The Daily Shift’s Alan Dooley has a look back on game week 17 of the English Premier League which saw Manchester United hold onto their six point lead at the top of the table…
Newcastle 1-3 Man City
Man City recovered from their derby day defeat last weekend to beat Newcastle 3-1 at St. James’ Park. They took the lead on the 10th minute through Sergio Aguero, before a Davide Santon own goal before the break gave them a 2-0 lead. However, the home side came out a different team, particularly threatening from set pieces. They pulled a goal back through a Demba Ba header, his 11th goal of the season but their hopes of completing the comeback were dashed with 12 minutes to go when Yaya Toure scored on the break.
The Magpies could have been level but City also had the chances to extend their lead.
Newcastle’s sixth loss in seven games mean that they are 15th, on seven points. The Champions remain six points behind their neighbours on 36 points.
Man United 3-1 Sunderland
Man United retained their six point advantage with a 3-1 win at Old Trafford against Sunderland. By the 19th minute United were two ahead with goals from Robin van Persie and Tom Cleverley. Wayne Rooney added a third with a finish on the 59th minute, making Fraizer Campbell’s header nothing but a consolation on the 72nd minute.
United remain six points ahead on 42 points. They are clear favourites now but City showed last season that they can never be ruled out. Sunderland are 16th on 16 points, three off the drop zone.
Liverpool 1-3 Aston Villa
Aston Villa stunned Liverpool by beating them 3-1 at Anfield. It was a Christian Benteke inspired win with the Belgian scoring two and setting up Andreas Weimann’s goal after fantastic work. Liverpool had the vast majority of the possession and chances but Steven Gerrard’s 87th minute finish was too little too late.
It was the same story for The Reds with their inability to capitalise on their chances coming back to haunt them.
Liverpool drop to 12th still on 22 points. Villa move further to safety in 14th on 18 points, three from the relegation zone.
Tottenham 1-0 Swansea
Tottenham beat Swansea 1-0 at White Hart Lane. It took a strike from Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen to clinch all the points in the 75th minute for the home side. Although possession and passing was fairly even, it was Spurs who had the bulk of the chances with Hugo Lloris largely untroubled in Spurs’ goal.
He was called upon though late on, clattering into Michu and causing a serious looking head injury. Tottenham broke away on the counter with the referee not stopping play and Spurs not putting the ball out of play. Handbags ensued, with Michu luckily getting back to his feet.
Spurs move into the top four now, level with Chelsea having played one game more on 29 points. The Swans drop to tenth on 23 points.
Stoke City 1-1 Everton
Stoke City and Everton settled for a point apiece at the Britannia Stadium following an extremely physical 1-1 draw. The visitors took the lead on the 36th minute through a Ryan Shawcross own goal but the hosts hit back thanks to a Kenwyne Jones’ header on the 52nd minute. Although they had the chances to, neither team could go on and steal all three points.
The main controversy of the match came from the physical battle between Shawcross and Marouane Fellaini. Fellaini was lucky to stay on the field after a clear headbutt, with him appearing to elbow Shawcross later and in another bizzare encounter punching the Stoke man in the face. He somehow managed to escape punishment in all three instances. He issued an apology later and has now been banned for three games.
Stoke are ninth on 24 points. Everton drop out of the top four to sixth on 27 points, two points of fourth.
QPR 2-1 Fulham
QPR finally got their first win of the season with a 2-1 victory over fellow Londoners Fulham at Loftus Road. Two second-half goals from Adel Taarabt on the 52nd and 68th minutes gave them their first win in 16 games but a Mladen Petric goal late in the 88th minute gave the home side a tense end.
QPR move of the bottom one point ahead of Reading on ten points. However they are five points from safety. Fulham stay 13th on 20 points.
Norwich 2-1 Wigan
Norwich continue their sensational run of form in the league by beating Wigan 2-1 at Carrow Road. Goals from the impressive Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington ensured all three points, despite Shaun Maloney’s superb equaliser on the 51st minute.
Chris Hughton is doing an unbelievable job at Norwich, bringing them on a ten game unbeaten streak in the league which includes victories over Man United, Arsenal and Swansea.
The Canaries move up to eighth on 25 points and are four points off the Champions League places, while Wigan are 18th, in the bottom three on goal difference.
Reading 2-5 Arsenal
When these two teams play each other there are goals, as shown by Arseanal 5-2 at the Madejski Stadium. Arsenal came out with real intent, and were ahead by the 14th minute thanks to a Lukas Podolski strike. They were then three ahead by half time thanks to a double by Santi Cazorla, the star of the show then completed his hat-trick on the 60th minute. A Reading comeback looked on the cards when goals from Adam Le Fondre and Jimmy Kebe brought it back to 4-2. However, Theo Walcott on his first start as a lone striker put the result beyond any doubt with a smart left-footed finish on the 80th minute to stake his claim for that position.
Reading drop to bottom of the table on nine points, six from safety. The Gunners move up to fifth in the table, two points of Spurs in the Champions League places.
West Brom 0-0 West Ham
West Brom and West Ham played out a scoreless draw at The Hawthornes. West Brom enjoyed most of the chances and possession with The Hammers looking to score on the counter. Neither could come up with a winner but both should be happy with a point considering both teams recent dip in form.
Although The Baggies stay sixth, at the start of the season the fans may have taken this position. West Ham are also unmoved, four points behind on 23 in 11th position.