Last night’s Premier League action was all about comebacks.
Struggling Reading pulled off the biggest comeback of the night by scoring two goals in the dying minutes to draw 2-2 with Chelsea at the Madejski Stadium.
The Blues took the lead on the stroke of half-time. Juan Mata blasted home after good play from compatriot Fernando Torres. Maximum points looked secure in the 66th minute, Frank Lampard heading home from a Juan Mata set-piece.
Reading sent on super-sub Adam Le Fondre and it was former-Rochdale striker that turned the game around. The striker smashed an effort home from a Hope Akpan pass in the 87th minute. Deep into stoppage-time the striker slotted home his second of the game to earn a point that moved the Royals out of the relegation zone.
The other big comeback of the night came at the Emirates, where Arsenal came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Liverpool. The visitors made the brighter start and took just five minutes to go ahead.
Both Bacary Sagna and Thomas Vermaelen made errors which allowed Daniel Sturridge in on goal, the striker’s effort was saved by Wojciech Szczesny only for Luis Suarez to score via a deflection off Sagna.
Liverpool were two goals up on 60 minutes. Jordan Henderson looked to being going nowhere, but somehow managed to get in on goal, after a couple of fortunate deflections the ex-Sunderland midfielder put the ball past Szczesny.
Arsenal got back into the game on 64 minutes. Olivier Giroud headed home, after superb play from Theo Walcott. The pair changed roles in the 67th minute, as Giroud laid the ball off to Walcott, who fired powerfully past Pepe Reina in the Liverpool goal.
The Gunners pushed for a vital winning goal, but couldn’t find a way past the Liverpool defence who held firm for a point.
Elsewhere, Everton won 2-1 against West Brom at Goodison Park. The Toffee’s took the lead on 29 minutes. Steven Pienaar found Leighton Baines and the full-back ran forward and smashed the ball past Ben Foster in the Baggies goal.
Everton were two goals up in first half injury-time. Victor Anichebe was brought down in the penalty area by Argentinian midfielder Claudio Jacob and Baines added his second from the resulting spot kick. Everton looked in complete control, but the visitors got back into the game on 65 minutes.
Substitute Shane Long made an instant impact, heading home after Johnny Heitinga had failed to clear Romelu Lukaku’s effort. Both teams had further chances, but neither found the target. The win takes Everton within a point of fourth-place Tottenham.
Tottenham could only draw 1-1 at out-of-form Norwich. The Canaries took the lead on 32 minutes, midfielder Wes Hoolahan scoring after Anthony Pilkington played the ball back to the Irishman. Norwich looked like they were heading for maximum points until the 80th minute.
The equaliser was certainly worth waiting for. Winger Gareth Bale picked the ball up in his own half, ran past midfielder Alex Tettey, then Javier Garrido and Michael Turner before firing low past Mark Bunn in the Canaries goal.
Manchester United moved seven points clear at the top of the Premier League after winning 2-1 against Southampton at Old Trafford. The visitors took the lead on three minutes, Jay Rodriguez latching onto a terrible past back by Michael Carrick and putting the ball past the on-rushing David De Gea.
The lead lasted just five minutes though, Wayne Rooney firing home after good work from Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa. United had chances to gain the lead and finally took the lead on 27 minutes.
Rooney scored his second goal of the game from close-range, after Patrice Evra had headed Robin Van Persie’s free-kick back to the England international at the far post. Both teams came close a number of times in the second half, but in the end United hung on to three crucial points.
Fulham defeated London rivals West Ham 3-1 at Craven Cottage. The home side took the lead on ten minutes, Dimitar Berbatov heading home from a Damien Duff free-kick, the Bulgarian was offside but the linesman didn’t flag.
The Irons were back on level terms just after half-time. Mark Noble found captain Kevin Nolan with a quick free-kick and the midfielder fired low-past Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer. Parity didn’t last long though, as just a minute later the Cottagers were back in front.
Damien Duff’s cross was bundled over the line by striker Hugo Rodallega. The Cottagers secured maximum points in injury-time. Mladen Petric’s cross-cum-shot was put into his own net by Hammers defender Joey O’Brien.
The victory moved Fulham eight points clear of the relegation zone and above the visitors. It was the Cottagers second win of 2013.
As many of our readers will know today is transfer deadline day. My colleagues at Soccernews will keep you up to date with all the latest transfer news and I will review all the biggest deals in tomorrow’s editorial.
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