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Premier League Weekend in 20 Pictures: Liverpool Stay Top, Norwich Sack Hughton

Shane MurrayFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2014

Premier League Weekend in 20 Pictures: Liverpool Stay Top, Norwich Sack Hughton

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    This weekend, Liverpool showed great determination and persistence to see off a dogged West Ham United to regain top spot from closest rivals Chelsea

    With just five games to go, Brendan Rodgers' men know the destiny of the title is in their hands, and this result against a resilient Hammers may prove pivotal come May 11th. 

    At the other end, Norwich City's defeat to West Bromwich Albion led to the dismissal of manager Chris Hughton, while Cardiff City's loss at home to Crystal Palace edged them closer to the trap door. 

    Here's a look back at the weekend's key action through pictures. 

Early Toure Penalty Sets Foundation for City Victory

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    Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

    Yaya Toure kept his calm to convert a third-minute penalty to give Manchester City the perfect start in a 4-1 victory over Southampton

    Samir Nasri, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic added to their tally after Rickie Lambert's 37th-minute equaliser, also from the spot, to keep Manuel Pellegrini's men in touch with leaders Liverpool and second-placed Chelsea. 

Rodriguez Doubtful for World Cup with Knee Injury

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    Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

    However, one of the main talking points after the game was the injury picked up by Southampton's England World Cup hopeful Jay Rodriguez. 

    Rodriguez, who has scored 15 league goals this season, more than any other England striker apart from Daniel Sturridge (20) and Wayne Rooney (also 15), was stretchered off to a standing ovation in the 26th minute after falling awkwardly on his right knee in front of the concerned gaze of Three Lions manager Roy Hodgson. 

Rodallega Strikes Late to Give Fulham Victory over Villa

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    Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

    Hugo Rodallega was the Fulham hero as the Cottagers beat hosts Aston Villa 2-1 to boost their survival hopes with just five games to go. 

    Kieran Richardson opened the scoring for the visitors only for Villa to respond through Grant Holt. However, Rodallega headed home Lewis Holtby's cross with just four minutes remaining to give Fulham a potential lifeline in their battle to avoid relegation. 

Magath Rewards Fulham Players with Two Days off

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    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    Fulham boss Felix Magath was so impressed, and perhaps a little relieved, with his side's dramatic late win at Villa Park that he promised his players two days off. 

    According to www.football.co.uk, Magath admitted: "You can imagine now the players in the locker room are happy, happy and they forced me to give them two days, so I have. They deserved it today."

Puncheon Stars with Brace in Vital Palace Win

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    Steve Bardens/Getty Images

    Jason Puncheon was in inspired form in Crystal Palace's emphatic 3-0 win away to relegation rivals Cardiff City, scoring twice to help move the Eagles up to 14th spot, seven points clear of the bottom three. 

    Puncheon's second was one of the goals of the weekend, a sweetly struck curling drive from 20 yards to seal all three points and condemn City to their 19th defeat of the season. 

Solskjaer Admits Cardiff Need a 'Miracle'

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    While the Cardiff City fans remained in full voice in support of their team, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted it will take a miracle for the club to avoid an immediate return to the Championship. 

    According to BBC.com, the Norwegian said: "We need to produce a miracle to stay up now. It was a big game for us and I am very disappointed for the fans and players that we ended up with a performance like this."

Boyd Heads Hull to Victory over Swans

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    George Boyd rose highest to head Hull City into a 1-0 lead against Swansea City, a lead they would never relinquish. 

    Steve Bruce's men gained a valuable three points against their fellow relegation candidates, to climb to 12th in the table, nine points clear of the drop zone.  

Two-Goal Mata Inspires United Rout of Newcastle

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    Paul Thomas/Getty Images

    January signing Juan Mata scored two and was involved in a third as Manchester United maintained their excellent away form with a 4-0 win over Newcastle United at St James' Park. 

    Mata opened the scoring with an exquisite 20-yard free-kick in the 39th minute, while he also netted the second in the 50th minute to set the visitors up for a comfortable victory. 

Mata Salutes United Fans After Opener

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    Jan Kruger/Getty Images

    The former Chelsea man salutes the visiting Manchester United fans after the first of his two goals at Newcastle. 

Amalfitano Strike Piles Pressure on Hughton

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Morgan Amalfitano's superb 16th-minute strike gave West Bromwich Albion a rare away victory against Norwich City in yet another relegation six-pointer at Carrow Road. 

    The hosts struck the bar twice in the second half as their luck in front of goal deserted them, to increase the pressure on boss Chris Hughton. 

Hughton's Reign at Norwich Comes to an Abrupt End

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    Norwich City's patience with under-fire manager Chris Hughton finally ran out after Saturday's 1-0 defeat at home to fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion. 

    Sections of the home support called for Hughton's dismissal during the game by chanting "we want Hughton out" and it was confirmed on Sunday that Hughton had been sacked to "give the club the maximum chance of survival," according to the club's website

    Youth coach and former player Neil Adams has been handed the reins for the remaining five fixtures, which sees them play Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.  

Lampard Nets 250th Goal in Chelsea Success

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Veteran midfielder Frank Lampard netted the 250th goal of his career as he helped Chelsea to a 3-0 victory over a resurgent Stoke City in Saturday's evening kick-off at Stamford Bridge. 

    The 35-year-old scored at the second attempt to put the Blues 2-0 up in the 61st minute, following up after Asmir Begovic had saved his initial penalty to reach an impressive 250 career goals.  

Torres Endures Another Goalless 90 Minutes

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Chelsea striker Fernando Torres endured yet another fruitless 90 minutes against a resilient Stoke City rearguard as he failed to add to his four Premier League goals and prove to boss Jose Mourinho that he could be the "real striker" the Blues boss said he was looking for. 

Lukaku on Target as Everton Eye Fourth

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Romelu Lukaku claimed his 14th goal of the season as Everton stepped up their Champions League assault by beating chief fourth-placed rivals Arsenal 3-0 at Goodison Park on Sunday. 

    In the 34th minute, Lukaku picked up the ball on the right and charged towards goal before unleashing an unstoppable shot past Wojciech Szczesny in the Gunners goal to build on Steven Naismith's 14th-minute opener.  

    Fourth place and Champions League qualification is in Everton's hands with just six games to play, although both Manchester City and Manchester United have yet to visit Goodison Park. 

Classy Coleman Leaves Cazorla for Dead

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Everton's marauding right-back Seamus Coleman has received significant attention and praise for his attack-minded performances this year. 

    On Sunday, the Irishman gave another glimpse of his unique talent with an impressive moment of improvised skill to outfox Arsenal's Spanish international Santi Cazorla on the right wing. 

    Watch his trickery here

Tomkins Handball Breaks West Ham's Resolve

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Title-chasing Liverpool looked like they might fail to break down West Ham United's teak-tough defence at Upton Park on Sunday afternoon until the threat of a probing Luis Suarez coaxed a handball from Hammers defender James Tomkins in the 44th minute.

    Brendan Rodgers' men struggled to open their hosts up until then, and captain Steven Gerrard put the Reds ahead with a calm finish to send goalkeeper Adrian the wrong way.  

Adrian Catches Flanagan to Hand Reds Second Penalty

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    West Ham United goalkeeper Adrian conceded a controversial 71st-minute penalty against Liverpool, catching Reds right-back Jon Flanagan to give the visitors their second spot-kick of an incident-packed game. 

     

Gerrard Plays Captain's Role in Liverpool Victory

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Skipper Steven Gerrard kept his nerve to net his second penalty of the afternoon to ensure Liverpool left Upton Park with all three points and their slender lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League intact. 

    The two goals also edged the midfielder one ahead of Kenny Dalglish on the club's all-time scoring list, with 173 goals. 

    And with just five games to go, the title is Liverpool's to lose, and Gerrard is a step closer to guiding his side to their first championship since 1990. 

Adebayor Salutes Sherwood as Spurs Heighten Sunderland's Woes

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    Kirsty Wigglesworth

    Emmanuel Adebayor was in superb form as Tottenham Hotspur completed the weekend's programme with a comprehensive 5-1 hammering of Sunderland at White Hart Lane on Monday night. 

    The striker opened the scoring in the 28th minute with an opportunist finish from Christian Eriksen's cross, before poking home his second four minutes from time as the hosts ran out comfortable winners over Sunderland, who remain bottom, albeit with two games in hand. 

Eriksen Masterclass Inspires Spurs

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    Kirsty Wigglesworth

    Christian Eriksen produced an attacking masterclass to inspire Tottenham's 5-1 win over Sunderland. 

    The Dutch attacker scored one and set up two to put him ahead of Roberto Soldado as Spurs' most productive in front of goal, playing a part in 13 of his side's goals this season. 

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