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Review of Match Day 22 in the Premiership

last updated Thursday 06th January 2011, 12:15 AM

A busy midweek programme saw plenty of movement in the lower half of the Premiership table, Fulham, Wolves and Birmingham were in and out of the drop zone leaving West Ham stuck at the bottom while at the top of the table Man Utd increased their lead.
Wednesday 5th January 2011
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Wolves stunned Chelsea at Molineux, Blackburn added to Roy Hodgson's woes with a 3-1 success over Liverpool, Newcastle spanked West Ham at St James' Park and Arsenal's eagerly-awaited clash with Manchester City ended in stalemate.

Everton took all three points against Tottenham at Goodison Park, Sunderland claimed a rare away success to push Aston Villa into the bottom three and Wigan hit back to take a point from their tough trip to Bolton.

Arsenal (0) 0 Man City (0) 0

Premiership results
Tuesday  4th January
20.00 Blackpool 1-2 Birmingham
20.00 Fulham 3-0 West Brom
20.00 Man Utd 2-1 Stoke
Wednesday 5th January
19.45 Arsenal 0-0 Man City
19.45 Aston Villa 0-1 Sunderland
19.45 Newcastle 5-0 West Ham
19.45 Wolves 0-1 Chelsea
20.00 Blackburn 3-1 Liverpool
20.00 Bolton 1-1 Wigan
20.00 Everton 2-1 Tottenham
Top 4 Top 5 Top 10 Bottom Half Relegation
Manchester City claimed an important point from their trip to Arsenal to stay ahead of the Gunners in the table after a 0-0 draw at Emirates Stadium.

Both teams ended an intriguing contest a man light after Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta were given their marching orders in the closing stages for an apparent contest to measure whose forehead was the largest, with the Arsenal man very much the aggressor.

Arsene Wenger's men hit the woodwork twice in the opening half through Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie but could not find a way beyond Joe Hart and his resolute defence.

Aston Villa (0) 0 Sunderland (0) 1

Phil Bardsley scored a rare but spectacular goal as Sunderland claimed only their second away win of the season with a 1-0 victory over 10-man Aston Villa.

Emile Heskey endured a miserable evening as he spurned a glorious opportunity to open the scoring in the first half before seeing red in the second after raising his hands to Black Cats midfielder Jordan Henderson.

And Steve Bruce's side took full advantage with Bardsley firing a searing strike beyond Brad Friedel after Villa's defence could only half clear a free kick, before Bolo Zenden was dismissed for a second booking.

Blackburn (2) 3 Liverpool (0) 1

Blackburn increased the ever-growing pressure on Liverpool boss Hodgson with a comfortable 3-1 success over the Reds at Ewood Park.

Martin Olsson fired Blackburn ahead in the 32nd minute when he was allowed to run in behind the visiting to defence to slot Benjani's pass under Pepe Reina.

And Rovers doubled their advantage soon after as the Zimbabwe striker turned scorer as he showed good strength to hold off Sotirios Kyrgiakos before turning to lash a powerful strike beyond a bemused Reina.

Benjani then made it 3-0 in the 57th minute as David Hoilett tricked his way past Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson to put it on a plate for the striker, with Steven Gerrard's reply little more than a consolation, especially as the skipper blazed a late penalty over the bar.

Bolton (0) 1 Wigan (0) 1
Premiership table
Pos Team Pld W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts
1 Man Utd 20 10 1 0 29 7 2 7 0 14 12 24 44
2 Man City 22 6 3 2 14 7 6 3 2 19 9 17 42
3 Arsenal 21 6 1 3 22 11 6 3 2 20 11 20 40
4 Tottenham 21 6 4 1 17 9 4 2 4 14 16 6 36
5 Chelsea 21 7 2 1 22 7 3 3 5 14 12 17 35
6 Sunderland 22 6 4 1 14 7 2 5 4 11 15 3 33
7 Bolton 22 5 5 1 22 13 2 4 5 12 16 5 30
8 Newcastle 21 4 3 4 25 14 4 1 5 9 17 3 28
9 Blackburn 22 5 3 3 15 10 3 1 7 14 25 -6 28
10 Stoke 21 5 2 4 14 12 3 1 6 12 14 0 27
11 Everton 21 3 4 3 12 13 2 6 3 11 12 -2 25
12 Liverpool 20 6 2 2 17 8 1 2 7 7 19 -3 25
13 Blackpool 19 2 2 3 12 13 5 2 5 15 19 -5 25
14 Fulham 21 3 5 3 14 14 1 5 4 8 10 -2 22
15 Birmingham 20 3 5 2 9 10 1 5 4 11 15 -5 22
16 West Brom 21 4 2 4 13 15 2 2 7 13 24 -13 22
17 Wolves 21 5 2 4 15 15 1 1 8 6 19 -13 21
18 Aston Villa 21 4 4 3 15 13 1 2 7 8 25 -15 21
19 Wigan 21 2 5 4 10 20 2 4 4 8 13 -15 21
20 West Ham 22 3 4 4 14 16 1 4 6 8 22 -16 20

Ronnie Stam grabbed a late leveller for Wigan as they came for a goal down to claim a point from their 1-1 draw at Bolton.

The Trotters took the lead at the start of the second half when Mark Davies' neat pass was accepted by Rodrigo Moreno to beat Chris Kirkland with a smart finish.

There was a worrying moment soon after when Kirkland clashed with Johan Elmander, with the unfortunate goalkeeper knocked out cold and having to be stretchered from the field, before Stam struck from close range 10 minutes from time after a sweeping Latics move. .

Everton (1) 2 Tottenham (1) 1

Louis Saha ended his Premier League scoring drought which stretched back to February as Everton defeated Tottenham 2-1 at Goodison Park.

The French striker found the back of the net with a low right-foot strike from outside the box which beat the dive of Heurelho Gomes after only three minutes, but the lead was short-lived as Alan Hutton crossed from the right and Peter Crouch's looping header was nodded home by Rafael van der Vaart.

David Moyes' men claimed only their third home win of the season as Saha's late strike was too hot to handle for Gomes and Seamus Coleman was on hand to head home the rebound.

Newcastle (3) 5 West Ham (0) 0

Leon Best helped himself to a hat-trick as Newcastle romped to a 5-0 victory over hapless West Ham at St James' Park.

The Magpies forged ahead in the 18th minute when Peter Lovenkrands lofted the ball over an out-of-position Hammers defence for Best to slot home, with the duo combining again to make it 2-0 six minutes before the interval.

And Newcastle were in dreamland on the stroke of half-time as more weak defending from Avram Grant's men presented Kevin Nolan with the opportunity to pass the ball beyond Rob Green from the edge of the box.

Best was then left in acres of space to accept Nolan's pass and complete his treble before Lovenkrands joined the party with a close-range header to bring West Ham's recent recovery to a shuddering halt.

Wolverhampton (1) 1 Chelsea (0) 0

Carlo Ancelotti admitted prior to Chelsea's trip to Wolves that he was lucky to still be in his job, and the Italian must hope owner Roman Abramovich continues to be in a forgiving mood after a shock 1-0 defeat.

Wolves stunned the fast-fading champions by taking the lead in the fifth minute when Stephen Hunt's corner from the right evaded everyone in the box before being deflected home by the hapless Jose Bosingwa from close range.

The Blues had chances to get back on terms, most notably for Salomon Kalou, but goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was equal to everything thrown at him, with Ancelotti's men now nine points adrift of leaders Manchester United having played a game more.

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Man Utd won at home to consolidate their place at the top of the table, Fulham won 3-0 at home to drag themselves out of the relegation zone as did Birmingham

Blackpool (0) 1 Birmingham (1) 2

Birmingham City lifted themselves out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 triumph over Blackpool in what proved a pulsating contest at Bloomfield Road.

Alex McLeish's side were the only Premier League team without a victory on away soil ahead of Tuesday's encounter but they put paid to that statistic thanks to Scott Dann's last-gasp strike.

The visitors took a deserved lead on 24 minutes when Alexander Hleb scored his first league goal in 79 matches after capitalising on a Stephen Crainey error.

Blackpool had got back on level terms against the run of play in the second-period when DJ Campbell converted Gary Taylor-Fletcher's knock-down on 68 minutes.

But Dann, who was teed up by centre-back partner Roger Johnson to score from close range in the 89th minute, gave Blues their first away success of the season to move them into 15th, two points above the drop zone.

It was a dramatic conclusion to a lively game which saw the woodwork rattled once by the hosts and twice by the visitors.

Fulham (1) 3 West Brom (0) 0

Fulham eased the pressure on Mark Hughes by winning 3-0 at home to West Brom to climb out of the bottom three.

Some Fulham fans called for the manager's head after their 3-1 home defeat by West Ham on Boxing Day and despite winning at Stoke, they slipped back into the relegation zone following Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Tottenham.

But Simon Davies opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time before delivering corners for Clint Dempsey and Brede Hangeland to head home, sealing Fulham's first win in six games at Craven Cottage and just their third home victory of the season.

Injury-hit West Brom were firmly in the game until Davies' opener but would rue a first-half miss by Jerome Thomas as they slumped to a fifth straight defeat.

Fulham are now up to 13th having leapfrogged the visitors on goal difference, leaving the Baggies just two points above the drop zone.

Man Utd (1) 2 Stoke (0) 1

Javier Hernandez and Nani were on target as Manchester United survived a Stoke fightback to go three points clear at the top of the Premier League.

The Red Devils dominated the opening period and Dimitar Berbatov went close before Hernandez slotted home from close range on 27 minutes from Nani's cross.

Ryan Giggs put a free-kick just over as United failed to extend the lead before half-time and were then made to pay as Dean Whitehead pulled the Potters level five minutes after the re-start when heading home Tuncay Sanli's cross.

But Nani won it with a sublime finish from the edge of the box on 62 minutes after playing a one-two with Hernandez.

The deserved win made it 20 games unbeaten in the league this season for United, who opened up a lead of three points over Manchester City and five on Arsenal ahead of their meeting at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

Source SkySports
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