Emmanuel Adebayor scored and was sent off before the roof caved in on 10-man Tottenham in a frantic 5-2 defeat to north London rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Andre Villas-Boas' visiting side made a bright start to the day when the former Arsenal forward Adebayor tapped the ball into the net on 10 minutes for his tenth goal in these matches after Jermain Defoe had given Per Mertesacker the slip to slam a shot at goal that Arsenal's returning Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny could not hold.
Aaron Lennon almost added a second goal when he accepted a pass from Gareth Bale to whack a shot narrowly wide, but the mood of the afternoon changed dramatically when Adebayor was rightly sent off on 17 minutes for a crude and rash challenge on Santi Cazorla that left referee Howard Webb with little option but to produce the red card.
The home side needed little invitation to bombard the visiting area with crosses and were rewarded three times before half-time as Mertesacker (24), Lukas Podolski (42) and Olivier Giroud (45+1) all found the net to leave Tottenham sporting a hangdog look heading up the tunnel.
Mertesacker made amends for his earlier sloppiness in defence as he rose to power home his first goal for Arsenal in 32 games from Theo Walcott's expert cross.
Podolski was fortunate to see the ball deflect off William Gallas and leave France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris - who had replaced Brad Friedel to make his first start in the Premier League - with no chance as it nestled in the corner of the net to hand Arsenal a 2-1 lead. It may not sound believable, but Lloris enjoyed a solid enough day in goal.
Cazorla had the final say of the half ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Nov 18 2012
The Argentine World Player of the Year, who struck either side of Alex Song's debut goal for the club, took his league tally to 17 as unbeaten Barca moved on to 34 points from 12 matches.
Atletico can trim the gap back to three with a win at Granada on Sunday.
After sending an early shot narrowly wide, Messi opened the scoring in the 16th minute at the Nou Camp when he picked up Jordi Alba's pass and clipped the ball into the bottom corner.
Zaragoza pulled a goal back eight minutes later when a Francisco Montanes shot took a slight deflection off Carles Puyol, back in central defence after injury, and flew past Victor Valdes.
Song, who joined from Arsenal in the close season, thumped a Messi pullback through a crowd of players into the net to restore Barca's lead in the 28th minute and Messi curled in his second to kill off the game on the hour.
It was his 78th goal of 2012 for club and country - 66 for Barca and 12 for Argentina - and he is closing in on the record for a calendar year of 85 set by German Gerd Mueller in 1972.
Barca, who play at Spartak Moscow in the Champions League on Tuesday, have dropped points only once in La Liga this term, a 2-2 draw at home to Real.
Malaga extended their winless run in La Liga to three matches when they were held to a 0-0 draw at struggling Osasuna.
Manuel Pellegrini's side, who are through to the last 16 of the Champions League with two games to spare, stay fourth on 19 points but Real Betis and Levante can climb above them on Sunday with wins at Sevilla and Deportivo ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Nov 18 2012
West Bromwich Albion moved into the Premier League's top four with a superb 2-1 win over a weakened Chelsea side at The Hawthorns.
Shane Long's early goal was cancelled out by Eden Hazard's deflected header six minutes before half-time.
But Peter Odemwingie converted a Long cross with a glancing header early in the second half and West Brom repelled a fierce Chelsea assault.
Boaz Myhill made several crucial saves from the wasteful Daniel Sturridge, and Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo was left to rue leaving numerous key players - including Juan Mata and Oscar - out of his starting line-up.
Di Matteo made four changes to the side that drew with Liverpool last weekend, clearly with an eye on Tuesday's crucial Champions League game away to Juventus.
Sturridge, Oriol Romeu and Victor Moses all made rare starts, while a formidable bench was graced by Mata, Oscar, Ashley Cole and Ramires among others.
Sturridge and Moses provided rather a ragged alternative to the sophisticated Mata and Oscar, and though both saw plenty of the ball they struggled to open West Brom up.
Increasingly, Sturridge looks like a man incapable of spotting a team-mate and he launched several optimistic and unsuccessful first-half shots.
Moses was equally wasteful late in the first half when Gary Cahill teed him up on the right side of the box.
The home side started stronger, with Youssouf Mulumbu and the excellent Claudio Yacob controlling the game in the centre.
West Brom manager Steve Clarke, a former Chelsea assistant, appeared to have the tactical edge on Chelsea boss Di Matteo, a former West Brom manager.
Despite an early Ryan Bertrand effort cleared off the line by Liam Ridgewell, West Brom had the early ascendancy and it was ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Nov 18 2012
Manchester United were toppled by a goal from former Old Trafford youth player Anthony Pilkington in a shock 1-0 defeat at Norwich City's Carrow Road - a result that leaves Premier League champions Manchester City back at the top of the standings.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side needed a win at Norwich to protect their two-point lead over City after their fierce rivals demolished Aston Villa 5-0 earlier in the day, but were undone by a moment of brilliance from Pilkington, who rose to loop a header beyond the visiting goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard from Javier Garrido's inviting cross on 60 minutes.
Without the injured Wayne Rooney, United huffed and puffed but could not find a way beyond an assured Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy, who had the final say of the day when he dived to save an Anderson effort before smothering the ball as fellow United substitute Paul Scholes tried to force home the rebound.
In truth, United probably did not deserve more than a point from the contest after a fairly mediocre performance in which they never managed to truly pull Norwich's players out of position.
Norwich are six matches unbeaten since a 1-0 win over Arsenal at Carrow Road last month.
They won only their second of 11 Premier League meetings with Manchester United, and kept a third Premier League clean sheet in a row for the first time since 1994.
United's five-match winning run in the league, which began with a 3-0 win at Newcastle at the outset of last month, came to an end.
They can have few complaints after doing little of note in the first period. Robin Van Persie saw Ruddy palm away a shot on three minutes, but the visiting side would flatter to deceive for long ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Nov 18 2012
A second half flurry led by Luis Suarez and Jose Enrique saw Liverpool secure a 3-0 Premier League victory over Wigan Athletic at Anfield.
A goalless first half was soon wiped from the memory by Suarez's opener from Raheem Sterling's cut-back moments after the interval.
A fantastic assist from Enrique helped Suarez grab a second shortly after before the wide man got on the scoresheet himself with his first-ever Liverpool goal to cap a decisive win for Brendan Rodgers's side.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez, meanwhile, was left miserable on a trip to the club he could well have ended up managing after being interviewed for the job in the summer.
Painful memories of last season’s corresponding fixture were fresh in the memory of Liverpool fans: Gary Caldwell struck the winner in a 2-1 loss for Kenny Dalgish’s side back in March.
And the hosts, now under the supervision of former Swansea boss Rodgers, began the brightest though the early stages yielded only a high corner count and a half-shout for a penalty on 17 minutes.
Enrique’s run on the left-hand side of the box ended under pressure from Caldwell with both men hitting the deck and referee Kevin Friend motioning for play to continue after a perceived 50-50.
One Liverpool set piece on 22 minutes led to Glen Johnson having a rebound strike from the edge of the box deflected over the crossbar, while Suso forced a fine parry from Ali Al Habsi in the Athletic goal with a rasping distance drive moments later.
Suso would curiously be subject to a tactical withdrawal for Jordan Henderson on 37 minutes, shortly after Latics midfielder Ben Watson was forced off by a Sterling foul with David Jones the man on in his place.
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Nov 10 2012
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A few hours after the Los Angeles Lakers' top brass abruptly fired coach Mike Brown and threw their season into turmoil before mid-November, Brown's former players demonstrated why there's still ample reason to think this team can be saved.
The Lakers should find out soon whether Phil Jackson gets the chance to do the saving - again.
Kobe Bryant scored 27 points, Pau Gasol added 14 points and 16 rebounds, and the Lakers doubled their win total with a 101-77 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.
Jordan Hill scored 14 points for the Lakers, who were uniformly stunned by Brown's dismissal after just 18 months on the job. Following a bumpy first half against Golden State under interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff, they pulled away in the third quarter with a 25-9 run led by Bryant, who also had nine rebounds and seven assists.
''I think everybody didn't know how to react to it emotionally,'' Bryant said. ''Everybody had to just go about their business and play basketball. ... A lot of the emotion that was picked up was kind of unleashed when we played.''
The comfortable victory capped one of the most tumultuous days in recent history for a franchise that's never short on drama. With the high-priced veteran club off to a Western Conference-worst 1-4 start following a winless preseason, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and owner Jim Buss abruptly dismissed Brown, informing players during their morning shootaround.
Bickerstaff ran the Lakers as the interim coach, but the veteran NBA bench boss isn't likely to be a candidate for the full-time job. Kupchak is searching for a replacement, possibly making a selection before the Lakers' next game on Sunday against Sacramento.
The Lakers' crowd quickly ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
DENVER (AP) -- A blown dunk aside, Kenneth Faried's shooting touch has been spot-on of late.
Faried had 18 points to go with 11 rebounds, helping the Denver Nuggets beat the Utah Jazz 104-84 on Friday night for their third win in a row after an 0-3 start.
''His energy is contagious,'' Nuggets coach George Karl said. ''It is a big part of why we're successful and it is going to have to be a big part of what we do this year.''
Faried's exuberance got the better of him midway through the second quarter when he missed a wide-open dunk as his attempt at a stylish, windmill jam bounced off the back rim. But he shook off the gaffe to record his fourth consecutive game with 15 or more points, the longest such stretch of his career.
''I did miss that dunk and I knew it. I was kind of disappointed in myself but I just kept playing hard,'' Faried said. ''A lot of people don't believe I can step out and hit the little 15- or 12-foot jumper, and my teammates do, so they get me in that position. I just jump up and shoot it.''
Faried had plenty of help on the offensive end from Corey Brewer, who scored 13 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, hitting four 3-pointers. Kosta Koufos and Andre Iguodala added 15 points apiece.
''He made it a game we could rest our guys for tomorrow,'' Karl said of Brewer, referring to the Nuggets' upcoming game at Golden State on Saturday. ''Come the fourth quarter (Saturday), that could be important.''
Gordon Hayward had 15 points to lead the Jazz, who remained winless in four road games this season. Randy Foye and Enes Kanter each ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Nov 10 2012
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Patty Mills was an observer for most of San Antonio's first five games of the season. When he finally got an opportunity for an extended playing time, he responded in a big way.
Tim Duncan had 23 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks to lead the Spurs to a 97-86 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night. But Mills was hailed as the difference maker after he was 8 for 9 from the field while scoring 18 points.
''He was real big; he helped us get this win,'' coach Gregg Popovich said of Mills. ''We needed points from other players and Patty got it done for us.''
San Antonio played without Stephen Jackson, who was out with the flu. Matt Bonner also rested, and Tony Parker and Duncan weren't feeling well either.
Enter Mills, who had played a little more than 21 minutes and scored just six points on the season coming into the game. But the seldom-used point guard filled in frequently for Parker and helped the Spurs defeat the Kings for the ninth straight time in Sacramento.
''This is professional basketball, you have to be ready whether you are told or not,'' Mills said. ''I knew I had to be ready because we had some guys who weren't feeling very well.''
Mills had a big impact in the third quarter when the Kings outscored the Spurs 29-22 to pull within one heading into the fourth. Mills subbed in for Parker and hit a 3-pointer and had five points.
Mills kept up the momentum in the final period, making three shots, one of them a 3, and scoring seven points in helping the Spurs pull away for the victory.
''Tonight I was in the pace of ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
PHOENIX (AP) -- Trailing by 26 points after only 14-plus minutes, Shannon Brown and the Phoenix Suns weren't about to give up.
Brown scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and helped key a late 14-4 run as Phoenix rallied past the Cleveland Cavaliers 107-105 Friday night for the third-biggest comeback in franchise history.
''We just have a bunch of guys who don't want to lose,'' said Brown, who has consecutive 20-point games for the first time in his career. ''We knew what our mistakes were and we corrected them. We've just got to do that in the first half.''
The Cavaliers scored on their first nine possessions and opened an early 18-2 lead. Phoenix finished the first quarter with more turnovers (eight) than field goals (six) and allowed Cleveland to shoot 63.6 percent from the floor.
Then the Cavaliers began the second quarter with five consecutive points to open their largest lead, 42-16, with 10:26 left in the period.
''We had a lot of turnovers and there were a lot of easy baskets they were getting,'' Brown said. ''We just had to lock in on both ends of the game. Everything kind of did a complete 180.''
Michael Beasley cut the Cavaliers' lead to single digits for the first time since the opening minutes on a dunk off a fast break with 10:31 left in the third quarter, making it 62-53. But the Suns weren't able to get any closer until the final period.
Brown tied the game at 83 on a fadeaway jumper with 9:46 left and Phoenix took its first lead, 87-85, just more than 2 minutes later on a fast-break layup by Brown.
''We just didn't play smart,'' said Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao, who finished ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Nov 10 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Tony Allen was determined to stop James Harden. The rest of the Memphis Grizzlies clamped down on defense, too.
Zach Randolph had 15 points and 14 rebounds, Rudy Gay finished with 21 points and a key basket with 1:03 left, and the Grizzlies won their fourth straight with a 93-85 victory over the Houston Rockets on Friday night.
Memphis' defensive pressure in the second half took the Rockets out of their game, forcing turnovers and leading Harden, who entered the night as the NBA's leading scorer at 30.3 points per game, to shoot 2 of 11 from the field and have only six points after the break.
Allen was the primary defender on Harden, acquired from Oklahoma City just before the start of the season.
''I knew he was capable of getting that 30-something number,'' said Allen, one of the league's premier defenders. ''He's been coming out there with a vengeance. I just wanted to go out there and compete and not be one of those guys getting hit up for 30.
''I just took it as a challenge, and we had great guys step up and put fresh bodies on him.''
Despite its struggles in the second half, Houston was within 87-85 in the final 2 minutes. But Memphis scored the last five points of the game, including Gay's rebound bucket with 1:03 left, to win its 13th consecutive regular-season game at home.
Mike Conley had 14 points for Memphis, including a 3-pointer down the stretch, and Jerryd Bayless added 12.
Chandler Parsons led the Rockets with a season-high 19 points, including 15 in the second half. Harden had 18 points, but shot only 4 of 18 from the field and 1 of 6 outside the ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)