January 2, 2012
Around the English Premier League – Round 19
Manchester United gave City the chance to open a gap between them in the standings, but Sunderland prevented it.
By Camilla Mancini
On Saturday the Red Devils opened the second day of matches from the last round of 2011, playing against Blackburn Rovers, which has been in the relegation zone since round 6. The encounter took place at Old Trafford and it was quite surprising how the Rovers stood up to the defending champions, especially if we look back over most of their fixtures this season. In fact since this season has been so rough for the club, some Rovers’ fans have been asking for Steve Kean’s head. Nevertheless the triumph over United comes following a tie against Liverpool on the 26th and for sure these two results must arrive as a gust of fresh air for Kean and his team, who thanks to this triumph is now three points away from QPR that holds the 17th spot on the table.
Between the Manchester clubs there were no changes at all, while Tottenham gained a point to distance more from Chelsea that now is two points behind. The Red Devils still have a shot to steal the first place from City, which at the same time might have a chance to leave its neighbor behind in points.
The Rovers opened the scoreboard early in the game when Dimitar Berbatov was awarded a penalty for grabbing Christopher Samba’s shirt and pulled him down during a free-kick. The penalty was charged by Ayegbeni Yakubu and with a right-foot kick he placed the 1-0 at 16 minutes and for the rest of the first half it stayed that way. Within 5 minutes from the beginning of second half it was Yakubu’s time once again and from a close range he placed the ball right in the middle of the goal. The 2-0 disadvantage was looking a bit discouraging for the hosts when all of a sudden Berbatov came along as United’s hero; and this by the way could become a regular role for him, since lately he has been playing marvelously and even reached 6 goals in the last three matches. The Bulgarian scored two goals in ten minutes; he headed the first one just a minute after Yakubu’s, while the tie was placed at 61’ with assistance from Antonio Valencia. The 2-2 filled up with hope the Old Trafford, but in the end Berbatov’s work wasn’t enough and 10 minutes before the end Grant Hanley gave the victory to the Riversiders.
The Red Devils’ defeat left them with the same 45pts that tied them with Manchester City on round 18, and although the Citizens played a day after United and obviously were aware of the opportunity they had to break apart from their rival, they couldn’t stop Sunderland from winning. This has been the second fixture in a row that Mancini’s site finishes goalless, the 1-0 with Sunderland left the Premier’s leaders quite disappointed. Nevertheless they were lucky that Ferguson’s men were defeated as well, because otherwise they would’ve lost the 1st place of the standings. Even though the match started a bit slowly, during the second half things got more animated and both clubs made several moves that were close to score. However in the very last minute, it would be through a pass made by Stephane Sessegnon that the South Korean Ji Dong-Won grabbed the ball and scored by rounding Joe Hart and coolly kicking the ball into the goal. Despite the fact that the Black Cats reached 21pts with the victory, they fell from the 13th to the 15th spot; but if they continue playing like this, they surely won’t have a problem to climb back again in the board.
The other matches from round 19: Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle; Swansea 1-1 Tottenham; Stoke 2-2 Wigan; Norwich 1-1 Fulham; Chelsea 1-3 Aston Villa; Bolton 1-1 Wolves; Arsenal 1-0 QPR; West Brom 0-1 Everton.
Camilla Mancini is one of the most qualified copy writers on Sports Betting and currently writes for Instant Action Sports. Feel free to reprint this article in its entirety on your site, make sure to leave all links in place and do not modify any of the content.