There were some big results for teams at both ends of the Premier League table yesterday.
One of the biggest results came at St James Park, where Reading defeated fellow strugglers Newcastle 2-1. It was the home side that struck first though after 35 minutes.
French midfielder Yohan Cabaye curled home a superb free-kick into the top corner of the Reading net.
Reading keeper Adam Federici was outstanding in the first half and produced a host of saves to keep his side in the game.
Reading produced a far better display in the second half and got reward for the improvement by equalising in the 71st minute. Jimmy Kebe’s cross was bundled home by substitute Adam Le Fondre, who had been on the pitch for just a minute.
The striker doubled his tally in the 77th minute. The striker fired home after midfielder Hope Akpan had mis-hit an effort on goal. Newcastle had chances late-on, but couldn’t find an equaliser. The win moved Reading out of the relegation zone temporarily.
West Ham and QPR drew 1-1 at the Boleyn Ground. QPR new boy Loic Remy enjoyed a dream debut. The French striker raced onto Adel Taarabt’s through-ball to fire the Hoops into the lead on 14 minutes.
The home side got a deserved equaliser in the 68th minute. Substitute Carlton Cole headed the ball down for Joe Cole to score with ease. The Hammers had chances to take maximum points, but couldn’t find a winner.
Sunderland won 3-2 at Wigan to move further clear of the drop zone. Wigan took the lead after just four minutes, Sunderland midfielder David Vaughan putting past his own keeper from Ronnie Stam’s shot.
The Black Cats were back on level terms on 17 minutes. James McCarthy handled the ball from a Sebastian Larsson free-kick and midfielder Craig Gardner scored from the resulting spot kick. The visitors took the lead on 20 minutes through a powerful effort from striker Steven Fletcher.
Fletcher got his second of the game three minutes before half-time with another strong effort after Adam Johnson had teed-up the Scottish international. Wigan got back into the game on 79 minutes, on-loan Manchester United striker Angelo Henriquez heading home from Shaun Maloney’s cross.
The defeat means that the Latics are now firmly ensconced in the Premier League relegation battle. Meanwhile Sunderland have moved up to midtable in the top flight.
West Brom came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Midlands rivals Aston Villa at the Hawthorns. The visitors took the lead on 12 minutes. Belgium striker Christian Benteke fired home a superb effort from just outside the penalty box.
Villa doubled their lead on 31 minutes, striker Gabriel Agbonlahor firing low past Ben Foster. West Brom came out all guns blazing in the second half and got back into the game four minutes into the second period.
Romelu Lukaku held up the ball superbly and laid the ball back to Chris Brunt who struck a superb effort from 20 yards out. The Baggies continued to press forward and Villa failed to keep hold of the ball.
The home side equalised on 83 minutes, striker Peter Odemwingie hooking home an effort from inside the box, after Gareth McAuley had nodded the ball down to the Nigerian ace.
Champions Manchester City won 2-0 against Fulham at the Etihad Stadium. City took the lead after just two minutes, David Silva with an easy finish after Mark Schwarzer had parried an Edin Dzeko effort.
The Spaniard doubled his tally for the game on 69 minutes. Carlos Tevez played a clever ball to the midfielder and Silva chipped the ball over Schwarzer superbly. The victory put City four points behind arch-rivals Manchester United.
Elsewhere, Liverpool hammered Norwich 5-0 at Anfield. The Reds took the lead on 26 minutes, midfielder Jordan Henderson volleying home a fantastic volley from the edge of the penalty box. Liverpool doubled their lead on 36 minutes.
Brazilian midfielder Lucas put striker Luis Suarez through on goal and the Uruguayan fired home. The Reds were three up on 59 minutes, Daniel Sturridge scoring from close range from Stewart Downing’s cross.
Captain Steven Gerrard produced a typical driving finish to make it four in the 66th minute. Liverpool completed the rout on 74 minutes, as Ryan Bennett put the ball past his own keeper, after Raheem Sterling’s shot.
Swansea defeated Stoke 3-1 at the Liberty Stadium. The home side took the lead on 49 minutes; young full-back Ben Davies scoring with a well-taken effort. The Swans doubled their lead on 57 minutes.
On-loan midfielder Jonathan De Guzman fired a superb free-kick over the wall and into the top corner of Stoke net. The Canadian scored his second goal on 80 minutes, producing another superb finish after a lovely touch from Danny Graham.
Stoke got a consolation goal in the last minute, Michael Owen coming off the bench to score his 150th Premier League career goal. It was scant consolation as Stoke’s mini-slump continues.
Can Liverpool make the Champions League spots this season?