There were six matches on the schedule for Wednesday's Week 26 play in the Premier League, but severe weather conditions caused the league to postpone the Manchester City-Sunderland and Everton-Crystal Palace matches.
The four other fixtures were not in jeopardy, and for the most part, they went on as scheduled. The fixture between Stoke City and Swansea City was delayed 15 minutes, but the match went on following the short delay.
Following a Tuesday that saw Chelsea—the No. 1 club on the table—tie West Brom—the No. 17 club on the table—there was a serious chance for multiple teams to climb closer to the top. Only one was really able to take advantage.
Below is a breakdown of the top-three matches from Wednesday's Premier League play.
Tottenham Rout Newcastle
St. James' Park played host to Tottenham and Newcastle in Week 26, and the match was all Spurs for all 90 minutes of play.
Emmanuel Adebayor scored twice (19', 82') to lead the charge, but goals from Paulinho (53') and Nacer Chadli (88') gave Newcastle no chance of a comeback. The Magpies were terrible in the first half, though their second-half play was only slightly better.
Tim: "We came out firing. As soon as the whistle went, we were off. We really set the right tone."— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 12, 2014
Their futility has been well documented over the past two months. It's the seventh time in the last eight matches that Newcastle have been held without a goal. It's also their fourth-straight loss at St. James' Park.
The victory lifted the Spurs to within seven points of Chelsea at the top of the table. It also maintained their challenge for a top-four finish. They'll need to continue this run of dominance to catch Chelsea by season's end.
Liverpool Edge Fulham
Fulham, the No. 20 team on the table, surprisingly gave Liverpool a run for their money on Wednesday. It took a penalty kick in the 90th minute from Steven Gerrard to give Liverpool the tough 3-2 victory.
Neil Johnston of BBC Sport pointed out an interesting bit of information following the match:
In a reversal of Saturday's 5-1 victory over Arsenal, in which they were 2-0 up in the opening 10 minutes, Liverpool found themselves behind for the first time in an away match this year after [Kolo] Touré's early error.
Touré, of course, netted an own goal in the eighth minute to give the Cottagers the early advantage. Daniel Sturridge knotted the score at one apiece in the 41st minute before Kieran Richardson gave Fulham the lead in the 63rd. Philippe Coutinho tied the score for Liverpool before Gerrard netted his game-winner.
Liverpool have a chance to gain some ground on Chelsea in Week 27 when they take on Swansea City. As it stands now, Liverpool is just four points back of the top spot.
Arsenal Fail to Catch No. 1
Arsenal's match against Manchester United was not considered an easy one entering play, but not many expected the game to end in a 0-0 draw. Following Chelsea's draw with West Brom on Tuesday, Arsenal were given a great chance to pick up the points necessary to overtake No. 1.
Emirates Stadium played host to Arsenal and United in Week 26, with both teams looking to regain some momentum after poor matches in Week 25. Arsenal were fresh off a 5-1 beating from Liverpool, while United were looking to bounce back from a 2-2 draw with Fulham—who are, evidently, playing pretty well lately.
Robin van Persie came close to converting for United, but goaltender Wojciech Szczesny had none of the attempt. Szczesny also sent away another one of van Persie's attempts later on in the match. Olivier Giroud can be blamed for missing Arsenal's best opportunity to score.
Overall, it was a poor match by both sides. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had this to say about his club's effort (via BBC Sport):
Overall, we could have won it - it was a game of few chances. Our defensive focus was extreme as we conceded so many goals on Saturday.
In the end, either side could have won 1-0. Manchester United are a good team, so when you go forward they can catch you.
Arsenal will look to recover in Week 27 against Sunderland while United will face Crystal Palace.
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