Premier League Saturday Wrap: Liverpool Hit 6, While Spurs Struggle at Wigan
Tottenham Hotspur were the only top-five side involved in Saturday’s Premier League action and were hoping to bolster their Champions League aspirations with three points against Wigan at DW Stadium.
The Latics, meanwhile, came into the weekend’s round of fixtures needing a win to temporarily climb out of the relegation zone.
Newcastle, nearly safe for another season, welcomed Liverpool—but not Luis Suarez—to St. James’ Park while both Southampton and Stoke looked to consolidate their Premier League positions against West Brom and Norwich, respectively.
There were also matches at Eastlands and Goodison Park, and for the first time in three Saturdays, each of the day’s encounters had at least a goal to report.
Let’s take a brief tour of the day’s football.
Note: All stats courtesy WhoScored.com
Manchester City 2-1 West Ham
They may have lost their grip on the title they won so dramatically last May, but after blowing a lead against Tottenham last Sunday, Manchester City were keen to at least get back in the win column when they welcomed West Ham to Eastlands in Saturday’s early match.
Sergio Aguero—City’s form man of late—opened the scoring just prior to the hour mark after a dazzling exchange involving Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri, and Toure found the back of the net in the 83rd minute when he smashed in an insurance marker from just outside the box.
City needed the bit of breathing room, as it turned out, because Andy Carroll pulled one back for the Hammers in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time when his shot trickled meekly through the legs of goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Shots: Manchester City 17-11 West Ham
Passing: Manchester City 88%-76% West Ham
Possession: Manchester City 62%-38% West Ham
Everton 1-0 Fulham
Everton kept their faint Europa League hopes alive with a 1-0 win over Fulham that left the Cottagers on 40 points for a fourth matchday in a row.
The only goal of the game was scored by Steven Pienaar in the 16th minute and came after a lovely bit of buildup play from the hosts. Following a series of short passes and flicks, right-back Seamus Coleman crossed low and hard across the face of goal for the South African to finish past Mark Schwarzer.
With 59 points from 35 matches Everton are presently sixth in the league, three points back of Tottenham Hotspur, who have played one game less.
Shots: Everton 21-6 Fulham
Passing: Everton 81%-79% Fulham
Possession: Everton 54%-46% Fulham
Southampton 0-3 West Bromwich Albion
Referee Robert Madley, making his Premier League debut, showed three red cards at St. Mary’s as visiting West Brom took all three points and built a six-point lead on ninth-place Swansea with four rounds to play.
All three ejections came in the final 20 minutes, by which time Marc-Antoine Fortune and Romelu Lukaku had given the Baggies a 2-0 lead. Lukaku’s goal, set up by Fortune, was particularly impressive as the Belgian left Nathaniel Clyne in the dust before rounding goalkeeper Artur Boruc and slotting home his 14th goal of the season.
Then, in the 70th minute, both Fortune and Gaston Ramirez were given their marching orders after a bizarre clash that saw the elbows, slaps and general handbags from both sides.
Seven minutes later Shane Long sealed the three points for West Brom after Lukaku’s clever pass, and five minutes after that Daniel Fox was sent off for a dangerous, two-footed challenge of Steven Reid.
Shots: Southampton 17-10 West Brom
Passing: Southampton 82%-64% West Brom
Possession: Southampton 62%-38% West Brom
Stoke 1-0 Norwich
Stoke lived dangerously during the first half, picking up a trio of bookings, but got the only goal of the match just after the restart when Charlie Adam smashed the ball past Mark Bunn following Peter Crouch’s headed layoff.
The goal ended a five-match scoring drought for Adam, who joined the Potters for £4 million from Liverpool in August.
The win took Stoke above Sunderland (who were idle), Norwich and Southampton in one fell swoop, and having hit the 40-point plateau they are all but a certainty to be part of the Premier League next season. Norwich, on 38 points, are still six points clear of the drop.
Shots: Stoke 12-6 Norwich
Passing: Stoke 61%-74% Norwich
Possession: Stoke 47%-53% Norwich
Wigan 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur
A draw did neither of these sides any good, but that’s what they played to—dramatically, as it turned out—at DW Stadium on Saturday.
Gareth Bale opened the scoring for Spurs after just nine minutes when Maynor Figueroa played Wigan goalkeeper Joel Robles into a difficult position with a lightly weighted back pass, allowing the Spurs marksman to slice the ball into the back of the net with a karate kick-style finish as Robles attempted an awkward clearance.
The guests kept the lead only two minutes, however, as Emmerson Boyce equalized from a corner at the other end. Shortly after the hour mark Wigan got the lead they’d hold until the final moments when Callum McManaman’s thunderous effort left Hugo Lloris with no chance.
But then, in the final minute of normal time, Boyce somehow managed to bundle home Tom Huddlestone’s low free-kick after it had ping-ponged around in the box.
With the single point Wigan are still two back of Aston Villa and safety from regulation, while Spurs are level with Chelsea, having played a match more.
Shots: Wigan 7-16 Tottenham
Passing: Wigan 74%-86% Tottenham
Possession: Wigan 39%-61% Tottenham
Newcastle 0-6 Liverpool
Liverpool arrived on Tyneside without the services of top scorer Luis Suarez, who was issued a 10-match ban for biting earlier in the week, but that hardly stopped them from putting in a memorable offensive performance that will serve to both bolster their confidence and increase the question marks swirling about embattled Newcastle manager Alan Pardew.
Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge each bagged a brace in Saturday’s tea-time kickoff, but it was Daniel Agger who opened the scoring after just three minutes—the defender’s header evading Magpies’ No. 2 goalkeeper Robert Elliot as the onslaught began.
Less than a quarter hour later the Reds were 2-0 up thanks to Henderson’s first—the result of some intricate buildup play involving Philippe Coutinho—and when Sturridge scored twice in seven minutes early in the second half the match was over as a contest.
But there was still time for Fabio Borini to get on the action. Less than a minute after replacing captain Steven Gerrard the Italian had finished Stewart Downing’s cutback to make it 5-0, and in the 76th minute Henderson completed the drubbing with a swerving free-kick that beat Elliot inside the far post.
Shots: Newcastle 11-16 Liverpool
Passing: Newcastle 83%-83% Liverpool
Possession: Newcastle 53%-47% Liverpool