Michael Steele

Premier League, Week 14: Chelsea draw 0-0 again while City, United win

The Premier League title race is looking more and more like a two-team affair. Chelsea were dull in a 0-0 draw yet again, while Manchesters City and United were victorious.

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Cameron Jerome sinks Magpies

Cameron Jerome scored the winner for the Toffees, who now sit ninth in the Premier League.


City grind out a win over Wigan

Wigan gave City a scare but couldn't hold out in the end as Mario Balotelli and James Milner scored second half goals three minutes apart to earn City the victory.


West Brom look fowl in a loss to Swansea

Swansea did all their damage in the first half putting three goals past West Brom and coasting home in the second half for the victory.


Chelsea fail to score again

For the second straight match, Chelsea have drawn 0-0 in a poor match. This time, Fulham got to steal a point while doing very little, much like City did over the weekend.


Gunners, Toffees share spoils in entertaining draw

Marouane Fellaini and Theo Walcott scored a pair of excellent goals in an entertaining draw between Everton and Arsenal.


It's Super Mario!

Roberto Mancini and City will be endeavoring to look more impressive than they did against Chelsea on the weekend. Yes they got a point on the road, but that was a terrible match. Anyway, Mario Balotelli gets the start up front for City, his first start since early November against West Ham. Yaya Touré will play higher up in the midfield, with Javi Garcia in a deeper role alongside Gareth Barry.

Just a couple changes for Roberto Martinez's Wigan side from their win over Reading. Adrian Lopez takes over for Iván Ramis in the central defense, while Franco Di Santo replaces Shaun Maloney in the midfield.

Wigan starting lineup (3-4-2-1): Ali Al-Habsi; Emmerson Boyce, Adrian Lopez, Maynor Figueroa; Ronnie Stam, James McCarthy, David Jones, Jean Beausejour; Jordi Gómez, Franco Di Santo; Arouna Koné.

Manchester City starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Joe Hart; Maicon, Vincent Kompany, Matija Nastasić, Pablo Zabaleta; Javi Garcia, Gareth Barry; David Silva, Yaya Touré, Mario Balotelli; Sergio Agüero.


Tottenham Hotspur vs. Liverpool: Lineups

Brendan Rodgers is nothing if not creative. Stewart Downing, an eight-figure left midfielder, is starting at left back against Tottenham Hotspur. Jose Enrique, a left back, is starting at left forward. The craziest thing of all is that this actually makes some sense. That should frighten you.

Spurs, meanwhile, meet Liverpool with basically their standard shape. Emmanuel Adebayor is still suspended thanks to his whoopsie in the North London derby, which means we'll see Jermain Defoe up top supported by American striker Clint Dempsey. The Reds should prove difficult for that pair to break down, and Luis Suarez is on good enough form that Tottenham have to be worried about him winning the match on his own, even at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-1-1): Hugo Lloris; Jan Vertonghen, William Gallas, Michael Dawson, Kyle Walker; Gareth Bale, Sandro, Moussa Dembele, Aaron Lennon; Clint Dempsey; Jermain Defoe.

Liverpool (4-3-3): Pepe Reina; Stewart Downing, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Glen Johnson; Joe Allen, Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson; Jose Enrique, Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling.


West Ham: Now with no left backs or midfielders

West Ham have picked a bit of an odd lineup to face Manchester United. It features four central defenders and a right back, and obviously someone will have to play out of position, if not two players. More likely than not, Joey O'Brien will step up into a defensive midfield role alongside Mohamed Diame, in place of Mark Noble. Manchester United will depend on their fullbacks to provide width, as they're playing three central midfielders and three central forward players. Expect Wayne Rooney to operate as an attacking midfielder between the midfield and forward lines.

Manchester United starting lineup (4-3-1-2): Anders Lindegaard; Patrice Evra, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Rafael da Silva; Anderson, Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley; Wayne Rooney; Javier Hernandez, Robin van Persie

West Ham starting lineup (4-4-1-1): Jussi Jaaskelainen; James Collins, Winston Reid, James Tomkins, Guy Demel; Matthew Taylor, Mohamed Diame, Joey O'Brien, Matthew Jarvis; Kevin Nolan; Andy Carroll

Kickoff is at 8 p.m. local, 3 p.m. ET from Old Trafford.


Rafa's lineup 2: Electric Boogaloo

Rafa Benitez's first match in charge of Chelsea was hardly a banner day. Between the dreadful match and the less than positive reaction from the Stamford Bridge crowd, I'm sure he'll be ready to move on. Sadly for Rafa, the fans won't be getting on board with him anytime soon but at least his team has a pretty good chance of beating Fulham.

There's only two changes for Chelsea from their lineup on Sunday. Oriol Romeu replaces Mikel, while Ryan Bertrand takes over on the right wing for Juan Mata.

Fulham goes with nearly the same lineup from their loss to Stoke over the weekend. Ashkan Dejagah and Chris Beard are out of the midfield, replaced by Mahamadou Diarra and Damien Duff.

Chelsea starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Peter Cech; César Azpilicueta, Branislav Ivanović, David Luiz, Ashley Cole; Ramires, Oriol Romeu; Eden Hazard, Oscar, Ryan Bertrand; Fernando Torres.

Fulham starting lineup (4-4-2): Mark Schwarzer; Sascha Riether, Philippe Senderos, Aaron Hughes, John Arne Riise; Damien Duff, Steve Sidwell, Mahamadou Diarra, Giorgos Karagounis; Dimitar Berbatov, Hugo Rodallega.


Walcott in for Arsenal, Gibson returns for Everton

Darron Gibson is finally back from injury for Everton, and slots right into their starting XI for their crucial match against Arsenal. Arsene Wenger looks to be playing Aaron Ramsey as a wide player again, and has selected Theo Walcott ahead of Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Gervinho on the other flank. Thomas Vermaelen will play left back.

Everton starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Tim Howard; Leighton Baines, Sylvain Distin, Phil Jagielka, Tony Hibbert; Darron Gibson, Leon Osman; Steven Naismith, Marouane Fellaini, Steven Pienaar; Nikica Jelavic

Arsenal starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Wojceich Szczesny; Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Bacary Sagna; Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta; Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott; Olivier Giroud

Everton's formation is hardly set in stone given the adaptive nature of most of their players. Most of their midfield players can operate in multiple positions, so don't be surprised if their team looks different than the one listed here. Kickoff is at 7:45 p.m. local time, 2:45 p.m. ET from Goodison Park.


Rafa Benitez is tacky and I hate him

Chelsea signed young attacking stars during the summer and started to become an entertaining side. Now their manager is Rafa Benitez. R.I.P. fun.


United hope to remain top by beating West Ham

Manchester United will hope to remain top of the league by beating West Ham United at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.


Chelsea face Fulham as Benitez aims to win support

Rafael Benitez faces a game that he will probably need to win to get the discontented Chelsea faithful on side as they take on Fulham at Stamford Bridge.


Will "Narrator" Spurs or "Durden" Spurs show up?

It's like someone made a mash up of Fight Club and the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde...and disguised it all as a soccer match.


Everton face Arsenal with their 'Fro back

The Toffees and Gunners will tussle for control of fifth place in the Premier League when they meet at Goodison Park


QPR, Sunderland do very little in draw

Harry Redknapp's debut produced a respectable, but not ideal result for QPR.


Still no Bent for Villa

Darren Bent continues to be left out of the Aston Villa side, with Christian Benteke getting the start up top over him yet again. Eric Lichaj was expected to start for Villa, but Paul Lambert has opted for Nathan Baker as Ron Vlaar's replacement instead. Ashley Westwood, who has impressed recently, gets a start in the middle.

Reading has made a change in their defense, bringing in Adrian Mariappa for Kaspars Gorkss. Jason Robers and Adam le Fondre continue to get starts up top ahead of Noel Hunt and Pavel Pogrebrnyak. Hal Robson-Kanu makes his third straight start on the left wing in place of Jimmy Kebe, who is out injured.

Aston Villa starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Brad Guzan; Enda Stevens, Ciaran Clark, Nathan Baker, Matthew Lowton; Brett Holman, Ashley Westwood; Gabriel Agbonlahor, Barry Bannan, Andreas Weimann; Christian Benteke

Reading starting lineup (4-4-2): Adam Federici; Nicky Shorey, Sean Morrison, Adrian Mariappa, Shaun Cummings; Jobi McAnuff, Jay Tabb, Mikele Leigertwood, Hal Robson-Kanu; Adam le Fondre, Jason Roberts


Redknapp makes a couple lineup changes for QPR

'Arry! 'Arry! Where do you go?

Harry Redknapp is back in the Premier League attempting once again to save a club from the evils of relegation. This time it's Queens Park Rangers that needs saving and he has some serious work to do. No major formation adjustments from recent QPR matches, but there are a couple lineups changes from the 3-1 loss to United on Saturday. Stéphane Mbia is in the midfield, with José Bosingwa returning at right back. Esteban Granero replaces Alejandro Faurlín and Samba Diakité takes over for Kieron Dyer.

Martin O'Neill's struggling Sunderland side will try to spoil Redknapp's debut on the QPR bench. Just two changes from their weekend loss to West Brom. Matthews Kilgallon replaces John O'Shea on the back line while Craig Gardner replaces Jack Colback in the midfield.

Sunderland starting lineup (4-4-1-1): Simon Mignolet; Phil Bardsley, Matthews Kilgallon, Carlos Cuéllar, Danny Rose; Lee Cattermole, Craig Gardner, Sebastian Larsson, Adam Johnson; Stéphane Sessègnon; Steven Fletcher.

Queen Park Rangers starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Júlio César; José Bosingwa, Clint Hill, Ryan Nelsen, Armand Traoré; Stéphane Mbia, Esteban Granero; Samba Diakité, Adel Taarabt, Jaime Mackie; Djibril Cissé.


Happy to have you back, Harry

So long, Mark Hughes. English football just got a lot better.


Time to start winning, Mr. Lambert

Over the weekend, Villa held Arsenal to a 0-0 draw. Was it the beginning of a solid string of results? Paul Lambert is in need of some wins.


QPR plays Sunderland in Harry's first game

Harry Redknapp debuts as Queens Park Rangers manager against Sunderland on Tuesday.

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