© Pranav Desai (Sportz Interactive), Nov 15, 2010

Peek of the Week: 13

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Moment of the Week: Nemanjia Vidic’s late equalizer denied Aston Villa of its first victory against Manchester United on home turf in 15 long years making it our moment of the week. Gerard Houllier’s side caused havoc in the United defense creating umpteen chances but failing to put the final touch. However, Ashley Young’s second-half penalty and a close range finish from Marc Albrighton gave the Lions’ faithful hopes of its first triumph at Villa Park over Sir Alex Ferguson’s side since 1995. But substitute Federico Macheda silenced the home fans with an emphatic shot to get the visitors back in the game before the Serbian netted home the equalizer five minutes from the whistle off a Nani cross to extend Manchester United’s unbeaten run in the English Premier League to 18 games.

Player of the Week: Stuart Downing turned on the heat against Manchester United after a lacklustre outing in the midweek against Blackpool making him our player of the week. Downing was almost instantly in the action as he collected a well weighted pass from Bannan, forcing the challenge from Rio Ferdinand. The 26-year-old nearly scored the opener for the hosts after neatly controlling the clearing header by Wes Brown but his shot was deflected wide off the posts. In the second-half the Englishman managed to clear off the defender on the near side and the resulting cross just lingered in the air, perfectly placed but Albrighton failed to put that past Van der Saar. Minutes later Villa came agonisingly close to taking the lead but once again Downing’s inch-perfect cross failed to land up in the back of the net as Collin’s header was saved by the woodwork. Villa finally took the lead through an Ashley Young penalty in the 72nd minute. Four minutes later on the break Downing collected the ball from Young, a little peak over the shoulder and another perfectly executed cross doubles the lead for Gerard Houllier’s side as this time Albrighton makes no mistake as he hammers the ball past the Devils’ custodian. Man United was staring at its first defeat of the season but goals from Macheda and Vidic finally salvaged a point for the visitors.

© AP Images

Story of the Week: The much awaited Milan derby on Sunday saw an injury-depleted Rossoneri beat its city rivals Inter by a solitary goal. Milan came close to taking the lead as early as the second minute, however, Seedorf’s header from close range went over the post. In the fifth minute the Rossoneri were awarded a penalty as Materazzi brought down Ibrahimovic in the area. The Swedish striker made no mistake as he converted from the spot to score the only goal in the game against his former side. Inter’s best chance came through a Wesley Sneijder free-kick, first in the 38th minute when he struck the side netting while the second was saved by the finger tips of the Milan keeper Christian Abbiati. Milan was then reduced to ten-men when Abate was given his marching orders for receiving a second yellow card after his clash with Inter’s Goran Pandev. However, Massimo Allegri’s side managed to hold on to the lead to beat rivals Inter and maintain their lead at the top of the Serie A with 26 points, one more than Lazio.

Match of the Week: Our pick for this one is the Blues’ loss to Sunderland on home turf by a three goal margin. The Black Cats started the game aggressively with Gyan and Wellbeck creating panic amongst the Chelsea backline and forcing a few saves from Petr Cech. The pressure yielded results as Onuoha scored the opener on the stroke of half-time with a brilliant solo run. The second goal saw Henderson and Wellbeck combine well before Gyan hammered it home past the Chelsea custodian. Ashley Cole’s blunder in the 87th minute wrapped up the evening for the London side as Wellbeck took advantage of the mistimed back pass to score the third and the final goal of the game to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea 0 – 3 Sunderland
Peek-o-meter: 8/10

© AP Images

The match began on a wrong note for the Blues who already missing Lampard to injury and Essien to suspension were dealt another blow when both Terry and Alex were ruled out leaving Ancelotti to do with the make shifting pair of Ivanovic and Paulo Ferreira in central defence. Sunderland were dominant from the very start with Gyan and Manchester United loanee Welbeck keeping Cech busy who pulled off some brilliant saves to keep the Londoners in the game. The pressure finally paid off in the 45th minute when Onuoha made a brilliant solo run into Chelsea’s penalty beating three defenders and sliced a shot which trickled past Cech and into the goal. The second goal also involved a brilliant one two between Henderson and Welbeck who then passed it to the Ghanian Gyan who kept his cool and slotted it clinically past a charging Cech. The humiliation was mounted in 87th minute when Ashley Cole under pressure mistimed his back pass to the keeper only for Welback to collect the ball and nip a brilliant finish giving the Black Cats all three points and a mauling which the Blues will take some time to get over.

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