Scott Heavey

Premier League, Week 17: Arsenal win wild 7-goal match

It was hardly a pretty performance from either team, but Arsenal were far superior to Reading in their 5-2 victory on Monday.

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Reading must stink if Arsenal look this good

Arsenal lead Reading 3-0 at halftime in their Premier League match. In past seasons, when an obviously mediocre Arsenal side put in a performance like this against relegation battlers, Gooners generally liked to declare that they were finally getting it together and that they were ready to right the ship. And who could blame them? Everyone wants to believe their team is good, and everyone likes to see their team win blowouts.

This year, Gooners seem a little more based in reality. Poor souls. They were having so much fun in their alternate universe. I present Arsenal fans on Twitter, in a nutshell.

And for good measure, let's recall Arsenal's insane Carling Cup win over Reading.


Reading vs. Arsenal: Lineups

Arsenal are starting Theo Walcott as a centre forward for their trip to Reading, which is... well, it's pretty fascinating. If they want to maximise his transfer value, this is a pretty good way to do it, but it's not at all clear that he's better suited to dealing with the Royals defenders than Olivier Giroud is -- the former Montpellier striker finds himself on the bench.

Reading starting lineup (4-4-2): Adam Federici; Nicky Shorey, Adrian Mariappa, Kaspars Gorkss, Shaun Cummings; Jobi McAnuff, Jay Tabb, Mikele Leigertwood, Jimmy Kebe; Pavel Pogrebnyak, Noel Hunt.

Substitutes from: Stuart Taylor, Chris Gunter, Alex Pearce, Hal Robson-Kanu, Ian Harte, Adam Le Fondre, Garath McCleary.

Arsenal starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Wojciech Szczesny; Kieran Gibbs, Thomas Vermaelen, Per Mertesacker, Bacary Sagna; Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere; Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain; Theo Walcott.

Substitutes from: Vito Mannone, Laurent Koscielny, Tomas Rosicky, Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin, Olivier Giroud, Gervinho.


Arsenal can move up towards Champions League place

With West Brom and Everton dropping points, Arsenal have every chance to get out of their current 'crisis'.


Tactical analysis: Tottenham 1-0 Swansea

Swansea are known as a fiercely ideological side, so their sacrifice of those possession ideals was a curious talking point from their 1-0 loss to Tottenham


Vertonghen fires Spurs past Swans

Tottenham edged out Swansea in a narrow game at White Hart Lane thanks to a goal from Jan Vertonghen.


Mancini might have found the right place to use Na

The French winger can come across a bit left-field, but when put in the right position, he can be a valuable asset for City, as his brief performance against Newcastle showed


Aston Villa 3-1 Liverpool: tactical analysis

An intriguing clash between a 3-5-2 and a 4-3-3 summed up the differences between two of England's most exciting managers


10 ways Moyes can punish Fellaini

Marouane Fellaini headbutted Ryan Shawcross on Saturday, and will be punished in some way, shape or form. We offer up some potential punishments.


Taarabt magic gives QPR first win against Fulham

Queens Park Rangers got their first win of the season as they saw off Fulham in a mini-derby at Loftus Road.


Norwich surge to seventh

Remember when the Canaries were a relegation favorite? They're only a couple points off Champions League places.


Manchester United coast past Sunderland

Manchester United never had to get out of second gear as they cruised past Sunderland at Old Trafford to earn a 3-1 victory.


An own goal, a howler and a headbutt

An own goal, a goalkeeper howler and an uncalled headbutt were the story of the day as Stoke and Everton played to a 1-1 draw


QPR vs. Fulham: Lineups

Can anyone explain to me why Robert Green is starting over Julio Cesar? I can't pretend to care too much about Queens Park Rangers, so I might have missed some news, but seeing Green getting the nod in goal with Cesar on the bench is... well, bizarre. Harry Redknapp's pre-game notes don't shed light on the situation:

If we had 11 players like Clint Hill, Ryan Nelsen and Robert Green we'd have no problem.

Presumably he means in League 1. Esteban Granero is benched too.

Anyway, here are the rest of the lineups as QPR host Fulham. The former still haven't won a match this season.

Queens Park Rangers starting lineup (4-4-2): Robert Green; Armand Traore, Clint Hill, Ryan Nelsen, Nedum Onuoha; Adel Taarabt, Stephane M'Bia, Alejandro Faurlin, Shaun Wright-Phillips; Jamie Mackie, Djibril Cisse.

Substitutes from: Julio Cesar, Anton Ferdinand, Fabio, Samba Diakite, Shaun Derry, Esteban Granero, David Hoilett.

Fulham starting lineup (4-4-2): Mark Schwarzer; John Arne Risse, Brede Hangeland, Aaron Hughes, Sascha Riether; Kieran Richardson, Steve Sidwell, Chris Baird, Damien Duff; Hugo Rodallega, Dimitar Berbatov.

Substitutes from: Neil Etheridge, Stephen Kelly, Philippe Senderos, Giorgos Karagounis, Ashkan Dejagah, Alexander Kacaniklic, Mladen Petric.


Norwich City vs. Wigan Athletic: Lineups

Wigan will be looking to escape the drop zone, at least for the moment, with a win over Norwich. Roberto Martinez against rolls out his slightly unusual formation with no changes from last weekend's draw with QPR. Arouna Koné and Mauro Boselli will lead the attack up front for Wigan.

Norwich will attempt to bounce back from their disappointing Captial One Cup exit in the mid-week when they were hammered late by Aston Villa. Alexander Tettey returns to the midfield after missing the team's last Premier League match. Otherwise, it's a familiar group for Chris Hughton as the Canaries look to get back on track.

Norwich City starting lineups (4-4-1-1): Mark Bunn; Michael Turner, Javier Garrido, Sébastien Bassong, Steven Whittaker; Anthony Pilkington, Alexander Tettey, Bradley Johnson, Wes Hoolahan, Robert Snodgrass, Grant Holt.

Wigan Athletic starting lineups (3-4-2-1): Ali Al Habsi; Adrián López, Emmerson Boyce, Maynor Figueroa; Ronnie Stam, Jean Beausejour, James McArthur, James McCarthy; Jordi Gómez, Arouna Koné; Mauro Boselli.


Liverpool vs. Aston Villa: Lineups

A few short seasons ago, this match would have had major implications for the top half of the table. Liverpool were perennial Champions League participants and Aston Villa under Martin O'Neill were regulars in the Europa League, and were typically in top for contention for most of the season. Now, thinks have changed, and this is a relegation-threatened team of youngsters visiting a mid-table side clinging to its history. But that's football, I suppose.

Brendan Rodgers appears to be continuing the Jonjo Shelvey at centre forward experiment, which is interesting but probably a good idea -- Luis Suarez is a phenomenal goalscorer but what makes his so special is that he can score from a support role out wide. And it's not as though the Reds have many better options than Shelvey to play him off.

Liverpool starting lineup (4-3-3): Pepe Reina; Stewart Downing, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Glen Johnson; Joe Allen, Lucas Leiva, Steven Gerrard; Luis Suarez, Jonjo Shelvey, Raheem Sterling.

Substitutes from: Brad Jones, Sebastian Coates, Jamie Carragher, Andre Wisdom, Joe Cole, Jordan Henderson, Suso.

Aston Villa starting lineup (3-5-2): Brad Guzan; Ciaran Clark, Nathan Baker, Chris Herd; Eric Lichaj, Brett Holman, Ashley Westwood, Barry Bannan, Matthew Lowton; Christian Benteke, Andreas Wiemann.

Substitutes from: Shay Given, Joseph Bennett, Karim El Ahmadi, Charles N'Zogbia, Marc Albrighton, Fabian Delph, Jordan Bowery.


Newcastle's woes continue as City grab victory

Newcastle United's attempted comeback after half-time fell short as Manchester City battled to a 3-1 victory at St. James' Park.


Everton again dealing with injuries

Stoke City's notorious defensive style welcomes semi-high flying Everton who are again dealing with an injury to key players and a lack of depth.

David Moyes has again lost Kevin Mirallas and Tony Hibbert, most likely until after the new year. Mirallas is a bigger blow as the Belgian has been a big part of the Everton attack and they've looked considerably better when he's in the lineup. Seamus Coleman starts at fullback, where Hibbert might have featured, and Steven Naismith will attempt to fill in for Mirallas in the midfield.

Stoke make only one change from what has become their recent standard lineup with fullback Ryan Shotton out and Andy Wilkinson starting in his place. American Geoff Cameron continues to play at fullback as well for all you USMNT fans out there.

Stoke City starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Asmir Begović; Geoff Cameron, Ryan Shawcross, Robert Huth, Andy Wilkinson; Glenn Whelan, Steven N'Zonzi; Jonathan Walters, Charlie Adam, Matthew Etherington; Kenwayne Jones.

Everton starting lineup (4-4-1-1): Tim Howard; Seamus Coleman, Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin, Leighton Baines; Darron Gibson, Steven Naismith, Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar; Marouane Fellaini; Nikica Jelavić.


Manchester United vs. Sunderland: Lineups

Nemanja Vidic makes his return to the Manchester United matchday squad following eight weeks out with a knee injury, although the Serbian centre back isn't fit enough to start, finding his way only to the bench. Sunderland, meanwhile, have lost both starting fullbacks -- including the influential Danny Rose -- and are having to go with a rather improvisational back line consisting of Jack Colback, Titus Bramble, John O'Shea and Carlos Cuellar. Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney will be licking their chops.

Manchester United starting lineup (4-4-1-1): David de Gea; Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones; Ashley Young, Tom Cleverley, Michael Carrick, Antonio Valencia; Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie.

Substitutes from: Anders Lindegaard, Nemanja Vidic, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Darren Fletcher, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck.

Sunderland starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Simon Mignolet; Jack Colback, Titus Bramble, John O'Shea, Carlos Cuellar; Craig Gardner, Sebastian Larsson; Adam Johnson, Stephane Sessegnon, James McClean; Steven Fletcher.

Substitutes from: Kieren Westwood, Matthew Kilgallon, David Vaughan, Fraizer Campbell, Connor Wickham, James McFadden, Louis Saha.


Newcastle United vs. Manchester City: Lineups

Newcastle United opt for a midfield with Vurnon Anita and James Perch as they attempt to stifle City with their 4-3-3 formation, with Yohan Cabaye out of action for the hosts. Papiss Cisse starts up front while Demba Ba is on the left for the Magpies, with Jonas Gutierrez completing the front three.

Manchester City stick with their 4-2-3-1 formation, with Roberto Mancini seemingly reluctant to return to his 3-5-2 experiment. Kolo Toure and Matija Nastasic are an odd choice of centre-back pairing, while Argentinian duo Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero start up front. Javi Garcia also makes a rare start alongside Yaya Toure in midfield.

Newcastle United (4-3-3): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon; James Perch, Cheik Tiote, Vurnon Anita; Jonas Gutierez, Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba.

Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Joe Hart; Pablo Zabaleta, Kolo Toure, Matija Nastasić, Gael Clichy; Javi García, Yaya Touré; Samir Nasri, Carlos Tévez, David Silva; Sergio Agüero.

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