Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 35 - Action Summary
This weekend's ten matches saw 29 goals, 44 yellow and 5 red cards; one hat-trick, two penalties and one own goal; 242 attempted shots on goal, 138 on target and two sides relegated. Here are the summaries of all ten matches:
Liverpool kicked off the ten-match ban of their star striker Luis Suarez with a clear statement thrashing Newcastle 6-0 at St James' Park. It was the Magpies' worst home defeat since 1925 when Blackburn won 7-1 and their heaviest Premier League defeat at home. The Reds enjoyed a flood of chances and dominance from kick-off, Daniel Agger opening the score with an easy header off a Stewart Downing corner in the third minute. Jordan Henderson doubled the score off Daniel Sturridge 15 minutes later with a wonderful buildup by Philippe Coutinho. The trio worked brilliantly together again for the next two goals, Sturridge netting a double before Fabio Borini poked in his first league goal for the visitors and Henderson curled in a free kick to make it six for Brendan Rodgers' men. And to heap more misery onto the Toons between all those goals, Mathieu Debuchy was sent off for his dive-in challenge on Coutinho. This thrash leaves Alan Pardew's side only five points above the relegation zone whilst Liverpool remain in seventh, five points behind their Merseyside rivals Everton, ahead of their derby clash on Sunday.
Wigan were denied a crucial win thanks to a last-minute own goal by Emmerson Boyce levelling the score 2-2 against Tottenham and leaving survival hopes for Roberto Martinez's side in the balance, five points from safety with four games remaining. The Latics conceded after just 9 minutes, Gareth Bale taking advantage of an aweful backplay between defender Maynor Figuero and goalkeeper Joel Robles. But 104 seconds later, Boyce equalised off a Shaun Maloney corner rising above Jan Vertonghen to thump a header beyond goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, GAME ON. Wigan battled on, leaving Spurs struggling to find form and space. Callum McManaman's left-boot stunner rocked Spurs and put the home side in the driving seat on course for victory before in the final minutes a scramble in the box led the ball in off Boyce into the back of his own net to make it 2-2 and break Wigan's hearts. The draw left Andre Villas-Boas relieved with his side staying within two-points reach of their rivals Arsenal and Champions League qualification whilst Martinez tried to see the positive side, one point won rather than two points dropped, which was very difficult looking at the table.
West Brom's 3-0 win against Southampton did not have much significance on the Premier League table with the Baggies sitting comfortably in eighth and the Saints all but safe from relegation in 13th. But St Mary's still witnessed an exciting clash which saw three goals, three red cards and plenty more action. It was referee Robert Madley's first game in the Premier League and if he expected a comfortable, quiet afternoon, well, then fool him! Marc-Antoine Fortune scored the scrappy opener off a corner after just six minutes before Romelu Lukaku bossed the show, pulling one save after another out of goalkeeper Artur Boruc. The Belgian striker finally doubled the score later on in the second half before seconds later Saints substitute Gaston Ramirez appeared to elbow Shane Long in the face as they both chased for the ball. In the clash between the players that followed, Fortune slapped Gaston in the face, leading to both of them receiving the marching order from Madley. But the drama wasn't done there yet. Long nut-megged keeper Boruc for a third goal to seal the win for the visitors before Saint Danny Fox saw red for his two-footed tackle on Steven Reid to crown and finish off the Madley afternoon.
Good Old City Shine
In their first match since their 3-1 defeat to Tottenham and surrendering the Premier League title to their bitter rivals Manchester United last weekend, Manchester City shined with a confident and comfortable 2-0 win against West Ham. The only thing Roberto Mancini was disappointed with after the match was the lack of goals/load of misses, pointing out the main problem of their season. Last season's hero Sergio Aguero finished off a superb team goal set up with Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri who were both denied by an in-form Jussi Jaaskelainen throughout the match. But with only seven minutes to go, Toure produced a smacker from the edge of the box, a left-foot thunderbolt, to seal the win for City. Andy Carroll squeezed in a late consolation goal underneath Joe Hart in the dying seconds of the match, but Sam Allerdyce conceded improvements will have to be made over the summer to avoid such frustrating defeats.
Good Old Stoke Spine
Charlie Adam's second-half strike secured Stoke City their place in the Premier League next season as the Potters beat Norwich 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium reaching the holy 40-point mark. Adam latched onto Peter Crouch's knockdown before drilling the shot home past Mark Bunn and sealing his side's third league win of 2013. It was a scrappy affair, Crouch missing a handful of chances, but a much better performance by Tony Pulis' men, finding back their good old physical style of play and pressure. For the Canaries it was a poor performance allround which left Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic with little to do all afternoon and boss Chris Hughton still with the spectre of relegation in the corner of his eye, his side slipping down to 14th, six points away from the drop with three games remaining.
Game On For Everton
Sixth placed Everton kept their European hopes alive after beating Fulham 1-0 at Goodison Park. The win closed the gap to Tottenham in fifth to three points with three games left to play, including the crucial Merseyside derby next weekend. The winning goal was a great team effort, the movement, the passing, the ideas and imagination behind it were just sparkling. The Toffees just clicked, 15-16 passes in the buildup, topped off by Steven Pienaar's stylish finish off Seamus Coleman's low cross condemning Martin Jol's men to their fourth defeat in five. The Cottagers did have a couple of chances but David Moyes' boys deserved the win with all their dominance and creativity. It could actually have been much worse for the visitors. Marouane Fellaini missed a sitter in the second half, sending Leighton Baines terrific cross over the crossbar after thumping the ball into the ground. And Mark Schwarzer pulled some great stunts and saves all afternoon, most notably denying substitue Ross Barkley late on in the match.
Hostile RVP Return
Robin van Persie denied his former side a crucial win in the battle for Champions League qualification after scoring the qualiser from the spot as the newly-crowned Premier League champions Manchester United drew 1-1 with Arsenal at the Emirates. Theo Walcott opened the scoring after just 104 seconds off Tomas Rosicky after former Gunner RvP had given the ball away attempting a cross-field pass. The England striker did look like he was in an offside position when he connected to the cross but did a fine job running ahead and cutting across from the right to beat United keeper David De Gea with an angled finish. It kicked off a feisty half which saw six players cautioned and both goalkeepers kept busy. The half ended with RVP's pressure paying off after a frustrated and beaten Bacary Sagna brought down the Dutchman for him to net his 29th goal in all competitions, underlining his part in United's 20th title. Both sides enjoyed chances galore to win the match, but both keepers did their job and kept solid to earn their sides a point each, eventhough Arsene Wenger will see it more as two points dropped. For Sir Alex Ferguson's men, the result means they cannot achieve the record Premier League points total of 95 which belongs to Chelsea - but the main priority was secured with that victory against Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Monday.
The sterile goalless draw between the bottom two Reading and QPR confirmed the obvious, both sides' relegation from the Premier League to the Championship. Harry Redknapp's Rangers and Nigel Adkins' Royals were both coming off the back of nine games without a win, ten points from safety with four games to go. It would have need a miracle(-and-a-half) to see either side scrape their way to safety. The game seemed condemned from kick-off with both sides scrapping around, unable to create much or find the back of the net or anything anywhere near the box really. The game lacked quality and atmosphere, the fans at the Madejski Stadium reflecting their teams (lack of) conviction. The question now is whether Redknapp, Adkins and Co can master a one-season comeback to the Premier League for their sides.
Super Frank Sinks Swans
Substitute Frank Lampard made the difference turning from provider to scorer within a couple of minutes in Chelsea's 2-0 win over Swansea. The 34-year-old vice-captain came on for an injured Ramires halfway through the first half and had a great impact. Oscar opened the scoring with a low cross-shot after being picked out by the Blues veteran. Lampard then struck his 201st Chelsea goal, one off the club record, from the spot after Juan Mata was brought down by Leon Britton. The win takes Rafael Benitez's men back up to third, one point ahead of Arsenal in third and three points ahead of Tottenham in fifth and with their next trip going to Old Trafford, the hunt for Champions League qualification is still on. Michael Laudrup rued the "crazy five minutes" with his side left with nothing to show, stuck on a six-game run without a win.
Villa Run Riot
Christian Benteke's second half hat-trick grabbed a crucial three points in the relegation battle as Aston Villa thrashed fellow strugglers Sunderland 6-1 at Villa Park. The game started nice and even but then really kicked off after half an hour. Ron Vlaar opened the score for the home side collecting the ball near the centre circle and then firing a shot from 30 yards beyond Simon Mignolet for his first goals for the club. The Black Cats were level within two minutes when Danny Rose produced a fine one-two with Danny Graham before putting the ball past Bradley Guzan. An unmarked Andreas Weimann restored the lead for the home side before the break, collecting Matthew Lowton's excellent pass before slotting it home. Paulo Di Canio described this vital meeting of the strugglers as Sunderland's "Champions League Final" - it turned out to be an absolute nightmare as the Italian saw his side crumble in the second half, conceding four more goals and seeing a man sent off. Benteke doubled the score for Paul Lambert's side before Stephane Sessegnon saw a streight red for his foul on Yacouba Sylla. From then onwards it went from bad to worse for the visitors, Benteke completing his hat-trick two minutes later before Gabriel Agbonlahor put icing on the cake to make it six and take his side up to 16th, level on points with Sunderland and Newcastle, five points clear from the drop zone.
My Predictions => Actual Results
Man City 3-0 West Ham => 2-1
Everton 2-1 Fulham => 1-0
Southampton 2-0 West Brom => 0-3
Stoke City 1-0 Norwich => 1-0
Wigan 1-2 Tottenham => 2-2
Newcastle 2-0 Liverpool => 0-6
Reading 0-0 QPR => 0-0
Chelsea 2-0 Swansea => 2-0
Arsenal 1-2 Man United => 1-1
Aston Villa 1-1 Sunderland => 6-1