The Premier League exploded into life once again this weekend with some stunning match ups and unexpected results that could have major implications for the final league table. Read on to read our review of this weekend’s Premier League action:
Fulham 0 – 1 Arsenal
Arsenal once again produced a workmanlike and unconvincing performance as they toiled to a narrow win at Craven Cottage. German giant Per Mertesacker was the difference between the two sides and meant that Arsenal travelled back up to North London with the maximum points; but Arsenal will know they blew the opportunity to really make their case for Champions League football against Everton on Tuesday night. Advantage is now with Tottenham and Chelsea and the Gunners will be hoping that their London rivals slip up as they continue to vie for Champions League football.
Norwich 2 – 1 Reading
We said last week that Reading were as good as relegated, and defeat to Norwich has done nothing to increase the Royals chances of Premier League football next season. Goals from the two Bennetts just after half time put the Canaries in a commanding 2-0 position, and despite Garath McCleary giving Reading hope in the 73rd minute, they once again made the journey back towards the west with no points to celebrate. Norwich weren’t totally safe and this victory has made a huge difference with the East-Anglian side residing in a relatively healthy 13th position.
QPR 0 – 2 Stoke
Similarly to Reading, we didn’t give Rangers a hope in hell of staying up last week, and another home loss all but condemns them to the Championship for next season. To stand any chance of staying up QPR really needed to have got a result against a poorly performing Stoke side; but they were totally outclassed as the Potter’s sought to ensure their own Premier League status for another season. Peter Crouch stabbed home after 42 minutes and Jonathan Walters then sealed all 3 points with an exceptionally well struck penalty that had to be taken twice. Harry now needs to plan for life in the Chmapionship while another 3 points for Tony Pulis’ men will all but ensure their safety.
Sunderland 1 – 0 Everton
The power of Paulo worked wonders again as di Canio’s red and white army marched on to a consecutive win at the Stadium of Light. Stephane Sessegnon poked in before half time in what proved to be the only goal of the game. David Moyes felt that the Toffees deserved a point and this result damages their quest for European football, but Sunderland fans certainly won’t care. The Black Cats are in a much healthier position than two weeks ago, and a win and a draw from their last 4 games should be enough to save them.
Swansea 0 – 0 Southampton
The Saints will see this as a point gained whilst the Swans must be slightly concerned at how quickly their season has petered out following their League Cup triumph. Southampton now lie in 12th, and barring a disaster the Saints will be in the Premier League next season, while Swansea are safe but without much more to aim for. Two clubs waiting for the summer – this sort of arrangement generally results in fairly mediocre football, and Saturday’s game was no exception.
West Brom 1 – 1 Newcastle
Newcastle still linger perilously close to the drop zone after a hard fought 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns on Saturday. Yoan Gouffran headed in after 8 minutes and at that point the Magpies must have been hoping for an easy 3 points to ease their relegation fears; but the Baggies are no mugs and fought back – Billy Jones’ left-footed strike ensuring a point for the Midlands side. Alan Pardew was frank in his post-match interview – Newcastle are not yet safe, and will be targeting maximum points in their games against West Ham and QPR in their quest for safety.
West Ham 2 – 0 Wigan
A Kevin Nolan masterclass condemned the Latics to a win at the hands of the East London outfit and Wigan will now feel very concerned about their prospects of remaining in the top-flight next season. They now sit 3 points adrift of safety and will be desperately hoping Man Utd can do them a favour against Villa on Monday night. Wigan’s run-in is a very difficult one – they face Tottenham, West Brom, Swansea and Arsenal in their next 4 Premier League games and the cynic would say that Wigan are highly unlikely to stay up.
Tottenham 3 – 1 Man City
When Samir Nasri opened the scoring in the 6th minute at White Hart Lane one could have forgiven Spurs fans for reacting fairly negatively. Despite being in a very commanding position a few weeks ago, Andre Villas-Boas has presided over a slide that could cost Tottenham Champions League football. Thankfully for Spurs fans, that was not how the score stayed and a stunning fightback with second half strikes from Dempsey, Defoe and Bale now gives Tottenham the advantage in the Champions League race. Anyone who was doubting AVB’s credentials should look at this as evidence of his ability to win the big ones; and Tottenham now have 5 more ‘big ones’ to ensure that they play with Europe’s finest next season.
Liverpool 2 – 2 Chelsea
Luis Suarez scored with the last touch of a frantic game at Anfield; and the Uruguayan’s header served to indicate what this Liverpool side can do when they really put a performance in. Oscar opened the scoring in the 27th minute and Daniel Sturridge equalised in the 53rd to give Liverpool a glimmer of hope. 4 minutes later however, a Suarez handball gifted Eden Hazard an opportunity to put the Blues back in front. Suarez; as he has done so many times this season, turned from villain to hero in injury time as he headed home in the 97th minute. Chelsea Chelsea are still very much participants in the race for Champions League football and this result dented their hopes of emerging as victors. Saurez’s heroics were overshadowed by allegations of biting Chelsea’s defender Bransislav Ivanovic, something he has been in trouble with before.