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Added-Time: Taking a look back at match-day 17 in the EPL

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Ken Rodney, TSN.ca
12/19/2012 12:09:03 AM
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Added-Time takes a look back at match-day 17 of the English Premier League season to get you caught up on all the important results, stories and moments.  This week, Queens Park Rangers becomes the last team in English league play to win a game; Aston Villa shocks Liverpool with a huge road victory and Arsenal climbs into the top five with a heavy win against Reading.

STORIES OF THE WEEK

Since Harry Redknapp took control of Queens Park Rangers, team has shown improvement.   In their 17th match of the season they were finally able to grab maximum points against Fulham and their reward is moving off the bottom of the table.
 
In the game, midfielder Adel Taarabt followed up a scoreless first half by firing his side in front six minutes into the second half when he deflected the ball off Fulham defender Brede Hangeland and past keeper Mark Schwarzer for the opening marker.

Taarabt would double his team's advantage in the 68th minute by dancing through the Fulham midfield and defence and slotting the ball into a wide open net.

"He has the ability to be up there with the best," said Redknapp, about his two-goal scorer. "I thought it was one of the all-round great individual performances."

Not being a team to do anything easy, Rangers conceded a goal to Fulham substitute Mladen Petric in the 88th minute and then were forced to defend to the death to earn a 2-1 victory, their first of the campaign.

"Yeah we deserved it," said Redknapp, "we were the better team. It would have been a travesty if we'd conceded another goal in that last hectic couple of minutes."

The victory moves Queens Park Rangers one point ahead of Reading and into 19th place, though they are still six points away from escaping the relegation zone.

Prior to their match against Aston Villa, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said he felt his team could challenge for a top-two position in the table. Based on their performance this week, they'll have to start that push in their next contest.

After an opening to the game where Liverpool had the majority of the ball and the chances, Aston Villa forward Christian Benteke put his side ahead with a laser strike in the 29th minute.

Liverpool once again seized control of the game after giving up the opening marker but were not able to pull even, including forward Luis Suarez hitting a clear chance into the side netting.

Benteke turned provider on the second Aston Villa goal when he collected a ball in the box and sent a back-heel pass to teammate Andreas Weimann who slammed it past Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina to open a two-goal lead.

After the break it was more of the same as Benteke cut in past the defence and fired home his second of the game to put his team up 3-0 and secure the points for the visiting side.

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard would deny Villa the road clean sheet with a late marker in the 87th minute, but it was not enough to save them from a 3-1 defeat in front of a home Anfield crowd."I don't know where that came from as it's not been like us," said Rodgers. "We will have to take that as a bad day at the office and move on."

RESULT OF THE WEEK

The final game on match-day 17 was a barn burning 5-2 victory for Arsenal over Reading that helped the Gunners climb into fifth place and left the Royals last in the table.

For Arsenal it was bounce-back performance after a loss to fourth-tier Bradford in the League Cup and for the first hour of the game might have been one of the best performances league-wide this season.

It only took 14 minutes for Lukas Podolski to find the opener for Arsenal as he controlled the ball in the box and fired it past keeper Adam Federici.

Podolski then crossed the ball to Santi Cazorla who headed into the net in the 32nd minute to add to the lead and get Arsenal rolling.

It only took two minutes for Cazorla to find himself with another scoring chance and he once again converted it sending his team into the break with a 3-0 advantage.

After the half, Carzola would pick up his first Premier League hat-trick and seemingly put the game out of reach via a huge 4-0 lead.

Reading would not go quietly though as first, Adam Le Fondre and then Jimmy Kebe would both beat Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny within a five minute span to cut the massive lead in half.

"I thought our response in the second half was excellent," said Reading manager Brian McDermott. "We gave our home crowd something to cheer about."

Unfortunately for the home side, Arsenal's Theo Walcott would put any doubts to rest with a fifth goal to secure the victory.

"I've said many times I believe in this team," said Arsenal manager Wenger. "We need now to go from strength to strength."

LOOKING AHEAD

Fresh off their victory over Reading, Arsenal will travel to DW Stadium to take on a Wigan Athletic side that is mired in the relegation battle.  You can catch that game on TSN2, Saturday at 7:30am et/4:30 am pt.

Adel Taarabt  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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