Another weekend of Premier League action has flown by and we are less than two months away from the end of the season, let’s see who the big winners and losers for the weekend are.
The weekend’s action didn’t start with a bang but with a fizzle. At the top Manchester United took another small step closer to their 20th title as they maintained the 15 point gap to Manchester City, as they both registered simple wins over the Tyneside teams. United rested a few players and picked up a simple win 1-0 against a poor Sunderland team, whilst City coasted to a 4-0 win against a lacklustre Newcastle. Even though there is less excitement here than there was last year the Champions League and the relegation fights are getting very interesting.
Most people may be talking about the three horse race for the Champions Leagues spots but to do so would be an insult to Everton who are still in with a good chance of causing upset. Everton and Arsenal both secured good home wins against Stoke and Reading respectively and kept up their chase for the Champions League places, Arsenal may be particularly happy as both Gervinho and Giroud both got on the score sheet again. Tottenham picked up a key win, in what might have been a very tricky match earlier on the season, away to Swansea who are keeping up a recent tradition of poor league form after winning the League Cup.
But it is Chelsea who are the main talking point yet again. They rested players for the FA Cup match against Man United, which they did win, and lost to a recently inconsistent Southampton side which looked backed to their best. This result meant they’ve lost 3rd place to Spurs, although they as well as Arsenal and Everton have game in hand on them. Six points now separate these four teams and it could be only four points if everyone wins their games in hand, this will only get more interesting as not only will two miss out on the Champions League, one might miss out on European football altogether.
Reading managed to go bottom, on goal difference, after their defeat against Arsenal; they are gifting goals to the opposition and they haven’t scored two goals in a game since the 2-2 draw against Chelsea. Things will have to drastically improve if they want to catch up to the others. QPR will also have to change the way they approach the last few games of the season; they cannot give the ball away like they did in the first half against Fulham. It put them 3 goals down and they just didn’t have enough to get something out of the game despite bringing back to 3-2 early in the second half and Fulham going down to 10 men with around 10 minutes on normal time left.
For Wigan, Arouna Kone scored his 10th off the season and it was a very important late winner against Norwich, which has pulled Wigan out of the relegation places as they look set to possibly complete another escape from relegation. This result also means that Norwich are now only 4 points clear and on a bad run of form. By the time Aston Villa played they were already in the relegation zone and despite a good performance they were unable to pick up any points against Liverpool so stayed there.
Southampton’s well-earned win against Chelsea helped them up to 12th, leapfrogging 4 teams, Sunderland, Newcastle, Norwich and Stoke. After each of these four teams suffered defeats and with the current form of Wigan and Villa they’re going to be anxiously looking over their shoulders. The major incident from these matches, although it happened after, was the sacking of Martin O’Neil and the immediate hiring of his replacement Paulo Di Canio.
Liverpool’s win keeps up their faint hopes of European football, whilst West Brom and Swansea’s defeats have left them in the limbo of mid-table and really don’t have much incentive for the rest of the season. 11 points from the last 5 games has moved Fulham into safety of mid-table with a push they could make 8th by the end of the season but I think Martin Jol will be happy to finish the season and continue to grow his team. Also West Ham’s good win at home against West Brom has all but guaranteed their survival but they will still look for a few more wins to secure a good mid-table finish.
Good Weekend – Southampton, great win when most teams around lost
Bad Weekend – QPR & Reading, seven points adrift with championship football calling
Player of the Weekend – Andy Carroll, looked a threat all game and his 2nd was a delightful volley
Results and stats can be found below.
Sunderland 0 – 1 Manchester United
Sunderland completed their 8th game without a win and now lead this seasons own goal chart.
United made it 7 wins in a row and a second month in a row without conceding in the Premier League.
Arsenal 4 – 1 Reading
Before this weekend Gervinho had never scored in two Premier League games in a row.
Nigel Adkins became the 8th out of the 10 new managers this season not to win his first game.
Manchester City 4 – 0 Newcastle United
Manchester City have kept 8 clean sheets in the last 10 games in the Premier League.
Whereas Newcastle have only kept 4 clean sheets so far this season.
Southampton 2 – 1 Chelsea
Southampton have won 3 of last 10 games, these were against Man City, Liverpool and now Chelsea
This was Chelsea’s first defeat to Southampton since New Year’s Day 2002, when a brace from James Beattie helped Southampton to a 4-2 win at Stamford Bridge.
Swansea City 1 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur
This only the 2nd time since their return to the top flight that Swansea lost two home games in a row.
Tottenham haven’t lost when Gareth Bale has scored since the 5-2 defeat to Arsenal, they’ve won eight and drawn one in the nine Premier League games in which he has scored since then.
West Ham United 3 – 1 West Bromwich Albion
Andy Carroll’s brace against West Brom was he first Premier League double since 11th April 2011 when he bagged two against Man City for Liverpool.
The loss for West Brom ended a run for 4 consecutive league draws between these teams; it was the longest in the league.
Wigan Athletic 1 – 0 Norwich City
Wigan have won two games in a row twice this season and on both occasions the score for first win was 2-1 and the score for the second was 1-0.
Norwich have won only one of their last 14 matches, their 2-1 late comeback against Everton in February.
Everton 1 – 0 Stoke City
Everton have won 3 games in a row, in the same season, for the first time this since January 2010.
Stoke conceded 12 goals in the first 16 games of this season, in the next 15 games they have conceded double that, 24 goals.
Aston Villa 1 – 2 Liverpool
Aston Villa haven’t won three games in a row since beating Portsmouth, Hull City and Birmingham City in April 2010.
The 12 points which Liverpool have picked up in their last 5 games is the most points they have picked up in a 5 game stretch since Feb 2011.
Fulham 3 – 2 Queens Park Rangers
In the last 5 games Fulham have the 4th best form in the Premier League, 11 points, behind Arsenal and Liverpool with 12 point and Man United with 15 points.
QPR have conceded their first penalty of the season in the Premier League, now only Man United are yet to give one away.