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Premier League Review - 3rd January 2012

last updated Wednesday 04th January 2012, 2:51 PM

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Monday 2nd January 2012
15:00 Aston Villa 0-2 Swansea  
15:00 Blackburn 1-2 Stoke  
15:00 QPR 1-2 Norwich
15:00 Wolves 1-2 Chelsea
17:30 Fulham 2-1 Arsenal Sky1
Tuesday 3rd January 2012
19:45 Tottenham 1-0 West Brom
19:45 Wigan 1-4 Sunderland  
20:00 Man City 3-0 Liverpool Sky1
Wednesday 4th January 2012
20:00 Everton v Bolton  
20:00 Newcastle v Man Utd Sky1
The New Year Premier League programme continued into Tuesday with good results for squads contesting the top three places. Wednesday the programme concludes with two games one of which will determine if Man Utd's can hold on to Man City in top spot.

Tuesday 3rd January
Normal service was resumed for 10-man Manchester City as they once again put daylight between themselves and rivals Manchester United at the top of the Barclays Premier League table with victory over Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium.

Tottenham moved to within three points of second-placed Manchester United after Jermain Defoe finally broke through West Brom's stubborn resistance with a second-half winner at White Hart Lane.

Injury-hit Sunderland earned their first Barclays Premier League victory at the DW Stadium to ensure Martin O'Neill's golden start to life at the Black Cats continued.

Premiership table - 02:01:12
Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts
1 Man City 20 10 0 0 31 4 5 3 2 25 12 40 48
2 Man Utd 19 7 1 2 30 14 7 2 0 19 3 32 45
3 Tottenham 19 7 1 1 18 8 6 2 2 18 12 16 42
4 Chelsea 20 6 1 3 23 16 5 3 2 16 9 14 37
5 Arsenal 20 7 2 1 16 6 4 1 5 20 22 8 36
6 Liverpool 20 4 6 0 14 8 5 1 4 10 10 6 34
7 Newcastle 19 4 3 2 12 11 4 3 3 14 14 1 30
8 Stoke 20 4 4 2 14 11 4 1 5 8 20 -9 29
9 Norwich 20 4 3 3 17 15 2 4 4 13 20 -5 25
10 Sunderland 20 3 4 3 14 11 3 2 5 13 12 4 24
11 Everton 18 3 2 4 9 10 4 1 4 10 10 -1 24
12 Swansea 20 4 5 1 12 4 1 3 6 8 19 -3 23
13 Aston Villa 20 3 2 5 11 13 2 6 2 11 13 -4 23
14 Fulham 20 4 3 3 16 15 1 5 4 6 11 -4 23
15 West Brom 20 2 2 6 7 12 4 2 4 12 16 -9 22
16 Wolves 20 3 2 5 14 17 1 3 6 8 19 -14 17
17 QPR 20 1 4 5 9 17 3 1 6 10 18 -16 17
18 Wigan 20 1 4 5 10 20 2 2 6 8 21 -23 15
19 Blackburn 20 2 0 8 13 21 1 5 4 16 22 -14 14
20 Bolton 19 1 1 8 11 24 3 0 6 12 18 -19 13
Wednesday 4th January
Damage control will be Manchester United's objective when they visit Newcastle on Wednesday night stinging from their humiliation at home to Blackburn last weekend.

Rock-bottom Bolton will be looking to turn around the formbook when they travel to Everton in the Premier League. Owen Coyle's Wanderers appeared to have arrested their poor run with a victory at Blackburn but have since lost against Newcastle and drawn against Wolves.

Monday 2nd January
Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas woke up to tabloid headlines of a mutiny in West London but on their travels to the Midlands his Chelsea players demonstrated enough unity to record a hard-fought victory over Wolves.

In a story that could have been penned by a Hollywood screenwriter, Chelsea ended a four-match winless run courtesy of an 89th-minute winner from Frank Lampard.

At Craven Cottage, old habits retuned to Arsenal after they were left to rue the sending-off of Johan Djourou at Fulham in a a 2-1 defeat which rocks their top-four hopes.

Elsewhere Blackburn and Aston Villa suffered delayed hangovers following their New Year's Eve heroics, as they lost home games to Stoke and Swansea respectively.

In the battle of the Championship's top two from last season it was Norwich who further cemented their Premier League credentials with a late win at QPR, who spent the best part of an hour playing with ten men after Joey Barton was dismissed.

Tuesday 3rd January

19:45 - Tottenham (0) 1 West Brom (0) 0

Tottenham consolidated third place with a 1-0 win over West Brom courtesy of Jermain Defoe's 10th goal of the season.

Defoe's smart finish on the turn from Gareth Bale's low cross on 63 minutes eased the tension at White Hart Lane after the hosts had dominated the first hour without reward against the Baggies' spirited rearguard effort.

Rafael van der Vaart came the closest to breaking the deadlock before the break, forcing Ben Foster into a sharp save with a sweeping shot from 12 yards.

But Defoe's goal gave Spurs the victory that moved them to within three points of second-placed Manchester United and five points clear of Chelsea and six ahead of Arsenal with a game in hand on both of their London rivals.

Tottenham Friedel, Walker, Kaboul, Gallas (Bassong 67), Assou-Ekotto, Van der Vaart, Modric, Sandro (Livermore 30), Bale, Adebayor, Defoe, Livermore (Kranjcar 77).
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Pavlyuchenko, Giovani, Rose.

Goals: Defoe 63.

West Brom Foster, Jones, Dawson, McAuley, Shorey, Cox, Thorne (Tchoyi 79), Scharner, Dorrans (Morrison 65), Thomas (Jara Reyes 27), Odemwingie.
Subs Not Used: Fulop, Mantom, Tamas, Fortune.

Booked: Thomas, Jones, Dorrans, Scharner, Cox.

Att: 36, 062

Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).

19:45 - Wigan (0) 1 Sunderland (1) 4

Sunderland followed up Sunday's victory over Manchester City in style with a 4-1 win over struggling Wigan at the DW Stadium.

The Latics bossed the opening 45 minutes and will have wondered how they failed to take the lead when David Jones hit the post and Ben Watson repeated the dose almost immediately from the rebound.

But they were made to pay seconds before the interval, with Wigan complaining about the free-kick given which allowed Craig Gardner the chance to crash a swerving drive past Ali Al Habsi from 30 yards.

Former Derry City striker James McClean doubled the lead 10 minutes after the break at the second attempt after Al Habsi saved his first header.

Hugo Rodallega pulled one back on 62 minutes but a lightning break and cross from Nicklas Bendtner 11 minutes later allowed Stephane Sessegnon to restore Sunderland's two-goal lead.

And there was more for a vociferous away following to cheer with 10 minutes left as McClean's hard work and a mis-hit shot fell perfectly for David Vaughan to lash past Al Habsi from 20 yards and add gloss to a one-sided scoreline.

Wigan Al Habsi, Gohouri, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Stam (Sammon 58), Watson (Diame 86), McCarthy, Jones, Gomez, Crusat (Moses 39), Rodallega.
Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Di Santo, McArthur, Boyce.

Booked: Stam.

Goals: Rodallega 62.

Sunderland Mignolet, Gardner (Elmohamady 83), Kilgallon, O'Shea, Colback, McClean (Ji 89), Cattermole, Vaughan, Richardson (Meyler 67), Sessegnon, Bendtner.
Subs Not Used: Carson, Noble, Lynch, Laing.

Goals: Gardner 45, McClean 55, Sessegnon 73, Vaughan 80.

Att: 15, 871

Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).

19:45 - Man City (2) 3 Liverpool (0) 0 - Sky1

Manchester City went three points clear at the top of the Premier League after running out convincing 3-0 winners over a Liverpool side without the suspended Luis Suarez.

Despite the final scoreline, City were not at their best but a Jose Reina blunder handed them an opener, Yaya Toure added a second, and James Milner wrapped it up from the spot just after Gareth Barry was dismissed.

Liverpool had the first good chance when Jordan Henderson's first-time pass played in Stewart Downing but Joe Hart was out quickly to save well.

And City took the lead on 10 minutes when Sergio Aguero tried his luck from just outside the area and Reina somehow let the low shot sneak under his body.

Reina redeemed himself somewhat later in the half with a brilliant reflex save when Vincent Kompany met a corner at the near post.

But the respite was brief for the Reds, Toure meeting the subsequent David Silva corner with a header which glanced in off the crossbar to double the lead on 33 minutes.

Liverpool probed for openings after the break and their cause was helped when Barry picked up a second yellow for blocking Daniel Agger's run.

But the incident instead sparked City and Toure went down under a Martin Skrtel challenge moments later after charging into the box, prompting Andre Marriner to point to the spot.

Milner smashed the penalty into the top corner for a 75th-minute clincher and City almost went on to add a fourth, substitute Adam Johnson hitting the post with a curling effort.

City are three points clear of Manchester United, who play their game in hand against Newcastle at the Sports Direct Arena on Wednesday night.

Man City Hart, Richards, Kompany, Toure, Clichy, Toure Yaya, Barry, Aguero (Johnson 71), Silva (Lescott 76), Milner, Dzeko.
Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Savic, De Jong.

Sent Off: Barry (73).

Booked: Barry.

Goals: Aguero 10, Toure Yaya 33, Milner 75 pen.

Liverpool Reina, Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Jose Enrique, Adam (Gerrard 57), Kuyt (Bellamy 57), Henderson, Spearing (Maxi 76), Downing, Carroll.
Subs Not Used: Doni, Carragher, Shelvey, Kelly.

Booked: Johnson.

Att: 47, 131

Ref: Mike Jones (Cheshire).

Wednesday 4th January 2012

20:00 - Everton v Bolton

Rock-bottom Bolton will be looking to turn around the formbook when they travel to Everton in the Premier League.

Owen Coyle's Wanderers appeared to have arrested their poor run with a victory at Blackburn but have since lost against Newcastle and drawn against Wolves.

A trip to Goodison Park will be a tough task given the Toffees' current form, with David Moyes' side unbeaten in four outings.

But Bolton desperately need a result and a victory on Merseyside would see them go just one point off safety.

Everton manager Moyes will be able to call on Landon Donovan for Wednesday night's clash.

It was announced in December that Donovan was rejoining the Toffees on a two-month loan deal from Los Angeles Galaxy and the United States international is now available for selection.

Moyes, who was without Marouane Fellaini (abductor muscle), Seamus Coleman (thigh) and Royston Drenthe (unwell) for Sunday's 1-0 win at West Brom, says he has "one or two knocks and a bit of illness" in the squad to contend with.

Moyes may give Victor Anichebe his first start since August after the striker scored the late winner at Albion with a smart finish on the turn.

Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen is a major injury doubt for the Barclays Premier League trip to Everton.

Jaaskelainen picked up a thigh problem in the 1-1 draw with Wolves on New Year's Eve and will be replaced by Adam Bogdan in the starting line-up if he fails to recover in time.

Midfielder Darren Pratley missed the contest on Saturday due to illness but is available again, while manager Owen Coyle says defender Gary Cahill - who skippered the Trotters against Wolves despite a fee for him having been agreed with Chelsea - is "absolutely" a part of his plans for the clash at Goodison Park as things stand.

Everton (from): Howard, Hibbert, Distin, Jagielka, Baines, Drenthe, Heitinga, Rodwell, Neville, Osman, Cahill, Saha, Mucha, Bilyaletdinov, Vellios, Barkley, Stracqualursi, McFadden, Gueye, Anichebe, Donovan.

Bolton (from): Jaaskelainen, Wheater, Boyata, Cahill, Knight, Eagles, Robinson, Muamba, Petrov, K Davies, Klasnic, Tuncay, Bogdan, M Davies, Pratley, Ngog, Blake, Reo-Coker, Steinsson, Ricketts, Riley.

20:00 - Newcastle v Man Utd

Damage control will be Manchester United's objective when they visit Newcastle on Wednesday night stinging from their humiliation at home to Blackburn last weekend.

Sir Alex Ferguson's men saw their Premier League title bid take a surprise blow on New Year's Eve when they were beaten 3-2 at Old Trafford by struggling Rovers.

That slip allowed local rivals Manchester City to reinstate their lead at the top of the table after they thrashed Liverpool 3-0 on Tuesday night.

The Red Devils could close the gap again with the right result on Tyneside and will be boosted by the return of talismanic striker Wayne Rooney, who was axed for the Blackburn defeat along with Darren Gibson after reportedly angering Ferguson by his performance in training after a Boxing Day night out.

The Magpies will also be keen to steady their campaign after losing 3-1 at Liverpool last time out, leaving them with just one win from eight encounters.

After a storming start to the season the Toon's season has hit a definite rough patch, with injuries and tough fixtures prompting their form to slide.

Despite losing five of their last eight, Alan Pardew's men remain a respectable seventh in the standings and could cut the gap on nearest rivals Liverpool to just a point with a giant-killing at St James' Park.

Newcastle have not beaten the visitors on home turf since September 2001, but will be hoping to capitalize on a wounded Red Devils side and take something from the clash.

Newcastle (from): Krul, Elliot, Harper, Simpson, R Taylor, Santon, Ferguson, Perch, Coloccini, Williamson, Kadar, Tiote, Cabaye, Obertan, Ben Arfa, Gutierrez, Sammy Ameobi, Gosling, Abeid, Vuckic, Ba, Best, Shola Ameobi.

Manchester United (from): De Gea, Lindegaard, Amos, Rafael, Ferdinand, Smalling, Evra, Jones, Fryers, Cole, Carrick, Valencia, Park, Gibson, Anderson, Nani, Giggs, Rooney, Welbeck, Berbatov, Hernandez, Diouf, Keane.

Monday 2nd January

15:00 - Aston Villa (0) 0 Swansea (1) 2

Aston Villa were another club to suffer what looked to be a New Year's hangover as they followed their heroics against Chelsea with an insipid home defeat to Swansea.

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp was unstinting in his praise for Brendan Rodgers' side after escaping from the Liberty Stadium at the weekend with a point and on this showing it's hard to disagree with the Spurs chief.

That said, for all for Swansea's trademark easy-on-the-eye neat football, it was Villa who were the architects on their own downfall when in just the fourth minute Stephen Warnock got it horribly wrong with a short, blind back pass that was intercepted by Nathan Dyer, who made inroads before firing across Brad Guzan for a gifted opener.

Villa went out for the second half with a flea in their ear but whatever Alex McLeish said at the interval failed to have the desired effect, as they were caught cold just a couple of minutes after the restart.

When Guzan limply cleared upfield Wayne Routledge easily stole possession and made for Villa's box. From his cutback Danny Graham rattled the post but Routledge had continued his run into the area to angle a lovely effort into the far corner for what was, remarkably, his first-ever Premier League goal.

Aston Villa Guzan, Cuellar (Hutton 55), Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Ireland (Albrighton 68), Petrov, Clark (Bannan 85), N'Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Bent.
Subs Not Used: Marshall, Heskey, Weimann, Gardner.

Booked: Collins, Dunne.

Swansea Vorm, Rangel, Caulker, Williams, Taylor, Britton, Agustien, Orlandi (Allen 58), Dyer (Sinclair 78), Graham, Routledge.
Subs Not Used: Tremmel, Monk, Lita, Moore, Richards.

Booked: Caulker, Agustien, Orlandi, Vorm.

Goals: Dyer 4, Routledge 47.

Att: 35, 642

Ref: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire).

15:00 - Blackburn (0) 1 Stoke (2) 2

For Blackburn it was a case of 'after the Lord Mayor's show' as they followed up their shock success at Old Trafford with a home defeat to Stoke.

Steve Kean was afforded a warmer than usual reception upon his arrival at Ewood Park but the mood soon soured when just past the quarter of an hour mark Stoke striker Peter Crouch held off the attentions of Chris Samba, from Dean Whitehead's pass, to lash past Blackburn keeper Mark Bunn.

The beanpole striker loves playing against Blackburn and before half-time had added his second, an eighth in seven starts against Rovers, when after taking down Matthew Etherington's pinpoint left wing delivery on his knee he allowed the ball to bounce once before smartly firing home.

Blackburn's defending was as dire as it was dogged against Manchester United just 48 hours earlier.

With 20 minutes to go Blackburn substitute David Goodwillie threatened to inspire a comeback when he scrambled home to reduce the deficit but while they showed no little endeavour, the home side lacked the necessary guile to breach Stoke for a second time.

Blackburn Bunn, Lowe, Samba, Hanley, Henley (Givet 71), Nzonzi, Formica, Dunn (Rochina 73), Petrovic (Goodwillie 59), Pedersen, Yakubu.
Subs Not Used: Kean, Morris, Vukcevic, Blackman.

Booked: Hanley, Rochina.

Goals: Goodwillie 69.

Stoke Sorensen, Woodgate, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson, Shotton, Whitehead (Diao 87), Whelan (Delap 82), Etherington (Jerome 80), Crouch, Walters.
Subs Not Used: Begovic, Jones, Pennant, Upson.

Booked: Huth.

Goals: Crouch 17, Crouch 45.

Att: 20, 615

Ref: Lee Mason (Lancashire).

15:00 - QPR (1) 1 Norwich (1) 2

At Loftus Road it was all about Barton. Queens Park Rangers' agent provocateur was toasted by all in blue and white when on 11 minutes he produced a lovely controlled volley from Clint Hill's cross on the overlap to open the scoring, but that was to be the highlight of the proverbial mixed afternoon.

Before half-time he was sat in the home side's dressing room, rueing his lot, after he was adjudged to have put his forehead into the face of Bradley Johnson after an off-the-ball altercation with the Norwich man.

QPR were furious and even more so when before half-time Anthony Pilkington scored a beauty of his own, his fifth of the season, to restore parity. Pilkington was playing League One football last season but has quickly adapted to life in the top flight and after taking possession 30 yards from goal, he showed all his ability with an arching drive that left Paddy Kenny clutching thin air.

After the break the enigma that is QPR playmaker Adel Taarabt rattled the crossbar with a 25-yard free-kick before Steve Morison does what he does best in being in the right place at the right time, to score his seventh of the season.

Pilkington fired in a deep cross Elliott Bennett could not quite control but from seven yards the Welshman made no mistake when the ball fell fortuitously into his path.

QPR Kenny, Young, Ferdinand, Gabbidon, Hill, Derry, Faurlin, Barton, Taarabt (Campbell 85), Mackie (Wright-Phillips 46), Helguson (Macheda 80).
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Orr, Connolly, Hulse.

Sent Off: Barton (36).

Booked: Helguson, Wright-Phillips.

Goals: Barton 11.

Norwich Ruddy, Martin, Whitbread, Ayala, Drury (Fox 66), Bennett, Johnson, Lappin (Hoolahan 66), Pilkington, Holt (Morison 66), Jackson.
Subs Not Used: Rudd, Surman, Wilbraham, Naughton.

Booked: Ayala.

Goals: Pilkington 42, Morison 83.

Att: 18, 033

Ref: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire).

15:00 - Wolves (0) 1 Chelsea (0) 2

Chelsea's performance at Molineux was more perfunctory that perfect but it was light years away from the aberration they served up on New Year's Eve against Aston Villa.

A game in which Wolves surprisingly opted to leave out top goalscorer Steven Fletcher, Matt Jarvis and Stephen Hunt was for the most part a nip and tuck affair, with both sides guilty of profligacy in front of goal prior to Ramires' 54th-minute opener.

Juan Mata showed a surprising lack of composure after being put through by a splendid pass from the recalled Fernando Torres early on, while Roger Johnson headed against the outside of a post from a Wolves set-piece.

Mata's lofted corner early in the second half was fairly routine but when Wolves failed to clear, Ramires showed quick feet in swivelling before lashing beyond Wayne Hennessey with a rising finish from around ten yards. In what looked to be an orchestrated show of togetherness Chelsea's players joined Villas-Boas in celebration.

Smiles turned to scowls, though, six minutes from time when Wolves' twin substitutes Jarvis and Fletcher combined to tee-up Stephen Ward for a well-crafted equaliser.

Earlier in the game Lampard was perhaps fortunate to stay on the field after a late tack on Adam Hammill earned him only a caution, but it was at the death he was to write the headlines.

Torres' cute ball fed in a buccaneering Cole on the overlap and from his drilled cross from the byline, Lampard timed his run from deep perfectly to nudge the ball home. On this occasion there was no impromptu celebration with Villas-Boas.

Wolverhampton Hennessey, Stearman, Johnson, Berra, Ward, Forde (Jarvis 46), Frimpong (Fletcher 61), Henry, Hammill, Edwards (Foley 76), Doyle.
Subs Not Used: De Vries, Elokobi, Ebanks-Blake, Hunt.

Booked: Hammill, Henry, Doyle.

Goals: Ward 84.

Chelsea Cech, Bosingwa, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Romeu, Meireles, Lampard, Mata (McEachran 83), Torres.
Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Lukaku, Ferreira, Hutchinson, Bertrand, Chalobah.

Booked: Lampard, Romeu.

Goals: Ramires 54, Lampard 89.

Att: 27, 289

Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).

15:00 - Fulham (0) 2 Arsenal (1) 1

Arsenal, when leading London derby rivals Fulham going into the final six minutes at Craven Cottage, looked set to add to the murmurs which had suggested they could sneak back into the title race.

Laurent Koscielny's 21st minute goal seemed set to move Arsene Wenger's team back above Chelsea in fourth place and leave them level on points with other capital rivals Tottenham.

But Martin Jol's Fulham, who were denied a win during injury time against Norwich on New Year's Eve, this time endured better fortune in what was a gripping end-to-end match and were rewarded before the final whistle.

Djourou had received a first yellow card in the 63rd minute for a foul on Steve Sidwell and the defender then collected his second booking, and a suspension which Wenger could do without amid an injury crisis at the back, in the 78th minute.

Fulham promptly made the extra man count and Arsenal resembled the side which have in the past been accused of a lack of strength in depth combined with a naivety, as first Sidwell equalised and then, in time added on, Bobby Zamora returned to strike the winner and leave Wenger fuming.

Fulham Stockdale, Kelly, Hangeland, Senderos, John Arne Riise, Dembele, Murphy (Frei 69), Sidwell, Ruiz, Zamora, Dempsey.
Subs Not Used: Etheridge, Baird, Orlando Sa, Gecov, Duff, Hughes.

Goals: Sidwell 85, Zamora 90.

Arsenal Szczesny, Djourou, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Coquelin, Song, Arteta, Walcott (Rosicky 65), Ramsey (Squillaci 81), Gervinho (Benayoun 74), van Persie.
Subs Not Used: Almunia, Arshavin, Chamakh, Miquel.

Sent Off: Djourou (78).

Booked: Djourou.

Goals: Koscielny 21.

Att: 25, 700

Ref: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).

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