Matthew Taylor

Burnley 0-1 Leicester City: Foxes move out of drop zone, send Clarets bottom!

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Jamie Vardy’s name will be sung throughout Leicester, perhaps for many years. after his goal line tap-in lifted Leicester into 17th place with a impossible to understate 1-0 win at Burnley on Saturday.

Moments after Turf Moor erupted in expectation of its own lead as Matt Taylor lined up for a penalty kick only to hit the post, Vardy beat Tom Heaton to his own diving rebound to give the Foxes a lead.

Nigel Pearson was fired last month, or so we were led to believe. Now his Foxes have escaped the drop zone with a dramatic win at Turf Moor in a critical six-pointer.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Kasper Schmeichel made several fine saves to preserve the three points for Leicester, who is a point ahead of Sunderland, while Burnley sinks to the bottom of the Premier League. The Clarets are five points away from the safe zone with four to play.

Heaton, for his part, kept Burnley alive for the duration of the contest.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Then… the pen. Taylor had the chance to lift Burnley in front, but slipped on the follow through of his spot kick. The ball went in the right direction but hit the outside of the post and bobbled out of play.

What followed was the insult to the injury, as Michael Duff almost put an own goal past goalkeeper Heaton, only to see Jamie Vardy poke the loose ball over the goal line. Leicester had gone from surely down 1-0 to up by the same score in a minute’s time.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

LINEUPS

Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Duff, Shackell (c), Mee; Boyd (Wallace, 71′), Arfield, Jones, Taylor (Kightly, 86′); Jutkiewicz (Sordell, 71′), Ings.

Leicester City: Schmeichel, Wasilewski, Huth, Morgan (c), Albrighton (De Laet, 72′), King, Cambiasso, Drinkwater (James, 77′), Konchesky, Vardy, Ulloa (Kramaric, 65′).

Goal: Vardy (65′)

West Ham United 2-1 Hull City: Red card, own goal doom Tigers (video)

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A mid-first half red card to goalkeeper Allan McGregor proved too much for Hull City to overcome, with the controversial decision leaving West Ham United up a goal and a man. Though the short-handed Tigers would pull that opener back in the second half, an own goal from James Chester proved decisive as the Hammers, snapping a three-match losing streak, earned a 2-1 win at Upton Park.

An even affair was broken open in the 23rd minute when McGregor saw red after a collision with Mohamed Diamé, one Mike Dean and his crew adjudicated to have denied an obvious goal scoring opportunity. Mark Noble’s conversion from the spot gave West Ham the lead, one that was pulled back when Nikica Jelavic deflected home a Tom Huddlestone free kick in the 48th minute. Shortly after, a cross from the right from Guy Demel was redirect by James Chester into the Hull net, giving the Hammers their final margin of victory.

The result moves West Hame three spots up the Premier League table, with Sam Allardyce’s crew claiming 11th place from Aston Villa. Hull, on the other hand, slides to 13th after losing its third in four.

West Ham created the first chance of the match when a cross from the right was knocked down by Andy Carroll, giving Matthew Taylor a chance after a poor clearance by Hull. A lunging block from Alex Bruce kept McGregor from being tested with the game’s first threat, giving way to a match that was played on even footing for its first 20 minutes.

The the ninth minute, however, West Ham was forced to make its first sub after James Collins hobbled off the field. With fellow center half James Tomkins having overcome injury doubts to make today’s starting XI, the Welsh international was forced to give way to Roger Johnson, who would soon find his day made easier by a disputed call at the other end of the park.

source: Getty ImagesNear the 23rd minute, a venture from Noble into the penalty area ended when a tackle sent the ball bouncing off two defenders and toward the Tigers’ goal. There the ball hit Diamé’s elevated right hand before McGregor, coming out to challenge a potential shot, turned to collide side-first into the West Ham midfielder. With Diamé, just outside the six-yard box, having lifted the ball over the keeper and toward goal, McGregor was shown straight red, forcing Steve Harper on at Bruce’s expense.

After McGregor was treated for injury, Noble welcomed Harper with the game’s first goal. The replacement keeper, leaning early into the left side of goal, saw the West Ham midfielder calmly finish toward the right post, making it 1-0.

Minutes into the second half, the 10-mean Tigers pulled back Noble’s opener, with a Huddlestone drive from 26 yards out deflecting off Jelavic before beating Adrían. Making amends for a missed chance toward the end of the first half, the Hull midfielder blasted his restart toward the middle of the West Ham goal. Just inside the penalty area, however, Jelavic ran into the shot and pushed it toward Adrían’s left post, giving the keeper no chance of preventing Hull’s unlikely equalizer.

The lead was gone in six minutes, however. Off a poor cross from Demel, Chester failed to adjust to an unexpected bounce, his attempted left-footed clearance seeing the ball skip off his knee. The deflection went over Harper and under the crossbar to give West Ham its winner.

Hull’s best chance over the match’s final 36 minutes was a long drive from Huddlestone that forced Adrían to concede a corner. Even against a West Ham team that failed to adjust to a man advantage, the short-handed Tigers couldn’t find a second equalizer. Instead, they were left wondering if another official would have called Diamé’s hand ball.

LINEUPS

West Ham United: Adrían; Dumel, Collins (Johnson 9′), Tomkins, McCartney; Noble, Diame (J. Cole 69′); Downing, Nolan, Taylor; Carroll

Goals: Noble (26′), Chester (54′, o.g.)

Hull City: McGregor; Chester, Bruce (Harper 25′), Davies; Elmohamady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Meyler, Figueroa (Rosenior 59′); Long, Jelavic (Sagbo 82′)

Goals: Jelavic (48′)

Watch Live: Manchester United vs. West Ham (Lineups and Discuss)

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A pulsating clash should take place at Old Trafford as Manchester United aim to get back into the pack at the top of the table when West Ham come to town.

The Hammers made the League Cup semis in midweek after beating Spurs away from home and Sam Allardyce will be hoping that his beleaguered side can build off that.

As for United, David Moyes are coming off the back of three straight wins in all competitions and an impressive attacking display against Aston Villa last weekend sees the Red Devils confident and in-form.

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As for team news, Wayne Rooney returns for Manchester United up front, while West Ham give a Premier League debut to Adrian and Matthew Taylor comes back into the team.

LINEUPS

Manchester United: De Gea, Rafael, Smalling, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Jones, Cleverley, Januzaj, Welbeck, Rooney. Subs: Johnstone, Giggs, Chicharito, Young, Fletcher, Kagawa, Büttner

West Ham: Adrian, Demel, Tomkins, Collins, McCartney, Noble, Morrison, Taylor, Jarvis, Maiga, Diame. Subs: Jaaskelainen, Rat, Collison, O’Brien, Diarra, J.Cole, C.Cole

Late Jarvis, Maiga goals see West Ham past Tottenham, into League Cup semifinals

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Two goals in six minutes late at White Hart Lane have put West Ham into the League Cup semifinals, with Tottenham’s first match post-André Villas Boas ending with elimination from England’s second cup competition. Despite a 67th minute opener from Emmanuel Adebayor, Spurs were upset by goals from Matthew Jarvis and Modibo Maiga, Tim Sherwood’s debut as Tottenham’s caretaker ending in disappointment.

Though Spurs changed formation and brought the likes of Adebayor back into the team, the performance had many of the hallmarks of their previous troubles. A team that was able to dominate possession with a skill level clear superior to its opposition’s was unable to generate enough chances on goal, putting four attempts on target despite holding 68 percent of the ball. West Ham, however, dominating the final stages of the match, finished with eight hosts on goal, their pressure paying off with a late, comeback victory at the expense of a suspect Spurs defense.

The Hammers join Manchester City, Manchester United, and Sunderland in the League Cup semifinals, with Sam Allardyce’s team set to face the Citizens in the round of four. Spurs, on the other hand, are out of a competition they last won in 2008, their new coach unable to reverse the team’s coach after Monday’s firing of Villas-Boas.

[MORE: Young’s blast, Evra’s insurance see Manchester United into League Cup semifinals]

[MORE: Manchester City advance, Chelsea bounced in League Cup]

The match marked the debut of Sherwood as caretaker manager, who ushered in the post-Villas-Boas era by starting Adebayor and Jermaine Defoe at forward, changing Spurs’ formation to feature two strikers up front. Gylfi Sigurdsson was partnered with Moussa Dembélé in a two-man midfield supported by Andros Townsend and Aaron Lennon wide, another choice that would have been unlikely under Tottenham’s recently deposed boss.

The selection produced some lopsided first half statistics but no change on the scoreboard. Spurs held 72 percent of the ball and outshot West Ham 11-2, with Andros Townshend proving particularly effective down the left. But with each side only managing one shot on target, the game began its second half scoreless, Sherwood’s possession-hogging, goalless progress matching his predecessor’s possession-hogging, goalless failings.

source: AP
Modibo Maiga came on in the second half to contribute to West Ham’s equalizer and score the Hammers’ winner, sending the East London side into the League Cup semifinals. (Photo: AP)

By the opening of the second, West Ham was playing a bigger part in the game, yet come the hour, a more contested match still lacked in chances. James Collins’ blast from the edge of the Hammers’ attacking third had doubled his team’s tries on target, but Spurs had yet to re-test second choice keeper Adrían in the visitors’ goal. With the Hammers getting more chances to play balls down the field, there was the increasing threat of the match being stolen from the hosts.

Those fears appeared to be quelled in the 67th minute when Sherwood’s recall of Adebayor paid off. After Defoe had claimed a ball down the left, streaking deep into the Spurs’ attacking third, a bullet cross found an open Adebayor at the far post. Drilling a volley into the right side of goal, the formerly-forgotten striker gave Spurs what seemed a well-deserved lead.

But over the rest of the match’s final half-hour, West Ham proved the better side, that threat of theft coming good on Jarvis’s 80th minute goal. On a long ball from Adrían, Maiga flicked a header on to Matthew Taylor, who swept a pass across the penalty area to Jarvis on the left. The former Wolverhampton winger’s quick shot gave Hugo Lloris little chance to get across goal, the Hammers’ equalizer finishing in the top of Tottenham’s net.

Five minutes later, Sherwood’s debut was ruined, with a cross from the right finding Maiga for a surprisingly simple winner. Playing the ball out wide, West Ham found substitute Mohamed Diamé, who saw no pressure before targeting Maiga just outside of the six-yard box. In between defenders, Maiga had space to head his shot down and inside the left post, putting West Ham into the semifinals.

In a six-minute stretch, all the control Spurs had exerted throughout the match — control that seemed to come good with Adebayor’s opener — faded into insignificance. Though it wasn’t a 6-0 or 5-0 loss, it was a cup-eliminating defeat to a team that’s seen little other success this year. For the second time this season, Tottenham’s fallen to West Ham, with this defeat costing them their spot in the League Cup.

Watch Live: West Ham vs. Aston Villa (Lineups and Discuss)

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Two sides with two of the lowest goal tallies in the Premier League meet up on Saturday at Upton Park (11 am ET, watch live online via NBC Sports Live Extra). Fans tuning in will be desperately hoping that Aston Villa’s visit to West Ham won’t result in a dour, goalless draw.

With the pragmatic Sam Allardyce in charge, West Ham boast one of the lowest rates of goals conceded in the league. That caution has helped the hosts avoid the relegation zone, albeit barely. The Irons may have managed that 3-0 victory over Tottenham a few weeks back, but that was followed by a loss to Manchester City and a yawning 0-0 against Swansea.

Big Sam isn’t helped by a long casualty list, one that’s left him without traditional forwards for the majority of the season. Carlton Cole still isn’t set for a start, although he is on the bench, while Matthew Taylor and Mladen Petric are the newest bodies on the physio table. Former Villa man Stewart Downing starts, Matthew Jarvis is on from the beginning with Ricardo Vaz Te out injured, and Ravel Morrison completes the trio of “strikers” for the hosts. Will someone manage to find a goal?

The visitors sit just two points above West Ham and are looking to get over a rather dismal run. Back to back 2-0 losses, to Spurs and Everton, followed a let’s-never-talk-about-this-again goalless draw against Hull City. Now that three straight games have passed without the Villa scoring, the pressure is on Christian Benteke to bring his side back to winning ways. They’re without the injured Gabby Agbonlahor once more, so Andreas Weimann partners Benteke in a 3-5-2.

West Ham United starting XI: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Rat, Tomkins, Reid, Noble, Collison, Nolan, Downing, Jarvis, Morrison

Subs: Adrian, O’Brien, Potts, J. Cole, Diame, Maiga, C. Cole

Aston Villa starting XI: Guzan, Lowton, Bacuna, Vlaar, Clark, Baker, El Ahmadi, Westwood, Sylla, Weimann, Benteke

Subs: Steer, Helenius, Herd, Bowery, Tonev, Kozak, Johnson