Premier League mid-week Review
Manchester United beat Southampton at Old Trafford to extend their lead over rivals Manchester City at the top of the Premier League to seven points after they drew with QPR on Tuesday. Reading turned over a two goal deficit to rescue a stunning point from Chelsea, while Arsenal completed an identical turnaround against Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal 2-2 Liverpool: Oliver Giroud and Theo Walcott struck within three minutes of each other to salvage a point for Arsenal and deny Liverpool a deserved win at the Emirates Stadium. Just five minutes were on the clock before Luis Suarez took advantage of some keystone cops defending from the Gunners to score with the aid of a deflection after Wojciech Szczesny saved from Daniel Sturridge. That advantage was doubled after the break as Jordan Henderson profited from more indecision at the back from the home side to bundle his way into the penalty area on the hour mark and stab the ball home at he second time of asking after Szczesny parried his first effort. That seemed to spark Arsene Wenger’s troops into life and Giroud halved the deficit four minutes later as he rose to power home a close range header from Jack Wilsher’s free kick before Walcott completed the comeback, rifling the ball pas a motionless Pepe Reina from the angle.
Everton 2-1 West Bromwich Albion: Leighton Baines bagged a brace for Everton to lead them to victory over West Brom at Goodison Park and keep their Champions League dream alive. The Toffees now sit just a point and a place below fourth placed Tottenham, while Steve Clarke’s men continued their alarming dip in form. It was Baines that proved the difference and he opened the scoring just before the half hour, racing onto Leon Osman’s pass and smashing a swerving effort past Ben Foster and into the top corner. The England left back doubled his and Everton’s tally on the stroke of half time, this time beating Foster from the penalty spot after Claudio Yacob fouled Victor Anichebe. The Baggies regrouped in the second half but substitute Shane Long’s 65th minute header proved be a consolation rather than the origins of a comeback.
Norwich City 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Gareth Bale struck 10 minutes from time to salvage a point after Wes Hoolahan’s first half goal looked to have given Norwich their first win in six Premier League games. The Canaries had the bit between their teeth after Saturday’s humiliating FA Cup defeat to non-league Luton and took the lead in the 32nd minute. Robert Snodgrass’ deep cross was kept alive by Grant Holt and then Anthony Pilkington, who showed great composure to tee up Hoolahan to finish from six-yards. Sebastien Bassong almost doubled the lead for the home side before Jermaine Defoe threatened for Spurs. But it wasn’t until the 80th minute that Spurs finally broke through as Bale turned on the after-burners to drive through the heart of Norwich’s midfield and beat Mark Bunn with a measured strike to keep Andre Villas-Boas’ men in the top four.
Fulham 3-1 West Ham United:
Manchester United 2-1 Southampton:
Reading 2-2 Chelsea:
Aston Villa 1-2 Newcastle United: First half goals from Papiss Cisse and Yohan Cabaye earned Newcastle their first away win of the season and sent Aston Villa into the bottom three. The Magpies has failed to taste victory on the road since beating Chelsea in May but, with their new French signings in tow, looked in a confident mood at Villa Park. And it was one of the new cross-channel recruits that had a major hand in the opening goal. Moussa Sissoko, who arrived from Tolouse on Friday, slid a measured through ball to Cisse in the 19th minute and the Toon number nine did the rest, beating Brad Guzan with a composed finish. The visitors continued to pass the ball with purpose and doubled their lead on the half hour mark when Jonas Gutierrez’s cross was cleared to Cabaye, who controlled and drove a wonderous half-volley into the top corner from 20-yards. Villa responded with renewed vigour after the break and halved the deficit in the 49th minute through Christian Benteke’s penalty after Gabriel Agbonlahor was fouled in the penalty area, but couldn’t force an equaliser despite bossing the second period.
QPR 0-0 Manchester City: Julio Cesar produced a stunning goalkeeping display to earn QPR a crucial point in their surival battle and dented Manchester City’s title bid. The Brazilian, signed on a free from Inter in the summer, showed his value to Rangers’ fight to avoid relegation with a number of high class saves to prevent Gareth Barry and David Silva twice, while Pablo Zabaleta hit the bar in the first half. Adel Taarabt came closest for the hosts before the break as Joe Hart blocked his close range edit before Loic Remy curled narrowly over later on as Harry Redknapp’s men clung on to earn a draw.
Stoke City 2-2 Wigan Athletic: James McArthur and Franco Di Santo scored twice in 11 second half minutes as Wigan came from two down to draw against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium. Ryan Shawcross hooked the home side into a 23rd minute lead, volleying in Charlie Adam’s dinked free kick from close range. Adam was involved in the second gosl after the break as his 48th minute strike was palmed by Ali Al-Habsi into the path of Peter Crouch who made no mistake from six-yards. But just two minutes later McArtur latched onto Roger Espinoza’s pass and curled in via the post using the outside of his boot. And just after the hour the turnaround was compelete when Di Santo swept home Espinoza’s cross to earn the Latics a vital point to keep their heads just above the relegation water.
Sunderland 0-0 Swansea City: Danny Graham was the centre of attention at the Stadium of Light as Sunderland and Swansea played out a dour goalless draw. The Swans striker is rumored to be close to completing a move to Wearside but recieved a hostile reception from the home support when he was introduced from the bench in the 75th minute. Chances were few and far between in an eventless 90 minutes with the visitors going closest through Chico Flores’ near post header that was brilliantly kept out by Simon Mignolet. Itay Schecter also had shouts for a penalty turned down after a tussle with John O’Shea before Nathan Dyer blasted wide 10 minutes from time when it looked easier to score.