Premier League Review
Result of the day: Newcastle United 3-2 Chelsea
Moussa Sissoko scored twice on his home debut as Newcastle came from behind to stun Chelsea at St James’ Park. The pre-match narrative centred on the first return of former Magpies striker Demba Ba following his January switch to the Blues but it was Alan Pardew’s French brood that were on everyone lips. The home side, who beat Aston Villa on Tuesday, took the lead when Davide Santon’s left wing cross was headed home by Jonas Gutierrez after 19 minutes. Ba’s afternoon ended soon after as he was forced off after taking a boot in the face from Fabricio Coloccini. That didn’t unnerve the visitors who scored twice in the space of five minutes after the break. Firstly, Frank Lampard thumped an unstoppable 20-yard effort past Tim Krul before Juan Mata curled an exquisite finish into the top corner just after the hour. That spurred Newcastle on and they restored parity seven minutes later when Sissoko tapped in after Petr Cech had parried Yoan Gouffran’s effort. And in a frantic climax the signing from Tolouse swept home from Santon’s cutback to maintain the 100% start for Pardew’s new cross-channel recruits and ease their relegation fears.
Game of the day: Everton 3-3 Aston Villa
Marouane Fellaini scored in injury time to rescue a point for Everton and deny Aston Villa their first Premier League win of 2013. Paul Lambert’s side haven’t tasted victory since beating the Toffees’ Merseyside rivals Liverpool at Anfield on December 15th – a run of eight games. But they followed up a stirring second half display against Newcastle on Tuesday by taking the lead within two minutes at Goodison Park when Christian Benteke drilled low past Tim Howard after good work from Charles N’Zogbia. The home went in search of an equaliser and eventually drew level in the 21st minute when Victor Anichebe finished well under pressure from Ciaran Clark. But within two minutes the visitors regained the lead through Gabriel Agbonlahor’s unmarked header from Ashley Westwood’s right-wing cross. And Benteke put Villa on course to record a rare success as he bravely dived in to head home Matthew Lowton’s pinpoint delivery on the hour. But Everton are made of stern stuff and Fellaini lashed home with 20 minutes to go after exchanging passes with Anichebe before rising to power home Leighton Baines’ cross in the dying embers.
Rounding up the rest…
Wayne Rooney struck late on to secure a crucial win for Manchester United at Fulham to extend their lead at the top to 10 points. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side now hold a considerable advantage over rivals Manchester City in the title race and had Rooney to thank for securing all three points after a floodlight failure interupted the match just before half time. The England striker showed excellent composure to finish past Mark Schwarzer for his 10th goal of the season after matching the flight of a long ball from Johnny Evans.
A brace from Jimmy Kebe earned Reading a crucial victory against Sunderland as their survival bid kicked up another notch. The Mali forward took only seven minutes to open the scoring, trapping Jobi McAnuff’s cross and arrowing a precise finish past Simon Mignolet. The Black Cats responded and levelled in the 29th minute as Craig Gardner converted from the spot after Pavel Pogrebnyak fouled John O’Shea. But the Royal’s recent survival has been underpinned by a steely resilience and with five minutes left Kebe rose above Gardner to head in Ian Harte’s free kick to leave the Madjeski Stadium bouncing and Brian McDermott celebrating another crucial win.
Shaun Maloney’s injury time equaliser salvaged a point for Wigan in their relegation six-pointer with Southampton at the DW Stadium. Gary Caldwell’s 12th minute header sent the Latics in front at the break but Rickie Lambert pulled the visitors level in the 64th minute as he bravely stole in to nod past Ali Al-Habsi following good work from Jack Cork. And the Saints looked set to steal all three points when Morgan Schneiderlin finished cooly from close range with only five minutes to go. But there was one final twist in the tale as Maloney bundled home after Paul Scharner rescued an over cooked corner.
Arsenal left it late to see off Stoke at the Emirates Stadium as Lukas Podolski came off the bench to hit the winner and boost their Champions League hopes. Despite handing deadline day Nacho Monreal his debut the Gunners toiled to break down Tony Pulis’ predictably resolute side with Asmir Begovic making five quality saves to keep the scores level. It wasn’t until Podolski was introduced in the 68th minute that Arsene Wenger’s men looked like penetrating the P0tters rearguard. And with 12 minutes left the German international’s free kick hit Geoff Cameron and beat Begovic.
Andy Carroll scored on his first start since November to hand West Ham their first league win since New Years day as they beat Swansea at Upton Park. The England striker has struggled with injuries since arriving in East London last summer but, after being denied twice by visiting goalkeeper Michael Vorm, proved to be difference 13 minutes from time. Mark Noble sent over a left-win corner and Carroll was there to head home from close range to move the Hammers up to 11th in the table.
QPR earned a vital point in their bid to beat relegation after holding Norwich to a goalless draw at Loftus Road that saw Wes Hoolahan squander a gilt edged opportunity for the Canaries before the break and Mark Bunn keep out a second half penalty from Adel Taarabt after he fouled Jamie Mackie.