Liverpool stay top as Palace, Fulham & West Brom all win



Manchester city came through a nervous first half to comfortably beat Southampton in the early kick off in the Premier League. The hosts took the lead just three minutes in, Fonte fouled Dzeko in the area and dispute minimal contact, the penalty was awarded. Yaya Toure cooled converted to put City 1 up. Midway through the first half a tremendously sour moment in the game when Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez looked to have twisted a knee, leaving his hopes of going to the World Cup in massive doubt. Southampton were level eight minutes before the break when Cork was brought down in the box, Lambert did the rest from the spot making it thirty four successful spot kicks for him in a Southampton shirt. Just when it looked like the sides would go into break level, City struck twice in quick succession to swing the game their way. The first had an element of luck about it, Silva was in an offside position when he rolled in Nasri who slotted away, the second certainly didn’t, Kolarov’s fantastic cross was headed home by Dzeko who gave his side a 3-1 half time lead. The two quick goals really took the stuffing out of Southampton and never really looked like getting back into the game, Jovetic turned home Navas’s cross to complete the scoring ten minutes from time.


Hugo Rodallega’s late header handed Fulham their first Premier League away win of 2014 and kept their slight chances of survival alive. In a simply must win game for the Cottagers, they didn’t disappoint. A real resolute and determined performance must have been very pleasing for the three thousand travelling away supporters at Villa Park. After a quiet first half the Whites took the lead on the hour when Richardson’s thunderbolt left Guzan with no chance after Dejagah’s lay off. Fulham’s advantage lasted a mere nine minutes after Holt headed in from a corner making it seventy four goals conceded this season. Fulham should have retaken the lead when the on loan Holtby rounded Guzan, he seemingly had the easy task of tapping into the empty net, Lowton had different ideas when a superb clearance of the line kept the scores level. Just when it appeared like the spoils were going to be shared, Rodallega popped up, climbing highest from Holtby’s cross to send the away fans into ecstasy.


Crystal Palace convincingly swept Cardiff aside to move seven points away from the drop zone and left the hosts requiring a miracle to avoid relegation. After a fantastic performance and result last weekend against Chelsea, the Eagles were flying with confidence. After a slopping first half with no real chances, the first moment of quality produced the opening goal. Ledley picked Puncheon out who found himself with plenty of space to drive home to give Palace the lead. The crucial moment in the game came with twenty minutes to go, Chamakh’s effort was saved after a free kick was swung over, leaving Ledley to tap home the rebound, the muted celebration was well appreciated by the Cardiff supporters despite being two behind. With only a few minutes left Puncheon produced a simply stunning moment, driving forward he curled a spectacular left footed shot into the top corner leaving Marshall with no chance giving Crystal Palace their second straight win.


A first win in three effectively secured Hull’s Premier League safety whilst Swansea will still be looking over their shoulders after the clubs five month wait for an away win continues. The only goal of the game came just before the break, George Boyd’s powerful header from Rosenior’s cross. Swansea remain in trouble just six points above the drop zone with a home game to come against Chelsea. The Swans didn’t seriously threaten the Hull goal with Shelvey’s shot straight at Harper the only real opening for the Welsh club, an extremely disappointing afternoon for Monk’s men. Long should have made the victory more comfortable but one was enough for Hull who now look as though they will be spending another season in the top league.


Manchester United piled the misery on Alan Pardew and Newcastle as they completed an excellent week for David Moyes with a stunning away performance. A man of the match performance from record signing Juan Mata made it three goals in two games for the Spaniard. Six minutes before the break United went ahead, Mata curled a wonderful free kick into the top corner leaving Elliot helpless, giving the reds a half time lead. Minutes into the second half United doubled their lead, Kagawa headed through to Hernandez who found himself in plenty of space, pulled back to the onrushing Mata who dummied Coloccini and Elliot before tapping into the empty net. Just after the hour it was three and game over, Kagawa crossed over for Hernandez who converted home from six yards out. The rout was completed in injury time, a sublime one two between Mata and Januzaj, Januzaj played into Mata who beautifully flicked it back into the Belgium’s path who slotted home for his first goal since December. This was united biggest win under Moyes, their fourth away win in succession and their tenth in total, the most in the league.


A huge win for West Brom eased their relegation fears leaving Norwich deep in trouble with a trip to eighteenth place Fulham next weekend. Morgan Amalfitano’s second goal in two games was enough for Albion who are now five points above Fulham in eighteenth. The goal came after a quarter of an hour; Amalfitano’s low shot trickled past Ruddy to give Albion a vital three points. With games to come against Liverpool, Arsenal, United and Chelsea, a loss next week at Craven Cottage will put Norwich in serious danger of ending their three year stay in the Premier League. Particularly after finding out they are manageress, at such a vital time could the Canaries stay in the top league soon be over.


Chelsea eased past Stoke in a must win game to stay in touch with Liverpool and Man City as Mohammed Salah produced a stunning full Premier League debut. Chelsea took the lead when the Egyptian international smashed home from Matic’s cut back. Ivanovic was unlucky not to make it two when his header was chalked off after the Serbian was slightly called offside. Stoke did not look like getting back into the game and it was killed off as a contest when Salah was fouled in the box, Lampard’s penalty was saved, but he followed up with the rebound to make it 2-0. As the game slowly came to an end there wasn’t any noticeable chances until Willian curled in a wonderful shot from outside the box, his first goal at Stamford Bridge for the club. Cleary frustrated after the game Stoke manager Mark Hughes said “You need players playing to their maximum when you come to Stamford Bridge, but we didn’t have the number that we needed to cause Chelsea problems.”


Everton took a giant step towards qualifying for the Champions League as they easily swept aside Arsenal at Goodison. The blues came out of the traps quickly and took the lead on fourteen minutes when Steven Naismith coolly tucked home after Lukaku’s shot was saved by Szczesny. Arsenal were finding it extremely difficult to create any chances and found themselves further behind when Lukaku doubled the lead with his 14th goal of the season. After a flowing move Lukaku drove forward before cutting in and smashing a powerful past the helpless Szczseny. With no signs of Arsenal coming back into the game, Everton settled it with a third; Mirallas robbed Sagna, played in Naismith who was denied by Szczesny only for Arteta to turn into his own net after pressure from Mirallas, complementing a shocking day for Arsenal. One bright spot for the Gunners was the return of Aaron Ramsey; the Welshman played his first minutes since Boxing Day. This win leaves the race for fourth in Everton’s hands with Arsenal possibly paying a heavy price for their recent poor form.


Two Steven Gerrard penalties either side a Guy Demel equaliser made it nine straight league wins for the reds as they returned to the top of the Premier League. West Ham made the better start to the game despite no real noticeable chances. At the other end Reid and Tomkins were doing a great job of keeping the ever dangerous Suarez and Sturridge quiet. The only real scare for the hammers was Suarez’s over hit cross that bounced off the top of Adrian’s bar. On the stroke of half time the reds took the lead, Gerrard’s quality pass found Suarez who controlled and tried to cut inside past Tomkins who handled. The ever reliable Gerrard sent Adrian the wrong way to put Liverpool 1 up. Just seconds later West Ham were level in controversial circumstances, Demel stabbed home from a corner after Carroll knocked Mignolet in the face leaving the Liverpool goalkeeper to drop the ball. Assistant Stuart Burt flagged recognising the foul but after consulting with him Anthony Taylor allowed the goal bringing the home side level at the break. Minutes into the second period West Ham really should have taken the lead, Diame’s cross was headed onto the bar by Carroll. Taylor was again in the spotlight with nineteen minutes to go, Flanagan’s run into the box was upended by Adrian and the referee pointed to the spot for the second time. The West Ham players were furious, convinced that the Spaniard won the ball but Taylor wouldn’t change his decision. Gerrard once again stayed calm to score his second in front of the traveling fans to send them wild. Suarez almost sealed the game with minutes left but his audacious chip hit the bar, Sterling’s late effort was saved by Adrian and West Ham couldn’t find a second equaliser. The reds extended their unbeaten league record to fourteen and still without a defeat this calendar year.


Spurs produced their biggest win of the season to keep their faint hopes for the Champions League alive as Sunderland stay bottom. But it was the bottom side who took the lead; Chiriches’s poor past was superbly finished off by Sunderland captain Cattermole with a classy low finish. This woke Spurs up who begun to dominate and were rewarded when Eriksen’s wonderful crossed was converted by Adebayor for the Togo international’s tenth league goal of the season. Despite their domination Spurs could not find the second and went into halftime on level terms. They did however take the lead on the hour mark when another cross from the impressive Eriksen was confidently tucked away by Harry Kane, the Englishmen’s first Premier League goal. Ten minutes from time the game was over, a man of the match performance from Eriksen was topped off with a precise left footed shot that beat Mannone low to his left. The fourth came when Brown’s misplaced header fell to Kane and his shot was half saved by Mannone who will be disappointed, only for Adebayor to tap in. The rout was completed in injury time when Sigurdsson’s cool touch and finish was enough for the fifth and Sunderland’s miserable night was completed. The Black Cats are seven points adrift, with trips to United, City and Chelsea, Sunderland will need a minor miracle to avoid the drop.


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