Swansea frustrates Man United

Updated 24 December 2012
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Swansea frustrates Man United

SWANSEA: Manchester United’s lead over Manchester City is down to four points from six after the Premier League leaders were held 1-1 at Swansea City’s Liberty Stadium yesterday.
In a late match, Chelsea thrashed hapless Aston Villa 8-0 in the most emphatic victory of the season to date to climb to third place.
For United, Patrice Evra struck with a first half header to put United on their way but a Michu equalizer before half time was enough to give Swansea a richly deserved point.
Having seen neighbors City cut their lead at the top of the league to three points with Saturday’s last-gasp 1-0 victory over Reading, United were keen to restore their healthy advantage going into the busy festive period.
United winger Antonio Valancia had an early cross blocked by Ben Davies but it was Swansea who looked the more likely in the early stages, with Nathan Dyer putting in a dangerous cross and Michu spurning a sight of goal.
The Spaniard, who now has 13 goals in the league this season, fired high and wide under pressure from Nemanja Vidic, but the threat was clear.
Wayne Routledge tested David de Gea with a shot on the turn from 18 yards before Michu was caught offside from a delightful through ball by Routledge.
The danger for United was always there and though Swansea came into the game on the back of successive defeats against Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur, they were not short on confidence.
United might have taken the lead in the 14th minute when Michel Vorm, back in the Swansea goal after a two-month injury lay-off, beat away Wayne Rooney’s 25-yard strike.
Two minutes later, Evra rose to head home Robin van Persie’s near-post corner.
It was the signal for United to step on the gas and try to kill off the game before Swansea could respond.
Van Persie and Valencia were the main source of Swansea’s problems, though Rooney almost latched onto Ashley Young’s crisp center after van Persie had torn a hole in the home midfield.
Then, as United dropped their guard, Swansea struck.
Routledge sent in Jonathan de Guzman and though his shot was kept out by De Gea, Michu arrived with perfect timing to make it 13 for the season.
Swansea were good value for the goal and though the sides turned around level, De Guzman and Michu both had opportunities to send the hosts in at half time with a lead.
United were strangely careless in the second half, with Rooney, on too many occasions to remember, giving away the ball in positions of promise.
His free-kick on the hour, after Chico Flores was booked for a poorly timed tackle, was straight at Vorm, as was Dyer’s 30-yard shot at the opposite end a minute later.
The introduction of Javier Hernandez gave United a little more bite, with Rooney dropping back into the visitors’ four man midfield.
From that juncture, United began to dominate possession, with Swansea needing all of their resolve to keep the leaders at bay.
Van Persie, who was booked with Ashley Williams after the pair had a spat on the edge of the 18-yard box, struck the crossbar with a volley from Rooney’s center and Vorm pulled off a smart save from Hernandez.
Michael Carrick then forced a great save from Vorm and Swansea twice had to produce desperate blocks as United turned the screw.
Swansea, however, held on to claim a first ever EPL point.


Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

The gunners could not defeat 10-man Atletico Madrid. (AFP)
Updated 27 April 2018
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Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

  • The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes
  • Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week

LONDON: Arsenal’s hopes of sending outgoing manager Arsene Wenger off with a trophy suffered a major blow as they could only draw 1-1 with 10-man Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal on Thursday.
The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes at the Emirates Stadium, with Sime Vrsaljko’s early red card handing them the initiative.
However, they were made to rue a host of missed chances before and after Alexandre Lacazette headed them in front on the hour mark.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone was also sent to the stands shortly after Vrsaljko’s dismissal, but the Spaniards resisted manfully and pounced when their chance came as Antoine Griezmann prodded home a vital away goal eight minutes from time.
Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week if Wenger’s last game in charge is to be the final in his homeland in Lyon on May 16.
Moreover, Arsenal’s hopes of Champions League football next season also hang on becoming the first side other than Real Madrid to eliminate Atletico from Europe for five seasons.
There was a far more highly-charged atmosphere for Wenger’s penultimate home game in charge than there had been for last weekend’s game against West Ham United.
And the hosts were given plenty of encouragement early on, even when still up against Atletico’s full complement.
Lacazette volleyed off the outside of the post and forced Jan Oblak into the first of a series of fine saves with a header from close range.
Vrsaljko had been booked within two minutes for bringing down Jack Wilshere.

And the Croatian left his side a man light after just 10 minutes when French referee Clement Turpin showed no leniency for another late challenge on Lacazette.
Moments later, Simeone was also dismissed by the officious referee for taking his protests too far when an Arsenal player wasn’t booked for what he thought was a similar foul.
Atletico’s excellent defensive record is what has carried them to five European semifinals in seven seasons under Simeone.
The visitors battened down the hatches with 10 men, but were reliant on Oblak to keep them in the tie.
Wilshere headed straight at Oblak when unmarked at the back post at the end of a flowing Arsenal move.
And the Slovenian then spread himself well with an outstretched leg to deny Danny Welbeck.
Having weathered the Gunners’ early storm, Atletico only began to threaten themselves late in the first half and David Ospina had to be alert to parry a fiercely struck Griezmann shot following a fine run from Thomas Partey.
Atletico retreated ever deeper toward their own goal after the break and were finally punished on the hour mark when Wilshere’s deep cross found Lacazette rising above Lucas Hernandez to head in his seventh goal in seven games.
However, the French international and Arsenal could have had more.
Laczette’s dangerous ball across goal found no takers before he headed another good opportunity wide.
And Arsenal paid heavily for their profligacy, and some comical defending, when Atletico grabbed a vital away goal on 82 minutes.
Griezmann outmuscled French international team-mate Laurent Koscielny and then benefited from a slip by Shkodran Mustafi after his initial effort had been saved by Ospina to prod his 27th goal of the season into the roof of the net.
There was still time for Oblak to show why Griezmann isn’t the only Atletico player wanted by Europe’s elite with a spectacular one-handed save to turn Aaron Ramsey’s header behind and keep Los Rojiblancos on course for another European final.