Premier League Roundup - Wigan Stun Arsenal; City Thrash Norwich
In a week that saw only six fixtures in the light of last week's six-day extravaganza, Wigan Athletic pulled off yet another stunning victory by taking all three points at the Emirates in a 2-1 victory over Arsenal on Monday. Wigan also beat Manchester United last week.
Two early goals from Franco Di Santo and Jordi Gomez within eight minutes of kickoff saw Wigan take an early two-goal lead, and while Arsenal managed to pull back one from Thomas Vermaelen's header, Roberto Martinez's side defended resolutely to pull themselves five points from the relegation zone.
Arsenal consequently lost out on a vital opportunity to go eight points clear in third place, and now risk losing out to Tottenham next week when Arsenal go head-to-head with their London rivals Chelsea at the Emirates.
The spotlight of the four fixtures that took place on Saturday involved Roberto Mancini's Manchester City demolishing Norwich City at Carrow Road 6-1, as Carlos Tevez announced his return with a triumphant hat trick.
Tevez opened the scoring with an early goal in the 18th minute, and his Argentinian counterpart scored a second for the Sky Blues in the 27th minute from the edge of the penalty area.
Norwich were able to pull a goal back in the 51st minute as Andrew Surman scored a close-range goal, giving the home fans renewed hope.
But that was all Norwich had to cheer about on Saturday, as Tevez and Aguero scored two quickfire goals in the span of two minutes in the 73rd and 75th minute respectively to effectively put the game to rest.
Tevez scored yet again in the 80th minute, capping off a fine performance for City, and leaving fans of the Sky Blues wondering how their season might have turned out if they had Aguero and Tevez for the entire season.
Adam Johnson came off the bench to score a sixth goal for City in stoppage time, giving their fans something to hope for, as their chances of winning the title this season still largely depend on their arch-rivals dropping points.
But as history has shown us, Alex Ferguson's Manchester United are not one to drop points late in the season. While last week's loss at Wigan was a blip in a flawless run of form, United came back strong to beat Aston Villa 4-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Ashley Young was interestingly accused of diving as he was criticized for making the most of a soft tackle from Ciaran Clark to earn a penalty early in the first half, and Wayne Rooney had no problems converting from the spot to give United the lead in the 7th minute.
Welbeck doubled United's lead late in the first half from close range, while Wayne Rooney got his second of the night in the 73rd minute.
Nani capped off a fine performance by United as he scored in stoppage time to give United a comfortable victory, and with it, reassurance that their hopes of record 20th title are very much alive.
Swansea City comfortably routed the Blackburn Rovers at home on Saturday, as Sigurdsson and Dyer got on the scoresheet for the Swans. Blackburn's state got from bad to worse, as Scott Dann put the ball into their own net to give Swansea a 3-0 victory, and with it, leaving Blackburn in a precarious situation that sees them in 19th with just 4 games left in the season.
In the other fixtures on Saturday, Sunderland and the Wolverhampton Wanderers played out a goalless draw at the Stadium of Light, while West Bromwich Albion managed to take all three points at The Hawthorns against QPR, as Graham Dorrans scored a long-range goal in the 22nd minute, Peter Odemwingie providing the assist.
QPR are now just three points off the drop zone, having but have played two more games than 18th placed Bolton.
Next week could prove to be pivotal in the race for the four Champions League spots as Arsenal host Chelsea on Apr. 21 - while Manchester United face David Moyes' Everton at home.