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Premier League matchday 32 - Review

last updated Wednesday 02nd April 2014, 12:21 PM

Premier League matchday 32 saw the battle for the Premier League title intensify with Liverpool the only winner out of the top four sides.

Manchester United came from behind to beat Aston Villa 4-1 on a day when a banner was flown above Old Trafford in protest against David Moyes. The pressure on Moyes increased when Ashley Westwood opened the scoring with a fine free-kick after just 13 minutes, but Wayne Rooney quickly drew United level. Rooney then put United in front with a penalty at the end of the first half and Juan Mata scored his first goal for the club on 57 minutes. Javier Hernandez added a late fourth to seal an important win and boost confidence after the Manchester derby defeat.
Premier League MatchDay 32
Saturday 29th March 2014
DateK.O.HomeTeamRes.AwayTeamRefereeVenue Att. TV
29-0312:45Man Utd(2) 4-1 (1)Aston VillaMartin Atkinson Old Trafford75368BT1
29-0315:00C. Palace(0) 1-0 (0)ChelseaLee MasonSelhurst Park 25166
29-0315:00Southampton(1) 4-0 (0)NewcastleAndre Marriner St Mary's Stadium31360
29-0315:00Stoke(0) 1-0 (0)HullNeil SwarbrickBritannia Stadium 27029
29-0315:00Swansea(2) 3-0 (0)NorwichJonathan Moss Liberty Stadium20371  
29-0315:00West Brom(2) 3-3 (1)CardiffMichael Oliver The Hawthorns25661
29-0317:30Arsenal(0) 1-1 (1)Man CityMike DeanEmirates Stadium 60060Sky1
Sunday 30th March 2014
DateK.O.HomeTeam AwayTeamRefereeVenue   TV
30-0313:30Fulham(0) 1-3 (0)EvertonPhil DowdCraven Cottage 25454Sky1
30-0316:00Liverpool(2) 4-0 (0)TottenhamAnthony TaylorAnfield 44762Sky1
Monday 31st March 2014
DateK.O.HomeTeam AwayTeamRefereeVenue   TV
31-320:00Sunderland(0) 1-2 (1)West HamHoward Webb Stadium of Light37396Sky1

Crystal Palace put a huge dent in Chelsea's title hopes and gave their own chances of Premier League survival a major boost with an impressive 1-0 victory at Selhurst Park. The crucial breakthrough arrived in the 52nd minute when Joel Ward delivered an excellent cross from the left and John Terry headed the ball into his own net under pressure from Joe Ledley. There had already been a couple of strong penalty appeals for Palace in the first half and Tony Pulis' side created a host of chances in an open and exciting game, with Cameron Jerome striking the post. Chelsea had their moments but Julian Speroni was in great form to twice deny Eden Hazard with fabulous saves, as Palace clung on for a deserved win.

Southampton put in a dominant display at St Mary's on Saturday as they overcame lacklustre Newcastle United 4-0. Jay Rodriguez was the man to open and wrap up the scoring, and he could easily have had a hat-trick by the interval as the Saints swarmed all over the disjointed Magpies. Alan Pardew was back in attendance after serving a stadium ban, but it was an unhappy return for the Newcastle manager to his old stamping ground as his current employers never got going. Rob Elliot, in for the injured Tim Krul, was the only man to emerge with any credit for Newcastle as he single-handedly kept the scoreline down with some inspired reflex saves.

Premiership table - after 31st March
Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 32 14 1 1 48 13 8 4 4 40 26 49 71
2 Chelsea 32 14 2 0 39 9 7 4 5 23 15 38 69
3 Man City 30 13 0 1 48 9 8 4 4 32 19 52 67
4 Arsenal 32 10 5 1 29 10 9 2 5 27 27 19 64
5 Everton 31 11 3 1 29 13 6 6 4 20 18 18 60
6 Tottenham 32 8 3 5 19 21 9 2 5 21 23 -4 56
7 Man Utd 32 7 3 6 22 19 9 3 4 30 19 14 54
8 Southampton 32 7 5 4 29 21 6 4 6 20 19 9 48
9 Newcastle 32 7 3 6 19 22 7 1 8 19 25 -9 46
10 Stoke 32 8 6 2 22 15 2 4 10 15 30 -8 40
11 West Ham 32 6 3 7 22 23 4 4 8 14 19 -6 37
12 Aston Villa 31 5 2 9 18 26 4 5 6 16 20 -12 34
13 Swansea 32 5 5 6 29 23 3 4 9 16 25 -3 33
14 Hull 32 6 4 6 19 16 3 2 11 14 24 -7 33
15 Norwich 32 6 6 4 15 12 2 2 12 11 39 -25 32
16 C. Palace 31 7 2 7 14 18 2 2 11 6 21 -19 31
17 West Brom 31 3 8 5 19 22 2 6 7 17 26 -12 29
18 Cardiff 32 5 4 7 18 29 1 4 11 11 32 -32 26
19 Sunderland 30 3 3 9 14 23 3 4 8 14 25 -20 25
20 Fulham 32 4 1 11 19 34 3 2 11 12 39 -42 24
Peter Odemwingie's second-half goal proved the difference as Stoke City beat Hull City 1-0 in a tight contest at the Britannia Stadium. Asmir Begovic saved a Tom Huddlestone shot and Liam Rosenior headed over as Hull could not find the breakthrough in the first period. Begovic then made a fantastic save after the break to deny David Meyler's deflected shot and Hull were made to pay when Odemwingie struck in the 62nd minute.  Mark Hughes' men held on to make it three wins on the bounce and reach the magic 40 points mark, while Hull remain on 33 points and in relegation trouble after their fourth defeat in five Premier League matches.

Jonathan de Guzman's first-half double helped Swansea City to a 3-0 win over Norwich City at the Liberty Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday. The Welsh side had never beaten Norwich in their five Premier League meetings before this match but two clinical finishes from De Guzman plus a 75th-minute goal from winger Wayne Routledge banished that hoodoo. A 3-0 victory was the least Garry Monk's side deserved as they dominated both halves and, but for some jittery moments after the break, never looked in trouble. Norwich's away woes continue, having picked up only two points from the last 24 on the road.

Mats Moller Daehli fired home a 95th-minute strike to salvage a dramatic point for Cardiff City in a thrilling 3-3 draw against West Brom at The Hawthorns. In a pulsating conclusion managers Pepe Mel and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watched on in disbelief as their sides both scored deep into stoppage time. Albion went 2-0 up thanks to two goals in 10 minutes from Morgan Amalfitano's outrageous effort and Graham Dorrans' clinical finish. Cardiff then fought back to restore parity in the contest with Jordon Mutch and skipper Steven Caulker on target. Then, deep in added time, the hosts thought they had won the game through Thievy Bifouma's close-range finish, but the Bluebirds launched a last-ditch attack and 19-year-old Moller Daehli  grabbed a barely believeable equaliser. At the end of the day a point was what neither side wanted after 90 minutes of high-octane and often kamikaze action.

Manchester City missed the chance to return to the top of the Premier League table after Arsenal came from behind to draw 1-1 in an enthralling contest at Emirates Stadium. With Chelsea suffering a shock defeat at Crystal Palace, Manuel Pellegrini's men knew victory in north London would send them back to the summit on goal difference with two games in hand. But despite dominating the opening 45 minutes and taking a deserved lead through David Silva, City were pegged back in the second period with Mathieu Flamini levelling for Arsene Wenger's side.

Premier League MatchDay 33
Saturday 5th April 2014
DateK.O.HomeAwayRefereeVenue TV
05-0412:45:00Man CitySouthamptonChris FoyEtihad StadiumBT1
05-0415:00:00Aston VillaFulhamMichael OliverVilla Park
05-0415:00:00CardiffC. PalacePhil DowdCardiff City Stadium
05-0415:00:00HullSwanseaHoward WebbKC Stadium
05-0415:00:00NewcastleMan UtdKevin FriendSt James' Park
05-0415:00:00NorwichWest BromMark ClattenburgCarrow Road
05-0417:30:00ChelseaStokeLee ProbertStamford BridgeSky1
Sunday 6th April 2014
DateK.O.HomeAwayRefereeVenue TV
06-0413:30:00EvertonArsenalMartin AtkinsonGoodison ParkSky1
06-0416:00:00West HamLiverpoolAnthony TaylorUpton ParkSky1
Sunday 7th April 2014
DateK.O.HomeAwayRefereeVenue TV
07-0420:00:00TottenhamSunderlandLee MasonWhite Hart LaneSky1
Fulham put in a much-improved display at home to top-four hopefuls Everton , but remain rooted to the foot of the division after slipping to a 3-1 defeat. Felix Magath's side, with just one win since New Year's Day, showed signs that have the stomach for a relegation scrap, but are five points adrift of safety after an own goal from David Stockdale and efforts from Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith sandwiched an equaliser from Ashkan Dejagah.

Liverpool climbed back to the top of the Premier League table as they comfortably dispatched Tottenham 4-0 at Anfield. Brendan Rodgers' side eighth successive Premier League win was barely in doubt as they dominated proceedings from start to finish. They were gifted the lead just two-minutes in when Glen Johnson fired a cross into the six-yard box and Younes Kaboul could only back-heel the ball past Hugo Lloris into his own goal. Tottenham saw so little of the ball their chances were sporadic at best, and, even when Eriksen did find space in the area, Martin Skrtel threw his body in the way and Gylfi Sigurdsson's follow-up header was saved by Simon Mignolet.

Andy Carroll helped to nudge Sunderland closer to the relegation trapdoor as West Ham all but secured their own Premier League status with a 2-1 win at the Stadium of Light. The England striker powered the visitors into an early lead and midfielder Mohamed Diame extended it five minutes into the second half on a night when there were no boos for Hammers boss Sam Allardyce. Substitute Adam Johnson gave Sunderland, who had earlier seen strong penalty appeals go unanswered, hope when he pulled one back with 25 minutes remaining, and keeper Adrian had to pull off a double save to deny Ki Sung-yueng and Connor Wickham. But ultimately, the Black Cats' depressing home run was extended to just one win in nine league games to leave the bulk of a crowd of 37,396 fearing the worst, with their team still second from bottom and four points from safety.

Saturday 29th March 2014

Premier League ~ 12:45 Man Utd (2) 4-1 (1) Aston Villa ~ BTSports 1

Wayne Rooney scored a brace, and Juan Mata notched his first goal for Manchester United, as David Moyes' side came from a goal down to beat Aston Villa 4-1 at Old Trafford. While Moyes may have been buoyed by the reception from supporters at kick-off, his mood only deteriorated in the 13th minute when Rafael fouled Gabriel Agbonlahor just outside the box and Ashley Westwood curled an exquisite free-kick beyond the reach of David de Gea.

But United were level within seven minutes when Shinji Kagawa delivered a precise cross and Rooney barely had to move as he glanced a header into the bottom corner to relieve the tension. Kagawa's defence-splitting pass led to United being awarded a penalty just before half-time when Mata was fouled by Leandro Bacuna and Rooney stroked a classy spot-kick deep into the corner.

United extended their lead in the 57th minute when Villa failed to clear after Marouane Fellaini struggled to fashion an opening, but Mata kept his cool to fire into the bottom corner from 12 yards to score his first goal since his January arrival from Chelsea. There was still time for Javier Hernandez to put the icing on the cake for United, as he supplied a simple finish at the back post in the 90th minute after a great run and cross by fellow substitute Adnan Januzaj.

Manchester United: De Gea 6, Rafael 5.5 (Carrick, 45), Jones 6.5, Vidic 6.5, Buttner 6; Fletcher 7, Fellaini 6; Kagawa 7.5 (Januzaj, 67), Mata 7.5, Young 5.5; Rooney 8 (Hernandez, 74).
Subs not used: Amos, Giggs, Nani, Welbeck,

Goals: Rooney 20, Rooney pen 45, Mata 57, Hernandez 90

Booked: Rafael, Buttner

Aston Villa: Guzan 6; Bacuna 5, Clark 6, Vlaar 5.5, Bertrand 6; Westwood 7, Delph 5.5, Albrighton 6.5 (Lowton, 78); Weimann 5, Benteke 5.5, Agbonlahor 5 (Tonev, 71)
Subs not used: Steer, Sylla, Holt, Bennett, Robinson

Goals: Westwood 13

Booked: Bacuna, Bertrand, Clark, Lowton

Man of the Match: Wayne Rooney

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Attendance: 75,368

Premier League ~ 15:00 Crystal Palace (0) 1-0 (0) Chelsea

John Terry's second-half own goal condemned Chelsea to a shock 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace to boost Tony Pulis' side's hopes of Premier League survival.

Palace took the lead seven minutes after half-time when Joel Ward's cross from the left was met at the near post by Terry and the Chelsea captain's touch glanced the ball past his own keeper Petr Cech.

Chelsea rallied as Eden Hazard forced an excellent save out of Julian Speroni, but Palace remained a threat at the opposite end as Cameron Jerome struck the post.

Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1): Speroni 7.5; Mariappa 7, Dann 7, Delaney 7, Ward 7; Dikgacoi 7, Jedinak 8; Puncheon 7.5 (Parr 90), Ledley 7, Bolasie 6 (O'Keefe, 70 6); Jerome 7.5 (Murray 88).
Subs not used: Hennessey, McCarthy, Ince, Bannan.

Booked: Bolasie, Puncheon, Dann, Mariappa.

Goals: Terry og 52

Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech 7; Ivanovic 6.5, Cahill 6, Terry 6, Azpilicueta 6; Luiz 5 (Oscar HT, 6), Matic 5, Lampard 5.5 (Salah 57, 6); Schurrle 6 (Ba 70, 5), Torres 5, Hazard 6.
Subs not used: Hilario, Kalas, Mikel, Willian.

Booked: Terry.

Referee: Lee Mason 6

Attendance: 25166

Premier League ~ 15:00 Southampton (1) 4-0 (0) Newcastle United

Alan Pardew was back in the stadium, but it made no difference as the Newcastle manager watched his team thumped 4-0 by his former club Southampton at St Mary's. Southampton missed a string of chances before taking the lead just before half-time when Rickie Lambert sprung the offside trap before squaring the ball for Jay Rodriguez to finish from close range.

The hosts doubled their lead four minutes into the second half when Adam Lallana clipped a pass towards the far post where Lambert was waiting unmarked to finish past Rob Elliot. Lallana got in on the act with 20 minutes to go as, with Newcastle appealing for a free-kick which never came, the midfielder was allowed to run unchallenged before rocketing a left-foot shot from 25 yards past Elliot.

With a minute to go, Rodriguez scored his second of the game as a long pass over the top played in the England international and he finished confidently beyond Elliot.

Southampton: Boruc, Chambers, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Cork, Steven Davis (Schneiderlin 73), Ward-Prowse, Lallana (Gallagher 90), Rodriguez, Lambert (Ramirez 83).
Subs not used: Do Prado, Gazzaniga, Hooiveld, Reed.

Goals: Rodriguez 45, Lambert 49, Lallana 70, Rodriguez 89,

Newcastle: Elliot, Yanga-Mbiwa (Santon 45), Williamson, Coloccini, Haidara, Tiote, Anita, Sissoko (Dummett 78), Ben Arfa (De Jong 45), Gouffran, Cisse.
Subs not used: Gosling, Shola Ameobi, Steven Taylor, Alnwick.

Booked: Haidara.

Referee: Andre Marriner.

Attendance: 31,360.

Premier League ~ 15:00 Stoke (0) 1-0 (0) Hull

Peter Odemwingie's second-half goal proved the difference as Stoke beat Hull City 1-0 in a tight contest at the Britannia Stadium to move Mark Hughes' side on to 40 points.

January signing Odemwingie struck in the 62nd minute when he fired in from the edge of the box after collecting the ball from a stray Ahmed Elmohamady pass to register his fourth goal in three games.

Stoke (4-5-1): Begovic 7.5; Cameron 6, Shawcross 6.5, Wilson 6, Pieters 6; Odemwingie 7, Nzonzi 6.5, Whelan 6 (Palacios 81), Ireland 7, Arnautovic 6 (Adam 85); Crouch 6.5 (Guidetti 87).
Subs not used: Sorensen, Muniesa, Palacios, Adam, Guidetti

Goals: Odemwingie 62

Booked: Odemwingie, Palacios.

Hull (5-3-2): Harper 6; Elmohamady 6, Bruce 6 (Aluko 71, 6), Chester 6, Davies 6, Rosenior 6; Livermore 6, Meyler 6.5, Huddlestone 6.5 (Quinn 82); Jelavic 5.5 (Sagbo 78), Long 6.5.
Subs not used: Jakupovic, Figueroa, Koren, Fryatt.

Referee: Neil Swarbrick 6.5.

Attendance: 27,029.

Premier League ~ 15:00 Swansea (2) 3-0 (0) Norwich

Swansea took a giant stride towards safety after Jonathan de Guzman's first-half brace set Garry Monk's side on the way to a 3-0 win over a toothless Norwich at the Liberty Stadium. Norwich have struggled on the road this season and poor defending led to Swansea's opening goal when the visitors failed to clear and De Guzman drove home a low shot from the edge of the box on the half-hour mark.

De Guzman's second goal eight minutes later was pure quality as he rolled a pass into the feet of Wilfried Bony, whose clever back-heel played his team-mate into the box and the midfielder dinked a cute finish past John Ruddy. Swansea further outlined their dominance on the game with 15 minutes to go when Jonjo Shelvey's pass teed up Wayne Routledge to fire into the bottom corner to move Monk's side seven points outside the bottom three.

Swansea City (4-2-3-1): Vorm 6, Rangel 7, Chico 6, Williams, Davies 6, Britton 6, Shelvey 8, De Guzman 9 (Dyer 75, 6), Michu 7(Hernandez 73, 6), Routledge 8, Bony 7 (Vasquez 87, 5).
Subs not used: Amat, Taylor, Canas, Tremmel.

Goals: De Guzman 30, De Guzman 38, Routledge 75.

Booked: Rangel.

Norwich City (4-4-2): Ruddy 5, Martin 5, Bennett 5, Bassong 6, Olsson 6, Snodgrass 6, Howson 4 (Johnson 45, 5), Tettey 5, Hoolahan 5(Gutierrez 45, 6), Elmander 6, van Wolfswinkel 5 (Hooper 73, 5).
Subs not used: Whittaker, Bunn, Becchio, Redmond.

Booked: Johnson, Tettey.

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Attendance: 20,371

Premier League ~ 15:00 West Brom (2) 3-3 (1) Cardiff

Mats Moller Daehli equalised in the fifth minute of added time as Cardiff salvaged a 3-3 draw at The Hawthorns just moments after West Brom had appeared to pinch the points. West Brom took the lead after just two minutes when Gary Medel's poor header was seized upon by Morgan Amalfitano and his ambitious improvised effort from towards the right touchline looped over Cardiff keeper David Marshall.

It got even better for West Brom seven minutes later when a deflected cross found Matej Vydra at the far post and he cushioned the ball into the path of Graham Dorrans to finish from close range. Cardiff pulled a goal back on the half-hour mark when Jordon Mutch, who scored twice against Liverpool last week, appeared to be trying to cross when his left-foot ball into the box curled beyond Ben Foster and inside the post. The visitors equalised on 73 minutes when Medel swung in a deep free-kick and Steven Caulker's looping header had enough on it to beat Foster.

In the fourth minute of added time, West Brom looked to have won it when Saido Berahino's low cross was turned home at the near post by fellow substitute Thievy. However, after West Brom had tried to catch Cardiff on the break, the hosts were rocked by a sucker-punch as Wilfried Zaha's low cross was teed up for Moller Daehli and his deflected shot span past Foster.

West Brom (4-1-4-1): Foster 6; Reid 6, McAuley 6, Dawson 6, Ridgewell 6.5; Mulumbu 6.5; Amalfitano 6.5 (Berahino 72' 6), Morrison 7, Dorrans 7 (Gera 85'), Sessegnon 6.5; Vydra 6 (Thievy 78' 6.5)
Subs not used: Myhill, Lugano, Roofe, O'Neil

Goals: Amalfitano 2, Dorrans 9, Thievy 90

Booked: Dorrans

Cardiff (4-1-4-1): Marshall 6.5; Theophile-Catherine 5.5, Caulker 7, Turner 5.5, Taylor 6; Medel 6 (Whitingham 88'); Fabio 5 (Zaha 36' 6), Mutch 6.5, Gunnarsson 6 (Daehli 46' 7.5), Bellamy 6; Campbell 6
Subs not used: Lewis, Jones, Cowie, Cala

Goals: Mutch 30, Caulker 73, Daehli 90

Booked: Bellamy

Referee: Michael Oliver 7.5

Attendance: 25,661

Premier League ~ 17:30 Arsenal (0) 1-1 (1) Man City ~ SkySports 1 

Manchester City missed out on the chance to take top spot after Arsenal came from a goal down to draw 1-1 at Emirates Stadium. Manuel Pellegrini's side had the better of the first half and took the lead on 18 minutes when David Silva turned home the rebound after Edin Dzeko's shot had cracked back off the post.

But Arsenal improved after half-time and levelled on 53 minutes when, after moving the ball from right to left, Lukas Podolski's low cross into the box was swept home by Mathieu Flamini. The result leaves City two points behind Chelsea, but with two games in hand, while Arsenal are five points adrift of the summit having played the same number of matches as the leaders.

Arsenal: Szczesny 5.5; Sagna 6.5, Mertesacker 6.5, Vermaelen 7, Gibbs 6; Arteta 7, Flamini 7.5, Rosicky 7; Cazorla 7.5, Podolski 6 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 78); Giroud 5.5 (Sanogo 84).
Subs not used: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Kallstrom, Bellerin, Gnabry.

Goals: Flamini 53

Booked: Rosicky

Man City: Hart 6; Zabaleta 7, Kompany 7, Demichelis 6, Clichy 6; Toure 7, Fernandinho 7, Navas 7.5 (Milner 64, 6), Silva 8, Nasri 6.5 (Garcia 80); Dzeko 6 (Negredo 84).
Subs not used: Lescott, Kolarov, Pantilimon, Jovetic.

Goals: Silva 18

Booked: Toure, Kompany, Silva, Garcia

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral) 6.

Attendance: 60,060

Premier League ~ Sunday 30 March 2014

Premier League ~ 13:30 Fulham (0) 1-3 (0) Everton ~ SkySports 1    

Everton continued to snap at the heels of the Barclays Premier League top four after plundering three second-half goals at Craven Cottage that nudged Fulham closer to relegation.

Having seen Fulham dominate the first 45 minutes, the Champions League-chasing Toffees responded with strikes from substitutes Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith and an own goal by David Stockdale. It was Stockdale's unfortunate 50th-minute error that enabled Roberto Martinez's men to open the scoring, and although Fulham rallied with an outstanding strike from Ashkan Dejagah, they were quickly overwhelmed.

Only four points separate Everton from fourth-placed Arsenal - the rivals meet at Goodison next Sunday - with the Toffees also benefiting from having a game in hand. The result leaves Fulham rooted to the foot of the table, five points adrift of safety and with just six games to secure a 14th successive season in the top flight.

That prospect appears bleak, even though Norwich, Hull and Crystal Palace are due to visit Craven Cottage over the coming weeks.

Fulham: Stockdale 5.5; Riether 6, Heitinga 6, Hangelaand 6.5, Riise 6.5; Kvist 5.5 (Woodrow 64, 6), Sidwell 6; Kasami 5.5, Holtby 7, Richardson 6.5 (Dejagah 64); Dembele 5.5 (Roberts 81)
Subs not used: Stekelenburg, Diarra, Kacaniklic, Bent

Goals: Dejagah 71

Booked: Riether 23

Everton (4-2-3-1): Howard 7; Coleman 7, Stones 6, Distin 6, Baines 6; McCarthy 6, Barry 6; Deulofeu 6.5 (Mirallas 68, 7), Barkley 5.5 (Naismith 46, 8), Osman 5.5 (McGeady 77); Lukaku 5.5
Subs not used:Robles, Garbutt, Alcaraz, Browning.

Goals: Stockdale og 50, Mirallas 79, Naismith 87

Booked: Coleman, Baines

Referee: Anthony Taylor 5.5

Attendance: 25,454

Premier League ~ 16:00 Liverpool (2) 4-0 (0) Tottenham  ~ SkySports 1  

Liverpool made their move in the title race as they returned to the top of the Barclays Premier League for the first time since Christmas with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Tottenham. The last four teams who occupied that position on December 25 went on to win the title but, after back-to-back defeats immediately dropped them to fifth by the turn of the year, questions were asked about the Reds' credentials.

In fact, since losing to Chelsea on December 29, Liverpool are unbeaten and have taken 35 out of a possible 39 points, which has elevated them to top spot with six games to go and answered their critics in stunning style.

Tottenham, despite being sixth and supposedly still fighting for the top four, hardly posed a challenge. Liverpool have now scored nine unanswered goals against them this season - beating their previous best in a single campaign from 1914-15.

Liverpool (4-1-3-2): Mignolet 7, Johnson 7.5, Skrtel 8, Agger 7.5, Flanagan 8, Gerrard 7.5 (Lucas 70, 6), Coutinho 8 (Allen 64, 6), Henderson 7.5, Sterling 8 (Moses 82, 5.5), Sturridge 7, Suarez 9.
Subs not used: Jones, Aspas, Sakho, Cissokho.

Goals: Kaboul og 2, Suarez 25, Coutinho 55, Henderson 76.

Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Lloris 7.5, Naughton 4.5, Kaboul 4, Vertonghen 5 (Dawson 23, 4), Rose 5, Sigurdsson 4.5, Chadli 5 (Dembele 60, 5), Lennon 4 (Townsend 60, 5), Eriksen 5.5, Bentaleb 4.5, Soldado 4.
Subs not used:Friedel, Sandro, Kane, Winks.

Booked: Kaboul, Sigurdsson.

Referee: Phil Dowd.

Attendance: 44,762

Premier League ~ Monday 31 March 2014

Premier League ~ 20:00 Sunderland (0) 1-2 (1) West Ham ~ SkySports 1  

Geordie Andy Carroll helped nudge Sunderland closer to the relegation trapdoor as West Ham all but secured their own Barclays Premier League status with a 2-1 win at the Stadium of Light. The England striker powered the visitors into an early lead and midfielder Mohamed Diame extended it five minutes into the second half on a night when there were no boos for Hammers boss Sam Allardyce.

Substitute Adam Johnson gave Sunderland, who had earlier seen strong penalty appeals go unanswered, hope when he pulled one back with 25 minutes remaining, and keeper Adrian had to pull off a double save to deny Ki Sung-yueng and Connor Wickham. But ultimately, the Black Cats' depressing home run was extended to just one win in nine league games to leave the bulk of a crowd of 37,396 fearing the worst.

Sunderland (5-2-2-1): Mannone 7; Bardsley 6.5, Vergini 6.5, O'Shea 5.5 (Gardner 60, 7), Brown 6.5, Alonso 6.5; Cattermole 6.5 (A.Johnson 53, 7), Bridcutt 6; Ki 6 (Scocco, 79), Borini 6.5; Wickham 6.
Subs not used: Ustari, Colback, Altidore, Cuellar.

Booked: Alonso, Wickham.

Goals: Johnson, 65.

West Ham (4-4-1-1): Adrian 7; Demel 6.5, Reid 7, Tomkins 6.5, McCartney 6 (Armero 46, 6); Diame 6.5 (Johnson, 79), Noble 7.5, Taylor 7, Downing 6.5; Nolan 6.5 (Nocerino, 84); Carroll 7.
Subs not used: Jaaskelainen, Jarvis, C.Cole, J.Cole.

Goals: Carroll, 9, Diame, 50.

Booked: Noble, Nolan, Reid, Adrián,

Referee: Howard Webb 6.5

Attendance: 37,396

Source Sky/ Sporting Life
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