The Daily Shift’s Alan Dooley looks back on the weekends action, which saw many upsets, shifting the overall complexion of the Premier league race…
Arsenal 5-2 Spurs
It appeared that former Arsenal forward Emmanuel Adebayor was destined to make the headlines in his return to The Emirates in the north London derby, however not for the reason he would of preferred.
Adebayor had put Spurs in the lead on the 10th minute, but then a lunging tackle on Santi Cazorla saw Spurs reduced to 10 men. This led to The Gunners taking the lead through Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski. Goals from Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and the sensational Cazorla meant that Gareth Bale’s strike was just a consolation.
This loss puts Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas under even more pressure as his team drop to 8th. The 3 points relieve some pressure from Arsene Wenger and Arsenal move up to 6th. Both these teams’ title bid seems gone now, and both will want to be in the fight for 4th spot come the end of the season.
Man City 5-0 Aston Villa
The Champions also hit 5, beating struggling Aston Villa at The Etihad. They displayed the impressive form they showed early last season and remain the only unbeaten team in the Premier League this season.
David Silva opened the scoring before doubles from Argentines Sergio Aguero and Carlos Teves. They dominated the game and have sent out a clear message that they have regained their form.
In another twist in the title race, City have now gone top. Almost more importantly, that 5 goal win means that they have the superior goal difference. Villa’s young side have dropped into the Bottom Three on goal difference and it remains to be seen if their youngsters can escape the drop this season with the pressure mounting on Paul Lambert.
Norwich 1-0 Man United
An Anthony Pilkington header stunned Man United to earn Norwich a shock 3 points at Carrow Road. The Canaries’ keeper John Ruddy proved to be Man of the Match, foiling a typical United comeback time and time again with terrific saves.
Chris Hughton’s side deservedly held on to earn all 3 points, which could be vital in surviving come the end of the season.
United drop to 2nd, 1 point behind their neighbours who are on 28 points. Norwich move up to 13th on 14 points, and Hughton has them playing good football and very solid defensively.
West Brom 2-1 Chelsea
In another, but somewhat less shocking result, West Brom continue their impressive form by beating Chelsea 2-1 at the Hawthorns. Shane Long maintained his good performances by giving The Baggies the lead with his 10th minute header. He then set up Peter Odemwingie to score the winner after an Eden Hazard equaliser.
Daniel Sturridge squandered chances to give Chelsea a point, and Steve Clarke’s men held on for the victory. West Brom now move into the top 4, and are only 1 point behind Chelsea on 23 points. The Blues are 4 points of City, and now need to rely on mistakes from the two Manchester clubs in order to be back in the race.
Reading 2-1 Everton
Reading recorded their first win thanks to a 2-1 win over Everton at The Madejski Stadium. It was the visitors who went ahead on the 10th minute thanks to Steven Naismith, but Adam Le Fondre hit twice, on the 51st minute and again in the 79th minute from the penalty spot, relieving some pressure on Brian McDermott.
Luck was on the home team’s side as they held on to earn 3 precious points. The Royals now move out of the bottom 3, if only on goal difference. Everton drop to 5th on 20 points, 3 off the Champions League places.
Newcastle 1-2 Swansea
Swansea proved too much for Newcastle, and provided another upset to win 2-1 at St James’ Park. Michu broke the deadlock on the 58th minute with his 7th goal in his first season in the Premier League. Jonathan de Guzman made it 2-0 on the 87th minute, making Demba Ba’s 8th goal of the season in the 3rd minute of stoppage time too little too late.
The Swans are flying high, moving up to 10th on 16 points. The Magpies drop to 12th. Injuries and suspensions have meant that they are yet to recreate their form of last season, and must improve soon in order to compete for Europe again this season.
Liverpool 3-0 Wigan
Luis Suarez continued his sparkling form by scoring 2 goals for Liverpool, helping them to a 3-0 win against Wigan at Anfield. Jose Enrique deservedly finished the scoring to finally give The Anfield crowd some goals to cheer about.
Although they got the 3 points, Brendan Rodgers will be worried about their over-dependence on Suarez and their lack of striking options, with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar a name being discussed by Liverpool fans.
The Reds jump from 13th to 11th on 15 points. Wigan drop two places to 16th, 2 points off the Drop Zone.
QPR 1-3 Southamptom
QPR remain bottom and the only winless side in the League after a 3-1 home defeat to Southampton. The goals came from Rickie Lambert, Jason Puncheon and an Anton Ferdinand own goal, with Junior Hoilett scoring for the home side.
It was a game that Mark Hughes must have felt he needed 3 points from before hand, and he is the favourite to be the next manager to be sacked.
Rangers remain at the bottom on 4 points, 5 points from safety and 4 behind The Saints who are 19th.
Fulham 1-3 Sunderland
Brede Hangeland’s 31st minute sending off proved a turning point, and helped give Sunderland 3 points away at Craven Cottage. Steven Fletcher opened the scoring, with Carlos Cuellar and Stephane Sessegnon ensuring all 3 points after Mladen Petric had equalised for the home side.
The Black Cats have to thank goalkeeper Simon Mignolet for ensuring that they went back up north with all 3 points. Sunderland’s second win off the season moves them up to 15th on 12 points. Fulham drop to 9th on 16 points.
West Ham 1-1 Stoke
Both West Ham and Stoke had to settle for a point apiece as the Monday night match ended 1-1 at Upton Park. It was no surprise that the opener came from a set-piece in this match, with Jon Walters scoring from a well worked corner on the 13th minute.
However, Irishman Joey O’ Brien equalised on the 48th minute, and both teams will be happy with the point. The Hammers end the weekend in 7th, but have missed out on the chance to go 5th.Stoke are 14th on 13 points.