When Manchester United and Manchester City are on the same field it is always a match to remember. The same can be said, however, when they each are matched up against foes like Liverpool and Arsenal. That was exactly the case yesterday when United took on Liverpool at Old Trafford and Man City went toe to toe with Arsenal in a rowdy Emirates Stadium.
Though Liverpool is having an off year by their standards, they relish every chance they have to knock off the mighty Manchester United. The early match featured the Premiership’s two leading scorers in Robin Van Perise (sixteen goals) for the United side and Luis Suarez (fifteen goals) for Liverpool. It did not take long for van Persie to add to his lead. Nineteen minutes into the match RVP buried his first real chance off of a cross from Patrice Evra and almost had another later in the half. Suarez, on the other hand, had his hands full with the United backs Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic all over him from whistle to whistle.
Van Perise may have outplayed Suarez, but that was not the case between Man U and Liverpool. Although Liverpool was shaky on defense at times, they found themselves in the game until the very end. Vidic netted the eventual game-winner for United from a van Persie free kick finding Evra’s head and deflecting of Vidic into the goal. As it always seems in soccer, the most common time for a goal is right after a goal was scored. Two minutes later in the fifty-seventh minute super-sub Daniel Sturridge put away his second goal in as many matches after being on the fortunate side of a rebound in the penalty area. Sturridge had his chance to steal a point later from Manchester United with five minutes to play, but his shot sailed high and United walked away with three points. With the loss, Liverpool sits at eighth in the league with sixteen matches to play. That is plenty of time to make up their nine point deficit to Tottenham and sneak into the Champions League. And as usual, the win keeps Manchester United atop the league once again.
Manchester City undoubtedly saw the result between United and Liverpool and the pressure was on. A loss to Arsenal would leave them ten points behind Man U–a nearly insurmountable gap to close with United’s history. So the goal was simple, get a win no matter what. Man City caught a major break when the official sent Arsenal defender, Laurent Koscielny, off the pitch for an overaggressive tackle on Edin Dzeko. They play resulted in a penalty kick and a one-man advantage for City. However, Dzeko’s attempt was saved. But being a man down takes his toll and City put away before the half. Arsenal regrouped and had their chances in the second half, but ultimately they could not overcome such a deep hole. The official evened the odds too with fifteen to go when he grabbed the red card once more when he sent off Vincent Kompany, Man City’s captain. The win keeps City within reach of United for the league championship. However, the win comes with a cost as they will be without their leader because of the red card. On the other side, Arsenal lost Koscielny and fell farther from the top four in the EPL. And to top it off, they announced they would be without their top midfielder Mikel Arteta for around three weeks because of calf injury.
The campaign is barely half gone so the drama has yet to get begin. Both squads will be battling the rest of the season for the top of the table and they square off at Old Trafford on April 6. So set your DVRs folks.
Who will win the league? Can Liverpool or Arsenal make the top four? Let me know in the comment section or on Twitter @Believelander.
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