Cleat Geeks

TOP FOUR DRAW AS MOURINHO SLAMS ‘CAMPAIGN’ AGAINST BLUES

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho hit out at ‘the campaign’ to influence referee’s decisions against his side following their 1-1 draw at Southampton. Senegalese striker Sadio Mane gave the Saints the lead on 17 minutes before Eden Hazard levelled for the Blues on the stroke of half-time. Mane and Hazard’s goals were the only two efforts on target in the entire game. French midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin was sent off for the home side late on, but Mourinho was left fuming after Cesc Fabregas was booked for diving in the area by referee Anthony Taylor, although replays showed the Spaniard had been tripped by young full-back Matt Targett.

“I will go to the referee, wish him a good year and tell him he will be ashamed. There is a campaign against Chelsea,” said Mourinho. “In other countries where I worked before, tomorrow in the sports papers it would be front-page scandal because it is a scandal.”

The point ensures the Saints see out 2014 in 4th place in the table, while Chelsea will go into 2015 with their three point lead still in tact at the top of the table. That is because Manchester City threw away a 2-0 lead at home to Burnley and had to settle for a point. All was going to plan at the Etihad after David Silva and Fernandinho had put Manuel Pellegrini’s men two up after 33 minutes.

City went in front just after 20 minutes after a typically neat build up, with Jesus Navas squaring the ball for Silva who found himself in acres of space at the near post. Ten minutes later Fernandinho doubled the hosts’ lead with a superb strike from the edge of the D. It seemed as though the Citizens were heading for a routine victory, but Sean Dyche’s side hadn’t read the script.

George Boyd halved the deficit in somewhat controversial circumstances after he diverted Danny Ings’ effort past Joe Hart early in the second half. Replays showed the former Hull player was in an offside position when Ings had shot, but the goal stood, and Burnley weren’t finished there.

Nine minutes from time Jason Shackell pumped a long free-kick into the box and Ashley Barnes out jumped Martin Demichelis to flick the ball on; it hit team mate Michael Keane before dropping invitingly at Barnes’ feet. The Bath-born midfielder made no mistake firing past Hart, and the Clarets held on for an unlikely point.

Manchester United were held to a goalless draw at Tottenham to ensure all of the top four dropped points in round 19. A man of the match performance from Spurs’ ‘keeper Hugo Lloris was enough to stretch the Londoners’ unbeaten run to five games, while Van Gaal’s teams undefeated sequence extends to nine games. The Dutch manager described his sides’ second half performance as “a struggle for life,” in his post match interview.

Meanwhile, Arsenal made it two wins in 46 hours as they edged out West Ham at Upton Park. The Hammers thought that they had taken the lead on five minutes when former Gunner Alex Song smashed a volley past Wojciech Szczesny, only for the linesman to raise his flag and award the visitors a free-kick.

Santi Cazorla won a penalty for Arsene Wenger’s men five minutes before the break after an off balance Winston Reid appeared to trip the Spaniard inside the box. The New Zealand international was left fuming with referee Neil Swarbrick’s decision, although he did appear to fell Cazorla. The midfielder dusted himself down before converting from the spot, with what was Arsenal’s first shot on target.

Three minutes later the Cazorla combined with England winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who’s cross was gratefully tapped in from close range by Danny Welbeck to double the lead.

Cheikhou Kouyate rose higher than Matthieu Debichy to head home a James Tomkins cross ten minutes into the second half to get Sam Allardyce’s side back into it, but the Senegalese midfielders header was as good as it got for the hosts, and big Sam was left bemoaning the officials:

“The officials clearly got it horribly wrong. Frustrated is an understatement, baffled is more the feeling,” he said of Song’s disallowed strike.

Down at the foot of the table, Riyad Mahrez’s first half strike earned Leicester a first league win since September 21st away at Hull City. The Tigers are now only outside the relegation places on goal difference only, while the Foxes remain bottom.

Both sides finished the game with ten men though, as Paul Konchesky saw red for the visitors, while Stephen Quinn was dismissed late on for Hull.

Pressure continues to grow on West Brom head-coach after the Baggies were beaten 2-0 by Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium. Mame Biram Diouf scored both goals for the Potters, although he didn’t know too much about his second. Austrian Marko Arnautovic’s strike deflected off the Senegalese striker past a stranded Ben Foster.

Irvine’s men currently sit 16th in the league and have won just once in their last nine matches, but defender Joleon Lescott has voiced his support for the Scottish coach:

“It’s wrong that he is under pressure because it’s the players out there who have put in performances like that, and are not getting results.”

Newcastle fought back from a goal down to defeat Everton 3-2 at St James’ Park, thanks to goals from Papiss Cisse, Ayoze Perez and Jack Colback. The Toffee’s had hit the front after only five minutes thanks to Arouna Kone’s strike in his first start of the season.

Cisse’s 9th goal of the campaign pulled the Magpies level before Perez put them in front six minutes into the second half thanks to a neat finish past Joel Robles, who was deputising for the injured Tim Howard in the Everton goal.

Colback’s first goal for Newcastle came after Ross Barkley inadvertently diverted Daryl Janmaat’s through ball into the former Sunderland midfielders path and he made no mistake from inside the box.

Kevin Mirrallas pulled one back five minutes from the end to set up a nervy ending, but Alan Pardew’s men held on to move up to 9th in the table, while Everton stay 12th.

The days two other games between Aston Villa and Sunderland and QPR and Crystal Palace both finished goalless. Villa midfielder Fabian Delph was shown a straight red card for a wild, lunging tackle on Jordi Gomez in the Villa Park stalemate.

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