The Premier League round-up

This weekend’s Premier League matches were sadly overshadowed by the shocking news of Gary Speed’s self-inflicted death. He’ll be deeply missed but will live on forever.

Tottenham won yet another game as they comfortably beat West Bromwich Albion. Youssouf Mulumbu gave Albion the lead when he headed in Steven Reid’s cross, only for Emmanuel Adebayor to add to his goal tally and equalise for Spurs following up a penalty. Both goalkeepers were called into action in the second half before Jermaine Defoe’s solo run nine minutes from time gave the visitors a lead before Adebayor converted Gareth Bale’s cross. Albion drop four places to 14th with Tottenham staying third. Full time at The Hawthorns: West Bromwich Albion 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur.

Chelsea won their first home match since mid October after comfortably beating Wolverhampton Wanderers. It took just seven minutes for the Blues to score when John Terry headed in Juan Mata’s corner. The Spaniard then set up Daniel Sturridge for a tap-in, before the number ten scored a goal of his own before the half time whistle. Stephen Ward wasted Wolves best chance as Mick McCarthy’s side sit 17th in the league. Full time at Stamford Bridge: Chelsea 3-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers.

There was controversy in Manchester as United drew with a battling Newcastle United. The first part of controversy involved Wayne Rooney, with the striker kicking Fabricio Coloccini whilst on the floor and getting away without a booking. United then took the lead in the 49th minute through Javier Hernandez before more controversy hit Old Trafford. Firstly, the Magpies were awarded a penalty when Hatem Ben Arfa went down under Rio Ferdinand’s challenge; a spot-kick that was easily dispatched by Demba Ba. Then in injury time, Hernandez put the ball in the net but for the linesman’s flag who wrongly flagged the Mexican offside. All this after Jonas Gutierrez’ sending off for Newcastle deep into the second half. Full time at Old Trafford: Manchester United 1-1 Newcastle United.

Thomas Vermaelen scored at either end as Arsenal were held at home to London rivals Fulham. Aaron Ramsey blasted over in the first half as a dull 45 minutes past. Things got a little brighter in the second half however, as Robin Van Persie’s shot was blocked off the line by Chris Baird and Mark Schwarzer denied Arsenal defender Johan Djourou. But it was the away side that took the lead when John Arne Riise’s bursting run into the box saw the ball deflect off Vermaelen past the diving Wojciech Szczseny. However, the Belgian soon made up for his error when he headed in Theo Walcott’s cross on 82 minutes. The Gunners remain in seventh whereas Fulham climb to 15th. Full time at Emirates Stadium: Arsenal 1-1 Fulham.

Everton secured back-to-back wins for the first time this season as they beat Bolton Wanderers on their own turf. The homeside were reduced to ten men after just 20 minutes when defender David Wheater fouled Russian Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. But Everton couldn’t take advantage of the extra man until the 49th minute, courtesy of Marouane Fellaini. And after just four minutes of coming on, Everton top scorer Apostolos Vellios wrapped up the three points for David Moyes’ side. Full time at Reebok Stadium: Bolton Wanderers 0-2 Everton.

The pressure on Blackburn Rovers mounted just a little bit more as they fell short to Stoke City. City came out the traps flying and although Peter Crouch was guilty of missing some chances, Rory Delap headed the home side ahead following Jermaine Pennant’s cross. Glenn Whelan then scored his first goal in 18 months to double his side’s advantage before Crouch made sure of the points. Blackburn did get a late consolation through Ruben Rochina, but it wasn’t enough for Steve Kean and his side. Stoke now move from 14th to 12th whilst Rovers slip to bottom. Full time at Britannia Stadium: Stoke City 3-1 Blackburn Rovers.

Wigan Athletic earned three valuable points away to a poor Sunderland side. But it was the Black Cats who took the lead through Sebastian Larsson, with Athletic having their goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi to thank for keeping the score 1-0 following four decent stops. Although, just before half time the visitors pulled level when Jordi Gomez sent Kieran Westwood the wrong way from the penalty spot. And after Kieran Richardson missed a glorious chance for Sunderland, Wigan’s Franco Di Santo knicked it at the death after capitalising on some poor Wes Brown defending. It’s different stories in the league table movement too, with Sunderland moving down to 16th and Wigan moving off the bottom to 19th. Full time at Stadium of Light: Sunderland 1-2 Wigan Athletic.

Finally on Saturday, Norwich City kept up their impressive league display with a home win over Queens Park Rangers. Makeshift defender Russell Martin opened the scoring for the Canaries after 15 minutes when he fired in from the edge of the six-yard box. But back came Rangers when Luke Young scored his second goal in as many games after Jamie Mackie’s shot hit the post. But two inspiring substitutes made by City manager Paul Lambert handed Norwich the win when Anthony Pilkington crossed for Grant Holt to steer home with 17 minutes remaining. Full time at Carrow Road: Norwich City 2-1 Queens Park Rangers.

On Sunday, Liverpool shared the points with Manchester City at Anfield. City defender Vincent Kompany brilliantly headed in from a corner on 31 minutes, only for Jolean Lescott to put through his own net two minutes later. Some brilliant saves by Joe Hart denied Luis Suarez, Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll throughout the match whilst substitute Mario Balotelli received two yellow cards late in the second half. The point each keeps both teams in their current positions, with the Reds in sixth and Man.City five points clear at the top. Full time at Anfield: Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City.

Swansea City and Aston Villa shared the points in an understandably dull match in Wales. Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm denied Gabriel Agbonlahor in the first half before denying the striker again in the second half. Villa also had a teary Shay Given to thank – a teammate with Gary Speed at Newcastle United – after he kept out substitute Leroy Lita’s effort. Full time at Liberty Stadium: Swansea City 0-0 Aston Villa.

Aaron Aquilina

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