Another two days full of goals but somewhat overshadowed by the Carling Cup final though.
On Saturday, the Blues got back to winning ways as they eased past Bolton Wanderers. After a dull first half it was centre back David Luiz who created and scored Chelsea’s first; cutting inside and curling the ball past the helpless Adam Bogdan. Didier Drogba then doubled the Blues’ lead after the hour mark with a cushioned header before Frank Lampard made it three after volleying home Juan Mata’s cross. That goal for Frank meant that he is the first player to score double figures in nine consecutive leagues! That win keeps Chelsea 5th whilst opponents Bolton stay 19th but level on points with bottom place Wigan Athletic. Full time at Stamford Bridge: Chelsea 3-0 Bolton Wanderers.
Newcastle United threw away a two goal lead as Wolverhampton Wanderers earned a vital point. After a bright start by the visitors, it was United who took the lead as Papiss Demba Cisse scored his second goal in as many games when he converted Cheik Tiote’s misplaced shot. And Newcastle soon doubled their lead in the 18th minute when Jonas Gutierrez hammered in his shot from 30 yards out, but for Matt Jarvis’ equaliser just five minutes into the second half. Wolves sensed they could get something from the match and the equaliser arrived ten minutes later courtesy of Kevin Doyle’s neat finish. Hatem Ben Arfa almost restored Newcastle’s lead but Wolves held on for a valuable point under new manager Terry Connor. Full time at Sports Direct Arena: Newcastle United 2-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Fulham added more misery for former manager Mark Hughes as Queens Park Rangers lost by a single goal. Winter singing Pavel Pogrebnyak grabbed the only goal of the match when he latched onto Moussa Dembele’s neat flick to round Paddy Kenny and find the back of the net inside seven minutes. And things went from bad to worse for QPR and their debutant Samba Diakite as the midfielder was shown a second yellow card for a clumsy lunge – that’s two debutants sent off in two different matches for Rangers (Djibril Cisse the other). The loss means QPR drop below Wolves into 17th, leaving Mark Hughes only winning one of his six games in charge. Good news for Fulham fans is that their side move up to 11th. Full time at Loftus Road: Queens Park Rangers 0-1 Fulham.
Saturday also saw West Bromwich Albion hammer Sunderland at The Hawthorns. Nigerian attacker Peter Odemwingie scored his fourth goal in two matches after he headed home from close range with just three minutes on the clock. And after seeing his shot saved by Simon Mignolet, James Morrison converted Jerome Thomas’ cross four minutes before the interval to make the half time team talk a more joyful one. In the second half things didn’t improve for the Black Cats and Odemwingie soon added a third via a big deflection that took it past Mignolet. Despite Sunderland hitting the bar, Keith Andrews ended the goal rout in the final minute to send the home supporters chanting for more. Albion now move up to 13th whereas Sunderland stay ninth. Full time at The Hawthorns: West Bromwich Albion 4-0 Sunderland.
Manchester City remained top of the league table with an easy win over relegation threatened Blackburn Rovers. City dominated the whole game from start to finish, but it wasn’t until the 30th minute that City took the lead when Mario Balotelli, back from his four-match ban, swept in Aleksandar Kolarov’s cross. After the break, City’s goal machine Sergio Aguero powerfully added a second before substitute Edin Dzeko headed in after just stepping onto the field. Blackburn struggled to muster any real chances and added to their very poor season so far by slipping back into the drop zone. Full time at Etihad Stadium: Manchester City 3-0 Blackburn Rovers.
Finally on Saturday, Wigan Athletic and Aston Villa played out a goalless draw in a match overshadowed by an injury. Wigan dominated possession but it was Darren Bent who had the best chance of the first half as his shot was well saved by Wigan stopper Ali Al Habsi. The Oman ‘keeper was then at full stretch to deny Robbie Keane before Hugo Rodallega saw his shot saved by Shay Given at the other end. However, with 11 minutes to go, England’s Darren Bent was stretchered off in real discomfort and looks doubtful for England’s friendly with Holland on Wednesday. Full time at DW Stadium: Wigan Athletic 0-0 Aston Villa.
It was another fantastic North London derby as Arsenal came back to beat Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates. After Louis Saha’s deflected shot gave Spurs a surprise lead, Emmanuel Adebayor converted a penalty against his former club in what looked like a match where Arsenal would be hammered. However, cue the Gunners’ turnaround as Bacary Sagna’s powerful header from a Mikel Arteta cross was too much for the flying Brad Friedel – who earlier denied Tomas Rosicky’s header. Robin Van Persie’s brilliant turn and finish then gave Arsenal new hope and it wasn’t long before Rosicky did found the back of the net in the 51st minute. England winger Theo Walcott’s lovely chip doubled the Gunners’ advantage before the speedy number 14 notched his fifth of the season after poor Spurs defending. And Scott Parker then rubbed salt in Tottenham’s wounds when he was shown a deserved second yellow card for a foul on Thomas Vermaelen. Thanks to Walcott’s second goal, Arsenal remain in fourth but seven points behind their London rivals. Full time at Emirates Stadium: Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham Hotspur.
Manchester United stayed in touch with rivals Man.City as they scored a late winenr against Norwich City. Veteran Paul Scholes gave United the lead when Nani’s cross evaded everyone bar the unmarked number 22. United’s number one David Dea Gea was then called into action after saving brillianty from Anthony Pilkington’s close range effort. In the second half, both teams upted the anti as Ryan Giggs hit the Norwich bar before De Gea saved from Grant Holt and Aaron Wilbraham. Although, Norwich thought they’d scored a late equaliser when Holt nestled the ball in the top corner, only for that man Ryan Giggs to score in the 92nd minute on his 900th Red Devils appearance. Full time at Carrow Road: Norwich City 1-2 Manchester United.
Finally, Stoke City earned their first win in four matches as they swept aside Swansea City. It was the Welsh side who had the early chance though as Scott Sinclair decided to blaze over from 16-yards when infront of goal. And the winger was made to pay in the 24th minute when Matthew Upson headed powerfully past Gerhard Tremmel in the City goal. The lead was then doubled six minutes before the half time whistle as Ryan Shotton’s long throw was nodded in by Peter Crouch, Stoke’s topscorer this season. Jonathan Walters then wasted a decent headed chance before Swansea recorded their first shot on target in the 79th minute. The three points help City move up a place to 12th whilst their Welsh opponents drop three places to 14th. Full time at Britannia Stadium: Stoke City 2-0 Swansea City.