Premier League Results: Analysis for Liverpool vs. Arsenal and All the Matches
The Premier League title race took yet another twist Saturday as Liverpool humbled the leaders, Manchester City unexpectedly drew blanks again and Chelsea moved into first place thanks to a superb hat-trick by Eden Hazard.
After all the dust settled, Chelsea were atop the table, while Arsenal fell to second and Man City to third. There was action at the other end of the table as well on a busy Saturday, which we recap in full in the following slides.
Statistics via WhoScored.com.
Click here for the Premier League table.
Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal
Liverpool stunned leaders Arsenal with four goals in the opening 20 minutes on the way to a resounding 5-1 victory in Saturday's lunchtime kickoff at Anfield.
Martin Skrtel and Raheem Sterling scored twice each, and Daniel Sturridge added one goal for Liverpool, who moved within five points of Arsenal with the victory. Luis Suarez, who leads the Premier League with 23 goals this season, did not score but assisted on one goal and hit the woodwork with a first-half volley.
Mikel Arteta scored Arsenal's lone goal, a penalty, in the second half.
Arsenal entered the match two points clear atop the table but fell to second, and Chelsea won later Saturday.
The hosts needed less than a minute to make the breakthrough, Skrtel poking in Steven Gerrard's first-minute free kick from the left. Skrtel then made it 2-0 in the 10th minute, scoring from a corner with a fine header into the top corner.
Arsenal looked shocked, and Liverpool continued to tear Arsenal apart with incisive attacking play. Suarez hit the post in the 13th minute with a powerful volley, and Kolo Toure steered the rebound wide with the goal gaping. Sterling grabbed Liverpool's third in the 16th minute following a giveaway by Mesut Ozil, and Sturridge made it 4-0 four minutes later after another Ozil mistake.
After halftime, Sterling tucked in Liverpool's fifth in the 52nd minute, finishing off his own rebound after Wojciech Szczesny had initially saved.
The only blot on Liverpool's big day came in the 69th minute, when Arteta converted a penalty after Gerrard had fouled Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the box.
Sterling came close to completing his hat-trick in the 86th minute, but Szczesny saved one-on-one to keep the score at 5-1.
"We were brilliant," Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said, per PremierLeague.com. "It was a wonderful performance in such a prestigious game. Not just the result but the performance level was absolutely out of this world."
On target: 12-6
Norwich City 0-0 Manchester City
Manchester City missed a chance to return to the top of the Premier League with a scoreless draw against the struggling Norwich City on Saturday.
The result leaves Man City in third place on 54 points, two points behind new leaders Chelsea and one behind Arsenal. Chelsea easily defeated Newcastle after Arsenal lost 5-1 in stunning fashion at Liverpool earlier in the day.
Norwich are now 16th with 25 points, two points clear of the relegation places in the crowded bottom half.
City defeated Norwich soundly in the reverse fixture, winning 7-0 at the Etihad Stadium in November. But it quickly became clear that there would be no repeat of that scoreline at Carrow Road.
Norwich had a goal ruled out in the 18th minute, when Gary Hooper was ruled correctly offside after poking in the rebound following Joe Hart's save on Sebastien Bassong's header.
City had a goal ruled out as well in the 32nd minute, though this time the infraction was not as clear-cut. Alvaro Negredo collected Vincent Kompany's long ball along the edge of the box and laid off for Stevan Jovetic, whose chipped shot found the back of the net. But Negredo was ruled offside in a tight decision.
On target: 2-2
Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle United
The in-form Eden Hazard scored a splendid hat-trick as Chelsea moved to the top of the Premier League table with a comprehensive 3-0 win at home to Newcastle United on Saturday.
Hazard scored in the 27th, 34th and 63rd minutes to lead Chelsea, who leapt over Manchester City and Arsenal to claim the top spot in the table. Jose Mourinho's side have 56 points, one more than Arsenal and two more than Manchester City.
Hazard opened the scoring midway through the first half with a fine angled shot, converting Branislav Ivanovic's cross from the right. He doubled the lead 11 minutes before halftime, finishing off a quick counter after cutting inside and trading passes with Samuel Eto'o inside the box.
The Belgian completed his first Premier League hat-trick with a confident penalty in the 63rd minute.
New signing Mohamed Salah, a second-half substitute, came close to scoring on his debut in the 87th minute, but Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul saved well from close range.
On target: 8-6
Saturday's Other Matches
Crystal Palace 3-1 West Bromwich Albion
Debut goals for Tom Ince and Joe Ledley led Crystal Palace to a 3-1 victory at home to West Brom.
Marouane Chamakh also scored for Palace, who are now 14th with 26 points. Thievy Bifouma scored West Brom's only goal just after halftime. The Baggies are 18th with 23 points, one point adrift of safety.
Aston Villa 0-2 West Ham United
Kevin Nolan scored twice in quick succession early in the second half as West Ham won 2-0 at Aston Villa. Nolan put the Hammers ahead within seconds of the restart and doubled the lead two minutes later.
The win took West Ham, who started the day in the relegation zone, up to 15th place with 25 points. Villa are 12th with 27 points.
Southampton 2-2 Stoke City
All four goals came in the first half as Southampton and Stoke City played to a 2-2 draw.
Rickie Lambert and Steve Davis scored for Southampton, while Peter Odemwingie and Peter Crouch scored for Stoke.
Sunderland 0-2 Hull City
January signings Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic scored either side of halftime to give Hull City a 2-0 win at Sunderland.
The hosts had Wes Brown sent off in the fourth minute for denying a goal-scoring opportunity.
Sunderland are 17th with 24 points, one point clear of the relegation places. Hull are 11th on 27 points, four points clear.
Swansea City 3-0 Cardiff City
Wayne Routledge, Nathan Dyer and Wilfried Bony scored in the second half to give Garry Monk a victory over Welsh rivals Cardiff in his debut as Swansea's player-manager.
The win took Swansea all the way up to 10th place, four points clear of the relegation places. Cardiff are 19th, three points away from safety.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Everton
Emmanuel Adebayor scored the only goal as Tottenham Hotspur won 1-0 at home to Everton on Sunday.
The victory kept Tottenham within three points of fourth-placed Liverpool. Everton, now sixth, are five points behind their crosstown rivals.
Everton contained Spurs throughout the first half but were undone by a moment of swift, incisive attacking in the 65th minute. Kyle Walker took a free kick quickly from just inside Everton's half, picking out Adebayor near the edge of the box. Adebayor held off a pair of defenders and finished low at the near post.
It was Tottenham's first shot on target and Adebayor's sixth goal in nine games under new manager Tim Sherwood, who replaced Andre Villas-Boas in December.
On target: 2-3
Manchester United 2-2 Fulham
Manchester United fell further behind in the race for the Premier League's top four after a dramatic 2-2 draw at home to bottom club Fulham on Sunday at Old Trafford
Steve Sidwell gave Fulham the lead in the 19th minute against the run of play before United turned around the match with quick goals from Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick. But Fulham grabbed a late equaliser via Darren Bent to deny United at the death.
United dominated every statistical category, holding 75 percent of possession and taking an astounding 81 crosses. But Fulham scored with two of their three shots on target and proved deadly in their rare forays into the attacking third.
The result leaves United in seventh place with 41 points, nine behind fourth-placed Liverpool. Fulham remain in last place with 20 points but ended a run of four straight league defeats.
On target: 9-3