With the title possibly being won this Afternoon, the focus on Match Of The Day last night was the battle to stay in the Premier League and again there has been another twist in the tale
It’s now advantage Newcastle after their win over Crystal Palace yesterday Afternoon, that win sees them move out of the bottom 3 at the expense of their North East rivals Sunderland
Andros Townsend’s sublime freekick put Newcastle ahead but minutes later their hard work and determination was nearly undone by Moussa Sissoko’s moment of madness after he handled in the box and gave away a Penalty
Newcastle old boy Yohan Cabaye stepped up to take the spot kick but his effort was poor by his own standards although it still needed a decent save from understudy Newcastle Goalkeeper Karl Darlow much to the delight to the St James Park faithful
Rafa Benitez’s side had chances to make 2-0 and ease the nerves but they spurned what few opportunities they had
But the most important thing is that they held out for the win and extended their unbeaten run to 4 matches. It’s now advantage Newcastle
That’s because Sunderland could only manage a draw at The Britannia Stadium and even that required a 94th minute Penalty in which to do so.
This was a Stoke side that had only picked up a point in their last 4 matches so Sunderland would have very much fancied their chances going into to Yesterday’s encounter but they failed to take the opportunity and may feel that it’s 2 vital points dropped. At this point of the season draws just aren’t good enough
What Norwich would have given for even a draw yesterday Evening at The Emirates. They created chances but they lacked that cutting edge in the final third to create any real nuisance to Arsenal
They held The Gunners for 53 minutes and Arsenal looked very flat in the first half as they failed to register a single shot on target but the introduction of Danny Welbeck made the difference. His first effort led to the games only goal and puts Arsenal back up to 3rd for 24 hours later.
The win came amidst a proportion of fans protesting in the ground that Wenger has to go. But it has to be said it wasn’t a massive proportion. You could see the divide between the Wenger In and Wenger Out fanbases yesterday in what was a pretty devisive atmosphere, I think this one is going to run for a while longer
West Brom couldn’t play well against two London sides in the space of a week could they? – of course they couldn’t
West Ham strolled to victory and enhanced their chances of finishing in the Top 6 and securing a Europa League place next season. Dimitri Payet ran the show yesterday but the headlines will go to Mark Noble who scored another brace and will have people asking whether there is still an outside chance he could make the England Squad this Summer
As for Aston Villa. If you had any hair left you would be tearing it out by now. Not a lot to play for obviously bar restoring a modicum of pride but after going 2-1 up and relatively coasting towards a rare victory the game is then turned on it’s head by the sending off of Ally Cissokho.
Even then though Villa had nearly closed the game out but then enter Birmingham fan Troy Deeney whose brace of goals in injury time meant Watford snatched all 3 points much to the dismay of Villa Caretaker boss Eric Black.
If it was Black’s dismay it was no doubt to Quique Sanchez Flores’ delight. That win would have just eased the apparent pressure he is under after rumours are abound that he may be sacked at the end of the season. A couple more wins a strong finish to the season should no doubt strengthen his bid to stay on
And finally Everton. They got a rare win in front of their home fans this season but like Arsenal it was played during a wave of fan protests. The protest continued after the game as fans voiced their displeasure at the perception that Roberto Martinez has taken the club backwards. I would imagine he is going to have to win all his games between now and the end of the season to at least alleviate the pressure and show that he is still the right man for the task
As for Bournemouth that’s now 5 defeats in 6 matches, but their season finished in March so they are just coasting towards the finish line now. Still that shouldn’t take away anything from the job that Eddie Howe and his players have achieved this season.