You got to love the English Premier League for the sheer fact that you never know what is going to happen. Just as the last games of 2011 in the league were shocking, it turns out the first games of 2012 were just as shocking.
Sunderland 1 – Manchester City 0
Manchester United lads should probably send some bubbly to the Sunderland boys after today’s match. Because of the absolute stunner from Sunderland’s Ji Dong-won in the dying minutes of the match, the race for the English Premier League title is wide open.
And Sunderland truly went into this match as the underdogs, with injuries and problems in their back line. Boss Martin O’Neill had some of his midfielders step up to the plate to play in the back and what helped him out further was the fact that it seemed City’s Manager Roberto Mancini was thinking more about the clash with Liverpool coming up than the here and now.
Aguero and David Silva didn’t start, finding themselves on the bench, and current City star Mario Balotelli wasn’t even including in the 18 Mancini named for the game. It proved to be a lesson for all.
Despite all of Sunderland’s woes, they were clearly the better team in the beginning of the game. The only thing really keeping the Black Cats from the lead before the half was the fact striker Nicklas Bendtner couldn’t get the ball in the net. However, after keeper Joe Hart had to make a few saves, City finally started to take things a bit seriously and show up to the match. They were able to rattle the crossbar a few times, but Sunderland’s make-shift back line held.
By the half, Mancini decided it was time to actually try to put the game away and brought on Aguero and Silva when the second 45 started. Things started to pick up again for City, but Sunderland’s keeper Simon Mignolet picked up some great saves. There was a heart-stopping moment in the 59th minute when Sunderland’s Sessegnon went down under a challenge by City’s Kolarov and the ref signaled for play to continue. City pushed forward under the momentum, but again, a nice set up was wasted as Mignolet made a close save off a Aguero shot.
The minutes went by with more chances for both teams, but still nothing of merit. Finally, in the dying minutes of game – the fourth minute of injury time actually - Sessegnon pushed the ball into the path of Ji, who deftly moved around Joe Hart and snatched the three points for Sunderland.
It’s a stellar way to start off the year for Sunderland and makes things oh so interesting for the top of the table.
West Brom 0 – Everton 1
US International Landon Donovan didn’t start for Everton this morning, but the Toffees wouldn’t need him as substitute Victor Anichebe notched his first Premier League goal in the final minutes of the match against West Brom.
It was an easy game for Everton’s keeper Tim Howard, who didn’t have to make a save at all; all the shots that came from West Brom were wasted. On the other end, however, West Brom’s keeper Ben Foster had to make at least three saves for the club and unfortunately couldn’t stop the game winner.
Possession was about even during the match between both teams and West Brom had a whopping 13 shots, with none on goal. Everton managed two more shots than their opponent with four on goal.
Welcome to the New Year, footy fans! We hope you stay with Aerys Soccer during 2012 for all your EPL and soccer news!