Dzeko helps City just clip Eagles wings

MANCHESTER CITY           1 – 0       CRYSTAL  PALACE

          
Dzeko 65′

Edin Dzeko 50th Manchester City goal was enough to send Manchester City back to the top of the Premier League table since the opening weekend of the season, after a tough 1-0 victory over a difficult to break down Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini raised a few eyebrows with his team selection for the game, as he made Seven changes from the side that had beaten Liverpool 2-1 only two days before on Boxing Day.
It saw a near brand new defence for the Blues, with only Captain Vincent Kompany keeping his place at the back for the home side. While Gael Clichy, Belgian Dedrcyck Boyata and returning from injury Matija Nastasic all came into the team, with James Milner and Javi Garcia starting in midfield as well as Edin Dzeko playing up front as the lone striker in the starting Eleven. Pellegrini also gave some playing time to his fringe players while resting a couple on a bench too.
It was clear from the off that Crystal Palace was going to have everyone behind the ball and was that they were going to try and frustrate the home side by it. City would have to work extremely hard to break down the stubborn Palace back defence as the home side enjoy a majority of possession in the first half.
 Crystal Palace`s fortunes have changed in the last few weeks with new boss Tony Pulis style of football, starting to rub off on some of the Eagles players as they have looked a better defensive unit in the last few games for the Visitors.
pic:  bbcsports

City created a chance after a couple of minutes in when James Milner pass to Brazilian Fernandinho, saw the midfielder float a ball over the top for Edin Dzeko, but the ball was too high for the Bosnian hitman to do anything with.

Dzeko then had a half chance for the Blues, when David Silva was looking to unlock the Crystal Palace defence and his vision spotted the movement of Dzeko who had stayed on side and his effort across goal, when harmlessly wide of the goal but shown Palace, that they were dangerous despite resting a few of their star players.
For the opening half hour of the contest, the play was all inside the Palace half as City had hoped to score an early goal as to make Palace try and chase the game with an early goal.
City were carving chances out, only problem was that the shots were all off target and not troubling Spironi in the Palace goals.

Silva had an effort go wide of the target, after Fernandinho had the ball on the wrong side for him and so he laid the ball off to the Spanish wizard and saw him miss the goal with his effort.
The Visitors then created an attack with Bolasie running at the City back line unchallenged and his strike was off target, but shown Palace was up to giving it a go.
City were knocking down the away side door, but just couldn`t hit the target at all with James Milner being the next player to fire the ball just over the bar from a Clichy pass.
All the possession the home side was having wasn`t counting for anything at all, but saw City come nearer to a goal. When more good passing play saw Clichy put a ball towards the back post and Dzeko header on goal was flicked over the bar for a Corner to the home side.

pic: talksport
James Milner had another attempt for City, as his shot was deflected away for another corner kick after Silva had found Milner free.
Bolasie then had a half chance for Palace after a knockdown from Cameron Jerome saw the Striker volley the ball into the ground and safely in to the hands of Joe Hart. City then had another chance go begging as this time, Silva had his shot blocked for a corner as they kept up the pressure on the visitors.


In the 28th minute, a cross whipped in by Parr down the City right saw Palace forward Cameron Jerome and City Goalkeeper Joe Hart collide in the area and saw the Palace man going off injured, while Hart picked up a nasty looking cut under his left eye and carried on for the home side.
David Silva then nearly created a goal out of nothing, when a ball by Boyata saw the midfielder manage to kill it dead by the dead ball line and he then tried to curl a fierce shot in at a tight angle and saw the ball go just past the far post.
Fernandinho had an effort for the home side as after another patience build up by the home side saw Silva dink a ball into Dzeko and the Brazilian then flicked it up over defender head then volleyed over the bar, for yet another wasteful chance to the Manchester side.
On the stroke of half time Fernanadinho had yet another attempt on goal, this time it brought a reaction save from Spironi in the Crystal Palace goals, to deny City the lead after a great ball in to the area by James Milner, which saw the midfielder header on target and see a great save by the goal keeper.
Second half saw Crystal Palace come far more into the game than the home side will have wanted them to have been. Jason Puncheon nearly gave the London side  the lead after he evaded a poor tackle from Javi Garcia outside the area and then his was saved by Joe Hart who made a good stop to tip it away for a corner. 

pics: Newstalk980



From the corner, Chamakh just got in front of Nastastic but his header was off target and saw it go out for a goal kick.
Pellegrini then made an odd change to his side, with him bringing off Fernandinho who was one of a handful of players that was performing well on the pitch and he substituted him for Samir Nasri, as well as bringing Alvaro Negredo on for Defender Dedryck Boyata, as City now went with two strikers up front in the match.
City fans were starting to get worried now as they have been used to seeing their side coasting to victories at the Etihad Stadium this year and some fans were probably thinking as well, would City score at all in this game as they were struggling.
Jason Puncheon caused City defenders more trouble with his runs as he had another effort that curled just wide of the far post and had the home fans panicking with the way their side was playing, as it was far below what they have seen from them.
Palace went close once again, this time through Jedinak had his hard driven shot tipped over by Hart as the home side looked all at sea, with Palace now looking to be in the ascendancy now, with Pulis`s men confidence growing and believing they could win the game now.


pic: eurosport

Then in the 65th minute, the breakthrough came for the home side.

City for all the play and possession they had over the game and were finally able to convert and much like he has done in the past, Dzeko popped up with an important goal and this could prove crucial come end of the season.



Jesus Navas then picked up a ball that was partially cleared in the Visitors penalty area and he then put a ball across the box and Edin Dzeko buried the ball in the corner for a 1-0 lead. 
The visitors almost responded straight away when Ward had a strike, that saw Hart just get a finger tip on the ball to push it out for a corner.
Edin Dzeko almost made it 2-0 for the home side before stoppage time, when a cross by Navas saw Dzeko header at the side of the net saw him see it just go over the bar for a goal kick.

 The win put City temporarily top of the league since the opening weekend of the season, as the other side’s around them in the league played the day after.

.

Advertisements

Phoenix nearly spooked by Phantoms










MANCHESTER PHOENIX   6-4  PETERBOROUGH PHANTOMS

Hand, Kovar x2, Archer,
 Psurny, Schnabel                                                                  Piatak, Ferrara x2, Koulikov 


Manchester Phoenix remained top of the EPL table with a below par 6-4 win over the Peterborough Phantoms at the Altrincham Ice Dome. The game was far from an easy two points for the Manchester hockey club as the Phantoms shown they were far from pushovers in the contest .
Peterborough were coming off the back of a good victory down in their own barn against fellow strugglers, in the Telford Tigers the night before.
Phantoms have undergone a bit of a change in the last few weeks or so, as new head coach Slava Koulikov has swapped the uncertainty of troubled club Slough Jets, for a move across to the East of England in Peterborough and has brought a few of his men from Slough with him too, notably Lithuanian forward Darius Pliskauskas.
Ice dome v Phantoms

Another big crowd at the Altrincham Ice dome , saw the Manchester Phoenix from the opening face off dominate the first period of play, as they put the Phantoms under a good deal of pressure and got given an early powerplay opportunity with James Ferrara taking the trip to the box at 0-28 gone in the game for Cross Checking.
From that resulting powerplay the Phoenix scored the game opening goal after Tony Hand pass towards goal, saw the puck diverted in off Marcel Petran skate for a 1-0 lead at 1-16 as it beat Damien King in the Peterborough nets.
James Neil then sat for 2 minutes in the box over a bizarre Hooking call at 6-55, which saw the home side kill off the penalty and rejoin his team mates just before Robin Kovar skated into the Phantoms zone and fired high over King to make it 2-0 at 8-58.
Marc Levers then headed to the penalty box for the visitors after he got called for Cross Checking a Phoenix man into the board from behind, but was called Cross Checks nevertheless at 13:04.
Phoenix made it two from two on the powerplay, after James Archer strike at 13-15 saw Manchester score three unanswered goals and Peterborough were starting to look down the barrel of a big defeat coming their way.
Minutes later the visitor`s scored a well worked goal to get themselves on the scoreboard, as some quick passing between Darius Pliskauskas and Marcel Petran found Slovakian forward Erik Piatak at the side of the net, who then found the angle to score past Steve Fone for a 3-1 game at 14-26.
We then witnessed a scrap between Phoenix Jacob Corson-Heron and Phantoms player Will Wheldon, with the Peterborough man getting the better shots in and flipped the Manchester player over for the take down too. Heron picked up a extra 2 minute call from the officials for Slashing, as Peterborough were awarded a power play at 14-48.
Phoenix increased their lead through a shorthanded effort from Czech forward Michal Psurny, after Tony Hand intercepted a pass just outside the Phantoms zone and then fed Psurny who then waited for King to commit himself and at that point Psurny took the puck round the netminder and slotted home for a 4-1 lead at 16-48.
Harry Harley then went for Slashing at 16-58 and with that, no further action took place as the home side took a comfortable 4-1 lead into the first break.

The play was completely turned on it`s head from the Second period onwards, with the Peterborough Coach Slava Koulikov certainly given his men a stern talking to during the period break, as they came out a much different side from that of the first.
Peterborough seemed to camped in the Phoenix end for a majority of the Second period with Phoenix thankful of Steve Fone between the pipes, as without him the home side would have been in deep trouble as he pulled off some very important saves.
If trying to contend with the Phantoms attack wasn`t enough for the home side,  then they were also getting into penalty trouble with Phoenix seemingly getting the rough end of some of the calls, as some calls not being called against their opponents was and a couple on Phoenix were dubious at times.
Kovar cracks on over the post

Joe Graham was the first Phoenix man to make the trip to the box as the ex Peterborough man was called for Holding at 24-32 in the game. Declan Balmer then picked up a penalty for the away side, after he Slashed a Phoenix player in the Phoenix zone and saw Manchester gain the extra man advantage.


On that powerplay a blast on goal was stopped by Damien King`s Helmet, as the crack of the puck on the helmet saw it break and then we then had a delay, with King trying to sort the problem out, before borrowing his team mates helmet for the rest of the game.

Peterborough then made the game 4-2 as player-coach Slava Koulikov scored to give the Phantoms a deserved goal for all their good play as Levers and Pliskauskas saw Koulikov score for the visitors at 31:40.
Ben Wood picked up another call for the home side this time for a dubious Hooking call at 32-13, that was followed a couple of minutes later by a 5 on 3 advantage to the Phantoms. When Messer`s Hand & Kovar was called for Tripping and Hooking, with the Kovar penalty Levers went down in stages while glancing at the referee and angered the crowd as it looked a dive to draw the extra man.
Everyone expected Manchester to come out and play better in the final twenty of the game, after their poor second period display. However for the home side, it never really got going at all with the home side seemingly to be stuck in 2nd gear and never got to the standard of the first period.
Peterborough got a bench penalty called against them, for an Icing Infringement at 43-32 and it saw Phoenix score on the powerplay through Robin Kovar, as the Czech forward saw his shot fly in the net after good work by fellow Czech line mate, Michal Psurny and player coach Tony Hand at 43-26. 
Richard Bentham a former-Phantom then got called for Hooking at 44-15 with the visitors looking to try and find a goal back on the man advantage. Not long after he came out, Bentham was quickly back in the penalty box this time, he was called for Boarding by the referee at the far end of the rink.
Though the young forward hit on his opponent seemed to be a good clean hit, but not in the officials eyes.
Manchester then made it 6-2 at 50-16, with Rob Schnabel one timing a blast from the left circle that saw the puck bulge the net and seemed to have killed the game off now.
Peterborough though, can certainly say they were unlucky with bounces going their way, as they struck both posts and the cross bar on numerous occasions in the final period. The sound of the puck pinging off the pipe work was a godsend by Phoenix and seemed like the worst noise in the world for those donning the red shirts of Peterborough.
Phantoms was certainly hitting the Phoenix goals, sadly for them it was hitting the metal work once again and seemed like Manchester`s net was living a charmed life to say the least.
Phoenix attack

Rob Schnabel then picked up a Tripping call at 55-27, when it looked like a Phantoms player skated round Schnabel and then as he tried to turn with the puck, seemed to lose his edge with the Czech defenseman turning to face the player and the referee called him for a “Phantom call” (pardon the pun). 



Peterborough cut the arrears to just three goals then, as James Ferrara made it 6-3 to Phoenix as he put home around the Phoenix nets after a scramble, with Luke Boothroyd trying to stop the Peterborough man from scoring and couldn`t, then saw Ferrara and Boothroyd have a little coming together after the play.
With Boothroyd slightly losing his cool after the way Ferrara celebrated the goal in front of him, assists on the powerplay goal went to Darius Pliskauskas and Erik Piatak coming at 56-35.
The visitors made it a bit more closer with 25 remaining in the match with James Ferrara grabbed his second goal of the night, as a lapse at the back saw Peterborough punish Phoenix with a Pliskauskas pass going across the front of the net and past back up netminder Paul Maudsley in the Phoenix nets, with Ferrara making it 6-4 at 59-35.
The win saw Phoenix consolidate top spot in the table and with them playing closing out 2013 away tomorrow night (Monday) against Milton Keynes Lightning it means 2013 will end with the Manchester side top of the EPL no matter what.
In the new year, they have a tough weekend ahead where they face joint leaders, the Basingstoke Bison down in Hampshire before returning home on the Sunday to face Stevie Lyle and his Swindon Wildcats.
Phoenix also as off Monday morning have drafted in Former Bracknell and in recent weeks ex-Peterborough player Jaroslav Cesky to help out the Phoenix, as he comes in to replace fellow Czech Repulic forward Frantisek Bakrlik who is currently injured. The Czech forward will hope to make his debut tonight in Milton Keynes for the traveling Phoenix.

  
  
English Premier League
GP
W
OTW
OTL
L
GF
GA
Pts
1
Manchester Phoenix
28
19
3
2
2
135
71
46
2
Basingstoke Bison
31
18
4
2
7
123
86
46
3
Guildford Flames
32
20
1
3
8
141
103
45
4
Milton Keynes Lightning
30
15
4
0
11
121
103
38
5
Sheffield Steeldogs
32
10
2
5
15
110
140
29
6
Bracknell Bees
31
9
3
3
16
98
123
27
7
Slough Jets
29
12
1
1
15
104
118
27
8
Swindon Wildcats
28
8
3
1
16
86
105
23
9
Telford Tigers
30
9
2
0
19
91
122
22
10
Peterborough Phantoms
31
8
0
6
17
103
141
22

  Table taken from:  www.Manchester Phoenix.co.uk

Spengler cup: Day 2

pic from: spengler cup.ch

Day two of the Spengler Cup, saw KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) side CSKA Moscow play American Hockey League outfit the Rochester Americans in a Torriani group game.
While in the Cattini group match, hosts HC Davos took on Czech Republic side HC Vitkovice in the evening game.

  CSKA MOSCOW    4 – 3   ROCHESTER AMERICANS





CSKA MOSCOW went into this year`s Spengler Cup as the pre-tournament favorites and the Russian side managed to just edge out victory over their opponents, winning 4-3 over their U.S opponents.
CSKA took the lead in the game at 15:02, when the Americans trying to kill off a High Sticking call on Joel Armia, saw the Russians make full use of the extra man. As Igor Grigorenko put home a loose puck at the front of the net, after a Nokita Zairsev shot was blocked and the forward managed to put it in for a 1-0 lead.
Rochester then put themselves right back in the contest with six seconds left in the period, as a rush up ice saw Phil Varone initial effort saved by Rastislav Stana in the Moscow nets. The rebound off the plexi glass saw it deflect towards the front of the crease, after a bunch of players tried to grab it and Varone skated at the side of the net and managed to score for a 1-1 game. 

In the Second period, Luke Adam gave Rochester the early advantage in the period after he tipped in Daniel Catenacci pass towards the front of the net and saw the Americans go 2-1 up in the game.

At 23:32, CSKA tied the game through Alexander Radulov, as the Captain of the Moscow side received a pass from Grigorenko in his own zone and the forward fired it in at the near post to beat Matthew Hackett in the Americans goals, for a 2-2 score.

Moscow in the 3rd period shown their dominance scoring twice, with the first goal coming by the way of a powerplay goal. Nokita Zairsev blast was redirected in by Nikoli Prokhorkin stick, to make it 3-2 for the Russians at 48:46.

Moscow`s 4th of the game came from some good work by Radulov. when he went hard after the puck knocking it past two Rochester players, before then knocking it into the path of Grigorenko, who then skate on goal and slid the puck five hole through the legs of Hackett for 4-2 lead.
Then with the last action of the game, Rochester made it a one goal game as at 59:59 Luke Adam grabbed his second goal of the match, after a scramble in front of Stana in the CSKA nets, saw the Americans force it home for a 4-3 game right on the hooter.



























HC DAVOS  5  –  1  HC VITKOVICE STEEL






Hosts of the Spengler Cup HC Davos of Switzerland, opened their campaign with a crushing 5-1 win over Czech Extraliga side Vitkovice Steel in the Evening game.
Davos starting the ball rolling at 2:51 in the game, when the hosts opened up scoring with Peter Guddisberg skating round the back of the net and finding Beat Forster wide open, who was on hand to slam home to the opener for a 1-0 lead.
Davos then made it 2-0 less than a minute later, when a soft Reto von Arx saucer pass went to Dario Burgler and his little pass to the far side, found Dino Wieser and he tucked home a nice move to double the advantage.
The Second period saw more goals for HC Davos as Rene Back made it 3-0, as a puck thrown across the Vitkovice zone hit Back, as he skated on goal and the puck looped up hitting the Davos man and went up and over Steel netminder Roman Malek and into the net for a weird goal, that saw Davos stretch their lead.
Then a few minutes later 3-0 became 4-0 for the hosts, when a wrist shot by Gregory Hofmann on the powerplay, made the game all but over. Vitkovice seemed to let the Davos man skate unopposed in the zone and he fired at will to beat Malek with five seconds left on the powerplay to increase their lead.
Third period wise, Davos scored another goal as Ville Koistinen fired in a powerplay goal for a 5-0 lead, before Roman Szturc delayed his shot and managed to grab a consolation goal for the Czech side to make the game 5-1 at 44:14. 

The game was already over by now and Davos managed to snuff any comeback hopes the Czech side may have hoped, with the Swiss side taking the win.

Spengler cup day 3: OT thriller and Davos gain revenge

pic from: Spengler cup.ch

Geneve- Servette    4  –  3  CSKA MOSCOW            

in OVERTIME




In a great game of Ice Hockey in the Spengler Cup, the afternoon match saw a come from behind victory for Swiss club Geneve-Servette over the famous Russian side CSKA Moscow, taking it 4-3 in overtime to remain unbeaten in the tournament. 
Geneve were trailing after 2:15 in the game, when a puck thrown across goal by Alexander Frolov saw it go in off Garrett Stafford skate for a 1-0 lead to the Russians.
However the Swiss side came back at 8:06 in the period, when Denis Hollenstein made it 1-1 after a pass by the boards behind the CSKA nets, saw him skated round to the front of the net and score past Ilya Proskryakov to get them back on level terms.
CSKA Moscow took the lead once again in the match up with Alexander Radulov scoring the go ahead goal for the Russians, as Moscow dumped the puck up ice and saw Radulov chase down the puck as he broke away from the defence and made a little move, before backhanding it the net past Robert Mayer for a 2-1 lead at 27:38.
At 30:57 ex Detroit Red Wings player Sergei Fedorov then scored, after his wrist shot beat the netminder on the powerplay to put CSKA 3-1 up in the game. 
Then came the Swiss come back. As Kaspers Daugavins made it 3-2 when a cross ice pass by Inti Pestoni found Markus Nordlund, whose pass back across goal saw Daugavins tap home for a 3-2 score.
Third period wise saw Geneve-Servette go in search of the tying goal, with them trailing by one goal looking to push forward. 
The game became end to end, with each team looking for the crucial next goal for obvious reason and it came the way of the Swiss side. With Alexandre Picard tying the game at 3-3 as the rebound fell his way as he dispatched it past llya Proskuryakov to make the game level, heading into the final five minutes of play. So with neither side able to score in regulation the game went into overtime.
In the overtime period Geneve-Servette scored the overtime winner on the powerplay, after Yakov Rylov was penalised on CSKA for tripping up Daugavins with his stick.

So on the resulting powerplay Kaspars Daugavins scored his second of the game as he blasted home the game winner. 






















HC DAVOS    3 – 2   TEAM CANADA 




In a rematch of the 2012 Spengler Cup final, Davos gained a bit of revenge on Team Canada, in what was a close game between the two sides. Neither side could find the finishing touch in the opening period of play, as the game was scoreless after 20 minutes of hockey with both sides having 10 shots a piece in the period at the Vallant Arena in Davos, Switzerland.
Second period saw the home team HC Davos score twice to get the arena jumping, as at 27:19 Marcus Paulsson scored to give the host the 1-0 lead, after a nice spin move from just outside the Canadian zone, saw Paulsson pass to Niklas Persson who then passed back it across goal for Paulsson and he buried it for a lead to the Swiss club.
Peter Guggiberg made it 2-0 at 31:43, when the forward skated from round the nets to collect the puck and then fired it on goal, where there was a bit of traffic round the Canadian`s net and he found the inside of the top corner for a good goal and gave the Swiss fans in Yellow and Blue extra reason to shout about.
Dino Wieser and Micki Dupont then had a little set two after the play,with the Davos player taking exception to the Canadian player after the whistle and both received 2 minutes for Roughing.
Team Canada then got on the scoreboard at 44:45 thanks to a strike by Darren Haydar. Haydar initial shot missed the target when open, but Byron Ritchie was on hand to collect the puck behind the Davos net and play it back to the side of the net for Haydar to roof and make it a 2-1 game and get the Canadians back in the contest.
Andres Ambhul looked to have killed the game off for the hosts at 57:01, as his wrist shot on Davos powerplay made the game 3-1. Ambhul skated freely into the Team Canada zone and with a quick release, the puck flew in top corner over Allen York for a 3-1 scoreline.
 Nicklas Danielsson was then called for Slashing at 57:45 as it gave Canada a chance to make it a nervy couple of minutes. Team Canada scored their own powerplay goal ,as Maxim Noreau scored with a shot from the blue line to make it 3-2 and despite Team Canada pulling their goalie for the extra attacker, Davos held on for the win.


Spengler Cup 2013: day one

pic from: spenglercup.ch
It`s that time of year again where teams invited teams descend upon Davos, Switzerland where the  87th Annua lSpengler Cup club tournament kicks off. This year`s 6 team tournament will see: Swiss side Geneva-Servette HC, the AHL side Rochester Americans taking part for the first time since 1996. HC Vitkovice Steel from the Czech Republic, CSKA Moscow from the KHL make a return to the tournament too with the reigning champions champions Team Canada, as always being represented along with the Hosts of the Spengler Cup invitational tournament in Swiss side HC Davos.









Geneve-Servett HC     5 – 0   Rochester Americans

The tournament`s opening game saw Swiss side Geneve-Servette overcome AHL (American Hockey League) side Rochester Americans by 5 goals to nil in a one sided game, with the Swiss side outclassing the stateside outfit as they were clinical in front of the nets and made the Rochester side pay from it.
Geneve were on the penalty kill, when Denis Hollenstein was in the box for Tripping and saw the Swiss side take the lead in the 11th minute of play, when Kaspars Daugavins started a break away for his zone and had former NHLer Matthew Lombardi in support with him. Daugavins and Lombardi then played a nice one-two which saw Daugavins slam home a finish to give Geneve a Shorthanded goal and a 1-0 lead.


In the Second period, the game got a bit physical and saw Luke Adam from the Rochester Americans pick up a Game Misconduct for a Check to the head on his opponent, which left a Geneve player laying on the ice from the hard hit and saw the the penalty change, after it was originally called was a Roughing penalty.

Rochester Americans were struggling with the big open ice surface which is common in europe and when they put on the penalty kill, Matthew Lombardi then struck to give his side a power play goal for a 2-0 lead at 38:49.
Geneve-Servette then hammered home their advantage in the contest, with Matthew Lombardi scoring a well taken individual goal to make it 3-0 with his second of the game, But the defending for the Americans on the goal was poor to say the least.
Juraj Simek made it 4-0 at 46:46 after defenseman Goran Bezina, put the forward through on goal and Simek made a nice move before back handing it into the roof of the net to extend the lead for the Swiss side, before Cody Almond added a fifth goal. After Alexandre Picard backhanded the puck to the forward from the boards and he put past Matthew Hackett in the Rochester nets at 56:22.
Plus to round off a miserable night for the AHL side, Patrick Roy`s son Frederick Piuze-Roy then lost it big time, as he went after Cody Almond dropping the gloves and started to swing punches at the Geneve player, which saw Roy have a tantrum heading to the locker room as he kicked stuff and thrown things around, as both he and Almond picked up Game misconduct`s at 59:41 and seen the first game go to Geneve-Servette.

TEAM CANADA       5  –  4   HC VITKOVICE STEEL 

The Defending Spengler Cup Champions Team Canada, had to come from behind in their first outing of the 2013 tournament, as the Czech Republic side HC Vitkovice Steel run them close in a tight 5-4 victory to the men from the Great White North. This Team Canada side is made up of player playing in the Swiss League


It only took the Canadians 2:33 to get on the scoreboard, as Alexandre Bolduc scored for Team Canada after he diverted it at the back post to make it 1-0 from a pass by Travis Erhardt.

The Czech Extraliga side then responded less than 2 minutes later, when Lukas Kucsera put home Michal Hlinka pass which was put towards the front of the net, for a 1-1 game at 4:20.
 Canada went back ahead at 9:46 in the period, when a pass against the boards behind Vitkovice`s net and was picked up by Glen Metropolit to which he banked it in off Filip Sindelar pads, for a 2-1 lead.
Once again though the Czech side came back to tie the game up, with the Czechs scoring on a 4 on 3 powerplay at 17:05. Richard Stehlik one time rocket went through Chris Mason in the Canadian goals to make it 2-2 and ‘even Steven’ again.



In the Second period of play, the Czechs scored first through Rudolf Huna ,as the forward broke away from the Canadian defense and was one on one with just the goalie to beat and he managed put it high over the right shoulder of Chris Mason to give them the 3-2 lead at 31:26.

Team Canada responded a couple of minutes later, when HC Vitkovice Steel was penalised for ‘Too Many Men’ at 33:03. 
Canada scored shortly on the powerplay through Micki Dupont, who scored with a wrist shot from the blue line to tie the game at 3-3.
However Canada wouldn`t be celebrating too much, as 11 seconds later Vitkovice Steel scored for a fourth in the game, when an attempted pass by Derrick Walser at the side of his net wasn`t collected by a team mate and Peter Huzevka jumped onto the loose puck and fired past Mason to retake the lead for a 4-3 game.



In the third, Team Canada scored two goals in final period to take the win. As first off a nice break by the Canadians saw Eric Beaudoin pass to Darren Haydar and his pass to the slot found Byron Ritchie, who was unmarked and he put it home for a 4-4 score. 

Then at 53:49, a clearance out of the Czechs zone was stopped by a Canadian forward and played around the boards to Anthony Stewart, who then passed the puck out to the front of the net and Defenceman Derrick Walser was on hand to convert it to a goal and give Team Canada their opening win of the tournament, to top the other 3 team group in the Cattini section, ahead of HC Vitkovice Steel and hosts HC Davos who play on day two.

City give Liverpool a BLUE Christmas














MANCHESTER CITY                  2-1                      LIVERPOOL

Kompany 31, Negredo 45                                           Coutinho 24





A mistake by Liverpool goal keeper Simon Mignolet just on the stroke of half time saw Manchester City claim victory in the battle of the title rivals in the Premier League fixture in the Boxing Day clash.

Both sides played some very entertaining football over another enthralling contest between two rivals for the Premier league crown this seasons, though the game wasn`t without controversy either.




As Liverpool Manager Brendan Rodgers was left fuming over a goal that was given offside when replays shown that Rahman Sterling effort, should have counted, as the referee`s assistant got the decision wrong to make the defeat hard to take, as he saw his side miss out going back to top of the league once more after a 2-1 defeat at the Etihad Stadium.
Sterling onside, but given offside PIC: thesportreview
The game saw both teams feeling each other out at the start, as neither wanted to go behind early on in such a big game. City had the opening chance of the game, when a cross from Aleksandar Kolarov saw Spanish midfielder Jesus Navas get a head onto the ball and watched it strike the far post, as it went out of play for a dead ball as City`s attacking play early sent the warnings signs out to the visitors.
The home side enjoyed early pressure in the Liverpool half, without them really making the goalkeeper having to do much, as the attempts were mainly off target.    Vincent Kompany had a header from a Samir Nasri corner go wide, as the Belgian defender`s header went yard wide of the near post, as City were looking the aggressor in the game. Liverpool were much like City during the half in which they had a chunk of possession, but didn`t really making the possession count either.
Alvaro Negredo went close to breaking the deadlock for the hosts, when another fizzing ball from down the Liverpool right saw Kolarov ball find the “Beast”, but he just couldn`t direct it on goal, as it went past the far post and you sensed a goal was on the imminent with these two sides.
Liverpool then thought they had scored the opener, after a good through ball by Luiz Suarez saw Raheem Sterling leave his man for dead as the midfielder ran on the through ball, only for the Linesman on the far side to put his flag up for offside, as the midfielder dribbled past Joe Hart and put the ball in the net. Replays shown the visitors had a good case to grumble about, with Sterling onside by a good couple of yards or so.
Coutinho gives Liverpool the lead: pic: Sportsdirectnews
However, it didn`t take long for Liverpool to get on the scoreboard properly as a couple of minutes after the offside goal, they found themselves 1-0 up after some neat build up play saw Sterling run onto a little dink by Suarez and as he knocked it past Joe Hart, Philippe Coutinho then slotted it into an empty net with City napping at the back for the goal.
Yaya Toure almost drew level a couple minutes later, after the Ivorian picked up the ball in the area from a Kolarov pass and then made himself room for the shot, but he blasted it wide of the target, as City wasted yet another good opportunity.
KOMPANY makes it 1-1: pic: theguardian
Then in the 30th minute of the game, a David Silva corner saw Vincent Kompany head his effort downwards and found the back of the Liverpool net, to put City back on level terms with the Reds and make it all square again in the match at 1-1.


City then broke away on a counter attack following a corner to Liverpool and their fast attack, saw Jesus Navas blaze over the bar as the attack ,not for the first time came to nothing. 

Liverpool then had a great chance to re take the lead in this enthralling encounter, when a great move by the away side saw Suarez knock it into the path of Coutinho and this time the Brazilian finish was saved brilliantly by Joe Hart, who made a great stop to stop the visitors going ahead 2-1.



City moments later had another effort on goal, when another counter attack move saw Fernandinho bombing forward up field, before playing the ball out to Negredo on his right and the strike by the “Beast” was blocked by Defender Martin Skrtel for a corner kick.
Then on the stroke of half time, the home side took the lead when once again a fast City attack saw the Reds in trouble getting back. City were outpacing the Liverpool defenders and when Jesus Navas played a ‘eye of a needle’ ball between Sakho and Skrtel, the ball came nicely to Negredo and the Spanish hitman tried a shot over Mignolet in the Liverpool goals. Mignolet got caught out by the shot as he came off his line and his attempt to stop it failed miserably and could only watch as the ball bounce eventually into the net for a 2-1 lead, that turned out to be the last action of the first half.
Negredo makes it 2-1  pic: theguardian
Second half saw Liverpool come out more attacking as they tried to find an equalizer, as with Suarez and Sterling causing the home side problems they would certainly create some chances at least in the half. 




The first shot of note in the second half came from Negredo, with the striker trying his luck with another chip, but this time he failed to get enough height on it to dip in over Mignolet and was safely collected by the Liverpool goalie.
Liverpool was the more threatening side now in the contest as City were unable to gain possession and the visitors came close to scoring, when a ball headed back towards the Blues penalty area, was flicked on for Martin Skrtel who then crossed it back into the area, upon where Jordan Henderson cheeky little back heel was stopped by Joe Hart as the Reds were looking more menacing now.
Suarez pleads for penalty   pic:theguardian
Liverpool were the side now wasting the good chances in the game, as Luis Suarez ran down the City right, where the striker put a lovely bending ball across the face of goal towards the back post for Sterling, but the youngster hit it high over the bar and saw the chance go begging for the Merseysider’s.


Joelon Lescott then seemed to go right through the Uruguayan striker on the edge of the area, but the officials gave nothing and so play continued on.
The home side had a chance to kill the game off late on, when Yaya Toure run into the box saw him play a good ball across the face of the goal and saw the ball run past Edin Dezko, as well as a the defenders too, with somehow no one able to get any type of connection on the ball at all.
As the scoreboard said 89 minutes had been played, Toure then tried a curling effort to seal the points for the Blues, but his shot was yards away from the target and gave Liverpool hope of rescuing a point for the away side.
The defence had done brilliantly to snuff out Luiz Suarez as a threat,with Kompany marking the Uruguay defender well.
 
Kompany & Zabaleta celebrate win pic:theguardian
Suarez then had an appeal for a penalty turned down late on when the controversial striker went down theatrically in the penalty area, after being held by Joleon Lescott in the area, but the referee Lee Mason waved off the penalty claim and had Suarez and Rodgers on the touchline livid over the decision.
Manchester City managed to play the clock out and see off another title rival at home as with only Chelsea of the big teams still to come to the Etihad Stadium, the Blues know on Saturday a win over Crystal Palace at home will see them move to the top of the table at least overnight before the rest of the teams face off on Sunday.


Premier League Table

1 up Arsenal 18 6 2 1 16 6 6 1 2 20 12 +18 39
2 up Manchester City 18 9 0 0 37 6 3 2 4 16 15 +32 38
3 up Chelsea 18 8 1 0 20 7 3 3 3 13 11 +15 37
4 down Liverpool 18 8 0 1 25 6 3 3 3 18 15 +22 36
5 same position Everton 18 5 3 1 17 8 4 4 1 12 9 +12 34

Phoenix SIX-y Hockey scores a Christmas no 1
























 MANCHESTER PHOENIX        6-0   GUILDFORD FLAMES 


(Boothroyd, Psurny, Kovar x2
Archer, Schnabel)




Manchester Phoenix stormed their way to the top English Premier League (EPL) table Sunday evening, with a crushing victory over the then first placed Guildford Flames to be the league leaders at Christmas.

Manchester were the fresher of the two title rivals having had the previous weekend off, due to how the fixtures came out and the Phoenix knew as well they had a chance of regaining top place if they recorded a 4 point weekend, which would put them top of the EPL tree at Christmas time.
They won a tough road game down in Peterborough on Saturday, as they beat the Phantoms in a shoot out, coming out victors with a 3-2 win thanks to ex-Phantom James Archer.
The Altrincham Ice Dome was packed to a near full capacity for the battle between the two sides in the EPL.
In the opening exchanges of the game, Manchester had a few good shots on the Flames netminder Mark Lee early on, the home side had some good possession with the Phoenix trying to score an early goal, as the first goal would possibly be huge in a game like this.
Phoenix lost their “top” import before the game, with Frantisek Bakrlik watching the game from the bench after he picked up an injury down in Peterborough and had to limp out of the game and despite being in the warm up, the injury proved too bad to play on.
“Ball chucking goes early!”
Phoenix thought they had took the lead after a couple of minutes into the game, when a scrum at the front of the Guildford crease saw the puck slide into the back of net, but the referee had already blown to kill the play dead before the puck went in. We then had some balls thrown onto the ice as part of the ball toss that was going to take place when the first goal was scored, as it was in connection with the Manchester Children`s Hospital that.
So typically, when the puck went in a fair few balls was thrown onto the playing surface and was a false start due to the Referee washing the goal out.
Guildford then lost Neil Liddiard for two minutes, when he was called for Holding the Stick at 5-32 and saw the powerplay for the home side struggle to get much going in the way of goal mouth action in the two minutes with the extra man advantage.
It was then Manchester to be penalised as Luke Boothroyd was called for Tripping at 7-52 for bringing a Flames player down at the back post and saw Guildford have the opportunity to go in search for the games opening goal.
Manchester managed to thwart all chances the Flames created, with Phoenix Netminder Steve Fone standing tall against the visitors attack with him

Repelling any chances the visiting team was carving out for themselves. Guildford it seemed then started to play a bit more, despite still having an air of conservativeness to their play, but they were still making plays and dangerous going forward.
Ben Wood then sat for two minutes in the Penalty box, when he was called for Cross Checks at 10-20 and that put the home side back on the penalty kill and had Steve Fone to thank, as he made a couple of good stops to avoid the guests from scoring.
Manchester`s defence was looking solid at the back, with the Flames unable to find a way past them at all, with Rob Schanbel and James Neil playing very well at the heart of the Manchester D.
Ben Wood`s Penalty expired and just as he rejoined the game he very nearly found himself on a breakaway, but the puck bobbled and couldn`t control it.
Former Phoenix man Tom Duggan came the closest to breaking the deadlock for the away team, when the forward out skated the Phoenix defence man and was one on one with Fone, but the netminder made a good stop to deny the Flames from taking the lead. Both sides headed to the locker room after a scoreless first period which was scrappy at best and had their opponents cancel each other out.
 In the Second Period of play, Manchester got an early wakeup call or more so Rob Schnabel did, when the big Czech defenseman took the puck to the head as he went down quickly from David Savage shot from the blue line, however Hockey players are tuff cookies and he got straight back up and skated round a few seconds to try and shake off the shot.
Milos Melicherik then picked up a penalty call for Tripping at 23-17, as he upended Andy McKinney when he was at mid ice.
This gave Manchester Phoenix another chance on the power play to take the lead and on this occasion they did, as at 23-54 the combination play of Czech forward Michal Psurny and Player coach Tony Hand, saw Hand pass to the front of the net where Boothroyd tapped home at the back post for a easy goal and saw the fans throw the balls onto the ice, for a goal that stood this time round.
Phoenix then doubled their lead less than 3 minutes later, when Michal Psurny scored after James Neil pass to Tony Hand who was positioned behind the net pass to Hand his vision saw Psurny skating towards the near post and his pass to Psurny was buried and gave the home side a two goal lead at 27-26, as Manchester had now started to take control of this top of the table clash.
Guildford tried to respond as they had a few attempts on goal, but Fone was producing some fantastic stops to keep the Flames at bay.
Phoenix defense played a great game too as they snuffed out any type of attack the away side conjured up in the second period of play, as Fone really was on top form for the home side and was seeing the puck like the proverbial beach ball.
Andy McKinney then took one for the team when the Flames broke out and caught out Phoenix defence as David Longstaff skated into the Phoenix zone, McKinney then tried to stopped the Whitley Bay born Longstaff causing the forward to fall and seen the Phoenix man head to the box at 29-56 for Tripping.
Add caption
Guildford then went back on the penalty kill, with Josef Kohut heading to the box for Hooking at 32-28 putting Phoenix on another powerplay with Branislav Kvetan going to the box for High Sticks. It gave the home side the 5 on 3 powerplay to which Manchester couldn`t make anything off it with the 2 man advantage.
Just as Kohut had finished serving his two minutes, he then found himself back in the box as an irate Kohut begrudgingly sat for a High Sticks call at 35-06. On the resulting powerplay McKinney then took a puck to the body from a Robin Kovar blast, which seen the forward skate to the locker room in a great deal of pain.
The Flames killed off the penalty and looked to be heading into the intermission 2-0 down. However Robin Kovar had other ideas as Phoenix turned defence into attack with Hand clearing to Schnabel, who then passed out to the wing to Kovar who skated hard down the wing and was sent tumbling to the ice from Savage trying to stop Kovar cutting to the front of the net and as he was falling to the ice he managed to get shot off and beat Mark Lee in the Guildford nets for a 3-0 game and seemed to kill the game off,The goal was timed at 39-30.
Phoenix on the attack
Guildford looked a side playing damaged limitations in the third period as the goal before the 2nd period break seemed to have knocked the stuffing out of the Flames, as they looked all out of ideas and unlike a Guildford side in the past.
Manchester then found themselves with a power play, after an Icing Infringement by the visitors at 48-16 saw Phoenix have a chance to show their ruthless side and they didn`t mess around either, as 4 seconds later Phoenix made it 4-0 with a onetime effort by James Archer made the game all but over now as his blast past Lee, gave Manchester a second power play goal in the match and more importantly a commanding lead now in the game.
Phoenix attack was relentless and pushed for further goals and 1-24 after they scored their fourth, they scored goal number 5 with Schnabel being a passing machine in the game, as he put Kovar through one on one with Lee and the Czech made a nifty move committing Lee forward, before then dispatching it past him in the net for a fantastically taken goal at 49-44.
Guildford had chances to score, but they couldn`t find a way past the wall that was called Steve Fone in the Manchester nets and he carried on making some good stops, with some of them being worthy of the man of the man award he collected.
Phoenix then used the Flames nets a target practice as the home side rained shots upon Lee and they eventually broke down the defenses of the away side again.
Goal number came when Rob Schnabel was given the puck and he lit up the lamp with an unstoppable rocket of a shot that beat Lee for a 6-0 score line as the huge home crowd revelled in the punishment they were dishing out to their rival and it was getting embarrassingly easy for the home side, with Flames well and truly capitulated now with Phoenix firing at will on Lee.
This wasn`t was a far cry from a normal Guildford performance, Manchester just wanted the game bit more as the short bench for the Surrey side and something you rarely ever hear for them had caught up with them, but don`t take anything away from Manchester, they out played and out fought the Flames on home ice and doing do cemented their position as leaders at Christmas time, with them making a statement against the League champions as they shown off a mean streak against a rival that will be certainly challenging come end of the season.



Scoreboard says it`s all


Links: 
Official MANC PHOENIX PODCAST:

Phoenix TV: 



OFFICAL MANC PHOENIX report:

====================================================================
Shots on goal
    
Manchester Phoenix  :  41                                   
       Guildford Flames :  24

Goalie Stats:

PHOENIX:   Steve Fone  24 shots 100.00 %
FLAMES:     Mark Lee    41 shots  85.37%

PENALTIES IN MINUTES ( PIM)

Manchester : 6
     Guildford: 16



English Premier League
GP
W
OTW
OTL
L
GF
GA
Pts
1
Manchester Phoenix
27
18
3
2
4
129
67
44
2
Basingstoke Bison
29
18
3
2
6
113
75
44
3
Guildford Flames
30
19
1
3
7
135
96
43
4
Milton Keynes Lightning
28
14
4
0
10
112
95
36
5
Slough Jets
29
12
1
1
15
104
118
27
6
Sheffield Steeldogs
30
9
2
4
15
101
131
26
7
Bracknell Bees
29
8
3
3
15
91
117
25
8
Swindon Wildcats
26
7
3
1
15
73
93
21
9
Telford Tigers
28
8
2
0
18
81
111
20
10
Peterborough Phantoms
28
7
0
6
15
91
127
20


City close gap with a thrashing of the league leaders


MANCHESTER CITY                   6    –   3       ARSENAL  
Aguero 14, Negredo 39, Fernandinho  50,88.                                             Walcott 31,63   Mertesacker 90+4 
Silva 66, Toure 90+5    
SCOREBOARD Shows crazy scoreline : Mirror.co.uk

  
Manchester City and Arsenal played out an enthralling classic at the Etihad Stadium, with Arsenal suffering their first defeat in 5 games with Manchester City Attacking play being too much to deal with for the Gunners as the Blues beat top of the league Arsenal 6-3.
Both sides played in Europe midweek, with Arsenal losing to Napoli 2-0 in Naples and City beating the European Champions in Bayern Munich 3-2 at the Allianz Arena, so going into the game City will have been the side with slightly more confidence heading into the big clash between the two giants in the Premier League. 
The game pitted Arsenal who had the best defensive record in the league away from home against the side with the best attack at home in the league in Manchester City, so this set up the game nicely and the hype for an explosive game between the two proved not to disappoint either. 
From kick off the match was played at break neck speed, with both teams playing fast flowing attacking football, as City took the game to Arsenal in the opening 5 minutes of play. The visitors were on the back foot at the opening exchanges, with the home side putting pressure on the North London side from the off and had a couple of early corners in which they managed to deal with and weather the early storm.
Arsenal started to get into the game more after a worrying opening 10 minutes of play, as they then turned the tables on the hosts with them enjoying more possession when they started to create a few attacks that didn`t really come of anything, as the Blue defence held firm and saw both sides have chances.


Theo Walcott then put a cross to the back post for Luke Wilshire to try and smash home, but the England man managed to shoot his effort horribly wide of the target and see the ball fortunately go to Walcott and saw the attack snuffed out.
City who had scored 29 goals at the Etihad Stadium prior to kick off in the league alone this season, saw them add to their total, when a outswinging corner kick by Samir Nasri got flicked on by Martin Demichelis and saw Sergio Aguero volley in the ball in far top corner, to give City the 1-0 lead after 14th minutes of play.
City were buoyed by the goal and looked to be in control after Aguero`s goal, where they tried to use their build up play and possession to stop Arsenal getting back in the contest.
Alvaro Negredo nearly doubled the lead for the home side, when City Captain Vincent Kompany little dribble and through ball to Negredo, saw the Spanish hit man pull his shot wide of the near post.

Sergio Aguero wheels away after scoring opener: metro.co.uk
Arsenal were still coming at City, using their pace to cause problems for the Blues,  a theme ran throughout the game as the pitch seemed to be on slope, in which whenever one side attacked the play would be stopped and go right back up the other end and saw the opponent`s carve out a chance. The game was such an action packed one and lived up to the hype from the first whistle, in which you hardly had time to catch your breath with the fast paced game on view, which included so much Attacking talent on show.
Negredo picked up a yellow card for a foul on Arsenal`s Monreal and from that free kick, Walcott put a free kick in which wasn`t dealt with properly by City Keeper Costel Pantillimon, who chose to punch it instead of catching it and put his side under more pressure.

Arsenal then drew level after a horrible error by Yaya Toure in the middle of the park, as Luke Wilshire took the ball off the Ivorian midfielder and led a charge with Mesut Ozil, who had been pretty non existant in the game to that point, the German International saw the run of Theo Walcott and his pass was tucked away round Demichelis, who may deflected it but the end result was a goal for the Visitors in the 31st minute and the City keeper really should have done better.
Walcott strike draws Gunners level  PIC:various
Arsenal had their tails up now in the game, as they came forward and their style of play can lead to counter attacks for the other side and it nearly cost them as well, when a City attack found Negredo free and the striker tried to bend it in and the ball went just went wide of the target with Negredo usual accuracy not there at the moment for the home side.

City attacking play brought them a second goal thanks to great vision by Yaya Toure, as he played ball out wide with the outside of his foot towards Pablo Zabaleta who fantastically control it and then played a fizzing ball across the face of goal where upon “the Beast” finally convert a effort into a goal, with Negredo putting home at the near post for 2-1 in the 39th minute.
Negredo scores for 2-1   PIC:espn.com 
In the aftermath of the goal, as City were celebrating the goal Thomas Koscielny who had been involved in both goals conceded, looked to have picked up a freak injury when the defender stood up from the goal he then went straight back down to the pitch again, as his knee seemed to give way and he was in a great deal of pain that forced Arsene Wenger into a change as Thomas Vermaelen came on for the injured defender.
City almost had a third before half time, when a Martin Demichelis header went whistling close from a Samir Nasri`s out-swinging corner, as he header just went over the bar.
Towards the end of the half, one moment summed up the game as Monreal was challenged by Zabaleta twice with a couple of strong but fair challenges and it shown how the two sides were playing hard aggressive football and both sides were up for the challenge, which made for a great game of football too as the half ended in favour of the home side.
Sergio Aguero then went off after two minutes in the second half after the Argentine striker picked up a Calf injury after he made a little touch pass to David Silva in a build up.
Jesus Navas came on for the Striker, where upon Manuel Pellegrini saw him change his sides formation from a 4-4-2 to a 4-5-1 system instead.
Vincent Kompany then suddenly had a rush of blood, as he dribbled from half way in his own half to near the corner flag in the other half, before putting in a poor cross as the run took it out of it him, David Silva then committed a foul and collected the first Yellow card of the game.
Any worries City fans had of the team falling apart was answered soon after, when Fernandinho collected a ball that was meant for Flamini from  Ozil and the Brazilian midfielder opened his Scoring account for the Blues, with some Brazilian magic as he curled a magnificent strike round Szczesny for a 3-1 lead to the home side and you kind of expected City to hammer home their advantage from that point but they didn`t and gave Arsenal a chance to get back into the game as City had all but gone to sleep now after their third goal. 
The signs of reply was coming, when Wilshire floated a ball to the far side for Giroud and the Frenchman blasted high and wide over the bar for Arsenal.
Olivier Giroud then looked foolish, when he tried to put a cross into the area but instead kicked the ball away with standing leg and watched it go out of play as the home crowd laughed and enjoyed the comedy moment from the Arsenal player.
Those laughs were nearly silenced soon after, when moments later a build up play by Arsenal saw Bacary Sagny whip a beautiful cross in and Giroud just headed inches wide as City breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Arsenal were in the ascendancy as they looked likely to score next having  stifled City play, Ozil was the only Arsenal player pulling weight for the Gunners as he looked anything but a world class player as he seemed to be missing for Arsenal in a game they needed him the most.

Arsenal had an appeal for a penalty turned down, when Wilshire ball into the box was stopped by Zabaleta when the ball bounced off the Argentine defender`s leg onto his arm and was cleared away for a corner, a decision which had Arsenal players incensed.
Walcott celebrates 2nd goal  PIC:itv.com

Arsenal were in control of the game at that stage with City struggling to wrestle control back after their 3rd goal, as Wenger`s men were very much still in the contest even at 3-1 down.
Theo Walcott grabbed his second of the game after a little dink over the City back line by Ozil, saw Walcott then curve a shot to the far corner over the tall Pantilimon for a 3-2 score line in the 61st minute with a great goal and had the home side in danger of possibly losing their way in the contest.City had tried to play their way back into the game as the home side were coming under pressure and the pressure got to them, when Arsenal build up play brought a well crafted goal.
Every time one of the sides scored, it was the other team that responded to a goal being score against them and it took just four minutes for City to show their response.
When in the 65th minute, Jesus Navas had Monreal in a pickle and his ball into the area was diverted into the net by fellow Spaniard David Silva to regain their two goal lead as they led 4-2.
Arsenal by now had lost their composure and wasn`t the same after City`s 4th goal went in. Luke Wilshire then had a balst from outside the area saved as the 6 foot 8 tall City goalkeeper, made an important save as he palmed the Midfielder shot over the bar for a corner kick.
Manchester City then seemed to have finally wrestle control back of the game and never let it go again, as they squeezed the life out of Arsenal and forced them in to  lot of errors at the back.
Jesus Navas then nearly scored a goal himself, when Samir Nasri and Navas combined after dispossessing the Arsenal man near the touchline and from the following play, saw Navas knock it past the keeper and with a tight angle to shoot at hit it in the side netting and let Arsenal off the hook.
Arsenal then swapped Olivier Giroud for Nicklas Bendtner and had some travelling fans scratching their heads over the decision to take off a striker for another when they needed to be trying to score.
Zabaleta and Toure then combined and saw the Ivorian run at the Arsenal defence as the play was being stretched now and his shot went just past the post and the Gunners were being out run and dismantled now, they had lost all shape and discipline as well as being torn apart by Pellegrini troops.

Samir Nasri was having a great game again for the Blues and saw him blow his chance to score against is former side as he hit it high over the bar and then a minute later, Wilshire was dispossessed by Fernandino and saw City go on another attack led by the Brazilian.
Fernandihno makes it 5-2: pic:habergazzette.com
He played it out towards Nasri, who you knew was desperate to score against his old side and when he chose not to be selfish he played the ball back to Fernandinho who then finished off the attack with a little dink over Szczesny to make it 5-2 and seemed to be the end of the scoring. Nicklas Bendtner then thought he scored with a header late on, only to see the flag was up for offside though replays shown that was just on side
Arsenal then scored a 3rd goal in this crazy match as it all came after a Theo Walcott chance that saw Pantillimon stop the striker from getting a hat trick as he blocked his shot for a corner,  from the short corner a ball was played to Sagny who put in another good ball and had Per Mertesacker head home for 5-3.

You would have thought that was the end of the scoring in this classic if not bizarre game, but there was still time for one last goal 


German star Per Mertesacker tears into Mesut Ozil after the match  pic:BBC SPORTS
As literally a minute later City countered again with a little through ball by Fernandinho and saw James Milner brought down by Szczesny foot and gave Yaya Toure the chance to make it six for the home side and he did, with the midfielder dispatching the penalty kick for a 6-3 score and keep up their average of 4 goals a game at the Etihad Stadium. City`s win saw them close the gap to 3 points on the Gunners too and move them temporarily into 2nd position.

After the game Per Mertesacker was angered by Mesut Ozil at full time, when the German International was finger pointing and yelling at his team mate who chose not to go over to the travelling fans as he made his way down to the tunnel instead.

Manchester strike down Lightning to go Top!




MANCHESTER PHOENIX     4  – 1     M.K LIGHTNING


Hand, Psurny, Schnabel, Bentham                                               Lascek



Altrincham ICE DOME


Sunday night saw the Manchester Phoenix return once again to the top of the English Premier League (EPL) table, after a frustrating match against a depleted Milton Keynes Lightning at the Altrincham Ice dome, which saw them victorious 4-1 and open up a one point gap ahead of the Guildford Flames, won had lost out in overtime 4-3 to 3rd placed Basingstoke Bison.
Basingstoke in that game had actually battled back from 3-1 down to score two quick goals before winning it in overtime.
Meanwhile in Manchester, the Phoenix were hoping to make it their first four point weekend since the weekend of the 9th &10th.
Manchester were the brighter of the two sides early on as they tested Stephen Wall in the MK goals with a few good shots. Milton Keynes then started to pick their game up a bit more as the period went along and nearly caught Phoenix out numerous times at the back, with the Lightning catching the hosts out with them playing high up the ice and broke away on the counter attack much like Manchester do.
Milton Keynes struck the pipe work on a couple of occasions in opening ten minutes of play including having the puck rolling along the cross bar as well as them missing some good chances that went begging for the visitors too.
Manchester seemed to be slow over all the ice and you was almost expecting them to just burst into life and take over a depleted MK Lightning side that was missing 5 of their regular roster due to the U20 World Championships up in Dumfries,Scotland this week.
Paul Gore and netminder Mark Wolfe was drafted in to help with the Lightning numbers, as Jordan Hedley, Ben Russell, Josh Nicklin, Jordan Cownie were all away on GB duty, plus if you take in account Lewis Christie was also out injured for the Buckinghamshire club, then it showed they were down to the bare bones.
The game was end to end and saw the goaltenders for both look a little uncomfortable it seemed at first.
Phoenix had the puck in the net early on too from a James Archer wrist shot, unfortunately it came on a long delayed offside call against the home side. 
Then at 7:16 the home side took the lead and give the big crowd inside the Ice Dome something to cheer for, as Manchester Player-Coach Tony Hand, had a shot that saw Wall screened by his own man as the puck flew past him for a Manchester 1-0 lead, with James Neil credited with the Assist.
Luke Boothroyd was then called for Hooking by Referee Steve Brown at 9:33 and MK didn`t make anything of the extra man advantage, as Manchester successfully killed the penalty off. 
Phoenix found themselves back in penalty trouble soon after, when Jack Watkins then picked up a unlucky two minute call for Tripping, when the Durham-born player lost control of the puck and as he turned to collect it he tripped up the Lightning with his stick catching the skate, that was at 15:40.
Phoenix were very thankful for Lightning`s poor finishing as well as the pipe work too, MK could easily have been leading this game if they had their shooting skates on.
We then a case of a penalty shot for the home side, when James Archer skated in from side got in front of the MK man and was subsequently brought down by Michael Farn at 17:03. Brown didn`t think it was goal scoring opportunity which had home fans up in arms over the decision as it certainly looked like one. 
Brown then decided to call a soft penalty on Andy McKinney at 19:36 for Slashing, with the Phoenix man giving a slightly forceful tap on the glove to try and knock possession away, but it was deemed too hard by the official and so gave Milton Keynes Lightning a chance to draw level before the first break and that`s how it turn out.
After a poor Phoenix power play, that saw little movement or inventiveness by the home side. MK powerplay was the complete opposite with them moving the puck around quickly and saw Tom Carlon and Janne Jolika combine to set up Stanislav Lascek, who found the back of the net for a 1-1 game at 19:48 and saw both teams head to the locker room all square.
Manchester were again the better side early on in the Second period, with MK having to weather the Phoenix storm, as Wall had be on his metal to stop the puck from going in.
Steve Fone made a few good stops in the Phoenix nets to deny giving the away side the lead in the game. Manchester retook the lead at 27-43 with Ross Bowers sat in the box serving a penalty for Hooking at 26:01.
With a Phoenix powerplay that was seemingly in danger of fizzling out, Michal Psurny then took the puck and made some happen as he skated into space and ripped a shot past Wall for a 2-1 lead, with Tony Hand and James Archer assisting on the second Phoenix goal.
Then we had a controversial incident in the game involving Frantisek Bakrik and Adam Carr. Both players were fighting for position at he front of the Lightning net, Bakrlik jumped in front of the MK man at the front of the net and then saw Carr did the same and seemed to Interfere with the Phoenix man first off, before then falling behind his own net as he ran out of room and hit the boards, as well as getting a stick to his face in the incident while he brought Bakrlik down with him.
Originally no call came from it, then after a few complaints by Jamie Jamieson and a couple other MK players, Brown then 3 minutes later called Bakrilk to the penalty box and with blood on the ice too, the Czech forward was told he was kicked out by his team mates as the official handed out a 5 + Match penalty for Checking to the Head.
When home fans saw the sight of Bakrlik leaving the box and heading to the locker room, the fury of the fans was vented on Brown as it was literally impossible to check a player in the head from the position he was in. Carr, was behind the Phoenix man the entire time until he tried to get in the position, the penalty was later downgraded to a game penalty, with Carr returning to the game the call was made at the 30:13 mark.
With Manchester already on a five minute penalty kill with the Bakrlik incident, it got worse for them when Rob Schanbel then shot the puck out of play at 31:31 and was given a Delay of Game call, which put MK on a 5 on 3 Power play for 2 minutes.
Phoenix brilliantly killed the penalty off and that was the turning point of the game, if Milton Keynes had scored then it would have been a different game indeed from that point. However, they didn`t score and so the home side headed into the break with the one goal lead.
In the final period of play, Phoenix grabbed full control of the game as they pressured the away side with some good plays. By this time, the visitors were struggling in the game due to the lack of the bodies they had on their short bench and Phoenix was forcing the pace a bit now.
Lukas Zatopek took a trip to the penalty box at 47:21 for Tripping and Manchester needed something on this power play to just give them some breathing space and they got it through Rob Schnabel, when the big Czech D-man skated uncontested to the blue line and blasted a rocket past Wall for 3-1 at 49:05 to give Manchester a two goal cushion.
Forty seconds later, Richard Bentham made it 4-1 with a lovely moved finished by the Blackburn forward after some great play by Andy McKinney, as the Phoenix forward skated by the boards and then round the back of the net before passing to Bentham, who quickly dispatched it with a one timer in the Lightning nets.
Despite the early play by the away side in the game, It was the lack of bodies that was their downfall, along with the missed chances they failed to capitalise on. They did though play really well and made Manchester fight for the win, which surprised some who thought them being short benched would be a walk over and this game was far from that.
Phoenix won the match and collected the two points to make it a four point weekend, following on from their win down at the Link Centre in Swindon on Saturday Night. The Phoenix beat the Swindon Wildcats 4-2, thanks to goals by James Archer, two for Michal Psurny and a fourth added by Liam Chong as it gave the Phoenix some confidence on the road after having lost their two previous against away games at Guildford and then Bracknell last weekend.

English Premier League
GP
W
OTW
OTL
L
GF
GA
Pts
1
Manchester Phoenix
25
17
2
2
4
120
65
40
2
Guildford Flames
27
18
0
3
6
126
84
39
3
Basingstoke Bison
25
15
3
2
5
101
68
38
4
Milton Keynes Lightning
24
12
3
0
9
89
80
30
5
Bracknell Bees
26
8
3
3
12
89
107
25
6
Slough Jets
26
11
1
1
13
95
102
25
7
Sheffield Steeldogs
26
8
2
2
14
86
112
22
8
Swindon Wildcats
25
7
3
1
14
70
89
21
9
Peterborough Phantoms
25
7
0
4
14
83
114
18
10
Telford Tigers
25
6
1
0
18
66
104
14

Table taken from :ManchesterPhoenix.co.uk

PHOENIX PODCAST: 

http://manchesterphoenix.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/lightning-under-weather.html

PHOENIX TV:  http://youtu.be/0MjKXypCJ1M