Southampton and Wigan made big strides toward safety during a frantic weekend of Premier League football. There were a couple of surprise results that have only served to add intrigue to what is going to be a fascinating end to the season. The relegation battle is fantastically fierce and it would take a brave man to bet on which teams will play Champions League football next season. Read on for our review of this weekend’s Premier League action:
Sunderland 0 – 1 Man Utd
A Titus Bramble own goal separated the two sides at the Stadium of Light and this game proved to be Martin O’Neill’s last game in charge of the Wearside outfit. O’Neill was dismissed after the game with Paulo Di Canio appointed in his stead. This result preserves United’s 15-point lead and barring a catastrophe their name will be etched on the trophy for yet another season.
Arsenal 4 – 1 Reading
Arsenal kept up the pressure on Tottenham and Chelsea with a comfortable win at home to Reading. Goals from Gervinho, Cazorla, Giroud and Arteta condemned the Royals to yet another defeat with Hal Robson-Kanu netting a consolation for Reading. It’s all looking rather bleak for Reading, with the Berkshire boys rooted to the bottom and barring a remarkable series of events, Reading will be playing Championship football next season.
Man City 4 – 0 Newcastle
Man City pushed Newcastle back towards the relegation zone with a dominant display over the Magpies at the Etihad. Newcastle have had a poor season following a great one last year and will need to pull a few results out of the bag to ensure their safety. Tevez, Silva and Kompany netted and James Perch turned the ball into his own net as City tore the Northeast club apart. City ensured they retain a strong grip on second place and will believe that a summer of rebuilding will allow them to challenge their Manchester rivals next season.
Southampton 2 – 1 Chelsea
The shock result of the weekend saw the Saints emerge victorious from a tussle with Rafa Benitez’s Chelsea. This win pushes Southampton up into 12th and a few more positive results will ensure their safety for this season. Rodriguez and Terry traded goals before Rickie Lambert struck a stunning freekick to clinch three valuable points for his side. Chelsea have been poor under Benitez, and unless they can improve, they’re staring down the barrel of a season with no Champions League football.
Swansea 1 – 2 Tottenham
Tottenham got back to winning ways with a good win over the Swans at the Liberty Stadium. Goals from Bale and Vertonghen put Spurs firmly in the driving seat with Michu offering Swansea a glimmer of hope in the 71st minute. This result was important for Tottenham and helped them into 3rd position, but with the battle for 3rd and 4th still wide open, Spurs will need to keep winning to ensure Champions League qualification. Their hopes of retaining the services of Gareth Bale depend on it.
West Ham 3 – 1 West Brom
Andy Carroll struck twice to remind everyone that he is still a capable finisher as the Hammers eased to victory against the Baggies at Upton Park. Gary O’Neil got the other for West Ham and Graham Dorrans netted a consolation penalty in the closing stages. Both teams are safe and will be looking to build valuable momentum that they can take into next season.
Wigan 1 – 0 Norwich
Arouna Kone’s late strike sealed all three points for the Latics as they hosted the Canaries at the DW stadium. This victory helped Wigan out of the relegation zone and that’s where they’ll be looking to stay. They face a potentially decisive clash against QPR next week; win that, and they’ll be confident of staying up.
Everton 1 – 0 Stoke
Everton kept their faint hopes of Champions League football alive with a slim victory at Goodison Park against a tough Stoke side. Kevin Mirallas scored an exceptional solo goal in the 28th minute and that strike proved to be the difference between the two sides. Stoke appear to have stagnated a little bit this season and may need to add to their squad in the summer break if they want to progress.
Aston Villa 1 – 2 Liverpool
Villa really needed at least a point from this fixture and this defeat sees the Villains still very much in trouble in 18th position. Villa struck first with Agbonlahor setting up Benteke, but Liverpool rallied and Henderson levelled things up just after half time. Suarez was brought down in the box in the 60th minute, and that opened the door for captain fantastic Steven Gerrard to seal a well earned three points for the Reds. Villa now face two must win games against Stoke and Fulham and must gain positive results if they’re to have any hope of remaining in the division.
Monday’s game: Fulham vs QPR – QPR need to win against the Cottagers to have any hope of staying up, but this Martin Jol led Fulham side are a tough nut to crack and this task could prove too much for Harry Redknapp’s side at Craven Cottage.