Boxing Day Gameweek – Review
Published: Thursday, December 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, December 27, 2012 15:12
Contrary to the entire world, England is the only place that plays football during Christmas. Bad weather, wet pitch, injuries, tube strikes and plenty of goals usually are characteristic of a Boxing Day gameweek. This gameweek was no different, some thrilling contests, controversies, wet pitches and refereeing blunders dotted this gameweek and what a week it was!
Everton vs. Wigan
Wigan are by no means a pushover as their current table position suggests, but they have strung together a series of losses, and this coupled with injuries have dented their hopes. The return of defender Gary Caldwell saw Wigan return to the 3-5-2 formation. But Everton were strong and their wing play was exceptional. Even the loss of Marouane Fellaini has hurt them yet. Wigan did play some sensational football and should have taken a point from the game. But Everton were clinical in front of goal and took their chances with aplomb. Leon Osman put the Toffees in front with a deflected goal. Shaun Maloney should have had the penalty when he was bundled in the box by Osman, but the referee did not give it. The Toffees then compounded Wigan’s misery by going two goals ahead courtesy Phil Jagielka’s header. But Wigan did show some spirit to come back into the game and got a goal courtesy Arouna Kone and this set up a tense finish. But Everton held on to their lead and took three important points to raise them to the fourth spot in the table.
Manchester United vs. Newcastle United
This was the most thrilling game of week. This game had it all, refereeing errors, comebacks, some sensational goals and in the end, a Fergie-time winner. Newcastle got off to a superb start courtesy a goal from James Perch. Demba Ba’s shot was parried by David De Gea onto the path of Perch who put the Magpies ahead in the fourth minute. Man United got back into the game as they always do, courtesy a goal from Johnny Evans. The controversial moment of the game came when Evans was pushing Papiss Cisse and the ball deflected into the net for an own goal. The goal infuriated Sir Alex Ferguson and he was seen continuously harassing the referee. But the comeback kings were not done yet. They got back into the game with a goal from Patrice Evra who scored his second in two games. Newcastle, fielding a second string team again went ahead courtesy Cisse with a thumping finish with his left foot. With Manchester United, the game is never over till the final whistle is blown. They again equalized with a Robin Van Persie goal and found the winner from Javier Hernandez. It was the stuff of champions and the Red Devils deservedly went seven points clear at the top of the table.
Stoke City vs. Liverpool
A trip to the Britannia Stadium is never easy and Liverpool thought they had the advantage when they got a penalty in the second minute. It was dispatched into the net with a cool finish from Steven Gerrard and Liverpool took the lead. But from there, it was some brilliance from Stoke City. The two forwards, John Walters and Kenwyne Jones were a constant threat and could not handle the two. Stoke equalized through Walters and then took the lead with a header from Jones. Walters then showed some exquisite skill to increase the lead with a superb volley. Overall, it was a deserved win for Stoke who extend their unbeaten run at home this season.
West Brom vs. QPR – West Brom got three important points in a controversial win over QPR. The game was marred by a handball decision against QPR and the West Brom second goal in which the forward was blocking the keeper. But this win propels the Baggies to sixth in the table and put pressure on the top three teams.
Tottenham vs. Aston Villa – Gareth Bale scored a sensational hat-trick against Villa who continue their poor form. They were comprehensively demolished 4-0 after miraculously not conceding in the first half. Tottenham just established their superiority and this makes them a team to watch out for come January.
It’s not that you have Arsenal not playing games every week, but their clash with West Ham United was postponed due to a tube strike. This gives them enough rest and the Christmas weekend off. This may see the players with some renewed vigor and this may be a sign of things to come. The second half of the league is about to start and this is when things start to get interesting. Let the action begin!