Jermaine Pennant

Premier League Roundup: Spurs, Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea win big on New Year’s Day

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Is there anything better than seeing in 2014 with a full slate of Premier League games?

If there is, I can’t think of it…

On New Year’s Day there were 10 PL games on the docket, with huge wins for Tottenham away at Manchester United, Chelsea away at Southampton, Man City at Swansea and a last gasp win for Arsenal over Cardiff leading the way.

With some big relegation scraps thrown into the mix too, it was certainly a day to remember.

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

Now we have a break in PL action for 11 days, after a hectic period that’s seen 40 games played in just 12 days over the festive period. But before you take a rest from all of the action, here’s a recap of the 10 dramatic games that took place on the opening day of 2014.

Wrapped nicely for you to unravel are all the recaps, news and video highlights from the opening

Arsenal 2-0 Cardiff City

It took 88 minutes for the breakthrough at Emirates, but when it came the stadium erupted. Nicklas Bendtner struck to break Cardiff’s hearts and keep Arsenal top of the table, while Theo Walcott added another in stoppage time to seal a late win for the Gunners.

Crystal Palace 1-1 Norwich City

The Eagles fought back to grab a point at Selhurst Park, after Norwich went ahead through Bradley Johnson’s cool finish. Right on the stroke of half time Jason Puncheon scored a penalty for Crystal Palace as Tony Pulis’ men were handed a lifeline. Leroy Fer was sent off in the second half as Palace pushed for a winner, but the Canaries hung on.

Fulham 2-1 West Ham

A rambunctious London derby played out at Craven Cottage as the home side took all three points thanks to goals from Steven Sidwell and Dimtar Berbatov, after Mohamed Diame had given West Ham an early lead. Kevin Nolan’s sending off changed the game, as the Hammers skipper saw red for a petulant kick out.

Liverpool 2-0 Hull City

Another week, another home win for Liverpool, as the Reds created plenty of chances and could’ve beaten Hull more convincingly. Daniel Agger headed home superbly, then Luis Suarez curled in a wonderful free kick after half time to make it 2-0. Steven Gerrard returned for Liverpool late on, as Hull didn’t have a shot on target.

Manchester United 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur

A massive win for Tottenham’s new boss Tim Sherwood, as Spurs won for the second-straight season at Old Trafford. Emmanuel Adebayor put them 1-0 up in the first half with a great header, before Christian Eriksen made it 2-0 with another header midway through the second half. Danny Welbeck struck back almost instantly too make it 2-1, but Spurs held on for a landmark victory.

Southampton 0-3 Chelsea

The Saints held Chelsea back until the 59th minute… then Jose Mourinho’s men turned on the style as Fernando Torres headed them in front. Substitutes Willian and Oscar both grabbed late goals to add gloss to the scoreline, as Chelsea remain in the title hunt. What a tremendous squad Mourinho has, does he need to add players in January? The ‘Special One’ doesn’t think so.

Stoke City 1-1 Everton

Stoke went ahead through Ossama Assaidi’s goal just after half time but they were pegged back right at the end of the match, as Jermaine Pennant was adjudged to have tripped Leon Osman. Leighton Baines stepped up to slot the penalty home in stoppage time, to grab the Toffees a late point but Roberto Martinez wasn’t happy.

Sunderland 0-1 Aston Villa

Villa sealed a massive victory on the road thanks to Gabriel Agbonlahor’s early strike at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland tried everything they could to get back into the game, but the defeat was a damaging one for the Black Cats as they remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

Swansea 2-3 Manchester City

A great clash at the Liberty Stadium as City went 1-0 up thanks to Fernandinho’s opener but Wilfred Bony equalized before the break. City then went 3-1 up as Yaya Toure and Kolarov scored before Bony grabbed a late goal to make it seem closer than it actually was. City recorded back-to-back wins away from home for the first time this season.

West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Newcastle

The Magpies came unstuck down at the Hawthorns, as managerless West Brom bagged a crucial victory with Saido Berhaino’s spot kick giving them all three points. Mathieu Debuchy was sent off with 30 minutes to go for Newcastle, as West Brom stretched their unbeaten run to four games.

Martinez: Everton didn’t draw, they dropped two points

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In the race for Europe, any team obviously needs three points as often as possible.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez hailed his team’s fighting spirit in coming back to earn a point at Stoke City, but knows the team coughed up a chance at all three points.

The Potters went ahead when Oussama Assaidi took advantage of a slow-to-react Everton back line but a poor tackle in the area by Jermaine Pennant gave the Toffees a penalty that Leighton Baines converted in stoppage time.

“We see it as dropping two points. We knew Stoke had a good record at home. We knew it was going to be difficult. But given the circumstances, when you have a couple of shots cleared off the line, you feel it’s not going to be your day so when you get an equalizer that late, you have to take it and move forward.”

Martinez admitted second-half doubt that Everton could find a draw, especially after Kevin Mirallas hit the woodwork twice during the match.

“It was a difficult game. Once we went 1-0 down in the second half, it seemed we weren’t going to find a little break we needed.”

“I thought we showed enough threat to at least find a draw. I the penalty arrives late but we had a couple of shots that hit the crossbar. That first goal was going to be vital. I thought whoever scored first would win but we showed character and never-die-attitude and got the reward at the end.

 

Stoke City 1-1 Everton: Late Baines PK rescues point for Toffees (video)

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The Toffees deserved a point and got one late, drawing 1-1 at Stoke City.

Stoppage time found a PK equalizing opportunity for Everton and Leighton Baines delivered at 90+2. Stoke was livid when a Jermaine Pennant takedown of Leon Osman gave them the opportunity.

Oussama Assaidi scored a beauty just after half for the Potters. He was in the catbird seat off John Stones’ clear to the top of the 18, allowed two touches by the Toffees before firing a shot past a diving Howard to put Stoke up 1-0 n the 49th minute.

In the 12th minute, Everton won a corner and Gareth Barry came close to putting the Toffees ahead but his header popped over the bar.

Peter Crouch latched onto a header in the 19th minute before forcing it wide of the left post, alleviating a major concern for Tim Howard

Everton’s James McCarthy came to the other end and made a darting move atop the 18 before firing wide in the 20th minute.

Howard called on plenty during a five-minute spell from 30 minutes onward, with Charlie Adam and in-form Oussama Assaidi tempting the score line to no avail.

Captain Ryan Shawcross was shown a yellow card for a sliding tackle on Barry and it provided a 58th minute free kick for Everton from strides outside the box, to no avail.

Kevin Mirallas had hard luck for Everton, hitting the woodwork twice including a late-first-half free kick.

LINEUPS

Stoke City: Sorensen (Butland, 45); Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters; Walters (Pennant, 72), Nzonzi, Adam (Palacios, 82), Whelan, Assaidi; Crouch

Goal: Assaidi (49)

Everton: Howard, Baines, Mirallas, McCarthy (Jelavic, 72), Lukaku (Naismith, 81), Barry, Barkley, Pienaar (Osman, 72), Coleman, Stones, Alcaraz

Goal: Baines (PK, 90)

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Jack Wilshere undone by Manchester City fans insulting his kids – When will he mature?

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Jack Wilshere claims he gave Manchester City fans the middle finger because they insulted his children.

The news comes after Wilshere sat out yesterday’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea, the first of his two game suspension handed down by The Football Association for flipping the bird to Manchester City fans during the Gunners 3-6 loss on December 14th.

He will also miss out on the Boxing Day match at West Ham.

On Tuesday, the Arsenal midfielder hit Twitter to explain his frustrations, tweeting:

“Gutted not to be Involved last night! Shouldn’t of reacted the way I did but I know all you dads out there love your kids the way I do….

“Suppose I will just have to take the abuse about my kids in future……anyway, one more game to go! Can’t wait to be back! #AFC”

For Arsenal fans, it’s great to read that Wilshere is eager to return to the pitch. They certainly could have used his grit and playmaking ability against Chelsea where the Gunners midfield appeared a bit subdued and flat.

Of course, that display was largely due to the averting (borderline insipid) tactics of Jose Mourinho, putting nine men behind the ball at any given time. Point being, guys like Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and even the typically influential Aaron Ramsey didn’t have the answers to counterbalance Chelsea’s approach.

Perhaps Jack the Lad may have had them. Or perhaps not.

An equally likely scenario is that Wilshere would’ve come undone by Chelsea’s style. In fact, there’s little doubt in my mind that if Wilshere received the cleats-up crack that John Obi Mikel dealt to Arteta, he would’ve gone ballistic. Heck, even if he didn’t receive the tackle – if he were merely on the pitch – the odds are Wilshere would’ve lost it.

It’s a point that myself, and countless others, no doubt, have noted throughout his career: The boy needs to mature.

Granted, he’s only 21-years old (about to turn 22 on New Years day) but he’s been playing in the top-flight of English football since 2008. That’s five years of experience. Plus, he already has two children.

In other words, he’s been a full-grown man for some time now.

Yet still, it’s been five years of Wilshere moaning, squaring up to opponents, whining to referees and getting riled up by the fans.

From a neutral’s perspective, it’s getting old.

There’s no question that Wilshere has bags of talent. Anyone watching him on TV can see that. And if you’ve been lucky enough to watch him life, he’ll blow you away with his strength, power, lateral movement, change of pace and creativity. For me, he has the chance to be the best English center-midfielder since Paul Scholes.

But if he’s going to reach his full potential – and not got the way of Arsenal wasted talent like David Bentley or Jermaine Pennant – he must mature, immediately. Because the fans are always going to insult your children. Especially now.

Stoke City 0-1 Norwich City: Howson strike bests Stoke at home (Video)

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Stoke City failed to score in their second straight home match, and Norwich City’s better first half and organized defending gave the visitors all three points with a 1-0 win courtesy of Jonny Howson’s goal.

Norwich started confidently, passing well through the midfield and sending in a few dangerous crosses.  Stoke will find themselves lucky to keep out the Canaries in the first 10 minutes, weathering a good corner that a sliding Ryan Bennett crashed into the underside of the crossbar.

That was the only real good chance in the first half hour, as both teams battled but produced little. Stoke slowly climbed back into the fight, but still struggled to maintain any lengthy spells of possession.

The home side managed their first shot in the 33rd minute, as Marko Arnautovic blasted a searching shot just past the top right corner.

Norwich responded immediately, as Howson found some space and fired a ducking shot from distance. It caught Asmir Begovic flat-footed and the ball found the back of the net for a deserved opener.

The Norwich domination of the first half was acknowledged by Stoke manager Mark Hughes, as the 49-year-old made two changes after the break bringing on Jermaine Pennant and Stephen Ireland.  The two immediately provided support for Kenwyne Jones, and the possession instantly improved.

source: ReutersDespite the cearly more dangerous attack for Stoke City, Jones could not manage anything worthy of a goal, and was replaced by the towering Peter Crouch.

Norwich winger Robert Snodgrass, who had a relatively poor match overall, had a bit of brilliance in the 80th minute to give the visitors a chance at going two-up, but his curling shot was saved well by a diving Begovic.

Only able to grab the lone goal, Norwich were forced to repel intense pressure in the final 10 minutes of the match, but they held firm down the stretch and in stoppage time to seal the win.

The win draws Chris Hughton’s Norwich level with Stoke on points with seven.  It’s a big result considering they have Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester City coming up in their next four fixtures.

Mark Hughes mentioned before the match that his side were working on creating more of an attacking sense, but it would seem back to the drawing board for the Welshman and his Midlands club.

Goals:

Norwich City – Howson 34′

Lineups:

Stoke City – Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters; Walters (Pennant, 46′), Nzonzi, Wilson, Adam (Ireland, 46′), Arnautovic; Jones (Crouch, 66′).

Norwich City – Ruddy; Martin, Turner, R. Bennett, Olsson; Tettey, Fer, Howson; Snodgrass, Pilkington (Whittaker, 83′); van Wolfswinkel (Elmander, 76′).