter. I'm a Swansea fan.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  9. JLay says:

    I'll see your Gerrard 68 and raise you a Cahill 87 – when's the last time United gave up an 87th-minute, 2-point goal?

    Now, for an intellectually consistent response, just the facts:

    United are in better form right now (16 points from the last 6 games as opposed to 12), and are currently tied with Liverpool at 47 points with a game in hand. They are also on a run of NINE consecutive clean sheets, despite the loss of Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra. Barring a dozen additional injuries, they have the depth and experience to keep their pace up to the end of the season – Chelsea and Liverpool do not.

    And that, my friend, is why United are the strong favorites to repeat as Champions.

    Hey it could always be worse – you could be an Arsenal fan. But, on the bright side, UEFA Cup tickets are much cheaper!

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