City march on as Chelsea and Arsenal drop points
The race for the Premier League title took another twist in the midweek games. On Tuesday night Arsenal, who were League leaders at the start of the round of fixtures, could not score the decisive goal against Southampton and had to settle for a point at St Marys.
The following night Chelsea had a similar problem against relegation threatened West Ham at Stamford Bridge, they too had to settle for a point as the game ended a frustrating 0-0 draw for the hosts.
The only team on the three main challengers to win was Manchester City who thrashed Spurs at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night. Danny Rose was controversially sent off for the home side as City won 5-1.
The result means that City go top of the league with 53 points, Arsenal are second with 52 and Chelsea are in 3rd with 50.
Derby day delight in the Midlands and Merseyside
It is rare that a local derby in the Premier League will be without drama and the midweek derbies in Merseyside and the Midlands did not disappoint. First up on Tuesday night was Everton’s trip to Anfield as both sides looked to reinforce their challenge for the Champions League.
No one could be blamed for thinking that the sides would be evenly matched given the teams close proximity in the table but on the night it was anything but close as Liverpool ran out 4-0 winners over their rivals. Daniel Sturridge, who only recently returned from injury, scored twice and could have claimed a hat trick had he not missed a second half penalty. Steven Gerrard and and league top scorer Luis Suarez completed the scoring as Brendan Rodgers men claimed the bragging rights in Liverpool.
Wednesday night’s Midlands derby was just as dramatic. West Brom took a shock 0-2 lead at Villa Park after just 9 minutes with goals from Chris Brunt and an own goal from Fabian Delph. But that was far from the end of the night’s scoring.
Villa hit back through Andreas Weimann with just 12 minutes on the clock and in the 24th minute the scores were level thanks to Leandro Bacuna. The first half scoring wasn’t finished yet though, Villa took the lead when Delph found the right net this time, and West Brom equalised before half time through Youssouf Mulumbu making the halftime score an astonishing 3-3.
Villa won the game with only goal of the second half when Christian Benteke scored from the penalty spot.
Mata shines on debut as Robin returns
The highest profile move of the January transfer window made his debut for Manchester United at Old Trafford on Tuesday night. Juan Mata’s £37m move to United from Chelsea has been a big talking point this month with many Reds hoping it will kick start the clubs stuttering season.
The Spaniard impressed on his debut against Cardiff as Untied comfortably won 2-0. Robin Van Persie, who started for the first time in 11 games due to injury, scored the first goal of the game before Ashley Young made the points safe in the second half.
Sunderland shine on
Sunderland moved out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 win against Stoke. Adam Johnson continued his extraordinary run of form and scored the games only goal.
Johnson has been a vital part of Sunderland’s recent form and has either scored or assisted each one of the sides last seven goals. Could the winger be staking a claim to a place in the England squad for this summers World Cup? Only time will tell.
Crystal Palace pull away from the drop zone
Tony Pulis’ side claimed another three points in their quest to stay in the Premier League this season with a 1-0 win at home to Hull City. Jason Puncheon scored the only goal in the first half as Hull had keeper Allan Mcgregor sent off.
When Pulis took over Palace on November 23rd the side were bottom the table, now the club sits a proud 14th in the table, five points from the drop zone. Palace now average 1.38 points a match compared to 0.58 which they averaged before his arrival.
In the last 13 games Palace now have seven clean sheets, conceding just 10 goals compared to the opening 10 games of the season during which they conceded 21 goals.