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Premier League Review - 17th - 18th December 2011

last updated Monday 19th December 2011, 6:09 PM

On Saturday Chelsea conceded a late leveller away to Wigan as Andre Villas-Boas' side missed the chance to keep up the pressure on leaders Manchester City and second-placed United.

While Stoke saw off Wolves at Molineux the pressure continues to mount on Owen Coyle and Steve Kean after Bolton suffered their 13th defeat of the season at Fulham with a standout goal from Bryan Ruiz, while Blackburn went down at home to West Brom.

Everton left it late to snatch a point off Norwich, while the spoils were also shared on Tyneside as Newcastle and Swansea failed to trouble the scorers.

Sunday saw Manchester's big guns fire again while Tottenham kept their title hopes alive.

Arsene Wenger has, however, conceded that Arsenal are now out of the running following their defeat by Manchester City, while Chelsea suffered an untimely hiccup on the road at Wigan.

Manchester United briefly went top of the table following their victory over Queens Park Rangers, while Spurs edged out Sunderland to move back into third.

Craig Bellamy put in an inspirational performance for Liverpool as they overcame Aston Villa.

Saturday 17th December

15.00 - Blackburn (0) 1 West Brom (0) 2

Peter Odemwingie curled home a glorious winner for West Brom in the 89th minute at Ewood Park to increase the misery of Blackburn and beleaguered boss Kean.

James Morrison fired the Baggies in front with a sublime volley from just outside the area, showing superb technique to beat Paul Robinson in the 52nd minute after Blackburn's defence could only half-clear a corner.

Rovers levelled when Robinson launched a free-kick into the West Brom box where Chris Samba headed down for defensive partner Scott Dann to slide home with the visiting defence AWOL.

But with time running out, Odemwingie was allowed to cut inside all too easily by Morten Gamst Pedersen before unleashing a magnificent strike which flew beyond Robinson from the right edge of the area.

Blackburn's next game is a home meeting with Bolton on Tuesday night which could prove pivotal to the future of both managers.

Blackburn Robinson, Lowe, Samba, Dann, Pedersen, Formica, Dunn (Hanley 62), Nzonzi, Vukcevic (Roberts 62), Rochina (Goodwillie 79), Yakubu.
Subs Not Used: Bunn, Petrovic, Blackman, Henley.

Booked: Pedersen.

Goals: Dann 72.

West Brom Foster, Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Shorey, Morrison (Thomas 90), Mulumbu, Scharner (Dorrans 81), Brunt, Odemwingie (Dawson 90), Long.
Subs Not Used: Fulop, Jones, Tamas, Cox.

Booked: Scharner.

Goals: Morrison 52, Odemwingie 89.

Att: 22,909

Ref: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear).

15.00 - Everton (0) 1 Norwich (1) 1

Leon Osman rescued a point for Everton nine minutes from time after Norwich had threatened to inflict a fifth home defeat of the season on the Toffees.

Against the run of play, the Canaries took the lead with Steve Morison flicking on a deep ball into the box and Grant Holt showing superb skill to hold off the Everton defence six yards out before threading a shot home via the far post.

With the Goodison fans becoming restless and the clock ticking down, Osman stuck out a toe to divert the ball beyond the excellent John Ruddy after Royston Drenthe's low shot following a powerful run into the box.

Everton Howard, Hibbert, Heitinga, Jagielka, Baines, Gueye (Drenthe 71), Neville, Fellaini, Osman, Cahill (Stracqualursi 61), Saha (McAleny 88).
Subs Not Used: Mucha, Bilyaletdinov, Distin, Rodwell.

Booked: Neville.

Goals: Osman 81.

Norwich Ruddy, Naughton, Martin, Whitbread, Tierney, Crofts, Fox, Hoolahan (Johnson 74), Surman, Morison (Wilbraham 79), Holt.
Subs Not Used: Rudd, Jackson, Pilkington, Bennett, Barnett.

Booked: Naughton.

Goals: Holt 28.

Att: 31,004

Ref: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).

15.00 - Fulham (2) 2 Bolton (0) 0

Bolton remain rooted to the foot of the table after slumping to yet another defeat as Fulham banked all three points at Craven Cottage.

Clint Dempsey added to Coyle's woes in the 32nd minute, heading home superbly from Bryan Ruiz's cross to give Jussi Jaaskelainen no chance.

And the duo combined again immediately to devastating effect, with Dempsey's through-ball scooped over the head of the shocked Trotters goalkeeper in stunning fashion by Ruiz.

Fulham Stockdale, Baird, Senderos, Hangeland, John Arne Riise, Ruiz, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey, Johnson, Dembele.
Subs Not Used: Etheridge, Kelly, Orlando Sa, Gecov, Duff, Hughes, Frei.

Booked: Murphy.

Goals: Dempsey 32, Ruiz 34.

Bolton Jaaskelainen, Boyata (Steinsson 46), Cahill, Knight, Alonso, Mark Davies, Muamba, Reo-Coker, Pratley (Eagles 46), Kevin Davies (Ngog 56), Klasnic.
Subs Not Used: Bogdan, Robinson, Sanli, Petrov.

Booked: Reo-Coker, Muamba, Steinsson.

Att: 25,643

Ref: Chris Foy (Merseyside).

15.00 - Newcastle (0) 0 Swansea (0) 0

Newcastle have now gone five games without tasting victory after Swansea held firm to deny Alan Pardew's men in a goalless draw on Tyneside.

Prior to the match, the Magpies paid their respects to former player Speed with a tribute, delayed at the request of widow Louise so she could attend, with Welsh tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones leading St James' Park in a moving rendition of Bread of Heaven as supporters in the East Stand held up cards depicting the midfielder's number 11 shirt.

When the match got under way, Fabricio Coloccini and Demba Ba were both denied by the woodwork, while Michel Vorm also produced a smart stop to keep out Ba.

Newcastle Krul, Simpson, Perch, Coloccini, Santon, Obertan (Sammy Ameobi 82), Cabaye, Tiote (Vuckic 82), Gutierrez, Best (Shola Ameobi 71), Ba.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Williamson, Ben Arfa, Abeid.

Booked: Cabaye.

Swansea Vorm, Richards, Williams, Caulker, Taylor, Routledge, Gower (Agustien 45), Britton, Sinclair (Dyer 77), Allen, Graham.
Subs Not Used: Tremmel, Dobbie, Monk, Lita, Moore.

Booked: Richards.

Att: 51,767

Ref: Lee Mason (Lancashire).

15.00 - Wolverhampton (1) 1 Stoke (0) 2

Tony Pulis' decision to rest his main men for Stoke's long midweek Europa League road trip paid dividends as they came from behind to defeat struggling Wolves at Molineux.

Stephen Hunt calmly fired the home side into the lead from the penalty spot in the 17th minute after Jonathan Woodgate brought down Matt Jarvis, with the Stoke centre-back - who had already been booked and was perhaps lucky to escape another caution - immediately hauled off.

The Potters restored parity early in the second period when Robert Huth's long-range effort after a free-kick was rolled to him took a huge deflection off Kevin Doyle in the Wolves wall to wrong-foot Wayne Hennessey.

And they forged ahead in the 70th minute when Matthew Etherington's deep cross to the far post was bundled home from close range by the diving Peter Crouch.

Wolverhampton Hennessey, Zubar, Johnson, Berra, Ward, Jarvis, Milijas (Guedioura 75), Henry, Hunt (Hammill 80), Fletcher, Doyle (Ebanks-Blake 75).
Subs Not Used: De Vries, Elokobi, Stearman, Forde.

Booked: Milijas, Berra.

Goals: Hunt pen 17 Stoke Sorensen, Woodgate (Pennant 19), Huth, Shawcross, Wilson, Shotton, Whitehead, Whelan (Palacios 83), Etherington (Fuller 87), Crouch, Walters.
Subs Not Used: Begovic, Jones, Upson, Jerome.

Booked: Woodgate, Shawcross, Whitehead.

Goals: Doyle og 58 , Crouch 70.

Att: 24, 684

Ref: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire).

17.30 - Wigan (0) 1 Chelsea (0) 1 - ESPN

Chelsea occupy the final UEFA Champions League place at present, but saw two points slip through their grasp at Wigan on Saturday evening.

The Blues looked to be on course for a fourth straight win at the DW Stadium when Daniel Sturridge fired them in front.

Andre Villas-Boas' side were unable to hang on to that lead, though, with a rare error from Petr Cech costing them dear.

The Czech keeper spilled a poked effort from Hugo Rodallega two minutes from time and Jordi Gomez was in the right place at the right time to haul Wigan level.

Nine points now separate Chelsea from City, while the Latics are only a point shy of hauling themselves out of the drop zone.

Wigan Al Habsi, Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Stam, Jones (Rodallega 72), Diame, McCarthy, Moses, Gomez, Sammon (Di Santo 73).
Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Gohouri, Crusat, Watson, McArthur.

Goals: Gomez 88.

Chelsea Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Romeu (Kalou 46), Lampard, Meireles, Sturridge (Malouda 80), Drogba, Mata (Mikel 66).
Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Torres, Ferreira, McEachran.

Goals: Sturridge 59.

Att: 18,320

Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

Sunday 18th December

12.00 - QPR (0) 0 Man Utd (1) 2 - Sky1

Manchester United had briefly occupied top spot, with a 2-0 win at Loftus Road putting Sir Alex Ferguson's side in pole position.

Queens Park Rangers boss Neil Warnock had vowed to get at United on home soil, and the hosts were as good as their word.

They were, however, left with a mountain to climb inside the opening 60 seconds, as Wayne Rooney glanced home a pinpoint cross from Antonio Valencia.

Both sides had chances to add to the scoring during the first half, but poor finishing and some inspired goalkeeping ensured the game remained in the balance.

United wrapped up the points, though, on 56 minutes when Michael Carrick was allowed to glide forward from halfway and sweep the ball past Radek Cerny.

QPR Cerny, Young, Gabbidon, Connolly, Traore, Mackie, Barton, Faurlin, Wright-Phillips (Taarabt 65), Bothroyd (Hill 75), Helguson (Campbell 65).
Subs Not Used: Kenny, Orr, Derry, Smith.

Booked: Gabbidon.

Man Utd De Gea, Smalling, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra, Valencia, Jones, Carrick, Nani (Young 88), Rooney (Giggs 78), Welbeck (Hernandez 63).
Subs Not Used: Lindegaard, Berbatov, Park, Fryers.

Booked: Ferdinand, Jones.

Goals: Rooney 1, Carrick 56.

Att: 18,033

Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

14.05 - Aston Villa (0) 0 Liverpool (2) 2 - Sky1

The second of Sunday's fixtures saw Liverpool head home from Villa Park with three points under their arm.

Aston Villa started the game in buoyant mood and searching for a fourth home win of the season, but saw the game slip away from them inside the opening 15 minutes.

Bellamy was at his elusive best for the Reds and the Welshman broke the deadlock 11 minutes in when he prodded home from close range.

Liverpool doubled their advantage four minutes later when Martin Skrtel met a Bellamy corner to nod past Brad Guzan.

Kenny Dalglish's side sit sixth, but they are only four points off the top four.

Aston Villa Guzan, Hutton, Dunne, Collins, Warnock, Albrighton, Delph (Weimann 80), Petrov, N'Zogbia, Heskey (Bannan 56), Delfouneso.
Subs Not Used: Marshall, Clark, Cuellar, Johnson, Burke.

Booked: N'Zogbia.

Liverpool Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique, Bellamy (Kuyt 88), Adam, Shelvey (Carragher 83), Henderson, Downing, Suarez (Carroll 73).
Subs Not Used: Doni, Maxi, Coates, Kelly.

Booked: Adam, Bellamy.

Goals: Bellamy 11, Skrtel 15.

Att: 37,460

Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).

15.00 - Tottenham (0) 1 Sunderland (0) 0

Tottenham remain title outsiders, but a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Sunderland has kept them in the hunt.

Harry Redknapp's side sit seven points adrift of table-topping City with a game in hand.

Roman Pavlyuchenko stepped off the bench to hand Spurs a welcome three-point haul on Sunday.

The Russian replaced Aaron Lennon inside the opening 30 minutes at White Hart Lane and grabbed the only goal of the game just past the hour mark.

Luka Modric really should have made the game safe shortly after, but he somehow fired over a gaping goal.

Defeat leaves Sunderland precariously perched just above the drop zone, with Martin O'Neill now fully aware of the size of the task he faces at the Stadium of Light.

Tottenham Friedel, Walker, Gallas, King, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon (Pavlyuchenko 27), Parker, Sandro (Livermore 82), Modric, Adebayor, Van der Vaart (Rose 89).
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Bassong, Kranjcar, Pienaar.

Booked: Assou-Ekotto.

Goals: Pavlyuchenko 61.

Sunderland Westwood, O'Shea, Brown, Bramble, Bardsley (McClean 69), Larsson, Colback (Gardner 75), Vaughan, Richardson, Wickham (Bendtner 46), Sessegnon.
Subs Not Used: Carson, Cattermole, Ji, Elmohamady.

Booked: Richardson, Vaughan.

Att: 36,021

Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).

16.10 - Man City (0) 1 Arsenal (0) 0 - Sky1

Sunday's action offered plenty of pre-Christmas cheer to Premier League followers, with Manchester City and Arsenal rounding off a thrilling afternoon.

There was only one goal at the Etihad Stadium, but an open game produced opportunities aplenty.

Arsenal were unable to make the most of the chances which came their way, leaving the door open for David Silva to bundle home a 53rd-minute winner.

Victory for City saw them return to the top of the table and preserve their two-point lead at the summit, while Arsenal will have to wait another 12 months before they can mount a title tilt.

Man City Hart, Richards, Kompany, Toure, Zabaleta, Barry, Toure Yaya (De Jong 85), Silva, Aguero, Nasri (Dzeko 85), Balotelli (Milner 72).
Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Lescott, Johnson, Savic.

Booked: Barry, Aguero.

Goals: Silva 53.

Arsenal Szczesny, Djourou (Miquel 47), Koscielny, Mertesacker (Chamakh 82), Vermaelen, Arteta, Song, Ramsey, Walcott (Arshavin 69), van Persie, Gervinho.
Subs Not Used: Almunia, Rosicky, Frimpong, Benayoun.

Booked: Song, Koscielny, Arteta.

Att: 47,303

Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).

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