Last night’s Premier League games produced both enthralling action and goalless draws in equal measure.
In the big game at the bottom of the Premier League table Newcastle won 2-1 at rivals Aston Villa to move further clear of the relegation zone.
The visitors started the brighter and got their reward on 19 minutes. Midfielder Moussa Sissoko making his debut produced a sublime through ball for Papiss Cisse and the Senegal striker fired low past Brad Guzan in the Villa goal.
Villa grew into the game, but were two goals down on 31 minutes. French international midfielder Yohan Cabaye scored from 25 yards out with a fantastic half-volley. Villa came out like a different team in the second half and Tim Krul denied efforts from both Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke.
Villa did find a goal on 49 minutes. Substitute Gabriel Agbonlahor was brought down in the penalty area by Magpies full-back Mathieu Debuchy and striker Christian Benteke found the net with the resulting spot-kick.
Villa started to push for an equaliser and Krul once again denied Weimann with an excellent save. The last chance for Villa fell to defender Nathan Baker, who close-range header was cleared off the goal line.
The victory moved Newcastle four points clear of the relegation zone, while Villa dropped into the relegation zone.
Wigan moved above Villa in the table by coming back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Stoke. The home side took the lead in the 23rd minute. Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross volleyed home from close-range, after Jean Beausejour had headed a set-piece against teammate James McCarthy.
The Potters doubled their lead just after the break. Charlie Adam ran at the Wigan defence and produced a shot at goal which was parried by Ali Al-Habsi, only for Peter Crouch to score with the rebound.
The two goal lead lasted just two minutes as on 50 minutes the away side got a goal back. Honduran midfielder Roger Espinoza played a superb pass through the Potters defence and James McArthur fired home with the outside of his boot.
The visitors were back on level terms on 61 minutes Espinoza was again involved as the midfielder found McArthur, whose header found Franco di Santo and the Argentinian volleyed past Asmir Begovic in the Stoke goal.
Cameron Jerome missed a good chance for Stoke after coming off the bench, but in the end neither side could find a winning goal.
Sunderland and Swansea drew 0-0 at the Stadium of Light in what was a real bore draw. The biggest talking point of the game came in the fifth minute.
Pablo Hernandez played the ball into the Black Cats penalty area and John O’Shea appeared to bring down Israeli striker Itay Shechter in the penalty area, but referee Andre Mariner waved away claims for a penalty kick.
The home side failed to get a single shot on target in the game. Swansea may feel disappointed not have won the game, but the Swans stretched their unbeaten run in the top flight to seven games.
Manchester City cut Manchester United’s lead at the top of the Premier League to four points, but could only draw 0-0 at rock-bottom QPR. The visitors had numerous chances to score a winner.
Argentinian full-back Pablo Zabaleta headed against the bar after great play from midfielder David Silva. Sergio Aguero had a goal disallowed just after the hour mark, before Joe Hart denied the mercurial Adel Taarabt.
Just before half-time Julio Cesar pulled off a superb save from a Gareth Barry effort. City midfielder David Silva’s effort was again denied by the excellent Cesar in the 68th minute.
QPR had claims for a penalty turned down moments later, Loic Remy going down under a challenge from Joleon Lescott, but referee Phil Dowd waved play on.
Cesar was again there to thwart City, as the Brazilian keeper saved a David Silva close-range effort. Despite City pushing hard for a winner bottom place QPR held on for what could prove a good point in the long-run. The visitors will feel this is two points dropped.
Can Villa victory revive Newcastle’s Premier League campaign?