Spurs thrash Wigan as Chelsea, United win

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles

Premier League football

Liverpool 2 – 2 Manchester City

Both sides were looking to end unfavourable runs while cementing their own ambitions of a Champions League spot. The game ended in a 2-2 draw.

Shortly into the second half, Martin Skrtel had propelled Liverpool into a 1-0 lead. But goals from Emmanuel Adebayor and Stephen Ireland saw the visitors take a dramatic lead.

Much to the annoyance of Mark Hughes, his side were unable to hold onto their advantage for much more than a minute, as Yossi Benayoun levelled proceedings. The result leaves City and Liverpool rooted to 6th and 7th.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez: “You cannot be happy with a home draw, but to lose three players from your game plan is very difficult.

Manchester City boss Mark Hughes: “We restricted Liverpool to a very few opportunities but the ones they did have, they scored from.

Birmingham City 1 – 1 Fulham

Alex McLeish’s men extended their unbeaten streak to four games with a narrow 1-0 victory over the visiting Fulham. It was a tale of two halves as Birmingham dominated the first 45 minutes while Fulham had the better of the second.

Yet it was a Lee Bowyer strike that ultimately separated the two sides. McFadden’s deft pass picked out Bowyer who calmly slotted past Mark Schwarzer in the Fulham goal.

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish: “I’m delighted because we played a tough game today. Sometimes it wasn’t too pretty. We’ve played better than that and lost games but we showed we can win a match with strength and resilience.”

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson:“We did our very best to score a goal but when we did get an opportunity the goalkeeper was in fine form or someone got in a good block.”

Burnley 1 – 1 Aston Villa

Burnley continued their solid home form with a hard fought point against Champions League hopefuls Aston Villa. On the balance of play it was a fair result.

Early confusion between Richard Dunne and Brad Friedal allowed Stephen Caldwell to open the scoring for the home side. Villa persevered until the final five minutes with substitute Emile Heskey poaching a deserved equaliser.

Burnley manager Owen Coyle: “I thought we were well-placed to get the three points. We were outstanding in the first half.”

Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill: “Turf Moor is a notorious place to come to, particularly this season, and it took us a long time to get going.”

Chelsea 4 – 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Chelsea routed to a four-goal victory over an out of sort Wolves side. Indeed the result never looked in doubt, as the champions elect showed off their title credentials.

Michael Essien secured a brace with Florent Malouda and Joe Cole scoring goals either side of Essien’s double. Wolves rarely threatened though Ebanks-Blake did force Cech to make a World class save in the first half.

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti: “It was comfortable today. The team have improved their play, they are full of confidence and they are showing what they can do.”

Wolves manager Mick McCarthy: “I agree with Carlo – his side were fantastic. We’ve basically been beaten up with the ball today.”

Hull City 3 – 3 West Ham United

It was a pulsating match, yet both managers will be disappointed their sides were unable to capitalise on winning positions though Bolton and Portsmouth losing will provide some solace for Phil Brown and Gianfranco Zola.

The Hammers raced to an early 2-0 lead thanks to strikes from Franco and Collison. However an own goal from Carlton Cole, a Zayatte half volley and a superb penalty from Jimmy Bullard meant that Hull trudged into the dressing room at half-time 3-2 ahead.

The dismissal of Mendy gave West Ham renewed hope and Da Costa fired an equaliser past Myhill in the 69th minute. The result sees both clubs stay clear of the relegation zone.

Hull manager Phil Brown: “I’m disappointed we’ve dropped two points, but we’re playing some good football now.

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola: “We are scoring a lot of goals, we just need to defend a little bit better.

Sunderland 1 – 0 Arsenal

Sunderland issued a severe blow to Arsenal’s title challenge with a 1-0 win over the visitors. Wenger admitted his side lacked “sharpness and desire”.

Arsenal had opportunities to prevent the loss but lacked a clinical finish as they failed to score for the first time this season. It allowed Darren Bent to snatch all three points for the home side with 20 minutes remaining.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce: “We played very well and we are delighted. It was the manner of it – it wasn’t lucky as I can’t remember them carving us up. I think we deserved it.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “It was very harsh to lose the game because Sunderland did not create a lot. But we did not create enough chances either and there was a lack of penetration.”

Manchester United 3 – 0 Everton

David Moyes approached the match looking to contain Manchester United, packing five players into his congested midfield. Yet it failed to prevent the Red Devils running out comfortable winners.

A superb strike from Darren Fletcher broke the deadlock before goals from Carrick and Valencia secured the three points for Sir Alex Ferguson.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson:“We have to look at all the games as must-win now. We need to get on a run and be near the top by New Year’s Day. Then, in the second half of the season we can have a real go and give ourselves a chance.”

Everton boss David Moyes: “Unless you are the manager thinking about the best formation to stop Manchester United, you can’t really know.”

Bolton Wanderers 0 – 2 Blackburn Rovers

Bolton slumped to another defeat as Blackburn won away from home for the first time since early 2009. It lifted Blackburn into 11th while Bolton dropped to 18th.

Goals from David Dunn and a bizarre own goal from Samuel Ricketts secured the win for Rovers who were without their manager Sam Allardyce.

Bolton boss Gary Megson: “We set off ok without being brilliant. We had a strike that hit the bar and the next time we touched the ball we were picking it out of our net.”

Blackburn assistant manager Neil McDonald: “We are really pleased with the performance. Everyone played at the top of their game.”

Tottenham Hotspur 9 – 1 Wigan Athletic

Jermain Defoe bagged five goals as Spurs demolished Wigan at White Hart Lane in the second biggest margin in Premier League history.

Peter Crouch, Aaron Lennon, Niko Kranjcar and a Chris Kirkland own goal helped Spurs rout to an amazing 9-1 success. The result sees Spurs go level on points with their bitter rivals Arsenal while Wigan now boast the worst defensive record in the league.

Tottenham manager, Harry Redknapp: “He’s an amazing finisher. Wayne Rooney’s fantastic – a complete all-round player – but as a finisher, Defoe is the best out there.”

Wigan manager, Roberto Martinez:  “”It was unacceptable and unexpected. The way we defended in key moments was not good enough.”

Stoke City 1 – 0 Portsmouth

Pompey were left to rue a missed penalty by Prince-Boateng early in the first half as they eventually went on to lose to Tony Pulis’ men and remained rooted to the foot off the league.

Stoke failed to create many openings in the match. But they carved open Pompey’s rearguard with a fluid passing move which saw Ricardo Fuller curl his shot past deputy keeper Jamie Ashdown .

Stoke boss Tony Pulis: “It was a quality goal, a quality move and a quality finish.”

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