Crystal Palace 0-2 Swansea: Visitors grab quickfire goals at start to each half (Video)

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A goal in the second minute and another within three minutes of the second half’s start saw Swansea earn their second straight away win by beating Crystal Palace 2-0.

Michu got his second goal of the year and Nathan Dyer added the insurance for the visitors.

Swansea opened the match to a blistering start, as Michu bagged the game’s first goal in just over a minute.  They worked forward right off the start, with Michu, Jonjo Shelvey, and Wayne Routledge passing forward between each other.  Routledge got the ball in heavy traffic, and laid off to Michu who had lost his defender.  His shot was driven on goal, and Julian Speroni could only get a slight touch to it and the ball found the back of the net.

Swansea should have had a second in just the fourth minute as Chico Flores nearly headed in with space on a corner but he put it over.

The passing play of the Swans going forward on multiple occasions proved a lovely product, playing a quick one-touch passing game to make a mess of the opposing defense.

The game began to open up before halftime, with both teams having good efforts on goal.  Angel Rangel nearly gave Swansea a cushion on the 36th minute as he struck a venomous volley on goal but Speroni acrobatically dove to touch the ball over.

Swansea started the second half exactly how they started the first. Michu made a blistering run down the right side, and shot from a tight angle.  The shot was saved and parried by Speroni, but with the goalkeeper on the ground and out of position, the ball fell to Nathan Dyer who couldn’t miss the open net.

Attempting to get back in the game, Crystal Palace enjoyed a flurry of pressure as the second half rolled on, but it faded as the players ran out of steam looking to break down the solid Swansea defense.

It’s been a nightmare start for Ian Holloway, who watched from the stands while still serving his touchline ban.  Palace continue to mire in the relegation zone, sitting on just three points.  Meanwhile, Swansea join a host of other clubs with seven points, putting behind their slow start and now look like a team ready to challenge for another Europa League spot.

Goals:

Swansea – Michu 2′, Dyer 48′

Lineups:

Crystal Palace – Speroni; Mariappa, Gabbidon, Delaney (Campana, 45′), Moxey; Jedinak, Guedioura, Bannan (Thomas, 67′), Puncheon; Jerome (Gayle, 67′), Chamakh.

Swansea – Vorm; Rangel, Chico Flores, Williams, Davies; Canas (Britton, 78′), Shelvey; Michu, Dyer (Pozuelo, 71′), Routledge; Vazquez (De Guzman, 61′).

Top Storylines for Premier League Week 6

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After a week of League Cup action domestically, the Premier League returns this weekend with a myriad of interesting matchups and storylines.

Let’s take a look at some of this week’s top story’s to follow:


Can Manchester City continue its torrid form?

Manchester City has finally found its groove under manager Pep Guardiola.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The club has won five successive games, the last three coming on the road while scoring a combined 19 goals. Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are a terrific 1-2 punch while David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne have been stars in midfield, with De Bruyne pulling the strings for Man City all season.

There’s every likelihood that Man City will continue its impressive run on Saturday. The club hosts floundering Crystal Palace, which is still adjusting to new manager Roy Hodgson.

(more…)

On This Day: The Battle of Old Trafford

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Fourteen years ago today, Arsenal headed north to Manchester for a famous matchup with Manchester United.

Taking the field at Old Trafford, Arsenal were unbeaten to start the season, having won its first four Premier League matches before drawing a week prior at home against Portsmouth. Manchester United meanwhile had four wins and one loss in that span.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

By way of Arsenal’s FA Cup title and Man United’s Premier League title the year before, the two teams met for the annual Community Shield a month earlier, and the game descended into a physical battle. Five yellow cards were shown, Arsenal substitute Francis Jeffers was shown a red card and defender Sol Campbell was later banned for kicking at an opponent, and Man United – backed by a young Tim Howard in goal – won 4-3 on penalty kicks after the score was tied at 1-1 after extra time.

With numerous physical encounters over the years, the September 21 encounter was shaping up to be another monumental showdown, and in terms of physicality, it didn’t disappoint.

Each team were shown four yellow cards and there was a combined 31 fouls. The match took a turn when Patrick Vieira was shown a second yellow card and subsequent red card for kicking out at Man United’s Ruud Van Nistelrooy after Van Nistelrooy had fouled Vieira going for a header. The decision set off a scrum in the middle of the field.

Despite being down to ten men, Arsenal held on until the final minutes, when Martin Keown was whistled for a foul in the box on Diego Forlan, giving Man United a penalty kick. But whether it was karma or lady luck, Van Nistelrooy’s penalty clanged off the crossbar and away to safety. Arsenal held on for a goalless draw, which helped boost the team’s belief in itself.

The Gunners went on to finish the 2013-2014 season undefeated, the only team to finish a Premier League season without a defeat. Man United wound up taking the FA Cup crown, settling for third place in the Premier League.

Watch some highlights from the match below.

Former Sunderland forward Scocco scores five goals for River Plate

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Veteran forward Ignacio “Nacho” Scocco is quickly endearing himself to the River Plate faithful.

Nearly three months since joining River, Scocco scored an incredible five goals in the second leg of his team’s Copa Libertadores quarterfinal matchup with Bolivian side Jorge Wilstermann. Scocco scored a first half hat-trick and added two more in the second half as River turned around a 3-0 deficit heading into the second leg.

Scocco had a mostly frustrating spell in 2014 ahead of the World Cup with Sunderland, joining the club as they staved off relegation by one point. Scocco failed to score for Sunderland in eight appearances, all off the bench.

However, since then, he returned to his native Argentina and starred for his hometown club Newell’s Old Boys before moving this summer to River as a replacement for Sebastián Driussi, who completed a transfer to Zenit St. Petersburg.

Here’s a look at all of Scocco’s goals Thursday evening.

Tammy Abraham denies switching national teams

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Fans of the England National Team may still have a chance to see Tammy Abraham don the Three Lions crest one day.

Abraham refuted reports from earlier Thursday that he was in the process of switching his national team to Nigeria from England. The 19-year-old Swansea City forward on-loan from Chelsea has played as high as the England Under-21 Men’s National Team but because of his Nigerian father, he’s eligible for the African nation.

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Abraham confirmed that he had met with Nigeria Football Federation chief Amaju Pinnick after Swansea’s last game, but denied that he was looking to play for the Super Eagles.

“I have informed The FA that I remain available for selection for England,” Abraham said, via the BBC. “Contrary to reports in the media I would like to clarify that I have not agreed to switch my national team allegiance. I can confirm I met the President of the NFF after our last game against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday given he is a friend of my father. However, any suggestion that I have made a decision to change my international representation is incorrect and wide of the mark.”

Earlier in the day, reports emerged that Pinnick said the process was underway for Abraham to switch his international allegiance.

Abraham’s apparently decision to remain with the England set-up is good news for his club Swansea City, who will get to keep him closer to Wales on a regular basis, but Abraham may be missing a chance to play senior national team soccer at a young age.