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Premier League Review - 26th December 2011

last updated Tuesday 27th December 2011, 10:42 AM

Premiership table
Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts
1 Man City 18 9 0 0 28 4 5 3 1 25 11 38 45
2 Man Utd 18 7 1 1 28 11 7 2 0 19 3 33 45
3 Tottenham 16 6 1 1 17 8 5 1 2 15 11 13 35
4 Chelsea 18 6 1 2 22 13 4 3 2 14 8 15 34
5 Arsenal 17 6 1 1 14 5 4 1 4 19 20 8 32
6 Liverpool 18 3 6 0 11 7 5 1 3 10 7 7 31
7 Newcastle 18 4 3 2 12 11 4 3 2 13 11 3 30
8 Stoke 18 4 3 2 12 9 3 1 5 6 19 -10 25
9 West Brom 18 2 2 5 7 11 4 2 3 12 15 -7 22
10 Everton 17 3 2 4 9 10 3 1 4 9 10 -2 21
11 Norwich 17 4 2 2 16 12 1 4 4 11 19 -4 21
12 Aston Villa 18 3 2 4 11 11 1 6 2 8 12 -4 20
13 Fulham 18 3 3 3 14 14 1 4 4 5 10 -5 19
14 Sunderland 18 2 4 3 13 11 2 2 5 9 11 0 18
15 Swansea 17 4 3 1 10 2 0 3 6 6 19 -5 18
16 QPR 17 1 4 4 8 15 3 0 5 9 16 -14 16
17 Wolves 17 3 2 4 13 15 1 1 6 6 17 -13 15
18 Wigan 18 1 4 4 9 16 2 1 6 6 19 -20 14
19 Bolton 18 1 0 8 10 23 3 0 6 12 18 -19 12
20 Blackburn 18 2 0 7 12 19 0 5 4 13 20 -14 11
Premiership Games
Monday 26th December
13:00 Chelsea 1-1 Fulham  
15:00 Bolton 0-2 Newcastle
15:00 Liverpool 1-1 Blackburn  
15:00 Man Utd 5-0 Wigan  
15:00 Sunderland 1-1 Everton  
15:00 West Brom 0-0 Man City  
19:45 Stoke 0-0 Aston Villa Sky1
Tuesday 27th December
15:00 Arsenal v Wolves  
17:00 Swansea v QPR Sky1
19:30 Norwich v Tottenham Sky1

The title race took a Boxing Day twist as Manchester City were held by West Brom and Manchester United drew level on points at the top by hammering Wigan after the controversial sending off of Sammon.

Manchester City were not the only top-six side to fail to provide their supporters with any festive cheer, as Chelsea were held to an unexpected draw by Fulham and Blackburn frustrated Liverpool.

Elsewhere in the Premier League there was controversy at Sunderland as Everton picked up a draw, while Bolton remain in deep trouble following another home defeat against Newcastle.

Monday 26th December

13:00 - Chelsea (0) 1 Fulham (0) 1

Chelsea had to settle for a second 1-1 draw in a London derby in the space of a few days after being denied by Fulham.

A strike by London Underground workers prompted Arsenal to push back their clash with Wolves by 24 hours and those fans that found a way to Stamford Bridge might have wondered why they went to the effort of arriving on time after a disappointing first half.

Fortunately, the game exploded into life just a couple of minutes into the second period when the ball broke for Juan Mata on the edge of the area and he beat David Stockdale with a fine finish.

Chelsea could not keep their noses in front for long, though, as Bryan Ruiz twisted away from Ashley Cole down the wing and delivered a low cross for Clint Dempsey to turn home.

Fulham came under severe pressure during the closing stages but clung on for a point which further dents the hopes of their capital rivals.

Chelsea Cech, Bosingwa (Ferreira 81), Luiz, Terry, Cole, Meireles, Romeu, Lampard (Malouda 61), Sturridge (Drogba 70), Torres, Mata.
Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Lukaku, McEachran, Kalou.

Booked: Bosingwa.

Goals: Mata 47.

Fulham Stockdale, Kelly, Hangeland, Senderos, John Arne Riise, Dempsey, Murphy, Frei, Dembele, Orlando Sa (Kasami 82), Ruiz.
Subs Not Used: Etheridge, Sidwell, Baird, Hughes, Etuhu, Briggs.

Booked: Dempsey.

Goals: Dempsey 56.

Att: 41, 548

Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).

15:00 - Bolton (0) 0 Newcastle (0) 2

Newcastle ended a six-match winless sequence to get back on track at the Reebok Stadium and inflict more misery on struggling Bolton with a 2-0 success.

It was a war of attrition for more than an hour before Hatem Ben Arfa volleyed in a Ryan Taylor cross in the 69 minute.

Newcastle increased their lead before Bolton had a chance to regroup as Gabriel Obertan sent the ball over for Demba Ba to scramble home from close range and continue his prolific campaign.

Bolton Jaaskelainen, Boyata, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Mark Davies, Reo-Coker, Muamba (Eagles 66), Petrov, Klasnic (Sanli 77), Ngog (Kevin Davies 76).
Subs Not Used: Bogdan, Ricketts, Pratley, Wheater.

Booked: Klasnic.

Newcastle Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, Williamson, Ryan Taylor, Obertan (Shola Ameobi 84), Cabaye (Perch 88), Tiote, Gutierrez, Ba, Best (Ben Arfa 61).
Subs Not Used: Elliot, Sammy Ameobi, Vuckic, Ferguson.

Booked: Tiote.

Goals: Ben Arfa 69, Ba 71.

Att: 26, 080

Referee: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).

15:00 - Liverpool (0) 1 Blackburn (1) 1

Blackburn remain bottom of the Premier League standings but did their survival bid, and Steve Kean's prospects of staying in charge, no harm with an unlikely point against Liverpool following a 1-1 draw at Anfield.

Liverpool enjoyed lots of possession early on and saw a penalty appeal waved away, before surprisingly falling behind on the stroke of half-time when Charlie Adam inadvertently sliced an attempted clearance into his own net from a Blackburn corner.

Maxi Rodriguez nodded in an equaliser from Martin Skrtel's cross in the 53rd minute but the Reds could not find a winner, despite a late onslaught and the return from injury of talismanic skipper Steven Gerrard.

Liverpool Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique, Maxi (Bellamy 81), Henderson, Adam (Gerrard 69), Downing, Suarez, Carroll.
Subs Not Used: Doni, Kuyt, Carragher, Shelvey, Kelly.

Booked: Agger.

Goals: Maxi 53.

Blackburn Bunn, Lowe, Samba, Hanley, Pedersen, Henley, Dunn (Petrovic 84), Nzonzi, Hoilett (Vukcevic 75), Formica, Yakubu (Goodwillie 90).
Subs Not Used: Kean, Rochina, Blackman, Morris.

Goals: Adam 45 og.

Att: 44, 441

Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire).

15:00 - Man Utd (2) 5 Wigan (0) 0

Dimitar Berbatov was the star of the show for Manchester United as they demolished ten-man Wigan 5-0 to keep up the pressure on City and leave the Latics in the bottom three.

Wigan had never previously taken a point off Manchester United in the Premier League and, despite Sir Alex Ferguson naming Antonio Valencia and Michael Carrick in defence, they never looked like ending that record at the 13th attempt.

Only eight minutes had been played by the time the Red Devils opened the scoring, with Patrice Evra leaving a trail of half-hearted challenges in his wake as he weaved his way to the byline before cutting the ball back for Park Ji-sung to sweep home a composed shot.

Wigan tried to fight back but any chance they had was extinguished before half-time when referee Phil Dowd sent off Conor Sammon for catching Michael Carrick with an arm in the face, even though replays suggested it was a harsh decision.

Berbatov held off Antolin Alcaraz to make it 2-0 in the 41st minute and then produced a neat turn to blast in a third after the interval.

Valencia's powerful strike left Wigan 4-0 down and Berbatov completed his hat-trick with the most casual of penalties after Park had been brought down by Alcaraz.

Man Utd Lindegaard, Valencia, Evans (Fryers 46), Carrick, Evra, Park, Gibson, Giggs (Rooney 64), Nani (Macheda 64), Berbatov, Hernandez.
Subs Not Used: De Gea, Welbeck, Rafael Da Silva, Diouf.

Booked: Evans, Giggs.

Goals: Park 8, Berbatov 41, 58, Valencia 75, Berbatov 78 pen.

Wigan Al Habsi, Stam, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa, Jones, Diame (Di Santo 46), McCarthy, Gomez (McArthur 71), Moses (Rodallega 80), Sammon.
Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Gohouri, Crusat, Watson.

Sent Off: Sammon (39).

Booked: Jones.

Att: 75, 183

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).

15:00 - Sunderland (1) 1 Everton (0) 1

A controversial penalty decision allowed Everton to rescue a 1-1 draw from their clash with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland had themselves benefited from a large helping of luck to take the lead on 26 minutes when Jack Colback, moments after coming on as a substitute, saw his shot take a decisive deflection off Sylvain Distin and loop over Tim Howard.

But it was a mistake by Howard Webb that allowed Everton to get back on level terms as Leon Osman tripped himself over in the box but the referee pointed to the spot, with Leighton Baines stepping up to fire past Keiren Westwood.

Sunderland Westwood, O'Shea, Bramble (Colback 21), Brown, Bardsley (Gardner 46), Larsson, Cattermole, Vaughan (McClean 81), Richardson, Sessegnon, Bendtner.
Subs Not Used: Carson, Kilgallon, Ji, Elmohamady.

Goals: Colback 26.

Everton Howard, Hibbert, Distin, Jagielka, Baines, Drenthe (Gueye 75), Neville, Heitinga, Osman, Cahill (McFadden 87), Saha (Vellios 84).
Subs Not Used: Mucha, Bilyaletdinov, Stracqualursi, Barkley.

Booked: Heitinga.

Goals: Baines 51 pen.

Att: 43, 619

Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

15:00 - West Brom (0) 0 Man City (0) 0

Manchester City celebrated Christmas at the league summit but surrendered their two-point advantage on Boxing Day following a 0-0 draw with West Brom.

Manchester City have been in irresistible goalscoring form this season, netting 53 times in the league, but West Brom provided stern resistance in a tense battle at The Hawthorns.

While the entertainment value may not have been high, there was plenty to admire tactically about the way Roy Hodgson had devised a rearguard effort, and his players executed the plan to perfection.

There was the occasional scare as City carved out chances and Mario Balotelli hit the crossbar, but Jerome Thomas also struck the woodwork for West Brom and Shane Long missed a glorious chance.

West Brom Foster, Jones, Olsson, McAuley, Shorey, Brunt, Scharner, Mulumbu (Dorrans 80), Thomas, Long, Odemwingie (Jara Reyes 88).
Subs Not Used: Fulop, Dawson, Thorne, Cox, Fortune.

Man City Hart, Zabaleta, Toure, Kompany, Clichy, Toure Yaya, Milner (Dzeko 82), Nasri (Barry 59), Silva, Aguero (Johnson 74), Balotelli.
Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Lescott, Savic, De Jong.

Booked: Toure Yaya.

Att: 25, 938

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire).

19:45 - Stoke (0) 0 Aston Villa (0) 0

The Monday night clash between Stoke City and Aston Villa at the Britannia Stadium finished goalless.

Marc Wilson nearly grabbed a second-half winner.

His header crashed off the crossbar in the 69th minute, the closest either side came to scoring.

Stoke Sorensen, Woodgate (Pennant 70), Huth, Shawcross, Wilson, Shotton, Palacios (Delap 67), Whitehead, Etherington, Jones, Walters.
Subs Not Used: Begovic, Diao, Upson, Wilkinson, Jerome.

Booked: Huth, Whitehead, Delap.

Aston Villa Guzan, Cuellar, Dunne, Collins, Warnock, Albrighton, Clark, Petrov, N'Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Heskey (Delfouneso 46).
Subs Not Used: Marshall, Ireland, Bannan, Weimann, Johnson, Gardner.

Att: 27,739

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear).

Tuesday 27th December

15:00 - Arsenal (5) v Wolverhampton (17)

Arsenal have taken the decision to knock their home date with Wolves back by a day in order to try and avoid the pandemonium which is expected to accompany a strike by London Underground drivers on Monday.

An extra day of preparation and recovery may not be the worst thing for both sides, as they attempt to make inroads at opposite ends of the table.

Arsenal are right back in the hunt for a UEFA Champions League spot, with 25 points taken from the last 30 on offer.

What Wolves would give right now to embark on a run like that.

Mick McCarthy's men have won just two of their last 15 games and are sat just one place and a solitary point above the bottom three.

Arsenal defender Johan Djourou is ahead of schedule in his return from a groin injury and could play against Wolves.

Kieran Gibbs (groin), Andre Santos (ankle), Carl Jenkinson (back) and Bacary Sagna (ankle) are unavailable, meaning Francis Coquelin, Ignasi Miquel or Sebastien Squillaci could make a rare start in defence.

Alex Song returns from suspension, but Jack Wilshere (ankle), Lukasz Fabianski (knee), Vito Mannone (shoulder), Abou Diaby (hamstring) and Ryo Miyaichi (ankle) are out.

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy will check on the availability of midfielder David Edwards and defender Jody Craddock.

Edwards has missed the past two games with a groin injury while Craddock played in a behind closed doors friendly against Crewe in midweek after a three-match absence with a hamstring problem.

Full-back Kevin Foley also appeared against Crewe - his first action since ankle surgery in October - but he is unlikely to be involved against the Gunners.

Last season: Arsenal 2 Wolverhampton 0, Wolverhampton 0 Arsenal 2

Last five league matches: Arsenal D W W L W; Wolverhampton L W L L D

Top scorers: Robin van Persie (Arsenal) 20; Steven Fletcher (Wolverhampton) 6

Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire).

17:00 - Swansea (14) v QPR (16)

Swansea have also found victories difficult to come by of late and need to start piecing together a sequence of positive results if they are to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle.

While they are yet to fully acclimatise themselves with the top-flight, Brendan Rodgers' side remain a tough nut to crack on home soil.

The Liberty Stadium has become something of a fortress in recent seasons and Queens Park Rangers will not be relishing a trip to South Wales - especially as they have tumbled into trouble themselves on the back of three straight defeats.

You can catch all of the action live on Sky Sports HD1.

Left-back Neil Taylor is Swansea's only major fitness doubt after he suffered a knee injury in the 1-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park.

Scans revealed there is no ligament damage, however, and he still has a chance of featuring against QPR.

Winger Nathan Dyer is also set to be available, after missing out with a foot problem against the Toffees.

QPR will again be without Anton Ferdinand despite the defender returning to light training on Friday after a hamstring injury.

Shaun Wright-Phillips went for a precautionary scan on a knee complaint on Friday morning, while fellow midfielder Kieron Dyer is out for the season after undergoing foot surgery.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Swansea D L W D L; QPR L D L L L

Top scorers: Danny Graham (Swansea) 5; Heidar Helguson (QPR) 7

Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).

19:30 - Norwich (9) v Tottenham (3) - Sky1

An action-packed 48 hours of Premier League action will come to an end at Carrow Road on Tuesday evening as Norwich entertain Tottenham.

The Canaries continue to impress upon their return to the big time and are currently perched inside the top half of the table.

They have given a good account of themselves against the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool, but have taken just a point from those outings.

Tottenham will be aware that they cannot afford to take their foot off the gas in Norfolk, but Harry Redknapp's side will be firm favourites to take the spoils having cemented themselves within the title-chasing pack.

Norwich have no fresh injury concerns although defender Kyle Naughton, on loan from Spurs, will miss the match through suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against Wolves in midweek.

Former Everton striker James Vaughan is on course for a return in the new year from his knee problem, along with centre-back Elliott Ward (knee).

On-loan Manchester United defender Ritchie de Laet (back) could return against Spurs.

Tottenham forward Rafael van der Vaart is likely to miss Tuesday's trip to Norwich after suffering a hamstring injury in the 1-1 draw against Chelsea on Thursday.

Spurs will give tests to Jermain Defoe and Younes Kaboul (both hamstring) while Ledley King is unlikely to play having completed two games in five days while Aaron Lennon (hamstring), Michael Dawson (Achilles) and Tom Huddlestone (ankle) are out.

Last season: No corresponding fixture

Last five league matches: Norwich W L W D D; Tottenham W W L W D

Top scorers: Grant Holt (Norwich) 7; Emmanuel Adebayor & Jermain Defoe (Tottenham) 9

Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland).

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