The weekend pitted a few in-form sides against one another and we came away from it all with a four-way tie on points for 4th place between Arsenal, Tottenham, Everton and West Brom. The weekend was highlighted by Chelsea completely humiliating Aston Villa at the Bridge.
A penalty decision helped the Gunners to three points once again. Mikel Arteta converted the penalty in the 60th minute to give Arsene Wenger’s side the upper hand in a tightly contested game.
A late header from Gareth Barry allowed Manchester City to gain a little bit of ground over their Mancunian rivals. Reading did well to keep Manchester City from scoring and even put them on the back foot at times. City should have bossed this game more, given the gulf in class between the two sides but after seeing Manchester United’s result on Sunday, Mancini probably won’t care too much how his side played.
Newcastle dominated possession but QPR held them for most of the game. Geordie cult legend Shola Ameobi gave Newcastle a crucial win over QPR with a nicely timed strike into the side netting in the last ten minutes of the match. Harry Redknapp was unable to continue his unbeaten streak since he was appointed manager of the R’s.
Sunderland, like their close rivals Newcastle, edged away from the relegation zone by defeating the Saints away from home. Stephen Fletcher, the Mackems’ only consistent source of goals this season, gave Sunderland the lead right before halftime. Sunderland held Southampton’s potent attack and grabbed a vital victory.
Stoke lived up to their stereotype and held Spurs at White Hart Lane. Spurs had 22 shots and 63% of the possession but couldn’t buy a goal against the gritty Potters.
Chris Hughton saw the Canaries’ 10-match unbeaten run end with a loss away to West Brom. Snodgrass put Norwich ahead but Zoltan Gera and Romelu Lukaku each scored to grab a win and right the ship for West Brom, a team who saw a slight dip in a great run of form of late.
Everton continued their assault on a Champion’s League spot, overturning a 1-0 deficit at half-time to head home to Merseyside with three points. The victory must have been important to a side who lost their talisman Marouane Fellaini to suspension. Cole put the Hammers with a 14th minute goal but Victor Anechbe and Steven Pienaar made sure that they kept the Toffees’ season rolling with a second-half goal apiece.
The Reds delighted Brendan Rodgers and the Anfield faithful with a hammering of Fulham at home. A Fulham side that had been looking to regain some form couldn’t keep up with Liverpool’s possession based play and couldn’t muster any sort of comeback to Liverpool’s dominance. Liverpool also showed that Luis Suarez wasn’t their only source of attack, with strikes form Gerrard, Downing and Skrtel as well as an injury time goal from the Uruguayan.
Swansea City demonstrated their class and held first place Manchester United to a draw in Wales. Michu flew to the top of the Premier League’s goal scoring chart with an equalizing strike in the 36th minute. The draw was disheartening for United, whose lead at the top of the Premier League was cut to five points given Manchester City’s win against lowly Reading.
This was the result of the weekend and one that will be talked about all year. Aston Villa’s ascendant run of form was spectacularly halted by a dynamic Chelsea side that pushed eight goals past the Villans, scoring 5 goals in the second half for the second game in a row. Torres and Ramires each had two and Oscar, Hazard, Lampard and Luiz each scored as well to humiliate a young Aston Villa team who had been playing well recently. Benitez said that he “felt sorry for Aston Villa” but has to be pleased as his side has recently been crushing teams.