Here is a recap of all the key international football matches in the the last week across the Premier League and the La Liga.
Barclays Premier League
Flawless Chelsea Rip Swansea Apart
The 22nd round of fixtures in the Barclays Premier League saw table toppers Chelsea make the trip north to the Liberty Stadium in Swansea. Despite being formidable opponents at home, the Welsh side were still coming to terms with the loss of their key Ivorian striker Wilfred Bony, who had penned a long term deal with Manchester City.
However, it took barely fifty seconds for Swansea manager Garry Monk and his men to realize how much they missed Bony. Oscar’s magnificent strike from twenty yards out, found its way past Lukasz Fabianski into the top left corner. The goal meant that all the Swans and Garry Monk could hope for was a point. That ray of light too was firmly shut when Diego Costa’s calmly slotted right footed strike found the back of the net. The big Spanish forward would net his second goal of the contest just 15 minutes later, in what was a near replica of his first goal. The game was done and dusted in the very next minute, when Brazilian international Oscar netted his second to give Jose Mourinho’s men a four goal cushion. A second half goal from substitute Andre Schurrle ensured a 5-0 victory and propelled Chelsea five points clear of second placed Manchester City
Arsenal do Chelsea a favour with a quality win at the Etihad
Following Chelsea’s dominant victory, Manchester City faced a difficult assignment at the Etihad Stadium against a resolute Arsenal side. Manuel Pellegrini and his men had little to worry about as this has been a favorable fixture for Manchester City, having won 6-3 the last time these two teams met.
Despite that knowledge, the Blue half of Manchester found themselves on the back foot following waves of attacks from Alex Oxalade-Chamberlain and Alexis Sanchez. The pressure on Vincent Kompany and his defence team bore fruit as a careless foul by the Manchester City captain ensured that the Gunners were awarded a penalty. The reliable Santi Cazorla converted the penalty to give visitors the lead, much to the dismay of the Manchester City faithful.
The return of the prolific Sergio Aguero and the half time substitute Stevan Jovetic did little to break down the well organized defensive unit of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. The Manchester City shortcomings up front ended in yet another Arsenal goal after Olivier Giroud’s header found its way past Joe Hart to give the Gunners three points.
Manchester United secure fourth away victory
A 1-0 loss to Southampton at Old Trafford brought the high flying Red Devils back to earth. However, with the injury list shortened, Louis van Gaal had a massive chunk of players to choose from. Robin van Persie and Chris Smalling were left out of the starting XI and Angel di Maria and Marcos Rojo were brought in their place. As for the home side Queens Park Rangers, Charlie Austin and Bobby Zamora headed attack, while Clint Hill started his 550th game of his career.
Due to the uneven Loftus Road pitch, the midfielders Juan Mata and Michael Carrick had a hard time passing the ball around, and led to a numerous number of misplaced passes. Wayne Rooney on the other hand, had very little or no joy in his new found holding midfield position. The first half eventually concluded with the scores level at 0-0, and a frustrated Louis van Gaal.
The second half not only saw a change of personnel, but also a change of formation. Juan Mata, who had thus far been the weak point of the midfield, was replaced by Marouane Fellaini, and James Wilson came on for Johnny Evans. The formation thus became a classic 4-3-3. The new formation added a much needed firepower to the Manchester United attacking unit. They quickly scored, as Marouane Fellaini found the back of the net courtesy of an Antonio Valencia cross. However, one goal lead was far from a solid performance. The pacy teenager James Wilson ripped through the QPR defence in stoppage time to score only his third goal in a Manchester United shirt.
Thus concluded a weekend of two halves for the city of Manchester, with the red half helping themselves to all three points. However, the impact was felt more in the Blue half, wherein the title race is in trouble for Manuel Pellegrini and his team.
Click Next for our update on Spanish La Liga