English Premier League Roundup: Wigan Shock ManU; City Thrash WBA
The Premier League threw up a number of interesting encounters this week, as 20 full games were played between the 6th of April and the 11th of April that made the final stretch to the end of the season all the more interesting.
Kicking off the early weekend action on Friday were Swansea City and Newcastle United at the Liberty Stadium, where two great finishes from arguably the best signing in the Premier League this season, Papiss Cissé, were enough to give Newcastle the win. The Senegalese striker managed to score twice for his third successive match, giving Newcastle their fourth straight victory since losing to Arsenal at the Emirates.
Saturday threw up a number of stalemates, as Tottenham were held to a goalless draw at the Stadium of Light; Norwich and Everton drew 2-2 at Carrow Road; and Liverpool saved themselves the blushes at home by stealing a point through Suarez's late equalizer, ending their game against Aston Villa 1-1, and with it, ending a run of three straight defeats.
The other games on Saturday saw Chelsea beat Wigan 2-1 at home; Fulham comprehensively beating Bolton 3-0 at the Reebok Stadium; and West Bromwich Albion comfortably vanquishing the Blackburn Rovers 3-0 at home.
The two games on Sunday were of utmost importance to the title race, as Manchester United were given the chance to go eight points clear as Manchester City played Arsenal at the Emirates a few hours later, and that is exactly what they did, as a controversial Wayne Rooney penalty along with a brilliant 25-yard goal from veteran Paul Scholes eased United to a 2-0 victory over QPR at home.
This put all the more pressure on Mancini's City to do well, but that was easier said than done. Wenger's side had been on a great run of form, save for the recent loss at Loftus Road against QPR. Nonetheless, the pressure got to Manchester City, as they were dominated by Arsenal at the Emirates. While they managed to keep Arsenal out of their goal for most of the game, along with a little help from lady luck that saw Arsenal hit the post multiple times, Arsenal managed to score a late goal through Mikel Arteta in the 87th minute that seemed to seal City's fate, with Mancini's men 8 points behind the league leaders with 6 games to go at this point.
This however, was not the case, as Wednesday's results proved otherwise.
Having said that, the fixtures on Monday and Tuesday brought up interesting results as well, as Norwich shocked Tottenham 2-1 at the White Hart Lane -- along with Newcastle's win at home against Bolton meant that Tottenham were holding on to the last Champions League spot only by having a better goal difference, as Alan Pardew's men are now equal on points with Tottenham at 59 points a piece.
Everton dispatched Sunderland 4-0 at home on Monday, as Pienaar, Osman and Anichebe scored three goals in six minutes to add to Gueye's 52nd minute opener.
Fulham managed to hold Chelsea to a 1-1 draw as Lampard's 45th minute penalty was cancelled out by a Clint Dempsey goal in the 82nd. The American scored his 16th league goal of this season in the process.
In the only fixture on Tuesday, Liverpool managed to win a thriller of a game against Blackburn as Andy Carroll's injury-time header gave the Reds a 3-2 victory that saw Liverpool's second-choice keeper Alexander Doni sent off after Maxi Rodriguez gave Dalglish's side a two-goal cushion. Yakubu struck a goal in both halves to equalize, but Andy Carroll's winner meant that Blackburn would remain in the relegation zone for yet another week.
And finally, in arguably the most exciting day of this six-day footballing extravaganza, Wigan Athletic's 1-0 victory over defending champions Manchester United gave renewed hope to Manchester City's dying title chances, as Shaun Maloney's 20-yard goal was enough to seal all three points for Martinez's side, handing City a lifeline as the season draws to a close.
Manchester City made no mistakes in taking their chances as they crushed West Bromwich Albion 4-0 at home, closing the gap on their rivals to five points, with five games to go, including the much-awaited Manchester Derby at the Etihad Stadium.
Arsenal bested Wolverhampton at the Molineux as Van Persie's penalty and Walcott's goal two minutes later effectively ended the game 11 minutes in. Benayoun's fine strike in the 69th minute confirmed the result, giving the Wolves less hope of escaping relegation this season.
In the last fixture of the day, QPR handed Swansea their fourth straight defeat as the Rangers gave themselves a two-point cushion over the relegation zone with five games to play, as three goals from Barton, Mackie and Buzsaky were enough to seal all three points at Loftus Road.