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Recap: The English Premier League (Matchweek 33)

Apr 15, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

Arsenal's Arteta scores against Norwich City during their English Premier League soccer match in London

Even with a reduced slate of matches due to the FA Cup semi-finals, Matchweek 33 proved to be yet another crucial week in the Premier League. With Wigan, Manchester City and Chelsea involved in the FA Cup, that left Tottenham, Swansea City and West Brom with a weekend of rest. Saturday featured a fixture list of Arsenal v. Norwich City, Aston Villa v. Fulham, Everton v. QPR, Reading v. Liverpool and Southampton v. West Ham.

The match of the day was a no brainer. After falling behind Norwich 1-0 courtesy of a 56th minute header by Michael Turner, Arsenal were awarded a controversial penalty in the 85th minute that Mikel Arteta dispatched in the left corner. The goal invigorated the Gunners to a seven minute purple patch where goals by Olivier Giroud (’88) and Lukas Podolski (’92) vaulted Arsene Wenger’s side to a 3-1 victory and third spot in the table.

At Villa Park, Paul Lambert’s side needed three points to provide some relegation breathing room and things looked good in the 55th minute when Charles N’Zogbia put the ball on his left foot and hooked it into the left corner. But eleven minutes later Fabian Delph’s own goal ensured the Cottagers a draw bringing them to that magic 40 point safety mark. For Lambert, the single point puts the Villains even with Stoke City and Sunderland on 34 points, just three ahead of relegation threatened Wigan, who have two games in hand.

In the north-west goals by Darron Gibson (40′) and Victor Anichebe (56′) handed Everton a comfortable 2-0 victory against a lifeless QPR, who remain in 19th place, seven back of the Latics. With five matches to play Harry Redknapp’s squad isn’t mathematically eliminated but they have a defeated look to them and appear bound for the Championship next season.

Joining the R’s in the second flight will be 20th place Reading, also on 24 points. The Royals earned a 0-0 draw against Liverpool at the Madejski on Saturday behind a mammoth performance by goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, who earned 11 saves after the Reds tagged him with 28 shots. With the single point, Brendan Rodgers’ side are now five points behind 6th place Everton, who have a game in hand on their neighbors.

Over at the formidable St. Mary’s Stadium, a Gaston Ramirez opener (59′) was nixed by a 66th minute strike by Andy Carroll to give West Ham a hard-earned point ensuring both sides stay seven points clear of the drop zone.

With Wigan, Manchester City and Chelsea all in FA Cup action, Sunday’s reduced slate was reduced to two matches, Newcastle v. Sunderland and Stoke City v. Manchester United.

After crashing out to Benfica in the Europa League, Newcastle limped into the Tyne-Wear Derby and were punished 3-0 by a Paulo Di Canio inspired Sunderland side that received goals from Stephane Sessegnon (27′), Adam Johnson (74′) and David Vaughan (84′).

At the Britannia Stadium, United ensured their cushion at the top of the table with a 2-0 win as Robin van Persie (66′) ended his 10 match goal drought with a well-taken penalty after Michael Carrick (4′) opened the scoring to heap worry on a Potters side that sits just three points above relegation.

  1. goonah4life - Apr 15, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Tony Gale, Fox Soccer’s announcer and probably the worst I’ve ever heard, made clear his dismay at the Arsenal penalty kick on Saturday and the press continued in the same vein. That the penalty kick is still being discussed once again shows how much the press love to hate Arsene Wenger and his team.

    The penalty was a foul, with Kai Kamara CLEARLY grabbing Olivier Giroud’s jersey, preventing Giroud from making a play on the ball and allowing Kamara to get closer and clear it. That said fouls such as these occur all the time in the box and are often not called (Kompany on Torres in FA Cup semi). It could have gone either way.

    That said NO ONE has mentioned even once the fact that Norwich’s goal was the result of a complete phantom foul and terrible decision by the official. The same Kamara tripped himself in a shameless effort that wouldn’t even have fooled a blind man. Norwich scored from the ensuing free kick yet no one in the press had a word to say about that one. Had this terrible decision not gone against Arsenal it probably would not have taken an 85th minute penalty kick to help them get the win.

    I can’t say I’m shocked in the least, Arsenal are always treated in this way by the general press, I just expected a little more from such a knowledgeable and savvy writer such as yourself. I can only assume you are trying to put Arsenal down out of fear of what they will do to your Toffees tomorrow. Fair enough.

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