Arsenal step by step gona championship, Liverpool show teeth to the top , Manchester United getting far from target.
Arsenal 2 Hull City 0 :Gunners a team with genius again
It will take a lot longer and many more goals to shake off his tag as a serious underachiever, but he left the field to a standing ovation and Arsene Wenger was left delighted as his gamble to rest Olivier Giroud paid off handsomely.
Wenger admitted it was a gamble after Bendtner’s poor performance in the Capital One Cup defeat by Chelsea in October when he was booed off.
“It is always [a gamble] with a guy who has not played for a long time,” he said. “His last performance was not convincing against Chelsea but he worked hard in training and deserved his chance.
“We know when he has the mind on the game he has the qualities. He had a good game.”
Bendtner is out of contract in the summer and Wenger said it was too early to think about him staying at the club longer than that, but he could prove vital as a wild-card striker.
He certainly is that against Hull – he scored the winner the last time these two teams met in 2010 and also against them the season before that.
Bendtner’s early strike should have been the start of a landslide as Arsenal carved open Hull but they had to wait until Mesut Ozil struck in the 47th minute to put more daylight between the sides.
The victory ensured Arsenal finished the night four points clear at the top of the table and a whopping 12 clear of Manchester United.
Wenger reiterated it is too soon to rule David Moyes’ side out of the title race.
“It’s a surprising defeat but it’s still early,” he said. “We’ve seen that before – the 12 points are only on us. We have just to keep winning to have a chance and not worry too much about the others.”
Hull arrived on the back of a 3-1 win over Liverpool and with manager Steve Bruce promising to go for it by playing two strikers rather than sitting back and defending. Bruce’s optimism was punctured inside two minutes with Bendtner’s goal – his first for Arsenal in the league since December 2010 against Wigan.
The move that led to it was classic Arsenal. They had kept the ball for a dozen or more passes before Tomas Rosicky fed Aaron Ramsey, who with one touch sent Carl Jenkinson free down the right wing. The full-back’s cross was a dream for any striker and Bendtner obliged with a bullet header.
Bendtner should have doubled the lead when he pounced after Allan McGregor spilled a shot from Mesut Ozil, but his first touch was awful and the chance was gone.
Hull started the second half like the first – picking the ball out of the net. Ozil played a one-two with Ramsey before coolly passing the ball into the corner of the net. Bruce admitted afterwards he suspected the worst when he saw Bendtner’s name on the teamsheet after twice signing the Dane on loan at Birmingham and Sunderland.
He said: “He did really well for me, twice. I hope sooner or later he knuckles down and makes a go of his career. He reminds us all of that, on nights like this. But the mentality of Nicklas is always the thing that everybody questions.
“He’s a good centre-forward, he’s got everything…but there’s always a but.
“We were having a look at him in the summer, but the salary was always going to be a problem for us. It was Sod’s Law he would do that tonight. When did he last score?” The pluses keep coming for Arsenal. Another victory, another clean sheet – their sixth in seven games. Another powerful display from their midfield. And even a backhanded compliment from Match of the Day host Gary Lineker – “When Bendtner starts scoring you really have to take Arsenal seriously.”
Arsenal vs Hull City Match Stats
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Szczesny 6, Jenkinson 7, Mertesacker (c) 7, Koscielny 6, Monreal 6; Ramsey 8 (Arteta 80′), Flamini 6; Rosicky 6 (Wilshere 73′), Ozil 7, Cazorla 7; Bendtner 7 (Walcott 73′).
Subs not used: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Giroud, Gibbs.
Hull (3-5-2): McGregor 7, Chester 5, Bruce 5, Figueroa 5; Elmohamady 5, Livermore 6, Huddlestone 7, Meyler 6, Brady 5 (Rosenior 58′); Graham 4 (Boyd 58′), Sagbo 4 (Gedo 73′).
Subs not used: Harper, Koren, Fryatt, Faye.
Referee: Andre Marriner.
Man of the Match: Aaron Ramsey.
Arsenal 2 Hull City Match Video[media id=999 width=610 height=340]
Liverpool 5 Norwich City 1:Suarez hat-trick Reds destroy Norwich
Anfield has witnessed some spine-tingling individual performances through the years and, notwithstanding the visitors’ lack of quality, the Uruguayan conjured a display that will stand alongside many of them.
On a night of breathtaking brilliance when he stood head and shoulders above everyone else on the pitch, Suarez made history by becoming the first Liverpool player, and the first in the Premier League, to score three hat-tricks against the same opponents before adding a fourth and setting up the fifth for good measure.
Long before the end rival manager Chris Hughton was moved to stand back and begrudgingly admire a cavalcade of goals which ranged from the outrageous to the merely excellent.
It serves to illustrate the hold Suarez has over Norwich that he has now plundered 11 goals in his last four games against them. Never has an effort felt more like a consolation strike than Bradley Johnson’s late header for the visitors.
Suarez’s first, battered in from 40 yards, was as astonishing as it was impressive and with a stunning haul completed when he curled home a 25-yard free-kick in the second half, it is pertinent to consider just where he now stands in the pantheon of the club’s greats.
Yet as the home supporters rose as one to offer a thunderous ovation when the striker was replaced with seconds remaining, the importance to them that he remains on Merseyside was inescapable. When Suarez bagged a treble against West Brom earlier in the campaign, Liverpool owner John W Henry tweeted he was a “magician”.
Henry would be better advised to concentrate his efforts on trying to persuade Suarez to stay beyond the end of the season because when he performs with the swagger he showed here, he is irreplaceable.
The opening goal is worthy of a full description.
ohn Ruddy’s goal-kick was met by Steven Gerrard and Leroy Fer tried to steer the Liverpool captain’s header back to his defenders. Though the contact was not strong enough initially, when Suarez pounced on the loose ball, the Dutchman did not appear overly concerned. How wrong he was. The ball instinctively invited a volley, but the execution from fully 40 yards was something else, arcing upwards before dipping perfectly over the out-stretched fingertips of the back-pedalling Ruddy and dropping into the corner of the net.
Suarez made the game safe with two more sweet strikes inside six minutes.
His – and Liverpool’s second – was whipped past Ruddy in a blur after a Philippe Coutinho corner had been allowed to reach him on the edge of the six-yard box and his treble was completed with indecent haste.
It may have been overshadowed by his first, but it was still a work of magic. Suarez flicked the ball over Fer, waited for it to drop before unleashing a drive from just inside the penalty area that flew in like an Exocet.
Ruddy tipped over Joe Allen’s spectacular 30-yard drive but the England goalkeeper must have had a sense of foreboding when Suarez stood over a free-kick after 74 minutes.
Suarez’s aim was true and his shot curled away from Ruddy for goal number four. He then danced past a posse of defenders to tee up Raheem Sterling for number five.
Despite missing the opening five games of the season due to his ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic, he is now the Premier League’s leading scorer with 13 goals.
The injury absence of Daniel Sturridge may be disconcerting for Rodgers, but the day Suarez is no longer around will be the day he really worries.
Liverpool vs Norwich City Match Stats
Liverpool (4-4-1-1): Mignolet 6; Johnson 7, Skrtel 6, Agger 6, Flanagan 6; Henderson 6 (Luis Alberto 69), Allen 6, Gerrard 7, Sterling 6; Coutinho 7; Suarez 9 (Aspas 90).
Subs not used: Jones, Toure, Moses, Sakho, Lucas.
Booked: Allen, Gerrard, Flanagan.
Goals: Suarez 19, 29, 35, 74, Sterling 88
Norwich (4-5-1): Ruddy 6; Martin 5, Bennett 6, Bassong 7, Olsson 6; Redmond 6, Howson 6, Johnson 7, Fer 5 (Whittaker 72), Hoolahan 6 (Murphy 62); Elmander 5 (Hooper 69).
Subs not used: Nash, Whittaker, Turner, Hooper, Garrido, Becchio, Murphy.
Goals: Johnson 83
Referee: Anthony Taylor 6.
Managers: Brendan Rodgers 7, Chris Hughton 6.
Liverpool 5 Norwich City 1 Match Video[media id=1000 width=610 height=340]
Manchester United 0 Everton 1:Somethings missing in United and Moyes stil cant find
Brian Oviedo’s late goal gave Everton their first win at Old Trafford since 1992 and sentenced United to their worst start to a season since 2001-02.
They are 12 points behind Arsenal and to make matters worse Wayne Rooney will miss Saturday’s home game against Newcastle after picking up his fi fth booking of the season.
But no-one can argue that Everton did not deserve their victory after a thrilling end-to-end game.
Rooney and Danny Welbeck struck the woodwork for United but Everton had chances aplenty with Kevin Mirallas striking the post with a free-kick and substitute Gerard Deulofeu firing a great chance at David De Gea.
Just as the game looked as if it would end scoreless, Oviedo popped up with his second goal in two games after 86 minutes.
With United’s defence all at sea, he was left unmarked on the left hand side of the penalty area to convert Romelu Lukaku’s cross and shatter United’s 12-game unbeaten run.
Everton had started well and passed the ball around with speed and assurance in the early minutes . Steven Pienaar’s corner was flicked on at the near post by Mirallas and Ryan Giggs had to hook the ball away at the far past.
Mirallas then cut in from the left to launch a fierce 25-yard shot that De Gea tipped over.
Such was Everton’s early dominance that it took United 13 minutes before they even got to the penalty area – and then Patrice Evra’s cross was so overhit that Rooney had no chance of connecting.
But United slowly worked their way into the game. Rooney, inevitably, had their fi rst attempt, forcing Tim Howard into a smart save at his near post. Shinji Kagawa then had a shot saved by Howard.
It was a signifi cant night for Giggs who became only the fourth 40-yearold outfield player to play in the Premier League era – against the club who were the opponents on his debut back in March 1991. Giggs almost marked the occasion by putting United ahead with a glancing header that fl ew inches wide off the far post from Rafael’s cross .
Rooney set up Welbeck for a chance but he was dispossessed before he could get the ball under control. Then Rooney made space for a shot that struck Sylvain Distin’s heel and bounced off the post with keeper Howard scooping the ball away as Kagawa threatened to convert the rebound.
Lukaku gave United’s defence – and Nemanja Vidic in particular – a torrid time with his pace and strength. After beating Vidic he saw his shot saved by De Gea’s outstretched legs. Moments later Smalling made a vital block to prevent Mirallas from scoring from close range.
At the other end Kagawa’s low cross went through Rooney’s legs. Rooney had a second chance when the ball bounced back to him off Oviedo but his hooked effort was saved by Howard.
United came out for the second half no doubt fi red up by some choice words from Moyes and Evra’s fierce 25-yard drive was parried by Howard before Marouane Fellaini had a shot deflected for corner.
Mirallas sent a shot wide before Moyes made a double substitution just before the hour, sending on Adnan Januzaj and Nani for Rafael and Kagawa.
Rooney was then booked for putting his forearm into Jagielka’s shoulder. Everton survived a double scare when Evra’s header produced an instinctive save by Howard before Welbeck headed against the bar.
Just as the game looked like ending goalless, Everton stepped up a gear and won it. Oviedo was left unmarked on the left-hand side of the penalty area to score with a first-time shot after Lukaku had sent over a low cross that had wrong footed the Untied defence.
Manchester United vs Everton Match Stats
Man United: De Gea 7; Rafael 5 (Nani 58, 5), Vidic 5, Smalling 7, Evra 7; Fellaini 7, Giggs 6; Valencia 6, Kagawa 6 (Januzaj 58, 6), Welbeck 6 (Hernandez 81); Rooney 7.
Subs not used: Lindegaard, Evans, Cleverley, Young.
Manager: David Moyes 6
Everton: Howard 7; Coleman 6, Distin 6, Jagielka 7, Oviedo 6; McCarthy 6, Barry 7; Pienaar 5 (Osman 80), Barkley 6 (Deulofeu 69, 6), Mirallas 6; Lukaku 7.
Subs not used: Robles, Heitinga, Jelavic, Naismith, Stones
Manager: Roberto Martinez 6.
MOM: Tim Howard
Referee: Martin Atkinson 6.
Man Utd 1 Everton Match Video[media id=1001 width=610 height=340]
English Premier League Match Week 14 Results
Tuesday, December 3
Crystal Palace 1 West Ham 0
Wednesday, December 4
Sunderland 3 Chelsea 4
Stoke City 0 Cardiff City 0
Liverpool 5 Norwich City 1
Swansea City 3 Newcastle 0
Arsenal 2 Hull City 0
Man United 0 Everton 1
Southampton 2 Aston Villa 3
West Brom 2 Man City 3
Fulham 1 Tottenham 2
Barclays Premier League Match Week 14 Table