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Premier League Review ~ 31st March ~ 2nd April 2012

last updated Tuesday 03rd April 2012, 9:26 PM

Premiership Games
Saturday 31st March 2012
15:00 Aston Villa 2-4 Chelsea  
15:00 Everton 2-0 West Brom  
15:00 Fulham 2-1 Norwich  
15:00 Man City 3-3 Sunderland Espn
15:00 QPR 2-1 Arsenal  
15:00 Wigan 2-0 Stoke  
15:00 Wolves 2-3 Bolton
Sunday 1st April 2012
13:30 Newcastle 2-0 Liverpool Sky1
16:00 Tottenham 3-1 Swansea Sky1
Monday 2nd April 2012
20:00 Blackburn 0-2 Man Utd Sky1
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Man Utd ended the weekend the happiest of the teams at the top. The Manchester Reds were able to overcome a dedicated Blackburn side with two late goals. Manchester City however were unable to maintain their record for winning home games with two late goals needed to give them a draw against Sunderland. United are now five points clear of City with seven games to go.

Arsenal were also unable to maintain their winning run and went down 2-1 at relegation strugglers QPR. Tottenham closed the gap on Arsenal to one goal setting up an exciting tussle for third place.

Chelsea continued their rather belated improvement in form with a 4-2 away win at Aston Villa however this still leaves them five points below Tottenham in fourth place.

Newcastle beat Liverpool 2-0 at St James' with Liverpool's problems increased by Jose Reina getting a straight red card. The Toon are now level on 53 points with Chelsea in fifth spot.

Fulham managed to return to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Norwich at Craven Cottage.

Bottom placed Wolves seem to be completely out of luck and suffered a 3-2 home defeat by Bolton while Wigan managed another win this time 2-0 at home to Stoke. It now means that with Wolves need ing a miracle the other two relegation spots are between Bolton, QPR, Blackburn and Wigan with goal average perhaps being the decider.

Saturday  31st March 2012

15:00 - Aston Villa (0) 2 Chelsea (1) 4

It was not all doom and gloom for Italian managers though as Roberto Di Matteo claimed not just three points from Chelsea's trip to Aston Villa but also prised a goal from Fernando Torres, his first in the Premier League since September.

It proved to be an emotional day for all concerned at Villa Park as Stiliyan Petrov was in attendance to hear heartfelt applause and support upon learning he had acute leukaemia.

His team-mates showed plenty of fight to draw level after falling two behind, as second half goals from James Collins and Eric Lichaj had the home support savouring the most unlikely of points with ten minutes left.

It would prove to be a false dawn as Branislav Ivanovic's second of the afternoon preceded Torres' coup de grace at the close.

Aston Villa Given, Lichaj, Collins, Baker, Warnock, Gardner, Herd (Albrighton 70), Agbonlahor, Ireland, Bannan, Weimann (Heskey 82).
Subs Not Used: Guzan, Johnson, Williams, Carruthers, Grealish.

Booked: Warnock.

Goals: Collins 77,Lichaj 80 Chelsea Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz (Cahill 45), Terry, Cole, Mikel, Lampard, Sturridge, Mata (Malouda 74), Kalou (Ramires 59), Torres.
Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Essien, Bosingwa, Bertrand.

Goals: Sturridge 9, Ivanovic 51, Ivanovic 83, Torres 90 Att: 34, 740

Ref: Lee Mason (Lancashire).

15:00 - Everton (1) 2 West Brom (0) 0

Everton continue to warm up for their all-Merseyside FA Cup semi-final in some style as they eased to a 2-0 victory over West Brom at Goodison Park, courtesy of Gareth McAuley's own goal and Victor Anichebe's angled strike.

It was to be a forgettable afternoon all-round for Roy Hodgson's side, whose frustrations boiled over in the second half when Ben Foster and Peter Odemwingie had to be separated by team-mates in an incident that did little to alleviate their manager's dark mood.

Everton Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Heitinga, Baines, Osman (Gueye 46), Gibson, Fellaini, Pienaar, Cahill (Anichebe 62), Jelavic (McFadden 87).
Subs Not Used: Mucha, Stracqualursi, Distin, Neville.

Booked: Jelavic, Cahill.

Goals: McAuley og 18, Anichebe 68.

West Brom Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Brunt (Cox 77), Andrews, Scharner (Dorrans 67), Tchoyi (Fortune 73), Long, Odemwingie.
Subs Not Used: Daniels, Shorey, Mulumbu, Dawson.

Booked: Olsson.

Att: 32, 051

Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).

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

Fulham got off to flyer at Craven Cottage as Clint Dempsey and Damien Duff, via an excellent clipped finish, both etched their names onto the scoresheet against a caught cold Norwich.

Martin Jol's Cottagers are playing some easy of the eye stuff at home these days but were made to work for their win when with 13 minutes left Aaron Wilbraham reduced the arrears.

Fulham Schwarzer, Kelly, Hangeland, Hughes, John Arne Riise, Murphy (Diarra 71), Dembele, Ruiz (Etuhu 82), Dempsey, Duff, Pogrebnyak (Kacaniklic 35).
Subs Not Used: Stockdale, Senderos, Frei, Trotta.

Booked: Etuhu.

Goals: Dempsey 2, Duff 13.

Norwich Ruddy, Ward, Whitbread (Jackson 46), Ryan Bennett, Martin, Naughton, Fox (Elliott Bennett 84), Surman, Howson, Hoolahan, Morison (Wilbraham 68).
Subs Not Used: Steer, Drury, Johnson, Crofts.

Booked: Ward, Fox.

Goals: Wilbraham 77.

Att: 25, 700

Ref: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire).

15:00 - Man City (1) 3 Sunderland (2) 3  

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany insists nerves are not getting to his team-mates but evidence taken from the Etihad on Saturday points to the contrary.

Prior to the visit of Martin O'Neill's resurgent Sunderland the would be champions had clocked up 20 successive home victories.

Saturday's game will not be remembered for City's failure to match Liverpool's record of 1971-72 though, but rather as the day their title tilt began to unravel publically.

From the moment Sebastian Larsson was given acres of room to guide a daisy-cutter past Joe Hart on the half hour mark there was a sense all was not quite right at fortress Eastlands.

Mario Balotelli restored parity from the penalty spot after Edin Dzeko had taken a tumble in the box, but relief at the Italian's leveller proved to be short-lived as Nicklas Bendtner's towering header restored Sunderland's lead before half-time.

It was an advantage extended by Larsson's second after the interval as Roberto Mancini looked on ashen faced with the appearance of a man who had the winning lottery ticket in his suit jacket, only for his wife to put it in the washer.

His mood barely altered when Balotelli, who earlier in the half had petulantly jostled with Aleksander Kolarov over who would take a free-kick, scored a scorching second with five minutes remaining.

Kolarov showed why he rates his left foot so highly in netting a jackhammer of a strike a minute later to level but at the season's close his intervention could well prove to be too little, too late.

Man City Hart, Richards (Johnson 46), Toure, Kompany, Kolarov, Milner (Pizarro 81), De Jong, Toure Yaya, Silva (Tevez 58), Balotelli, Dzeko.
Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Clichy, Barry, Zabaleta.

Booked: De Jong.

Goals: Balotelli pen 43, 85, Kolarov 86.

Sunderland Mignolet, Bardsley, Turner, Kilgallon (Kyrgiakos 81), Colback, Larsson, Gardner, Cattermole (Vaughan 90), McClean, Sessegnon, Bendtner.
Subs Not Used: Westwood, Campbell, Richardson, Ji, Meyler.

Booked: Gardner.

Goals: Larsson 31, Bendtner 45, Larsson 55.

Att: 47007

Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).

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

Arsenal made the short trip across the capital to Loftus Road in optimum spirits on the back of seven successive victories but were well below their best in falling to defeat at QPR.

The Hoops were desperate for a big result to kick-start Mark Hughes' tenure and they achieved just that largely thanks to Adel Taarabt.

The Moroccan playmaker has been one of the disappointments of the season after ripping up the Championship last term but the magic was back on Saturday as he gave his side the lead with a cracker.

When Theo Walcott's 10th of the season got Arsenal back on terms it was expected Arsene Wenger's side would kick-on and win but credit to the Hoops for digging deep as Samba Diakite rifled in a fine second half winner.

QPR Kenny, Onuoha, Ferdinand, Hill, Taiwo, Barton, Diakite, Derry, Taarabt, Mackie, Zamora (Wright-Phillips 90).
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Gabbidon, Campbell, Bothroyd, Buzsaky, Young.

Booked: Taarabt, Mackie, Ferdinand, Barton, Diakite.

Goals: Taarabt 22, Diakite 66.

Arsenal Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs (Chamakh 81), Song, Arteta (Oxlade-Chamberlain 81), Ramsey (Gervinho 69), Walcott, Rosicky, van Persie.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Andre Santos, Djourou, Benayoun.

Booked: Vermaelen, Song.

Goals: Walcott 37.

Att: 18, 033

Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).

15:00 - Wigan (0) 2 Stoke (0) 0

Given the difficult nature of their remaining fixtures Wigan will have earmarked a home game with Stoke City as a must-win encounter.

Roberto Martinez insists he will guide his side to safety and going off Saturday's showing, when coupled with last week's win at Anfield, he might just be as good as his word.

Antolin Alcaraz's bullet of a header gave Wigan a second half advantage they never really looked like surrendering.

Gloss was put on a polished enough performance when Victor Moses capitalised on Andy Wilkinson's aberration of a touch in stoppage time.

Wigan Al Habsi, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa, Boyce, McCarthy, McArthur, Beausejour (Sammon 87), Moses, Di Santo (Gomez 81), Maloney (Ben Watson 70).
Subs Not Used: Kirkland, Crusat, Jones, Stam.

Booked: Beausejour, Boyce.

Goals: Alcaraz 54, Moses 90.

Stoke Begovic, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson, Pennant (Palacios 65), Whitehead, Whelan, Etherington (Jerome 49), Crouch, Walters (Fuller 65).
Subs Not Used: Sorensen, Jones, Upson, Shotton.

Booked: Wilson, Whelan, Whitehead, Wilkinson.

Att: 19, 786

Ref: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear).

15:00 - Wolverhampton (0) 2 Bolton (0) 3

Bolton gave their survival hopes a massive shot in the arm at Wolves as they left Molineux with a 3-2 victory that barring a minor miracle will go a long way to sending Terry Connor's side down.

In truth the home side were guilty of some horrendous profligacy long before Michael Kightly scored a cracking opener and missed opportunities returned to haunt them, as Bolton got their act together to forge ahead late on as Martin Petrov (who dedicated his goal to friend and namesake Stiliyan), Marcos Alonso and Kevin Davies, a substitute, all got in on the act.

Matt Jarvis' consolation two minutes from time provided scant relief for a beleaguered Connor and his players, who continued the theme of team-mates scrapping as Roger Johnson and Wayne Hennessey had an unsightly tete-a-tete of their own.

Wolverhampton Hennessey, Stearman, Johnson, Bassong, Ward, Kightly, Davis (Henry 87), Edwards (Milijas 87), Jarvis, Ebanks-Blake (Doyle 81), Fletcher.
Subs Not Used: De Vries, Hunt, Berra, Zubar.

Booked: Stearman.

Goals: Kightly 53, Jarvis 88.

Bolton Bogdan, Ricketts, Ream, Wheater, Alonso, Miyaichi (Eagles 77), Mark Davies, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Klasnic (Kevin Davies 70), Ngog (Knight 90).
Subs Not Used: Jaaskelainen, Boyata, Sordell, Vela.

Booked: Klasnic.

Goals: Petrov pen 63, Alonso 80, K Davies 84.

Att: 25, 215

Ref: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire).

Sunday 1st April 2012

13:30 - Newcastle (1) 2 Liverpool (0) 0

On Sunday it was a case of never raining but pouring for Liverpool.

Kenny Dalglish's side arrived at St James' Park badly out of sorts and left with nothing more than a sixth defeat in seven Premier League games.

It was supposed to be all about a former Newcastle number nine but as it transpired all the Toon fans wanted to talk about on full-time was the shirt's current incumbent.

On Friday it was Africa Day at Newcastle's training ground and having been fed a healthy portion of curried goat, Papiss Cisse rewarded the warmth his new club have afforded him with a devastating display.

If he keeps scoring at his current rate Cisse will turn out to be the buy of the season, let alone January, as his brilliantly taken brace moved Newcastle to within five points of third placed Tottenham.

Andy Carroll's afternoon was a polar opposite to his replacement on Tyneside.

Booked for diving when it looked easier to score in the first half, Carroll was replaced to a crescendo of boos with ten minutes left, but not before informing Dalglish of what he thought of his call in the bluntest of terms.

Liverpool's woes were exacerbated when Jose Reina endured a rush of blood to the head as he took umbrage at James Perch's petty kick-out to put his face into that of the Newcastle man.

A deserved red card but Perch hardly covered himself in glory with theatrics that would have had Bonnie Langford cooing 'that's a bit much darling'.

For Newcastle it's onwards and upwards, for Liverpool it would seem their path is less clear.

Newcastle Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Perch, Gutierrez, Guthrie (Gosling 65), Tiote, Cabaye, Ben Arfa (Santon 90), Cisse (Shola Ameobi 74), Ba.
Subs Not Used: Elliot, Ryan Taylor, Vuckic, Ferguson.

Booked: Cisse, Tiote, Perch.

Goals: Cisse 19, Cisse 59.

Liverpool Reina, Flanagan, Carragher, Skrtel, Jose Enrique, Shelvey (Downing 75), Spearing, Gerrard, Suarez, Carroll (Kuyt 79), Bellamy (Henderson 79).
Subs Not Used: Doni, Aurelio, Maxi, Coates.

Sent Off: Reina (82).

Booked: Carroll, Shelvey, Flanagan.

Att: 52,363

Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

16:00 - Tottenham (1) 3 Swansea (0) 1

Swansea's trip to the capital could have been billed as Tottenham versus Tottenham-lite, or more cruelly Brendan Rodgers' audition, but whatever it was it was thrilling entertainment.

With both sides seemingly of the opinion tactics are for squares they went at each other from the off, trading blows at will but with the finesse of a ballet dancer.

There was much to admire from both sides but the game was perhaps best summed up by Harry Redknapp: "They play, they pass the ball, they take risks.

They've just come up against a better team.

" When Gylfi Sigurdsson beat Brad Friedel with half an hour left to level things up it looked as though Swansea might just escape from the capital with a point but Redknapp was right, when it came to the crunch, class came to the fore as Emmanuel Adebayor's double capped off a perfect weekend for the white side of North London.

Tottenham Friedel, Walker, Gallas, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto (Rose 88), Sandro (Lennon 71), Parker, Modric, Van der Vaart (Livermore 85), Adebayor, Bale.
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Saha, Defoe, Nelsen.

Goals: Van der Vaart 19, Adebayor 73, Adebayor 86.

Swansea Vorm, Rangel, Monk, Williams, Taylor, Routledge (Dyer 71), Britton, Sigurdsson, Allen (Gower 90), Sinclair, Graham (Moore 79).
Subs Not Used: Tremmel, Tate, McEachran, Lita.

Goals: Sigurdsson 59.

Att: 36,174

Ref: Andre Marriner (W Midlands).

Monday 2nd April 2012

20:00 - Blackburn (0) 0 Man Utd (0) 2

Manchester United stretched their lead at the top of the Premier League to five points after late goals from Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young downed Blackburn 2-0 at Ewood Park.

Relegation-threatened Rovers contained Sir Alex Ferguson's men for the majority of Monday night's clash but came undone in the dying minutes as the title-chasers proved too strong.

Valencia picked up a Rafael pass and curled home a stunning right-footed shot to break the deadlock, leaving Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson with no chance.

He then played creator five minutes from time as he fed Ashley Young, who skilfully tucked a second just inside the post.

United's local rivals Manchester City now have a mountain to climb if they are to beat the Red Devils to the title

Blackburn Robinson, Lowe, Dann, Grant Hanley, Martin Olsson, Orr, Pedersen, Nzonzi, Marcus Olsson, Hoilett, Yakubu.
Subs Not Used: Bunn, Dunn, Modeste, Formica, Petrovic, Rochina, Henley.

Booked: Grant Hanley.

Man Utd De Gea, Rafael Da Silva, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra, Carrick, Scholes (Young 79), Jones (Giggs 63), Valencia, Hernandez (Welbeck 61), Rooney.
Subs Not Used: Amos, Smalling, Park, Pogba.

Booked: Valencia.

Goals: Valencia 81, Young 86.

Att: 26, 532

Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

Source Sporting Life/SkySports
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