Premier League Round-Up
Stoke were trounced by Chelsea on home turf, Jon Walters experiencing a torrid game in particular, while Pavel Pogrebnyak was the last gasp hero for Reading at the Madjeski Stadium. Southampton gave their survival hopes a timely boost courtesy and Sunderland contined their fine recent run with a comprehensive win over West Ham. And a rare phenomenon gripped the Premier League as 40% of Saturday’s games ended in stalemates.
Stoke City 0-4 Chelsea: It was an afternoon to forget for Jon Walters after he scored two own goals and missed a penalty as Stoke were steamrolled by Chelsea at the Britannia Stadium. The Republic of Ireland striker must have wished the ground would open and swallow him whole after heading Cesar Azpilcueta’s cross into his own net just before the break. He repeated the trick on the hour mark, this time from a Juan Mata corner, before Frank Lampard put the result beyond doubt with a penalty three minutes later. Eden Hazard blasted home a fourth from 30-yards soon after before Walters’ misery was compounded when he blasted a spot kick high over the bar as the Potters’ 17-match unbeaten home run came to an abrupt end.
Reading 3-2 West Bromwich Albion: Reading scored three times in the final eight minutes to come from behind to beat West Brom to secure a third league win of the season. The visitors looked home and dry after Romelu Lukaku struck either side of half time to give his side a deserved lead. The Belgian striker was hand to convert from close range in the 19th minute before finishing cooly past Adam Federici in the 62nd. But the Royal’s finally kicked into gear as the game dripped towards its conclusion and Jimmy Kebe headed in to give the home fans hope before Le Fondre converted from the spot to restore parity. The turnouraround was complete in stoppage time Pavel Pogrebnyak bundled the ball past Foster to boost Reading’s survival hopes.
Aston Villa 0-1 Southampton: Aston Villa ended a wretched week on another low note as they slipped into the bottom three after fellow strugglers Southampton left the West Midlands with a valuable win under their belts. After losing to lower-league Bradford in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday the need for a reaction was crucial for Paul Lambert’s men. However they will feel hard done by after Enda Stevens was penalised for a foul on Jay Rodriguez 10 minutes before half despite the Saints striker appearing to dive and then profess his guilt to referee Mark Halsey, who pointed to the spot. Rickie Lambert stepped up to sweep home what proved to be the winning goal and, despite Villa’s best efforts, they couldn’t force an equaliser in the second half and find themselves in real trouble.
Sunderland 3-0 West Ham United: A superb long-range strike from Sebastien Larsson put Sunderland on course for an impressive win over West Ham at the Stadium of Light. The Swedish international produced a 30-yard thunderbolt with his weaker left foot to break the deadlock after 12 minutes as the Hammers crumbled early on. Adam Johnson then pounced on a mistake from teenager Dan Potts to make it 2-0 in first half injury time, before James McLean finished from an acute angle to ensure the Black Cats faithful were celebrating come 5pm.
Fulham 1-1 Wigan Athletic: Franco Di Santo’s ended a three month barren spell in front of goal to earn Wigan a vital point against Fulham. The Argentinian has struggled to find the net once again this season and it looked as if his infertility would continue after missing from close range in the first half. His woes were compounded in the 22nd minute when Giorgios Karagounis broke the deadlock with a sweet 25-yard strike. But Di Santo would have the last laugh and with 20 minutes to go he drilled past Mark Schwarzer after cutting in from the left to deny the Cottagers a second league win on the bounce.
QPR 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur: Harry Redknapp’s first meeting with former employers Tottenham failed to produce the desired result as QPR sank back to the foot of the table. The R’s boss had goalkeeper Julio Cesar to thank for earning his side a point with a number of fine saves to thwart a laboured Spurs. Jermaine Defoe went closest to breaking the deadlock when he cracked the bar with a fierce long range effort before Cesar pounced to deny Emmanuel Adebayor on the follow up.
Everton 0-0 Swansea City:
Norwich City 0-0 Newcastle United: