Winners and Losers from Premier League Week 24
The Premier League's 24th round of fixtures is now in the books, leaving just 14 games to go until the end of the season.
Some important wins at the bottom transformed the relegation scene, while those at the top experienced contrasting fortunes in the race for glory.
Following these results, there is once again a new team in first and last place in the table.
Here's a look at some of the key winners and losers from this latest bout of action.
Winner: Adam Johnson (and Sunderland)
Adam Johnson maintained his recent surge of form, starring in Sunderland's stunning 3-0 victory at Newcastle.
Gus Poyet's side were relentless in their ambition and marched to a decisive win with Johnson playing a leading role.
The former Manchester City man scored and also cracked the woodwork, giving Davide Santon one of his toughest games of the season.
This was Johnson's sixth goal in four Premier League games—form that may well earn an England recall.
Loser: Mike Ashley
The chorus of boos following Newcastle's 3-0 loss to Sunderland were largely aimed at Mike Ashley.
The unpopular owner once again angered his Geordie natives by selling Yohan Cabaye to PSG without recruiting a replacement.
After a particularly quiet summer, Luuk De Jong was the only winter arrival, secured on a loan deal from Borussia Monchengladbach.
Without any investment, a 3-0 trouncing at the hands of their bitter rivals only vilified Ashley further.
Winner: Kevin Nolan
Kevin Nolan's brace temporarily removed West Ham from the relegation zone and lifted the gloom around Upton Park.
With Sam Allardyce able to deploy his favoured strike duo, both Nolan and Andy Carroll responded by linking up for both goals.
Carroll provided two assists as Nolan twice slotted home to secure just a fifth win of the season for a beleaguered West Ham.
The Hammers' captain has struggled for form but cut a rejuvenated figure alongside the returning Carroll.
Winner: Stoke City
Early wins for Sunderland and West Ham dragged Stoke City into the bottom three ahead of their 3pm kick-off.
However, the Potters produced one of their best displays of the season to convincingly beat the current Premier League champions.
Such is the narrow margins between all lower-half teams, the win elevated Stoke up seven places into 11th.
Loser: David Moyes
Fielding his trio of marquee attackers, David Moyes witnessed his eighth Premier League defeat of the season—one more than he managed in all of his final year with Everton.
Once again, his side struggled to find their rhythm and found themselves in an evenly fought battle with Stoke.
This was Moyes' third defeat in five games, exacerbated by every top-four rival picking up points.
Having surrendered so meekly to their rivals on Wednesday, Everton had seemingly fallen off the pace for a Champions League finish.
The 4-0 loss against Liverpool was their worst Merseyside derby return since 1982 and it appeared as though injuries were catching up with the Toffees' ambitions.
However, a battling comeback against Aston Villa—secured by a sumptuous free-kick from Kevin Mirallas—saw momentum restored.
With Tottenham, Manchester United and Liverpool all slipping up, the Blues returned to fifth place, just two points off a top-four spot.
Loser: Rene Meulensteen
Fulham were arguably the winners of transfer deadline day, securing the services of key players to boost their survival push.
While Kostas Mitroglou and John Heitinga were among those not eligible to face Southampton, Lewis Holtby and William Kvist both featured.
Given extra pieces to play with, Rene Meulensteen saw his team slump to an embarrassing home mauling at the hands of Southampton—a result that saw the Cottagers fall two points adrift at the bottom of the table.
With other strugglers picking up points, this was not the weekend to lose. Following the 3-0 defeat, Steve Stammers and Dave Kidd in The Mirror were among those questioning Meulensteen's future as manager.
Winner: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finally secured a Premier League win—and just in the nick of time.
Having fallen to the foot of the table, an early Norwich goal created a tense atmosphere at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Thankfully for Solskjaer, a quick-fire double turned the game on its head and secured his side an overdue victory—despite intense late pressure from the Canaries.
It was enough to move the Bluebirds up a place and just two points from safety.
Loser: Kolo Toure
After completely dominating West Brom during the first half, a lapse in concentration from Kolo Toure gifted the Baggies a point.
With his team 1-0 up, the former Arsenal man somehow presented the ball at the feet of Victor Anichebe, who smashed home an equaliser.
Despite his side's early control, Toure had seemed uneasy throughout the match.
His embarrassing gaffe cost his side two vital points and allowed Everton to close the gap in the race for fourth.
Winner: Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho masterminded a key win in the title race at the Premier League's toughest venue.
Most expected a defensive, rearguard effort in the face of a free-scoring Manchester City. However, not for the first time, Mourinho enforced a surprise approach with a slick, counter-attacking display at the Etihad Stadium.
City had won every Premier League match at home this season, as well as their past eight straight games, yet Chelsea were deserved 1-0 winners.
This win pulls the Blues right back into the title hunt, level with City and just two points behind Arsenal.
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