Premier League Week in Review (February 24th-February 26th)
Tottenham vs West Ham
In front of 35,000 supporters at Upton Park, Gareth Bale continued his path into stardom as the 23-year old had another performance for the ages for Tottenham. He scored a brace with an ever-so-important 90th minute game-winning strike that is sure to break into the top goals of the year chart.
Bale opened the scoring against the Hammers in the 13th minute before the relatively forgotten Andy Carroll leveled from the penalty spot in the 25th minute. West Ham would eventually take the lead through a Joe Cole goal, but the Spurs substitute, Gylfi Sigurdsson, equalized in the 76th minute after a Gareth Bale free kick saw the ball being scrambled inside the box.
Jussi Jaaskelainen was in top gear for West Ham despite the 3-goal outburst as he had plenty of top class saves, but there was no denying Gareth Bale’s 90th minute screamer. Bale found himself on the ground after being flattened by a tackle before getting the ball back and taking a shot towards the far post upper 90 from 25 yards out to seal the 3 points for Tottenham in this London derby.
Why this Game was Important?
The best player in the Premier League this season has been Gareth Bale and he has continued to show his superiority with a rare blend of strength, skill and speed that can only be matched by Cristiano Ronaldo. In terms of the Premier League standings, Tottenham have now passed Chelsea to solely take 3rd place in the crucial fight for Champions League football. On the other end of the table, West Ham continues to plummet and now finds themselves only 2 games above the relegation zone.
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Arsenal vs Aston Villa
After being humiliated by Bayern Munich in the Champions League and by Blackburn in Cup play, Arsenal could not afford to lose again. They were playing 18th placed Aston Villa and came up with a 2-1 win with a brace from their Spanish hero, Santi Cazorla in front of 60,000 supporters at the Emirates. The first of Cazorla’s two strikes came in the 6th minute after his initial shot was blocked. He was fortunate to have a second crack at goal and took full advantage with a lovely curling effort past American keeper Brad Guzan (who came up with many crucial saves).
Arsenal had several more chances that they did not capitalize on and they were made to pay for it in the 68th minute. Guzan punted the ball long and Carl Jenkinson was unable to control the ball before Weimann took matters into his own hands by dribbling nearly half the field before a week shot found its way past Szczesny. Arsenal, continuing to throw numbers forward in search of a winner, were lucky not to go behind throughout the game, but the gamble paid off in the 85th minute as Cazorla latched onto a Nacho Monreal cross to give Arsenal all 3 points.
Why this Game was Important?
Arsenal is a club who has lost their top-dog status in recent seasons. They continually sell their top players to rival clubs every season and in doing so, have not won a trophy for 8 years. If they fail to make the Champions League and all the money that comes with it, Arsenal may be in big trouble so the race for 4th place is huge. Similarly, with Aston Villa, they were once a club fighting for Europa League spots but have now seen their stock dramatically fall to the point that they are favored to be relegated and every game now becomes a massive one.
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