Sports - Football - Premier League - Picks of the Weekend
QPR's impressive home win against Sunderland did not take them off the bottom of the table but Harry Redknapp's men moved level on points with Reading in 19th, making what seemed impossible a couple of weeks/months ago possible: the fight and chance of survival. After two wins on the trot, the next game will still be crucial! Rangers will travel to Aston Villa who sit in 17th, only three points from safety and four points ahead of their opponents. It will be a juicy crunch at the bottom of the Premier League!
Both the Swans and Saints had good reason to head back home aggrieved after being let down by the officials in their games at West Brom and Norwich respectively. The prior had a Roland Lamah goal disallowed which looked nowhere near offside and ended up losing 2-1, whilst the latter conceded a very soft penalty which Artur Boruc saved brilliantly, denying Grant Holt and earning his side a crucial point in the relegation battle. If only the referees would be rewarded with or deducted points depending on their performance! A lot of them would not last long!
Liverpool's performance against Tottenham impressed, showing a side that clicked and pounced on their opponents' cracks and leaks. Playing against a side at its peak, Brendan Rodgers' men set up well and strong from the start, giving Tottenham little space to move and manoeuvre in and leading on well for the win which took the Reds up to 6th, only two points behind Arsenal (who have a game in hand though). Andre Villas-Boas' men saw their unbeaten run of twelve games come to an end and their gap to Chelsea in fourth closed to only two points with the Blues having a game in hand too due to their FA Cup tie against Manchester United.
Sunderland's dire run continues after their defeat at QPR with just two points out of the last six games, taking them down to 14th on 30 points, six points from safety. Reading fell to their fifth defeat on the trot against Aston Villa which will not help their battle against relegation either sitting deep in trouble down in 19th, only one point from safety, but with Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool on their fixture list over the next few weeks, they will rue these points dropped!
Papiss Cisse starred with his late dramatic winner for Newcastle against Stoke leaving both sides in 13th and 11th respectively, level on 33 points with Fulham, West Ham and Norwich(!). It was the third Premier League game in a row the Magpies won coming from behind, only keeping one clean sheet in the last 11 games, whilst The Potters have suffered their seventh defeat in nine games. Gabriel Agbonlahor deserves a mention too with his fine left-foot winner for Aston Villa against Reading at the Madejski Stadium taking his side out of the relegation zone.
Norwich's Holt should be ashamed of himself! The English striker is top of the offence list in the Premier League and then tops his shameful act with a dive. Thank goodness the spot kick was saved by Saints keeper Boruc but I wish actions like this could be followed and sanctioned by the FA to stop these drama queens and liars!
My Predictions => Actual Results:
Norwich 2-2 Southampton => 0-0
QPR 1-0 Sunderland => 3-1
Reading 2-0 Aston Villa => 1-2
West Brom 1-2 Swansea => 2-1
Newcastle 3-1 Stoke => 2-1
Liverpool 1-3 Tottenham => 3-2
In case you are wondering, the other four matches were postponed due to the remaining clubs' FA Cup obligations and fixtures. Read up and catch up with all the FA Cup action here including Chelsea's comeback draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford forcing a replay.